How to order noodle soup in Phuket?
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. Small restaurants and carts will serve it on 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, the kind of meat and noodle soup comes in 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 noodles 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 noodles around 0.3 – 0.4 cm in width
white noodles around 1.5 – 2 cm in 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 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 actually used; people always call all instant noodles ‘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
You can order Nam Khon: cloudy soup with pork and beef 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), which are 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, and 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 (noodles in the soup)
- Mee Khao Hang: angel hair white noodles served with soup separated (hang means dry). You will receive your noodle with all ingredients in one bowl and a small 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 noodles (wonton noodles) are 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 & Hang Peng is open mostly from 5 pm to late morning. They do have Tom Yam flavour but not Yentafo. Many Champ & HangPeng soup restaurants have stewed chicken feet (Teen Kai) and drumsticks (Nong Kai).
Brake Taek serves a delicious and renowned ‘Tom Yam Noodle Soup’. Here too, it can get hard to get a table for lunch, and you might have to wait quite a bit. So while waiting, order their excellent meatballs skewers to keep you busy; you won’t regret it.
How to order a noodle soup:
Choose your noodle from Sen Yai (flat white noodles), Sen Lek (thin white noodles), Mee Hoon (white vermicelli), Woonsen (glass vermicelli), and Ba-mee (egg noodles).
Next is the soup – Tom Yam (ordinary) or hang (no soup).
Then the meat: Moo (pork), Gai (Chicken) or Talay (Seafood). When you order pork, say ‘Mai Nai’ to ensure they won’t add entrails to the soup.
Location: Phuket Town
Address: Talat Yai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000
Open: 8 am – 5 pm (Tuesday closed)
Phone: 076 217 030