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Five Thai Noodle Dishes – Beyond Pad Thai

Michael Babcock, Friday, August 15th, 2014

There are many fabulous noodle dishes in Thailand that, in my opinion, put Pad Thai to shame. In this blog I mention just five of the fabulous variety of noodles found in the Kingdom (of Thailand). I’m picking five that I quite enjoy.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Hot and Spicy Drunkard’s Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Ground Pork, Thai Chillies and Holy Basil – Kuay Tiow Pad Kee Mao

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard’s Noodles

I think this is probably my very favorite noodle dish. I talked about it in an earlier blog – Current Top Ten Thai Dishes. Of all the versions I’ve had, I prefer Kasma’s (pictured to the left). She makes it with delicious fresh chow fun noodles (kuay tiow sen yai, in Thai), lots of Thai chillis, holy basil, garlic and pastured pork from Riverdog farms. The result is a very spicy, tasty dish. It has to be spicy to live up to its name: the dish is called “drunkard’s noodles” (and not “drunken noodles”) because it is so spicy-hot that you need to keep drinking to cool the mouth.

Kasma teaches this recipe in the Weekend Series Advanced Set I-4. She teaches a similar dish – Drunkard’s Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sheet Noodles with Shrimp and Cuttlefish (Kuay Tiow Sianghai Pad Kee Mao) – in Advanced Set G-3.

Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles – Kuay Tiow Haeng Sukhothai

Sukhothai Noodles}

Sukhothai-Style Noodles

Sukhothai Noodles

Sukhothai-Style Noodles

This is just a marvelous noodle dish – hot, sour and sweet. It’s full of various textures (pork cracklings, peanuts, egg, more) and flavors. It’s the only noodle dish I know that is served with a dollop of palm sugar that you mix up with the noodles. Before eating, everything is mixed together to make a tasty treat.

The picture above left is from Kasma’s class where it’s a real favorite. She teaches this recipe in the Weekend Series Advanced Set F-4 and the above right picture is from a noodle shop in Sukhothai.

To see more pictures of this dish, check out our Facebook Album on Sukhothai-style Noodles. You may need to be logged in.

Roast Duck Noodles – Ba Mee Haeng Ped

Roast Duck Noodles

Roast Duck Noodles

This may be the noodle dish that I order the most in Thailand. The picture to the right shows a bowl from what was my favorite duck noodle shop in Thong Lo, now, unfortunately, no longer in business. (See my blog Thong Lo Duck Noodles). It’s a simple dish: basically, roast duck, egg-noodles (ba mee) and some greens. What makes it so delicious is the simplicity, the succulent roast duck (somehow so much better in Thailand), the egg noodles and the way that you spice the dish yourself. In Thailand, noodles typically are served with a Thai Condiment Set consisting of various ingredients so that you can add salty, sweet, sour and spicy, essentially creating your own favorite flavor grouping. I like these duck noodles with a sour chilli sauce for the sour, a bit of fish sauce, a generous serving of dried, roasted chilli powder and a bit of sugar to bring it all together. Delicious!

Stewed Beef Rice Noodles – “Boat Noodles” – Kuay Tiow Reua

Beef Noodles

Stewed Beef Noodles

No blog on delicious Thai noodle dishes would be complete without including a soup noodle, such as this one. The version pictured is from one of Kasma’s Thai cooking classes; she teaches this recipe in the Weekend Series Advanced Set C-1. I do love a good bowl of beef noodle soup with many kinds of beef: stewed beef, beef tendon, raw beef quickly cooked before serving and (often) beef dumplings or tripe. It’s stewed for many hours to make a nourishing bone broth. I prefer it with the same chow fun (kuay tiow sen yai) noodles used in the Drunkard’s Noodles above, though you can often order it with other kinds of noodles, such as thin rice noodles. It’s often served as Kasma serves it, with a hot chilli sauce made from various red peppers, garlic, lime, vinegar, fish sauce and sugar.

Fermented Rice Vermicelli – Khanom Jeen

Khanom Jeen Namya

Khanom Jeen Namya

Making Khanom Jeen

Making Khanom Jeen

I wanted to include khanom jeen because this possibly is the only noodle common in Thailand that does not originate with the Chinese and is indigenous to SE Asia. According to an article in the Thai magazine Krua (meaning “kitchen”) khanom jeen originated among the Mon ethnic group, who introduced them to different SE Asian cultures. The Mon called them kanawm jin. They’re known to be made and eaten in the Ayuthaya era (15th to 18th century) and it’s possible Thais have been eating them since the 8th to 11th centuries (when the Mon empire ruled much of present-day SE Asia).

These noodles have a delicious, chewy texture made from older rice (rather than “new crop”). It’s a fermented noodle: the rice is soaked for many days, then kneaded by hand, pounded and then left to sit for 3 days. It’s eventually extruded into boiling water (see above right) and afterwards placed in cold water and rolled into skeins (as in the picture below right).

The picture above right shows the extrusion process at a noodle shop called Ko Joi in Krabi; we’re lucky enough to eat there every time we visit Krabi. Be sure to see my next blog on Ko Joi at the start of next month.

The picture above left shows Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli Topped with Spicy Fish Namya Curry Sauce (Khanom Jeen Namya Pak Tai) from Wang Derm restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat. It’s a dish that Kasma teaches in the Weekend Series Advanced Set E-2.

Khanom Jeen Namya

Khanom Jeen Namya

Khanom Jeen

Khanom Jeen in Khorat

Above left is another version of Khanom Jeen Namya, the Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli with Spicy Fish Curry Sauce. This version is from Ko Joi in Krabi, where they make their own noodles. It’s been mixed together with some of the pickled cucumbers that are served with the noodles.

Above Right is a typical khanom jeen stall at Khorat Market in Northeastern Thailand. Click on the picture to enlarge it and see the skeins of khanom jeen noodles. Here you choose one of the curries or sauces in the containers in front to be served over the noodles and then add in some of the vegetables in the very front row.


If you want to learn to cook delicious Thai noodle dishes yourself, come take a Thai Cooking Class from Kasma. Nearly every series has at least a few noodle dishes.

Don’t take my word about the number of noodle dishes in Thailand: check out my earlier blog: Thai Noodles – An Amazing Variety.

And for some perspective on Pad Thai, check out Kasma’s blog: Pad Thai: The Origin and Making of Pad Thai.

More Blogs on Noodles


Written by Michael Babcock, August 2014

Some Or Tor Kor Favorites

Michael Babcock, Saturday, February 1st, 2014

ตลาด อ.ต.ก. – Talat Or Tor Kor – (Or Tor Kor (pronounced Aw Taw Kaw) Market) in Bangkok has long been one of my favorite markets. It has a tremendous variety to offer, including fresh foods (produce and meats) and prepared foods (both to go and for eating at the market), with everything enticingly displayed. Whenever I’m in Thailand I’ll get there at least two or three times to graze the market and to purchase items to enjoy at home (Thai home, that is). In this blog, I highlight a few (only a few, alas) of my favorite stalls.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Passion Fruit Juice – Stall 10/9

On the frontmost row of the market, just at an intersection, is a stall that has various bottled drinks for sale. My favorite is the fresh passion fruit juice – น้ำเสาวรส (nam sao rot). A beautiful golden color, it is 100% passion fruit; it tastes slightly sour and very refreshing and best drunk straight (no water added or ice). I’ll always get one to drink with lunch and a few to take home and savor over the next few days. It’s the best passion fruit juice I’ve had in Thailand, and I’ve tried quite a few.

Fresh Drinks Stall

Fresh Drinks Stall

Fresh Drinks

Fresh Drinks

The tangerine juice (“orange Juice” – naam som) is also delicious (it’s also easy to find elsewhere), as is the enticingly green pennywort juice. I can’t answer for the sweet corn or carrot, however. Other juices that they sell include guava, sugar cane and lemongrass. They also have chrysanthemum tea and 10 herbals Chinese tea. They have a second stall in the market at stall 8/31.

Northern Food – Stall 10/16

Directly adjacent to the juice stall (10/9) as you head up the intersection (perpendicular to the long aisle in front) is a stall where we pick some items to take home.

Northern Food Stall

Northern Food Stall

Fresh Drinks

Northern Foods

We might pick up some of the items that are ready to eat: such as the dipping sauces Nam Prik Nuum or Nam Prik Ong along with some fried pork skin. We almost always pick up a couple items to take back to our townhouse to heat up or cook there:

Hunglay Pork Curry

Hunglay Pork Curry

Sour Fish

Sour Fish

To the left above we see one of my favorite curries (it’s among my Current Top Ten Favorite Dishes – Hunglay Curry – Kaeng Hunglay. The second item requires having your own kitchen so that you can fry it up: it’s the Sour Fish – Pla Som – pictured above right. (Check out Kasma’s blog: In Search of the Best Sour Fish (Pla Som).)

Egg Custards – (No Number)

Egg Custard Stall

Egg Custard Stall

Egg Custard

Egg Custard

This stall has recently moved (from 11/11). As you continue from stalls 10/9 and 10/16 on the intersecting aisle, you’ll come right away  to Miss Muay. The item to buy here is the egg custard: I often devour one on the spot. The pastry is flakey and delicious (though it could be a little thinner) and the filling creamy and sweet but not too sweet. Delicious! They are best warm. Some of the other items they sell are various “pies” (more like an individual pasty – tuna, spinach cheese, sausage and chicken), cheese cake, custard caramel, pudding and cake. I tried the cheese cake and found it a bit dry in texture.

Pad Thai and Mussel Cakes- Stall 11/40

Towards the back corner closest to the parking lot is an area where you can order all kinds of food cooked to order: it’s basically a food center area such as you’d find in any mall but without the tokens. You can order whatever you’d like and sit in the shared seating area. Be warned: at lunch time, especially on weekends, it can be hard to find an empty table.

Pad Thai Stall

Pad Thai Stall

I’m not a real fan of Pad Thai, though it seems to be the favorite of so many fahrangs (westerners) – to my taste buds there are so many other more interesting noodle dishes. (Check out my blog on Thai Noodles – An Amazing Variety.) This stall in Or Tor Kor is the one place in Thailand that I will often order Pad Thai. I love the presentation: rather than cooking the dish with egg shreds, as is more usual, here it is served inside of the egg – a Pad Thai omelette, if you will. It tastes good and the owners of the stall are always friendly and welcoming, which helps.

I’ll also order another dish here – Pan-Fried Mussel Cakes with Wilted Bean Sprouts and Hot-Sour Chilli Sauce (Hoi Malaeng Poo Tod) – it’s what she is cooking in the photo to the left).

(See my blog Pad Thai at Aw Taw Kaw Market.)

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Mussel Cakes

Mussel Cakes

Above left is the Pad Thai. The Fried Mussel Cakes are above right.

Delicious Pad Kaprao– Stall 12/19

Basil Duck Stall

Basil Roast Duck Stall

Basil Duck

Basil Roast Duck

This is the dish I order the most at Or Tor Kor – it is Roast Duck Stir-fried with Holy Basil – Kaprao Ped Yang; on the sign in the picture to the left, it’s on the top line in the middle – กระเพราเป็ดย่าง (click for a larger version). It is your typical pad kaprao (stir-fried with holy basil) dish made with roast duck and served over rice. It is as delicious as it looks in the picture here.

Dried Fruits – Stall 5/24

Dried Goods Stall

Dried Goods Stall

I can’t resist adding one more stall, since I nearly always make a purchase here of dried jackfruit chips. This stall is at the very front of the market, perpendicular to the longer aisles. Although they have dried fruit and nuts of many varieties here, my favorite is the dried jackfruit chips. Another item I’ll get is the roasted cashew nuts with sugared sesame seeds, which are mildly addicting.


I could keep going: a roast pork stall, one of the stalls to buy durian, the stall where I get Tod Man (Fish Cakes), the stall with GABA rice, etc. I’m going to stop here and suggest that the next time you’re in Bangkok, head out to Or Tor Kor and find your own favorites!

Also, check out my previous blog Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) Market in Bangkok

Getting to Or Tor Kor

Or Tor Kor Market is located on Kamphaengphet Road – Th Kamphaengphet. The easiest way to get there by public transport is take the metro (MRT) and get off at Kamphaeng Phet exit 3. The Saphan Khwai Skytrain (N7) is also located roughly 0.3 Kilometres away.


Written by Michael Babcock, February 2014

Beginning Thai Cooking With Kasma, Class #4

Michael Babcock, Saturday, September 15th, 2012

This blog is about class #4 in a series of 4 evening classes taught by Kasma Loha-unchit. This final class focuses on noodles and teaches that American favorite – Pad Thai. Kasma, who has been teaching since 1985, introduces 3 of the many varieties of noodles used in Thailand.

I’ve already blogged on the first three classes in the series:

(Click images to see larger version.)

Thai Snack

Mochi, a snack

When the classes were in the evening, beginning with the second class in the series, Kasma introduced the students to an Asian snack at the start of the class. Because the classes are now taught in the afternoon right after lunch, she no longer serves snacks.This particular snack, mochi with a black sesame seed filling, is a particular favorite. We only know of one place where we can purchase this snack: it’s at the Yuen Hop Noodle Company on Webster Street in Oakland’s Chinatown. Yuen Hop sells freshly made rice noodles, the wider variety called kway teow sen yai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวส้นใหญ่) – kway teow (ก๋วยเตี๋ยว) referring to the rice noodle itself, and sen yai (ส้นใหญ่) referring to the size. It’s the sort of noodle called chow fun by the Chinese. Their fresh noodles are amazing – Kasma uses them in all sorts of noodle dishes in this class and in her Advanced cooking classes.

Rice Noodles

Wide rice noodles

This is a package of kway teow sen yai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวส้นใหญ่) aka chow fun noodles. In this class, Kasma introduces three different type of noodles (there are many more) for use in the dishes. These particular noodles will be used in the Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า (Kway Teow Rad Nah). These noodles are added direct from the package to the wok.

She’ll also introduce the noodle known in Thai as ba mee (บะหมี่), a thin Chinese egg noodle made from wheat, used in the Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) – บะหมี่แห้งหมูแดง (Bamee Haeng Moo Daeng). These noodles are cooked in boiling water.

The third type of noodle is the thin dried rice vermicelli called sen mee (ส้นหมี่) that Kasma uses in her “Thai-style” Stir-fried Noodles – ผัดไท (Pad Thai). She soaks the dried rice noodles in cold or lukewarm tap water for 40 minutes to one hour, or until the noodles are limp but still firm to the touch.

Tianjin Vegetables

Tianjin vegetables

Roasting Chillies

Roasting chillies

Kasma introduces other new ingredients in this class, one of which is Tianjin Vegetables – a type of pickled cabbage (basically cabbage fermented with salt) from China, though there is an equivalent version of preserved cabbage made in Thailand. Kasma uses this ingredient in her Garlic Noodles.

She teaches her students how to roast dried chillies in a cast iron skillet; they will subsequently be ground up to be used in Pad Thai and also to fill one of the dishes in a noodle condiment set. In Thailand, all noodles are accompanied by a condiment set, which typically includes sugar (for balancing flavors), green chillies soaked in vinegar (for sour), fish sauce (for salty) and roasted ground chillies. The diner uses the condiment set to balance the flavors to his or her liking. The chillies are roasted with salt in the pan to help mitigate the fumes.

Making Thai Coffee

Making Thai coffee & tea

In addition to the noodles (and cucumber salad), Kasma demonstrates how to make both Thai tea – ชาเย็น (cha yen) – and Thai coffee – โอเลี้ยง (oliang). In Thailand, both of these drinks are made using a “tea sock” – the tea or coffee is put in the “sock,” which has a metal handle, and then hot water is poured through and then steeped to the desired strength. Condensed and evaporated milk are added to finish them off. Thai tea and coffee are often available at noodle shops in Thailand.

We have instructions for making Thai tea elsewhere on the website.

Making Rad Nah

Making Rad Nah

Kasma Stir-fries

Kasma cooks Pad Thai

As with other classes, final cooking is done in front of the whole class. Sometimes a student does the cooking (as in the Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles) to the left; other times, Kasma does the cooking. She usually cooks the Pad Thai herself because there are a couple of tricky points: namely getting the eggs right and making sure the noodles are thoroughly mixed with everything else.

Beginning Thai Series Class #4 Menu

Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า (Kway Teow Rad Nah):

Rad Nah

Rad Nah Noodles

Balancing Flavors

Balancing flavors

I think of this as rice noodles with sauce. It’s a somewhat soupy dish and I like it only if the noodles, the kway teow sen yai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวส้นใหญ่) are very, very fresh. It is best when eaten piping hot from the wok and is typically eaten with green chillies pickled in vinegar (as in the picture to the right), which provides a bit of sour to cut the gravy (sauce). Be sure to get both some (soaked) chillies and some of the vinegar.

Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) – บะหมี่แห้งหมูแดง (Bamee Haeng Moo Daeng):

Garlic Noodles

Kasma's Garlic Noodles

Garlic Noodles 2

Kasma's Garlic Noodles

I’ve never had this particular dish in Thailand – it’s a recipe of Kasma’s creation. It’s the first noodle dish I ever made. I had been invited to a potluck soon after initially taking the Beginning Series (back in 1992 – 2 decades ago). I decided to bring this dish: it can be served cold or at room temperature and made in advance – perfect for a pot luck. It was the first dish to disappear; people loved it. As the name implies, it has a garlicky flavor – mildly addictive, I would say.

“Thai-style” Stir-fried Noodles – ผัดไท (Pad Thai):

Pad Thai

Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai. A whole blog could be written on this noodle. (Actually, Kasma already wrote one: The Origin and Making of Pad Thai.)

This picture of Kasma’s Pad Thai noodles shows the dish plated, and ready to serve. It’s surrounded by limes so that each student can take a lime to squeeze over their portion and add sour flavor. The next picture below shows one individual serving of Pad Thai. Often in Thailand this dish is served accompanied by green onions; the idea is to take a bite of the green onion along with the noodles to add an extra dimension of texture and flavor. They go surprisingly well together.

Pad Thai

Serving of Pad Thai

Many students tell Kasma her version is the best they’ve ever eaten. Often in U.S. restaurants the noodles are softer and mushier whereas in Kasma’s version, they are firm and chewy. She’ll tell students that if they prefer the version from U.S. restaurants, they can make the noodles softer, add ketchup and more sugar.

Check out:

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad – ยำแตงกวา (Yum Taeng Kua): In the United States, I’m not much of a cucumber eater. I find the vegetable not very interesting. The one exception I make is for Kasma’s Thai cucumber salads, such as this one. Add some shallots, serrano peppers, cilantro leaves, vinegar, lime, fish sauce and sugar to cucumbers and it makes them a lot more interesting!


Written by Michael Babcock, September 2012

Thai Noodles – An Amazing Variety

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Many people who have not been to Thailand or who have not taken Kasma Loha-unchit’s cooking classes think that Pad Thai is the best of a small number of Thai noodle dishes. However, just as restaurants here in the U.S. serve a very small percentage of the Thai dishes available in Thailand, so do they short-change the incredible number of noodle dishes found in Thailand. Here we highlight 28, just a fraction of the plethora of Thai noodle dishes available.

Kanom Jeen

Kanom Jeen Nam Ya

Many dishes shown here are nearly impossible to find in U.S. restaurants; the only way to taste them all is to find them in Thailand or take all of Kasma’s Thai cooking classes – Kasma teaches her version of virtually all of them somewhere in her Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced series classes. You’ll sample many on Kasma’s small-group tours to Thailand; often people who have gone on her trips come to take the classes so that they can make the unforgettable foods they ate during the trip. You may find that the same dishes may taste a bit different in Thailand. For instance, the noodles in the picture to the left are traditionally made from a fermented rice noodle that is difficult to find in western countries so the unfermented variety is substituted.

Just as with any Thai dish, any particular noodle dish varies with the cook so you’ll come across different versions as you travel in Thailand or learn to make your own versions from class.

Look at the pictures and be prepared to get hungry!


Please comment at the bottom of the page!! What is your favorite Thai noodle dish? What noodle dishes shown here look the most appetizing? What dishes here that are new to you do you want to try?


Note: All pictures are Copyright by Kasma Loha-unchit & Michael Babcock.

Please do not use without permission.


Click on any picture to see a larger version. There is a slide show of all images at the bottom of the page.

Roast Duck Noodles

Roast Duck Noodles

Boat Noodles

Boat Noodles

To the left we see Roast Duck Noodles from my favorite duck noodle shop in Thong Lo (pronounced “tawng law” – Sukhumvit Soi 55). This dish uses what the Thais call บะหมี่ (ba mee) – egg noodles made with wheat. As with virtually all noodle dishes, they are assembled to order and then served. You’ll need to use the condiment set noodle shops have at the table to add sour, salty, sweet and (for me, at least) ground dried red chillies to add some heat.

The bowl on the right is known in short as “Boat Noodles” – so-called because of the origin, being sold by vendor boats on the canals. When you get ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ (Kway Teow Reua), expect beef noodles in a rich beef broth, usually strengthened with beef blood and organ meats. This version here, from one of Kasma’s advanced cooking classes, includes tripe and tendons. Sometimes in the cities you’ll find a storefront noodle shop with a wooden boat outside to advertise that they make boat noodles. There are even shops where noodles are made to order with the cook sitting in a wooden boat just like he or she used to do on the canals before moving the operation onto dry land. This noodle dish usually uses wide, fresh rice noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นใหญ่ (kway teow sen yai).

Stewed Beef Noodles

Stewed Beef Noodles

Stewed Beef Noodles

Stewed Beef Noodles

These two pictures of Stewed Beef Noodles show you how a noodle dish with the same name can vary from place to place. The bowl on the left is Stewed Beef Noodles had at a small roadside stall in rural Kalasin in northeastern Thailand (Isan) on one of Kasma’s Trip D. It includes beef balls (dumplings) and tendons (in the very center). The bowl on the right has the same name – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเนื้อ (Kway Teow Neua) – and is from a Muslim noodle shop in Krabi (in the south) during Kasma’s Trip C. Every place makes noodles just a little bit differently. Check out Kasma’s blog Beef Noodle Soup.

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard's Noodles

This is Kasma’s version of what she calls “Drunkard’s Noodles” – Spicy Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Chillies and Holy Basil – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Pad Kee Mao). It is sometimes inaccurately called by some as “Drunken Noodles,” which implies the noodles are cooked with alcohol, when they are not; but the words ขี้เมา – kee mao – actually refer to a person who likes to drink or get drunk. It is so called because the noodles are made so spicy-hot that it makes you want to drink lots of beer (or rice whiskey/rum mixed with soda water over ice – popular among Thai men) to quench the heat. It’s a stir-fried dish with the wide, fresh rice noodles (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นใหญ่ – kway teow sen yai). When we cook it at home (I’ll cook it myself when Kasma’s away) we use ground pastured pork from the Berkeley Farmer’s market laden with a good amount of tasty fat. I’ve never found a good enough version of this noodle dish in Thai restaurants in the U.S. I’m always disappointed because invariably the restaurants here use Thai basil – ใบโหระพา (bai horapa) – instead of holy basil – ใบกะเพรา (bai kaprao) and it just doesn’t taste the same. They also never put enough Thai chillies to give the noodles the incendiary heat implied in its name.

Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai Noodles

Rad Nah

Rad Nah

On the left is Pad Thai noodles, probably the single “Thai” noodle dish that everyone is familiar with. The name, meaning “stir-fried (pad) in the Thai style (Thai)” indicates that it is not really Thai in origin – see Kasma’s blog on The Origin and Making of Pad Thai.

The dish on the right, ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า (Kway Teow Rad Nah) could simply be called “Rice Noodles Topped with a Sauce.” It uses wide, fresh rice noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นใหญ่ (kway teow sen yai) – and in this version, from one of Kasma’s cooking classes, the sauce includes chicken and Asian broccoli. It is best served piping hot and to taste really good, you’ll need to add some chillies soaked in vinegar (both chillies and vinegar, or at least some of the vinegar)  to enhance the delicate flavors in the sauce. All noodle dishes in Thailand are served with a condiment set so that you can balance the flavors to your liking. See Michael’s blog on Thai Condiment Sets.

Ayuthaya-Style Noodles

Ayuthaya-Style Noodles

Muslim Beef Noodles

Muslim Beef Noodles

There are certain noodle dishes that are particular to a region or place. Kasma teaches the Spicy Ayuthaya-style Chicken Rice Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่อยุธยา (Kway Teow Gai Ayuthaya) –  in an Advanced cooking class – it is a hot-and-sour dish, made here with a pastured, free-range chicken, and uses daikon radish to add sweetness to the broth, garlic oil to add fragrance and pickled Thai chillies in vinegar to add the hot-and-sour flavors. It can be made either as soup or dry-style.

The Thai Muslim Curry Beef Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแขก (Kway Teow Kaek) to the right is Kasma’s version of a dish from southern Thailand, where there is a large Muslim population. Rice noodles (in this version) or egg noodles are served in a rich, red curry sauce sprinkled with green onions, fried shallots, cilantro and coarsely ground dried shrimp and peanuts. Yum!

Northern Curry Noodles

Northern Curry Noodles

Northern Curry Noodles

Northern Curry Noodles

Here are two versions of Khao Soi (ข้าวซอย), a northern Thailand curried noodle dish, rich and delicious. To the left we see Chiang Mai-Style Curry Noodles with Chicken and Condiments – ข้าวซอยไก่ (Khao Soi Gai) – from Kasma’s Advanced Set B weekend series. To the right we see the same dish made with beef – ข้าวซอยเนื้อ (Khao Soi Neua) – from a noodle shop in Lampang. Soft, boiled egg noodles are topped with contrasting crispy fried noodles, which add an interesting crunch and texture. It is served with a plate of shallots and pickled vegetables, to be stirred into the noodles as desired, and lime wedges, to be squeezed in to add a sour flavor. It is also accompanied by fried chilli oil (visible in Kasma’s version to the left); the roasted, fried chillies add both heat and an interesting roasted flavor. Just be sure to taste the dish first! In Lampang I invariably forget that the dish is already fairly spicy/hot and after stirring in the chilli oil, it gets very hot indeed! See Kasma’s article on Northern Style Thai Noodles.

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles

Kway Chap

Kway Chap

To the left we see Stewed Duck Soup Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเป็ดน้ำ (Kway Teow Bed Nam),  a common soup noodle made in small noodle shops run by ethnic Chinese throughout the country. To the right is Kway Chap – ก๋วยจั๊บ – this particular bowl from a Mae Hong Son noodle shop near the morning market that’s run by ethnic Vietnamese Chinese who’ve settled in the area; it is made from flat rectangular or triangular rice noodles that curl into a tube when they are boiled. It is served in a rich pork broth that usually includes innards and congealed pork blood, which you can see in this bowl right in front of the spoon. Both these noodle dishes are Chinese-influenced and are flavored with either star anise or five-spice and often also with Asian cinnamon.

Kanom Jeen

Kanom Jeen Nam Ya

Kanom Jeen, Chicken

Kanom Jeen, Fried Chicken

Here are two versions of the southern-style ขนมจีนน้ำยา (Kanom Jeen Nam Ya) made with fermented rice noodles. ขนมจีน (kanom jeen), a round noodle a bit smaller than spaghetti, is perhaps the only kind of rice noodle in Thailand that is not Chinese in origin; they most likely originated with the Mon ethnic group, whose forbears ruled a large part of mainland Southeast Asia from the 8th to the 11th centuries before the Khmer empire rose to power. The yellow sauce is a fish-based sauce called น้ำยา (nam ya) and  the southern Thai version is shown here. The photo on the left is from Krua Nakhon (now Wang Derm) Restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand; it is served with a large  platter of fresh and pickled vegetables and herbs (seen behind the plate), something that accompanies nearly all spicy meals in the south. The dish on the right is from a shop in a small town south of the city of Krabi, that makes its own fresh noodles from scratch with fermented rice dough as is traditionally done; they also serve a crispy and very delicious fried chicken which goes well with the spicy noodles. (We visit this shop on Kasma’s Trip A & C).

Pad Si-ew

Pad Si-ew

Pad Si-ew

Pad Si-ew

ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดซีอิ๊ว (Kway Teow Pad Si-ew) – Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Soy Sauce –
is another well-known Chinese-influenced Thai stir-fried noodle dish. It means, literally, “stir-fried with soy sauce.” Here are two versions. The picture on the left is taken at a small noodle shop south of Nakhon Si Thammarat, where we stop for a quick lunch on the way to Songkla on our Trip C. The second is taken on Poda Island (เกาะปอดะ – Koh Poda) in Krabi province, where the noodle is one of our breakfasts with a tour group; the noodle already has ground dried red chillies added from the ubiquitous condiment set at the table so that the diner can balance flavors as desired. This dish uses wide, fresh rice noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นใหญ่ (kway teow sen yai).

Mee Krob

Mee Krob

Rice Noodle Soup

Rice Noodle Soup

The Mee Krob (หมี่กรอบ – Glazed Crispy Noodles) to the left is from Kasma’s Intermediate cooking class.. Her version is less sweet than most and has a slight orange flavor from grated orange zest. It uses the thin, dried rice-stick noodles- mei fun in Chinese and sen mee (เส้นหมี่) in Thai. The bowl to the right contains Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Dumplings and Pork – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำลูกชิ้นปลา (Kway Teow Nam Loogchin Pla) – from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. These are two very different noodle dishes!

Hot & Sour Soup Noodles

Hot & Sour Soup Noodles

Hot & Sour Soup Noodles

Hot & Sour Soup Noodles

Here are two pictures of the same Hot-and-Sour (Tom Yum) Soup Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำต้มยำ (Kway Teow Nam Tom Yum) – made on a boat at Damnoen Saduak floating market. The noodles are spicy/hot and sour, and include pork and shrimp dumplings. The bowl on the left is the bowl as it is served, fresh from the vendor; the bowl on the right is how it looks ready to eat, after the noodles have been stirred in. Skinny fresh rice noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นเล็ก (kway teow sen lek) are used here.

Hot & Sour Noodles

Hot & Sour Dry Noodles

Hot & Sour Dry Noodles

Hot & Sour Dry Noodles

Like many noodles, tom yum (ต้มยำ – hot-and-sour) noodles can be served either as soup noodles (as with the two from Damnoen Saduak above) or dry. Here are two versions of tom yum haeng (ต้มยำแห้ง) – dry-style tom yum noodles. To the left is the Dry Hot-and-Sour Noodles with Fish and Fish Dumplings – เส้นเล็กต้มยำแห้งปลา (Sen Lek Tom Yum Haeng Pla) from a noodle shop in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai. To the right we see Hot-and-Sour Dry Rice Noodles with Pork – เส้นเล็กต้มยำแห้งหมู (Sen Lek Tom Yum Haeng Moo); it is Kasma’s version from her weekend Advanced Class C. Be warned, this noodle is a very spicy/hot dish!

Fish Dumpling Noodles

Fish Dumpling Noodles

Making Noodles

Making Noodles

To the left is another bowl of soup noodles: Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Dumplings – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำลูกชิ้นปลา (Kway Teow Nam Loogchin Pla) – from a popular noodle shop on Sukhumvit Road near Thong Lo (pronounced “Tawng Law” – Sukhumvit Soi 55); Kasma’s small-group trips to Thailand go there for a noodle breakfast.

The picture to the right shows the set-up in Kasma’s advanced set F-4 class to assemble Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai). All the fixings are laid out and ready to assemble.

Sukhothai Noodles

Sukhothai Noodles

Sukhothai Noodles

Sukhothai Noodles

Two versions of the Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai) are shown here from different noodle shops in Sukhothai province; every shop makes it just a little bit different. This is a delicious noodle dish – hot, sour and sweet with various goodies (pork cracklings, peanuts and more) to add texture as well as flavor. It has become a favorite noodle dish among many of Kasma’s trip members, easily surpassing Pad Thai as the best-tasting Thai noodle dish they’ve ever had. It’s very important to get just the right balance of flavors. Notice the lump of palm sugar in each bowl: this is something I’ve seen in no other noodle dish (which doesn’t mean there aren’t other dishes that use it). Before eating, everything is tossed together well, dissolving the palm sugar and mixing it in with the lime juice and other seasonings. To see more pictures, check out our Facebook album on Sukhothai noodles.

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard's Noodles

Drunkard's Noodles

The dish shown in these two pictures uses mung bean sheet noodles, which Thais call “Shanghai noodles” – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเซี่ยงไฮ้ (kway teow Sianghai)) – made from mung bean starch (nowadays also mixed with potato starch) and water. The brittle, dry sheet noodles are soaked to soften, then cut into bite-size rectangles for  cooking. The pictures show Drunkard’s Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sheet Noodles with Shrimp and Cuttlefish – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเซี่ยงไฮ้ผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Sianghai Pad Kee Mao). In the left picture it is being stir-fried in the wok during Kasma’s weekend Advanced Set G class; to the right, it is plated and ready to enjoy.

Stewed Duck Noodle Soup

Stewed Duck Noodle Soup

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles

Here are two versions of Stewed Duck Noodle Soup – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำเป็ดตุ๋น (Kway Teow Nam Bed Doon). The bowl on the left is from Kasma’s weekend Advanced Set B Class. The bowl on the right includes duck blood and is from a noodle shop in the Sukhothai morning market. As before, you can see how dishes with the same name and mostly the same ingredients can vary.

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad

Tossing Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad

Noodles are also used to make dishes that accompany other dishes in a rice-based meal, in this case a yum (ยำ)-style salad – Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad – ยำวุ้นเส้น (Yum Woon Sen). It uses the bean thread noodles (วุ้นเส้น – woon sen), sometimes also called “cellophane” or “glass” noodles. They are made from mung beans though in this case they are extruded into thin threads rather than made into sheets like those used in the dish above. The first picture shows the salad being tossed in Kasma’s weekend Advanced Set H class and the second shows a close-up of the finished dish.

Lahb Woon Sen

Lahb Woon Sen

On the left is another example of a salad made with mung bean thread (วุ้นเส้น – woon sen) noodles. It shows Northeastern-Style Spicy Bean Thread Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice – ลาบวุ้นเส้น (Lahb Woon Sen) – from Kasma’s weekend Advanced Set B class.Like a lot of northeastern Thai salads, it is spicy/hot from lots of ground, roasted dried Thai chillies; ground, toasted rice adds another dimension to this salad.

Kanom Jeen Sao Nam

Kanom Jeen Sao Nam

The picture on the right shows a very different type of kanom jeen (ขนมจีน) noodle dish from the spicy southern Kanom Jeen Nam Ya (ขนมจีนน้ำยา) pictured further above. This dish is Spicy Rice Vermicelli Salad with Pineapple, Ginger and Coconut-Lime Sauce – ขนมจีนซาวน้ำ (Kanom Jeen Sao Nam), which originated in Bangkok to serve at room temperature during the hot months of the year. The version here is from Kasma’s weekend Advanced Set C class.

Mee Kati

Mee Kati

Garlic Noodles

Garlic Noodles

The dish on the left is another noodle dish using coconut cream; it is Rice Vermicelli Cooked in Spiced Coconut Cream Sauce – หมี่กะทิ (Mee Kati) – from
Kasma’s weekend Advanced Set C class. It is served with banana blossom, which, by itself, has a very astringent flavor, but when chewed along with the noodles, the astringency becomes hidden by the richness of the coconut cream. Mee Kati is an excellent complement to the blossom and through some mysterious alchemy the two tastes marvelous together.

And last, but not least, is a dish that Kasma teaches in both her weekend Beginning series. She calls it Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) – บะหมี่แห้งหมูแดง (Ba Mee Haeng Moo Daeng), and it’s become a favorite among many of her students. It uses บะหมี่ (ba mee) egg noodles made with wheat and has a delightfully mellow garlic flavor. This is a dish that can be served warm, at room temperature, or even cold out of the refrigerator, which make it perfect for potlucks. I made it for a potluck quite soon after I first took Kasma’s beginning series, two decades ago; the people at the party devoured it quickly and it was the first dish to disappear.


I hope that you’ve enjoyed this brief survey of some of the noodle dishes that Thailand has to offer. Hopefully you’ll get a chance soon to sample some of the ones that are new to you – though you may need to travel to Thailand or come here to Oakland, California and take a few classes to do so!


Thai Noodle Slideshow

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow
or click “Next” for the next slide.

Kanom Jeen
Roast Duck Noodles
Boat Noodles
Stewed Beef Noodles
Stewed Beef Noodles
Drunkard's Noodles
Pad Thai Noodles
Rad Nah
Ayuthaya-Style Noodles
Muslim Beef Noodles
Stewed Duck Soup Noodles
Kway Chap
Northern Curry Noodles
Northern Curry Noodles
Kanom Jeen
Kanom Jeen, Chicken
Pad Si-ew
Pad Si-ew
Mee Krob
Rice Noodle Soup
Hot & Sour Soup Noodles
Hot & Sour Soup Noodles
Hot & Sour Noodles
Hot & Sour Dry Noodles
Fish Dumpling Noodles
Making Noodles
Sukhothai Noodles
Sukhothai Noodles
Drunkard's Noodles
Drunkard's Noodles
Stewed Duck Noodle Soup
Stewed Duck Soup Noodles
Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad
Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad
Lahb Woon Sen
Kanom Jeen Sao Nam
Mee Kati
Garlic Noodles

Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli Topped with Spicy Fish Namya Curry Sauce - ขนมจีนน้ำยา (Kanom Jeen Nam Ya) - from Wang Derm Restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Egg Noodles Topped with Roast Duck – บะหมี่เป็ดแห้ง (Ba Mee Bed Haeng) - from a noodle shop on Thong Lo (pronounced "Tawng Law" - Sukhumvit Soi 55).

Stewed Beef Soup Noodles with Tripe and Tendons – "Boat Noodles" - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ (Kway Teow Reua) - from Kasma's Weekend Advanced Set C.

Stewed Beef with Tendons and Beef Ball Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเนื้อ (Kway Teow Neua) - at a noodle shop near the Sirindhorn Dinasaur Museum in Kalasin, northeastern Thailand (Isan).

Stewed Beef Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเนื้อ (Kway Teow Neua) - from a Muslim noodle shop near Ao Nang in Krabi.

Spicy Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Chillies and Holy Basil - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Pad Kee Mao) - cooked by Kasma for her own enjoyment! This is my favorite noodle dish. It MUST be made with holy basil (bai kaprao) and it MUST be very, very spicy.

"Thai-style" Stir-fried Noodles - ผัดไท (Pad Thai) - from Kasma's 4th Beginning Evening Class.

Pan-Fried Fresh Rice Noodles Topped with Chicken and Asian Broccoli Sauce - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวราดหน้า (Kway Teow Rad Nah) - from Kasma's Beginning evening Series (class #4).

Spicy Ayuthaya-Style Chicken Rice Noodles (Soup) - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่อยุธยา (Kway Teow Gai Ayuthaya) - Kasma's version from her weekend Advanced Set G class.

Thai Muslim Curry Beef Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแขก (Kway Teow Kaek) - This is from Kasma's weekend Advanced Set D.

Stewed duck Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเป็ดน้ำ (Kway Teow Bed Nam) - from a noodle shop in Udon, northeastern Thailand (Isan).

Kway Chap - ก๋วยจั๊บ - from a restaurant near the morning market in Mae Hong Son.

Chiang Mai-Style Curry Noodles with Chicken and Condiments - ข้าวซอยไก่ (Khao Soi Gai) - from Kasma's Advanced Set B weekend series.

Chiang Mai-Style Curry Noodles with Beef and Condiments - ข้าวซอยเนื้อ (Khao Soi Neua) - from a noodle shop in Lampang. The vegetables on the back plate are stirred into the noodles as desired.

Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli Topped with Spicy Fish Namya Curry Sauce - ขนมจีนน้ำยา (Kanom Jeen Nam Ya) - from Krua Nakhon (now Wang Derm) Restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli Topped with Spicy Fish Namya Curry Sauce - ขนมจีนน้ำยา (Kanom Jeen Nam Ya) - from a shop in Krabi province that makes their own Kanom Jeen rice noodles on the premises and serves it with delicious fried chicken.

Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Soy Sauce - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดซีอิ๊ว (Kway Teow Pad Si-ew ) - from Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Soy Sauce - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดซีอิ๊ว (Kway Teow Pad Si-ew) - from Poda Island (Koh Poda) in Krabi.

Glazed Crispy Noodles - หมี่กรอบ (Mee Krob) - Kasma teaches this in her Intermediate weekend Series; her version is less sweet than most.

Rice Noodle Soup with fish dumplings and pork - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำ (Kway Teow Nam) - from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Hot-and-Sour (Tom Yum) Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำ (Kway Teow Tom Yum) - from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Hot-and-Sour (Tom Yum) Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำ (Kway Teow Tom Yum) - from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Dry Hot-and-Sour Noodles with Fish and Fish Dumplings - เส้นเล็กต้มยำแห้ง (Sen Lek Tom Yum Haeng) - from a noodle shop in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai.

Hot-and-sour Dry Rice Noodles with Pork - เส้นเล็กต้มยำแห้ง (Sen Lek Tom Yum Haeng). This photograph is from Kasma's Advanced Class C-1.

Rice Noodle Soup with Fish Dumplings - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลูกชิ้นปลา Kway Teow Look Chin Pla) - from a noodle shop on Sukhumvit Road near Thong Lo (pronounced "Tawng Law" - Sukhumvit Soi 55).

Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai) - students in Kasma's Weeklong Advanced Set D have the fixings for Sukhothai noodles laid out and ready to assemble.

Sukhothai Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai) - from a noodle shop in Si Satchanalai in Sukhothai province.

Sukhothai-Style Dry Hot-and-Sour Rice Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแห้งสุโขทัย (Kway Teow Haeng Sukhothai) - from a noodle shop in Sukhothai.

Drunkard's Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sheet Noodles with Shrimp and Cuttlefish - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเซี่ยงไฮ้ผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Sianghai Pad Kee Mao) - shown in the wok during Kasma's weekend Advanced Set G class.

Drunkard's Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sheet Noodles with Shrimp and Cuttlefish - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเซี่ยงไฮ้ผัดขี้เมา (Kway Teow Sianghai Pad Kee Mao) - the finished dish from Kasma's Advanced Set G weekend class.

Stewed Duck Noodle Soup - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำเป็ดตุ๋น (Kway Teow Nam Bed Doon) - from Kasma's weekend Advanced Set B.

Stewed Duck Soup Noodles - ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำเป็ดตุ๋น (Kway Teow Nam Bed Doon) - with duck blood, from a noodle shop in the Sukhothai morning market.

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad - ยำวุ้นเส้น (Yum Woon Sen) - being tossed in Kasma's weekend Advanced Set H class.

Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad - ยำวุ้นเส้น (Yum Woon Sen) - from Kasma's weekend Advanced Set H class.

Northeastern-Style Spicy Bean Thread Salad with Mint and Toasted Rice - ลาบวุ้นเส้น (Lahb Woon Sen) - from Kasma's weekend Advanced Set B.

Spicy Rice Vermicelli Salad with Pineapple, Ginger and Coconut-Lime Sauce - ขนมจีนซาวน้ำ (Kanom Jeen Sao Nam) - From Kasma's weekend Advanced Set A.

Rice Vermicelli Cooked in Spiced Coconut Cream Sauce - หมี่กะทิ (Mee Kati) - From Kasma's weekend Advanced Set C.

Garlic Noodles with Barbecued Red Pork (Thai-Style Pasta Salad) - บะหมี่แห้งหมูแดง (Ba Mee Haeng Moo Daeng) - Kasma teaches this dish in her Beginning weekend series.

Kanom Jeen thumbnail
Roast Duck Noodles thumbnail
Boat Noodles thumbnail
Stewed Beef Noodles thumbnail
Stewed Beef Noodles thumbnail
Drunkard's Noodles thumbnail
Pad Thai Noodles thumbnail
Rad Nah thumbnail
Ayuthaya-Style Noodles thumbnail
Muslim Beef Noodles thumbnail
Stewed Duck Soup Noodles thumbnail
Kway Chap thumbnail
Northern Curry Noodles thumbnail
Northern Curry Noodles thumbnail
Kanom Jeen thumbnail
Kanom Jeen, Chicken thumbnail
Pad Si-ew thumbnail
Pad Si-ew thumbnail
Mee Krob thumbnail
Rice Noodle Soup thumbnail
Hot & Sour Soup Noodles thumbnail
Hot & Sour Soup Noodles thumbnail
Hot & Sour Noodles thumbnail
Hot & Sour Dry Noodles thumbnail
Fish Dumpling Noodles thumbnail
Making Noodles thumbnail
Sukhothai Noodles thumbnail
Sukhothai Noodles thumbnail
Drunkard's Noodles thumbnail
Drunkard's Noodles thumbnail
Stewed Duck Noodle Soup thumbnail
Stewed Duck Soup Noodles thumbnail
Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad thumbnail
Thai-Style Bean Thread Salad thumbnail
Lahb Woon Sen thumbnail
Kanom Jeen Sao Nam thumbnail
Mee Kati thumbnail
Garlic Noodles thumbnail

Here’s a site that talks about the various types of Thai noodles:


Written by Michael Babcock (with help from Kasma), August 2012

Maleeya Restaurant at Pak Bara Pier

Michael Babcock, Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Note: Alas, alas. This restaurant is now a clothing store.

This is a blog about a good restaurant for buying noodles at Pak Bara pier in Satun Province, Thailand. There’s really only one reason to go to Pak Bara pier: it’s to catch a boat to Tarutao National Park. I’ve been there perhaps 10 times over the years, always accompanying Kasma on her small-group trip to Southern Thailand; and the reason we go to Tarutao is to snorkel. Koh Lipe, where we stay, used to be a pristine, uncluttered beach; now it is wall-to-wall resorts and bars. If it were not for the snorkeling, we would not go there.

Maleeya Restaurant

View from the street

Maleeya Sign

Sign for Maleeya

Maleeya Interior

Inside Maleeya Restaurant

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

(You can view some of Kasma’s pictures of Tarutao (above and below water) offsite, new window.)

We usually charter a boat to visit the islands and like to get moving reasonably early in the morning. So Kasma piles everyone into the vans and runs us over Pak Bara Pier, the departure point for the boat, and we stop to eat breakfast (or lunch, on our return trip from the islands) at a little restaurant called Maleeya.

Cooking Station

Cook station at Maleeya

As you drive towards the pier, Maleeya is on the left as you approach the end of the street. The first picture above shows the outside view and the second picture shows the bright yellow sign that you can look for.

Kasma always feeds us noodles here: Pad Thai (on the menu as “Padthai Noodles”) for breakfast and Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles, not on the menu) for lunch on our return. Maleeya is a clean restaurant, run by a friendly Muslim couple. Everything is always cooked fresh to order and they do a very nice job. I’ll include photos of the menus at the bottom of the post — they also make fried rice, green curry, fried chicken and various other dishes.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai at Maleeya

Pad Thai Close-up

Pad Thai close-up

I took these pictures of Pad Thai the last time we ate at Maleeya in February 2010. As with all noodle dishes, this Pad Thai was served with a condiment sent containing dried chillies, fish sauce, sugar and green chillies in vinegar (the exact contents may differ slightly from place to place) so that you can further season the dish yourself.

Drunken Noodles

Drunken noodles

Drunken Noodle Close-up

Drunken Noodle Close-up

Directly above are the Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao). Although they are not on the menu, you can probably order them (as Kasma does) – just tell them you want Guay Dtiow Pad Kee Mao and add gkai for chicken or neua for beef.

Menu, Page 1

Menu, Page 1

Menu, Page 2

Menu, Page 2

Here’s the menu – some basic noodles, fried noodles, stir-fries and Thai dishes. Give the noodles a try. If you click on the menu you’ll see a larger version.

So next time you have occasion to catch a boat to Tarutao, give some noodles from Maleeya a try.


Written by Michael Babcock, October 2010. Updated May 2017.

Pad Thai

Kasma Loha-unchit, Thursday, November 26th, 2009

The Origin and Making of Pad Thai

I don’t really know how pad Thai became the most famous of Thai foods in America. To me, it is but one of many quick fast foods, with the best served by noodle carts, inexpensive sidewalk eateries, and small, nondescript mom-and-pop noodle shops, rather than fine restaurants, in the cities and towns of Thailand. I always find it amusing when restaurant reviewers judge the quality of a Thai restaurant by the quality of its pad Thai, as noodles can hardly take claim as lying at the heart of my country’s cuisine.

Making pad Thai

In fact, its name literally means “Thai-style stir-fried noodles,” and for a dish to be so named in its own country clearly suggests an origin that isn’t Thai. Indeed, noodle cookery in most Southeast Asian countries was introduced by the wave of immigrants from southern China settling in the region the past century. They brought with them rice noodles and their ways of cooking them.

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

During the recession following World War II, the post-war government of Field Marshall Pibul, desperate in its efforts to revive the Thai economy, looked for ways to stem the massive tide of unemployment. Among the occupations the government aggressively promoted to give the populace a way to earn a living was the production of rice noodles and the operation of noodle shops. Detailed instructions on how to make the noodles and recipes were printed and distributed all around the country. From these efforts, rice noodles became firmly rooted in the country and have since become a widespread staple food.

Pad Thai, to go

The ethnic Chinese had good business sense, survival skills and entrepreneurial spirit. Seeing how the Thai people were very fond of the combination of hot, sour, sweet and salty flavors, they added these to their stir-fried noodle dishes and gave it a fusion name, much like Western chefs today are naming their dishes Thai this or Thai that on their East-West menus.

Back home, there are as many ways to make pad Thai as there are cooks, geographical regions, moods, and creative entrepreneurial spirit. The pad Thai recipe I teach in class is a basic traditional pad Thai recipe (if “traditional” is a word that can be applied to a fusion dish invented in relatively modern times), combining the hot, sour, sweet and salty flavors so characteristic of Thai cuisine. Variations can be made by changing the sources of these four flavors and adding personal touches to make each combination unique.

Pad Thai Dish

Pad Thai Ready at Aw Taw Kaw Market

For instance, instead of tamarind and palm sugar, vinegar and granulated sugar may be used; and instead of fish sauce, light or thin soy sauce may take its place. Some noodle stalls in Thailand use a sweetened black soy sauce in combination with sugar, and ground dried chillies made with darkly roasted whole dried chillies, producing pad thai with a very different color and flavor balance than what Americans have become accustomed to. More refined eateries focus on presentation, wrapping the cooked noodles inside egg like an omelette. (Also see The Spirit of Thai Cooking.)

Many American Thai restaurants use tomato ketchup, yielding reddish noodles coated with a thick gooey sauce, which has a flavor and color appealing to the American palate. Other restaurants use Sriracha bottled chilli sauce instead of ground dried chillies, resulting also in reddish noodles. My recipe yields noodles that are firm and chewy with the strands dry and separate (the way I like it), but if you prefer the soft and mushy texture of some restaurant noodles, precook the noodles in boiling water before stir-frying.

Kasma's Pad Thai

Pad Thai in Kasma's Class

If you are one of those people in search of the ultimate pad Thai, surf the Web for a site dedicated solely to this noodle dish of humble, mixed origins, reportedly boasting a collection of over fifty recipes. After trying them out, you might just decide it’s time to move beyond pad Thai to other fabulous noodle dishes Southeast Asia has to offer.

Here’s a link to Kasma’s Pad Thai Recipe.

One of our first blog posts was Pad Thai at Aw Taw Kaw Market.

Here are a couple of those other “fabulous noodle dishes” to try:


Written by Kasma Loha-unchit, November 2009.