This ‘top 10,’ lists my absolute favourite Thai noodle dishes starting with number 1 as the all time favourite. From noodle soup to glass noodle salad, here are some of the most delicious Thai noodle dishes around. They are easy to find and (mostly) readily available in restaurants that serve tourists. There really is more than Pad Thai when it comes to noodles. Enjoy
1. Yum Woon Sen (glass noodle salad)
‘Yum Woon Sen’ which translates as ‘Glass Noodle Salad’ is made with mung bean glass noodles. They are clear, thin and slippery, and because they are made from mung beans are low calorie. Yum Woon Sen is full of fresh veggies, like spring onion, lettuce and coriander. Sea food, crushed peanuts and sometimes minced pork also are added. The reason why this is so tasty is the sauce. It is a fresh lime based spicy/sweet dressing that is wonderful and fragrant. The whole dish is just delicious and almost all restaurants catering to tourists can make it for you even if it is not on the menu. If they don’t have glass noodles try ‘Yum Talay’ which is a seafood salad without the noodles that you can have with rice.
2. Rad Na (noodles in brown gravy)
Rad Na is a non spicy Thai noodle dish made with a thick, tasty brown gravy and wide rice noodles. You eat it with chicken or pork and it comes with Chinese broccoli. The sauce is made of stock and cornstarch and is seasoned with sweet soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and pepper. When it is served to you, you can add some additional sugar, fish sauce, sliced chillies preserved in vinegar and dried chillies. My favourite twist is when the cook adds a nice soft poach egg in the middle. It’s usually finished with a generous serving of white pepper powder. I always add the chillis preserved in vinegar.
3. Khanom Jeen ( vermicelli noodles with coconut curry sauce)
Khanom Jeen or (Khanom Jin) is ususally sold in a restaurant or street stall which serves only this dish. If you walk by and see people chowing down on a dish that looks like the photo above and in the centre of the table is a wide selection of raw green veg and herbs, whole boiled eggs and fried anchovies, then you have stumbled across the cheapest and most delicious street meal in Thailand. It’s always served with thin white noodles that are pre cooked and then there are 2-3 sauces to have over the top. It’s really, really great and an easy way to eat 3 of your 5 a day by helping yourself to lashings of free raw veg.
4. Khao Soi Soup ( crispy noodles with coconut curry)
Khao Soi is a soup made with a mix of deep-fried crispy egg noodles and regular soft egg noodles, pickled cabbage, shallots, lime, ground chillies, and meat (usually chicken) in a curry sauce containing coconut milk. It’s from the northern region of Thailand but can be found all over in speciality restaurants and sometimes street markets. It’s very mild, full of rich coconut flavours and the chicken is usually served on the bone and is very tender.
5. Pad See Ew (stir fried noodles with kale and egg)
Pad See Ew is a delicious Thai noodle dish made with flat, wide rice noodles fried in soy sauce with meat, egg, and Chinese broccoli. It sounds simple but trust me, because of its simplicity it’s almost impossible to replicate exactly at home. Watch a Thai street vendor make it in under 2 minutes, then pour a little pickled chilli and vinegar over it and it is simply divine. If you have it as a takeaway item it is usually wrapped in paper, and when you open it at home and add the chillis in vinegar, it gives off an awesome smell like adding vinegar to chip shop chips.
6. Kuey Teaw (noodle soup)
Noodle Soup (Kuay Teaw) can be found on almost every street corner of Thailand from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. Naam Sai is a plain broth, Naam Tom Yam is the same recipe as Nam Sai, but chili paste, peanuts, lime juice, chili powder, sugar and fish sauce are added. Naam Tok is broth where blood has been blended into the stock. You can also get your noodle soup dry by using the term ‘heng’ (dry). We wrote a whole blog on how you can try them all with confidence and order them in the Thai language if you want.
7. Pad Kee Mao
Literally translating as ‘Fried Shit Drunk’ this dish is Pad See Ew with a twist. It’s got chilli in it, a little less soy sauce than Pad See Ew and also has the added surprise of there being any kind of meat or seafood in the dish, literally added on a whim as if the cook was ‘shit drunk’ It differs from cook to cook but is almost always delicious.
8. Yen Ta Fo Soup
Yen Ta Fo is a pink coloured noodle soup served with fish balls, prawn balls, fried tofu, squid, morning glory and fried dumplings (giaw). The pink colour comes from adding red bean paste to the broth. The soup is a little sweet and it’s always a surprise as to what ingredients you will find in there. You can buy Yen Ta Fo at some but not all noodle soup stands on the streets of all towns and cities around Thailand. The fried wontons go chewy in the soup and are delicious but this soup is a little sweet for me.
9. Pad Thai
Pad Thai is a stir fried noodle dish made with rice noodles with ingredients including egg, peanuts, shallots, lime and bean sprouts and meat or tofu. It is one of the most well known Thai dishes, and is very popular with tourists for being light in taste. It is available at roadside stands and in casual eating places all over Thailand. It has a lot of ingredients but it is very light, not oily and often comes with a wedge of fresh lime to pour over it. The best Pad Thai tends to be cooked on a giant flat pan nearly a metre in diameter. Of all Thai noodle dishes, this dish comes near the end of my top ten list because I prefer Thai dishes with a bit more kick.
10. Pad Thai inside an OmelettePad Thai inside an omelette
What more can we say about this other than it is Pad Thai inside of a very thin (usually square) omelette. I found a video of a Thai woman making Pad Thai Omelette on her street side stall in Thailand. I like to add bottled chilli sauce to this dish as it goes really well with this Thai noodle dish, or if you really don’t like spicy food you can add Heinz tomato ketchup and that tastes really good too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6MZubAn-zA
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