How to order noodle soup in Phuket?
- How to order noodle soup in Phuket?
- Select the noodles
- Sen Lek
- Sen Yai
- Mee Khao or Mee Hoon
- Woon Sen
- Bamee (Bamee Hleung)
- Hokkien Yellow Noodles
- Mama Noodle
- Bamee Keaw
- Kuay Chap
- The Meat or Seafood
- The Soup
- Kuey Tiaow Nam Sai
- Kuey Tiaow Tom Yam
- Kuey Tiaow Ruea (Boat Noodles)
- Yentafo (fermented red tofu)
- Soup or Dry?
- Where to find noodle soup in Phuket? – everywhere!
Noodle soup is everywhere in Phuket (‘Kuey Tiaow’ in Thai), and while it’s not precisely Thai food, it is entirely part of everyday life in Thailand. You will find small restaurants and carts serving it in almost every street at any time of the day and night, not only for lunch, dinner and even breakfast. While you can easily order the classic by just pointing at the type of noodle you see in a cart then the kind of meat, noodle soup comes in so many ways. Here we try to summarize some of the best-known options, but there are many more, and we will keep adding them as we explore.
Select the noodles
Before ordering a noodle soup, you need to know the name of the different types of noodle first. The noodles listed are mostly available in most noodle soup restaurants. Useful vocabulary: Mee or Bamee = noodle, Sen = string, Lek = small, Yai = large/big
White noodle around 0.3 – 0.4 cm width
white noodle around 1.5 – 2 cm width (mostly oily and very soft)
Mee Khao or Mee Hoon
Angel hair white noodle (Mee Hoon is a common name used in Phuket and Phang-Nga, but not in other provinces of Thailand)
Woon sen is glass noodles, a type of transparent noodle made from starch, such as mung bean starch, potato starch, sweet potato starch, tapioca, or canna starch.
Bamee (Bamee Hleung)
Bamee is yellow noodles (locally called Mee Hleung or Bamee Hleung). The size of yellow noodles is different in a noodle soup restaurant than in a non-soup restaurant. Yellow noodle or Mee Hleung for soup is thinner and for Mee Hleung Pad (stir-fried yellow noodle) is thicker.
Thick white short rice noodles
Hokkien Yellow Noodles
This is a famous brand of instant noodles. It doesn’t matter what brand is used, people always call any instant noodle ‘Mama’
The Meat or Seafood
- Sliced beef: example – Sen Lek Look Chin Neu Sod Nam (Sen Lek= small white noodle, Look Chin= Beef or Pork balls (here beef because we order beef), Neua: beef, Sod: fresh, Nam: soup in it) – then in this type of restaurant you can choose to have your soup clear (Nam Sai) or cloudy/creamy (Nam Khon). When it’s cloudy, it means they will mix the soup with the blood of the cow or pig depending on what you order. In this case, it’s cow blood. They will cook fresh blood shortly in hot water and put it in your soup.
- Stewed beef: example – Sen Yai Look Chin Neu Peuy (Sen Yai: Large noodle, Look Chin: beef balls, Neu Peuy: stewed beef)
- Pork: Example: Sen Lek Hang Moo = small white noodle with soup aside. Ordering this you will receive sliced pork and pork balls as well. Unless you ask for no pork balls (Mai Sai Look Chin). (Noodle soup shops don’t do stew, so it can only be sliced pork)
- Duck Noodle
With both pork or beef you can order Nam Khon: cloudy soup or Nam Sai: Clear soup.
Here are the flavours available in Chinese style noodle restaurants (Wonton Mee). With both pork or beef you can order Nam Khon: cloudy soup or Nam Sai: Clear soup and most restaurants also sell Champ (beef balls) and Hang Peng (pork balls), great to enjoy while waiting for your soup.
Kuey Tiaow Nam Sai
Kuai Tiao Nam Sai is a popular clear soup stock made from pork, chicken or beef bones. It may appear a bit boring if you are not familiar but it is in fact very delicate and delicious.
Kuey Tiaow Tom Yam
Kuai Tiao Tom Yam is the same as above with lime juice and chilli paste and powder, fish sauce, sometimes with peanuts too so if you are allergic, it’s good to ask.
Kuey Tiaow Ruea (Boat Noodles)
Shops serving Kuey Tiaow Ruea add pig or cow blood from pigs or cows before serving. It may sound gross but it is a delicious classic soup. Chances are if you add noodle soup in Thailand, you had it without knowing how it was done.
Yentafo (fermented red tofu)
Soup or Dry?
Once you know what type of noodle you prefer, it’s time to choose if you want the soup and the noodle served in one bowl, or separately: Nam (means water) here means soup in the noodle, Hang (means dry) here means noodle with soup in a separate bowl.
Here are examples when ordering noodle soup in a Chinese style noodle soup restaurant, where they serve only pork. Almost every bowl is served with Wonton (Keuw = เกี้ยว).
- Mee Khao Nam: angel hair white noodle soup (noodle in the soup)
- Mee Khao Hang: angel hair white noodle served with soup separated (hang means dry). You will receive your noodle with all ingredients in one bowl, and a small bowl of soup on the side. This small soup is usually more concentrated than the soup in the noodle.
Where to find noodle soup in Phuket? – everywhere!
Most Chinese style noodle (wonton noodle) open from 10 am – 5 pm, except Chai See Mee Keuw, a franchise brand for the same style of noodle selling days and nights. Champ & HangPeng open mostly 5 pm to late or morning. They do have Tom Yam flavour but not Yentafo. Many Champ & HangPeng soup restaurants also have stewed chicken feet (Teen Kai) and drumsticks (Nong Kai).
Written in collaboration with JK Bistro in Phuket