A Guide To Ordering Different Types Of Thai Soup Noodles

Horizontal poster | order noodle soup | Bangkok Food Tours

How to order noodle soup in Thailand

Stood in front of a Thai noodle vendor, appetite soaring but left because you couldn’t crack the menu code? Let’s change that!
Thai soup noodles, also popularly known as Kway Teow in the Thai language, with their delicious flavors and varieties, are an essential street food experience in the Land of Smiles. We get it; navigating the many types of Thai noodles can be daunting for newcomers. But fear not, noodle newbies! We’ve got you covered with our guide on the different types of noodles in Thailand, complete with pictures, to help you confidently order your next bowl of slurpy deliciousness.

**However, we want to caution you that when you’re in Thailand, you may find several more noodles that aren’t mentioned in this blog. In this blog, we focus on Chinese and fusion Thai-Chinese types of noodle dishes. We have also included a popular type of Thai noodle dish called Khanom Chin, served with a Thai-style soup and curry and significantly different from Chinese noodles.

Vertical poster | order noodle soup | Bangkok Food Tours
Pin this poster then read on!

Ordering Step 1: What Kind of Meat Is Served?

“Kway Teow,” a term originating from the Hokkien Chinese language, refers to a type of small flat noodle popular in Thai cuisine. When you visit a noodle shop in Thailand, you’ll usually find they specialize in just one or two types of meat. To start, ask about the available meat options for your noodles effortlessly in Thai language with our detailed guide: moo (pork), nuea (beef), gai (chicken), pbed (duck), bpla (fish), tha lay (seafood), or krueang nai (offal, typically from pigs).

Alongside these, dishes often include meatballs, and sometimes you’ll encounter luead (congealed blood, usually from pigs or ducks). The typical garnishes for these types of noodle dishes in Thailand are bean sprouts, coriander, garlic, spring onions, and lettuce, all adding zesty, fresh, and flavorful touches to your bowl of goodness.

Ordering Step 2: What Type of Thai Noodle Dish Do You Want?

Now it’s time to decide which type of Thai soup noodles you like and how you want it cooked. If you are at an open stall – don’t forget to have a peek at how it’s been made if you can – trust us, it’s a sensory delight for your eyes too! Let’s break down your choices:

  • Kway Teow Nam Sai: Craving something simple? This is a clear, subtly flavored noodle soup made with chicken, beef, or pork stock. Perfect for when you want to keep it light.
  • Kway Teow Tom Yam: A zesty twist on the clear soup, this one’s jazzed up with sweet chili paste, chili powder, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and crushed peanuts. Typically available with pork, fish, or seafood – it’s a flavor explosion!
  • Yen Ta Foe (Yong Tau Foo): Fancy something unique? This type of noodle dish in Thailand is famous for its vibrant pink color. Its color comes from preserved red bean curd sauce or ketchup. A mildly sweet and sour treat, it’s loaded with fish and shrimp balls, tofu, squid, and morning glory.
  • Kway Teow Nam Tok/Ruea: For the adventurous souls, this is a rich noodle soup enriched with pig or cow blood. A more traditional local choice that’s full of depth and character.

Not enough? There’s more:

  • Kway Teow Rahd Na: Choose your favorite noodle type and have it drenched in a savory gravy sauce. It’s comfort food at its best.
  • Kway Jab: This one’s a party in your mouth – rolled-up rice noodles with crispy pork belly, egg, congealed blood, and pig intestines, available in clear or spiced-soup options. The spiced version yields a dark brown, inviting broth.
    And here’s a pro tip for ordering: Just drop the ‘Kway Teow’ and go straight for the style – like ‘Nam Tok Moo’ or ‘Tom Yam Tha Lay.’ It’s that simple!

Ordering Step 3: Do You Want Your Noodles Soupy or Dry?

step 3 soup or dry | order noodle soup | Bangkok Food Tours

Choosing how your Thai noodle dish is prepared is all part of the fun! If you’re in the mood for soupy goodness, just say ‘nam’ when you order. But if you prefer it dry, go with ‘haeng’. A dry noodle dish means all the yummy ingredients are cooked in stock but served without the broth, often accompanied by a small bowl of soup on the side for extra flavor.

Here’s how to order like a pro: Fancy a dry pork blood soup? Just say ‘nam tok moo haeng’. Or if it’s the sweet and sour pink noodles you’re after, go for ‘yen ta foe nam.’

Ordering Step 4: Choose a Type of Noodle

step 4 noodle type | order noodle soup | Bangkok Food Tours
You will typically come across five main types of noodles in Thailand. Each type offers a unique texture and flavor, perfect for various types of Thai noodle dishes. Among these, you can find options like small flat noodles, which are a favorite for their delicate and smooth texture or the more chewy egg noodles. But here’s a fun twist: if you love the flavors of noodle dishes but want to skip the noodles themselves, you can opt for ‘Gao Lao’. This dish includes all the traditional ingredients of a noodle dish, minus the noodles, and is typically enjoyed with steamed rice. It’s a wonderful alternative for those wanting to indulge in the rich broth and accompanying ingredients without the noodles.

Ordering Step 5: Season It Up!

Ready to spice up your dish just the way you like it? You will consistently find the classic condiment set waiting for you at every table. Whether you’re in the mood for something salty, sour, sweet, or extra spicy, you’ve got all the ingredients right there! Typical Thai noodle shops offer a fun variety of taste enhancers, like roasted and ground chili for a fiery kick, chilies in vinegar for a tangy twist, a zesty lime-based chili sauce, classic fish sauce, and, of course, a little sugar for that perfect hint of sweetness.

Ready to Slurp Your Way Through Bangkok?

This guide is your passport to a deeper exploration of Thailand’s noodle-licious street food scene. And you know how they always say when in Rome, do as the Romans do? With Bangkok Food Tours, you will eat just like the locals do in no time! Join us on one of our tours – noodles are the star in several of them. Getting hungry thinking about all these tasty options? Contact us today to book a tour – come hungry, leave happy! Slurp’s up!

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