I love a good noodle. rice or wheat. fried or steamed. in soup, or not. It’s the rare noodle that doesn’t trip my palate’s proverbial trigger.
In SEA noodles are served with a variety of condiments. Most tables have a big tray of things like, fish sauce, sugar, shrimp paste, sweet chili sauce & various incarnations of chilies. Chilies in vinegar, smoked chilies, whole chilies, chilies in soy sauce. you get the picture. The idea is to make your noodles unique. spicy, sweet, sour, spicy AND sweet,whatever, your the boss of your noodle.
I’ve eaten my fare share of noodles while in SEA & here are a few of my favorites.
This delightful bowl noodles was found at a little joint inside the old city. The proprietor had just 2 hot dishes per day. One was usually Khao Soi. Khao Soi is found mainly in northern Thailand & is thought to be Burmese in origin. Typically it is soft egg noodles in a coconut based yellow curry broth with chunks of chicken. It is topped with fried egg noodles & coriander. It is often accompanied by sliced shallots, chilies, shredded pickled cabbage & lime. As you push the fried noodles into the broth they become slightly chewy & the contrast between them & the soft egg noodles both mixed with the rich coconut curry is divine.
This bowl of noodles looks rather simple. The magic is in the broth. The texture had that silky feel you only get from collagen. I knew with my first sip that it was made from bones & not that powdered crap. The first aromatic you taste is star anise, followed by lemon grass & kaffir lime. The combination of the aromatics & the texture of the broth made this soup one of my favorites. The noodles were thick & fresh and it was garnished with crunchy bean sprouts & spring onions. It was a definite winner.
Don’t be deceived by the humble looks of this plate o’ noodles. Wide rice noodles stir fried with thinly sliced pork, egg, spring onions & greens bound together with thick, sweet soy sauce. I splashed on some chilies in vinegar & fish sauce. delish!
I found this bowl of yummy goodness in a tiny, unassuming restaurant on Koh Chang. It was so good that I went back 3 mornings in a row. The base is really pork-y & spicy. The surprise came in the form of coins of silken tofu. At first i thought they were slices of egg white, but they were too uniform. They were, well, silky & soft & had absorbed the spicy, porky, flavor of the broth. It was filled with lots of veg, too, which can be lacking in some soups here.
This little bowl of yum was found just across the street from my guest house in bangkok. And for 30 baht it is a deal. Tasty & rich broth, a little wakame on the side. simple but good.
I admit this bowl looks a little… pale. But the flavor was anything but. I usually find the texture of asian meatballs a bit off putting. more like rubberbands, less like meat. these were actually really good. The texture was still a bit rubbery, but had serious flavor. There were shreds of pork loin & thick cut, fresh rice noodles. The herbs added a fresh note that was really refreshing. I was seated on short stool, about 8 inches off the ground, next to a local woman, decked out in a silk dress, & 3 school girls. The local woman, showed me how to use the accompanying plate of salad as garnish ( by pantomime) and there we sat, 5 women, sitting on the street, slurping soup at 9 am.
There will be undoubtedly more noodles in my future & as new & exciting varieties come my way I’ll be sure & share them.