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Sudaporn Restaurant in Trang

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Whenever we visit Trang, in the South of Thailand, I look forward to a meal at Sudaporn restaurant. The full name in Thai is Ban Suan Supdaporn. Not only is the food terrific, it has a beautiful garden setting where it is a pleasure to eat. The words ban suan literally mean “garden house”. On Kasma’s trips to Southern Thailand we always had a most enjoyable meal there. (The restaurant name is pronounced “Sudapawn”.)

Entry Sign

Sign for Ban Suan Sudaporn

Like another of our favorite restaurants, Ruen Mai, in Krabi, many of the seats are nestled in amongst greenery. At Sudaporn there’s also a pond and a fountain giving that lovely water sound as you eat.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Entry Way

Walking into Sudaporn Restaurant

They do a number of dishes really well. My absolute favorite is the Fried Pork Leg. The pork leg is stewed ahead of time until it is succulent and tender; then it’s deep-fried so that the skin is caramelized and crispy. My oh my, it melts in your mouth. It’s worth a visit here just for this one dish!

One caveat: you must order from the Thai menu. The English version is considerably smaller and lacks many of these favorite dishes.

Fried Pork Leg

Fried Pork Leg

Lemongrass Miang

Lemongrass Miang

Another dish that Kasma invariable orders is Miang Takrai, or “Lemongrass Miang.” Many people are familiar with the more common Miang Kam (or Miang Kham), which Kasma calls (in her recipe) Tasty Leaf-wrapped Tidbits. The idea behind a miang is that the ingredients of the dish are wrapped up in the wild pepper leaf called bai cha plu, which is almost universally misidentified as betal leaf. (See Kasma’s blog Miang Kam uses Bai Cha Plu NOT Betal Leaf (Bai Plu)). This dish is a lemongrass salad that is wrapped up in the leaf for eating.

Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

Fish Dish

Fried Fish Dish

There are two other dishes I’ll mention. One is a fruit salad; in Thai – Som Tam Ponlamai. You may recognize the first two Thai words – Som Tam, which is the name for one of the most popular of all Thai dishes – Green Papaya Salad. Som means sour and tam means to hit; the name comes from the way the salads are made, which is by being (lightly) pounded in a mortar and pestle.

We also like the Blah Boran, a friend fish dish with a tasty sauce. Blah is the Thai word for fish and boran in this case means “traditional” so it is a fish prepared in a traditional manner. Typically it is for a fried fish that’s also served with fried herbs (they it may not be)


So next time you’re down in Southern Thailand, head over to Trang and eat at Ban Suan Sudaporn: (Sudaporn Restaurant). Here’s the address:

Thap Thiang, Mueang Trang Trang 92000 Thailand.

Mural

Mural at Sudaporn


Written by Michael Babcock October, 2011

Maleeya Restaurant at Pak Bara Pier

Michael Babcock, Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Note: Alas, alas. This restaurant is now (2017) 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. And the reason we go to Tarutao is to snorkel. Ko 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.

Thong Lo Duck Noodles (Closed, alas)

Michael Babcock, Thursday, March 18th, 2010

UPDATE: Alas, my favorite noodle shop is now closed (probably in 2013, actually). If you’re looking for another noodle shop in Thong Lo, Lee’s Noodles may still be there (as of May 2020).

I’ll leave this blog posted for historical reasons.


I have a particularly fond spot in my heart for duck noodles in Thailand; luckily they are available at in a little duck noodle shop at the Thong Lo neighborhood where I often stay.

Duck Noodle Shop

“Mandarin” Duck Noodle Shop

On my very first trip to Thailand (in 1992) I arrived in the early morning and by the time I got to my hotel in Thong Lo* it was past 3:00 a.m. I was hungry so Kasma took me across Sukhumvit Road to the night market on Soi 38. I was amazed! The street was all lit up, as bright as daytime, and there were maybe 20 different food stalls, many with patrons sitting in front. We went to a duck noodle stall and I still can taste those noodles. (A recent Wednesday Photo showed a night market vendor at the same market.)

Duck Noodle Shop from Street

Duck Noodle Shop on Thong Lo

That very first year I discovered a duck noodle shop right around the corner from where we stay. It’s become a favorite place to eat ever since. It’s a fairly typical storefront eating place in Thailand, opening right up onto the street with the food assembled in the front and tables and chairs in back. The sign above the store says (in Thai) “Mandarin.”

Making Duck Noodles

Making duck noodles

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

It is on Thong Lo (Sukhumvit Soi 55) on the Soi 55 side somewhat more than a block in; so quite close to the Thong Lo Skytrain stop. It’s next to a Japanese bakery and on the other side it’s two buildings before a driveway for the Grand Tower Inn. (The bakery address is 25/15.) You’ll see the plump ducks hanging in the glass display case in front.

To my taste, the duck in Thailand tastes a whole lot better than what we get in the states. They seem plumper and tastier. There is somewhat less fat (it is a warm climate, presumably they don’t need it there) and the taste is just exquisite.

Duck Noodles

Duck Noodles at the Mandarin

Like most noodle shops, this one specializes in one type of noodle, in this case, duck, roast duck (such as you find hanging in Chinatown stores here in the U.S.); there are other shops that serve, instead, stewed duck noodles. This shop also sell pork dishes, and though the crispy pork looks very appetizing, the only thing I’ve ever ordered there is duck. On occasion with Kasma we’ll order a plate of the duck and some chinese kroccoli cooked with oyster sauce. The other 90% of the time, I’ll get “Dry Duck Noodles” – Ba Mee Bped Haeng. The cost is 55 baht. This might be considered somewhat pricey compared to street stalls but there is a substantial amount of duck and I think it’s well worth it.

Condiment Set

Condiment set for adding flavors

When you order noodles in Thailand you first specify the type of noodle; in this case it is ba mee, a thin wheat noodle. Next you specify the meat – bped, meaning duck. Then you specify whether you want soup noodles by saying nahm (water, meaning soup) or haeng, meaning dry.

Each bowl is made to order and will include some greens along with the noodles and duck. The noodles come largely without flavoring – you are expected to spice them up according to your taste preference. I have a theory that this learning to balance and harmonize flavors from an early age (whenever they eat noodles) helps Thais to be such excellent cooks. (See Kasma’s article, Balancing Flavors: An Exercise .)

Duck Noodle Shop Inside

Inside the Mandarin

To flavor your foods, you’ll use the condiment set on the table; although the exact contents vary slightly from place to place, here you have 4 containers with fish sauce or soy (for salty), chilies in vinegar (for sour), dried chillies and roasted chillies in oil. There’s also sugar available on the table, to add sweetness but also to balance the other flavors. (See Michael’s blog on Thai Condiment Sets.)

I like to add a fair amount of the chillies in oil (I take it to the edge of my heat tolerance) along with some sour, salty and a bit of sugar to balance. After the initial additions, I’ll take a taste and then adjust as needed until it’s just right.

Roast Duck To Go

Roast duck to go

They offer various soft drinks but I usually just get the tea in a glass; it’s free, but the ice is 3 baht. Some noodle shops have a plastic container of weak tea (or water) on the table.

We often get a half a duck to go when we leave. They package it up in a styrofoam container and give you a package of gravy, package of soy sauce based dipping sauce, and a package of pickles. We’ll eat it later, sharing with Kasma’s sister and mom.

* Note: I use the official spelling for Sukhumvit Soi 55, which is Thong Lo (though sometimes Thong Lor, or Thonglor). A more phonetic spelling for the soi would be “Tawng Law.” (See A Note on Thai Pronunciation and Spelling.)

Duck Noodle Close-up

Duck Noodles, spiced, ready to eat


Written by Michael Babcock, March 2010. Updated December 2014 & May 2020.

Lampang Noodle Shop

Michael Babcock, Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I thought I’d post an entry on one of my favorite stops. Kasma used to stop here on two of her trips to Thailand – it’s a noodle shop in Lampang called, in Thai, Raan Kao Soi, which translates as Kao Soi (Northern-style Curried Noodles)

Noodle Shop Sign

Noodle Shop Sign

Front of Noodle Shop

Front of Noodle Shop

The shop is found on the main road in between the beautiful wooden Lanna temple, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, and the town of Lampang itself. Look for the sign (it’s the first image in the blog, to the upper left).

Dining area in back

Kasma in dining area in back

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

These noodles are already well-covered on our website. There’s:

It’s typical of most noodle shops in that they specialize in one type of noodle, in this case the curried noodles of Northern Thailand. You can order with beef, chicken or pork.

Noodles coming to the table

Noodles coming to the table

When you come in, you’ll see where they assemble the noodles at the front of the shop. It’s kind of fun to watch how they do it: it’s a very speedy operation! The best place to eat is in the back of the shop, outside, with a nice view of the river.

There are many things that I like about kao soi. First, the curry sauce tastes divine. Second, it’s loaded with different textures, from the crunchy fried noodles to the fresh shallots pickled cabbage that you add yourself. Finally, there’s the addition of roasted chilli oil, which adds a divine, spicy flavor and gives the dish a delightful kick that convinces you that there is something in red chillies that truly does get the endorphins flowing!

It’s also a fun food to eat, participatory. You get to add your own vegetables and chilli oil and mix together. Do be careful adding the fiery, hot chilli oil – although it’s very delicious the noodles start out with a fair amount of heat; one at least one occasion I regretted the addition of so much extra spice!

Noodles (left) with additions

Noodles (left) with additions

Noodles, mixed, ready to eat

Noodles, mixed, ready to eat

The cook, happy you enjoyed your meal

Noodle shop cook

Noodle shop cook


Written by Michael Babcock, January 2010

Black Olive Rice (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Black Olive Rice at My Choice Restaurant

Black olive rice at My Choice

Black olive rice at My Choice Restaurant in Bangkok

Perhaps our favorite restaurant in Bangkok is My Choice on Sukhumvit Soi 36 in Bangkok. The menu is loaded with delicious dishes brilliantly prepared with ultra-fresh ingredients. There are so many great dishes that usually when we go we order several to be eaten with rice. See Michael’s Blog on My Choice for pictures of many of our other favorite dishes.

This picture shows a “one-dish meal” rice dish at My Choice, Salted Black Olive Fried Rice; on their menu it is called Kao Ohb Nahm Liap. The main ingredient is a Chinese salted black olive, which is mixed with shrimp, dried shrimp, green mango, Thai chillies and ground pork. It’s a marvelous dish, full of several different types of flavors and anchored by the black olive.

It’s a marvelous dish and I usually order it when I eat at My Choice by myself. They serve it already mixed, as in the picture. Kasma used to teach as a composed salad that is mixed by each person prior to eating.

Here’s my attempt at rendering the name of the dish Thai script.

kaoohbnahmliab

I’ve also circled the menu item on the Kasma’s recipe for Salted Black Olive Fried Rice (Kao Pad Nahm Liap)

  • Michael’s Blog on My Choice
  • Information on salted black olives.

  • The Wednesday Photo is a new picture  each week highlighting something of interest in Thailand. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

    Krua Nakhon Restaurant

    Michael Babcock, Saturday, July 18th, 2009

    Krua Nakhon is a great restaurant for breakfast and lunch in Nakhon Si Thammarat.


    Note: For a while, back in 2012, it closed and re-opened as วังเดิม – Wang Derm. See our blog Wang Derm Restaurant. As of this date (May, 2020) it is open again as Krua Nakhon in a different location from the one pictured here.

    Address: 116 Soi Chusin,Patanakarn Ku Khwang Road,Nai Muang, Nakhon Si Thammarat 80000 Thailand


    The Old Krua Nakhon Restaurant

    The Old Krua Nakhon Restaurant

    Over the years we’ve visited this city in the South of Thailand many times. We used to go there on Kasma’s trip of southern Thailand and it remains one of the places where we like to travel on our own. I like it because of the way the city feels – the people are friendly and it’s a colorful, interesting place. In addition to the main temple, Wat Phra Mahatat, with it’s soaring main chedi (stupa) and interesting Buddha statues, there’s a lively Sunday open-air market, a fun night market and places to purchase southern crafts such as yin lipao baskets and shadow puppets. Kasma’s driver, Sun, lives down here and we also get to visit his family compound, where he lives with 6 of his other 7 siblings.

    Vegetable Platter on each table

    Vegetable Platter on each table

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

    We always stay at the Nakhon Garden Inn, a reasonably priced, comfortable hotel, which even has free wi-fi. In the morning we invariably walk a few blocks over to the courtyard containing Bovorn Bazaar on Ratchadamnoen Road at the Thawang Intersection, a few blocks from the Train station; there we breakfast at  the restaurant Krua Nakhon, meaning Nakhon Kitchen. The word nakhon means city, and cities such as Nakhon Si Thammarat are often referred to simply as Nakhon. [Note: the restaurant is no longer in this location.]

    The restaurant is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., so it’s a breakfast and lunch place. It is an attractive sitting area, open on three sides and all times. On the wall behind the counter is a collection of antique coconut graters. Food is served cafeteria-style – you go up to the counter and pick out what looks good to you, order, and the friendly staff will bring your selection to the table.

    Southern-Style Rice Salad

    Southern-Style Rice Salad

    Close by is a place to get coffee or tea – Hao Coffee. You can order it at Krua Nakhon and they’ll go place the order for you; or you can go to Hao Coffee yourself and see what looks best. Once you order, they’ll deliver it over to Krua Nakhon for you. We recommend the “Blue Mountain” coffee. In Thailand, Blue Mountain refers to a type of roast or blend, and not coffee from Jamaica. It’s quite tasty. [Note: Hao Coffee has also relocated to the new location and remains across from Krua Nakhon. Hao Coffee unexpectedly serves a fabulous hamburger made with meat from New Zealand.]

    When you sit down at the table there will either be a large platter of fresh vegetables and pickles, or the staff will bring one over to you. This is something that you see throughout Southern Thailand. They are eaten as an accompaniment to the meal. They can be used to help cut the heat of a particularly spicy dish.

    Kanom Jeen with Nahmyah Sauce

    Kanom Jeen with Nahmyah Sauce

    Krua Nakhon specializes, not surprisingly for a southern Thai restaurant, in southern Thai dishes. One of my favorite dishes there is the Rice Salad, the Kao Yam Bpak Dtai.  When Kasma taught this dish, in her evening Advanced Series Set E (class 2), she taught it as Southern-Style Rice Salad with Assorted Vegetables and Aromatic Herbs, Toasted Coconut and Boodoo Dressing.

    It’s an attractive dish, a bit like a composed salad. The rice is in the middle surrounded various other ingredients, such as lemon grass, dried shrimp, shredded coconut, bean sprouts, shredded greens and a dish of boodoo sauce). You mix everything together, squeeze some lime on top and enjoy, eating it along with the scrumptious fresh vegetable and pickle platter that is on every table.

    You can also get kanom jeen, fermented rice noodles served with the topping of your choice. These noodles are the only noodles that originated in Thailand; the other types are  Chinese in origin. Kanom jeen are served all over Thailand but in the south there’s a couple toppings that are very popular. The topping shown in the picture above is  spicy fish Nahmyah curry sauce. It’s also good with green curry on top.

    Coconut Dessert

    Coconut Dessert

    In addition, there are always a number of other dishes. You can choose to have them served over rice or over the kanom jeen noodles.

    Be sure to get a dessert. Check the counter for what they have that day. They usually have several options of different items in coconut milk, such as the picture here. These coconut-based dishes are especially good if you’ve just eaten something very spicy – the coconut will cool down your taste buds.


    Written by Michael Babcock, July 2009. Updated May 2020.