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Follow this link to read Noodles in Thailand (Part 1).

Kinds Of Noodles

Noodles to Chinese is like pasta to Italians.

Thais of Chinese descent make up the highest percentage of the Thai population. This has greatly affected the Thai foods of today.

While pasta ranges from spaghetti to ravioli, there are 6 main kinds of Thai noodles:

1) Wide rice noodles or sen yai – short for gu-tiaw sen yai

2) Narrow rice noodles or sen lek – short for gu-tiaw sen lek

3) Vermicelli (fine round rice noodles) or sen mee

4) Egg noodles or ba-mee

5) Mung bean noodles (glass noodles) or woon-sen

6) Soft dumplings filled with marinated chopped pork or giaw

Thailand offers many kinds of noodles and meat balls
Giaw is similar to wonton in the West.

Most noodle restaurants in Thailand carry all the 6 kinds of noodles.

Ordering Noodles

To order noodles in Thai is not as complicated as you may think. When ordering, you need to mention two things - the kind of noodles you prefer and how you would like them served.

1. Without stock or haeng

2. With stock or naam

3. With stock seasoned tom-yum style or tom-yum

4. With stock seasoned nam-tok style or nam-tok

For instance, if you'd like to have dry narrow rice noodles, you can place the following order sen lek haeng.

Thailand is the home of famous Thai egg noodle soups
If you choose to have egg noodle soup, you would say ba-mee naam. Similarly, you can ask for wonton soup by saying giaw naam.

Tom-yum noodles are served in stock and seasoning including ground roasted peanuts, dried ground red chili, chili vinegar, fish sauce and sugar.

Noodle vendors in certain restaurants may only add ground roasted peanuts to the dish and let you season the noodles by yourself.

With stock seasoned nam-tok style (only for gu-tiaw rua). The vendor would add fresh pig or cow blood to the boiled stock before serving.

To order glass noodles tom yum style, just say woon-sen tom-yum. If you're brave enough and open to try some unique Thai foods, you can order sen yai nua nam-tok for wide rice (beef) noodle soup with blood.

When you place these orders, the vendor normally assume that you want all the ingredients they have, such as different kinds of meat balls, bean sprouts, chopped parsley, etc.

Order Noodles Without Certain Ingredients

If you don't want the vendor to put certain items in your food, simply mention the words mai sai before saying the names of the items, or pointing at them.

For example, when you order wide rice noodle soup without Chinese parsley phaak-she, place this order sen yai naam mai sai phaak-she.

How To Eat Noodles

Thais eat rice dishes with fork and spoon. We handle the fork with the left hand and the spoon with the right hand. So, to fill the spoon with food, move the spoon towards you and use the fork to push the food into the spoon.

On the contrary, Thais use chopsticks when they eat noodles; with the exceptions of stir-fried rice noodles phad Thai, fried rice noodles topped with
Pork noodle soups are common in Thailand
thick sauce raad naa and fried rice noodles with soy sauce phad se-eu. Although they are noodles, we eat them with fork and spoon.

Thais don't drink the soup stock from the bowl like Japanese and Koreans do. Instead, we use a spoon with a short handle (Chinese spoon) to eat the broth.

The Chopstick Taboo

Handling chopsticks can be quite difficult for someone who's not used to it. Anyhow, it might sound like fun to eat the noodles and play with the chopsticks at the same time.

Thais find it cute seeing a little kid poke the chopsticks into the food before putting it in the mouth. At the same time, it's considered improper for adults to apply the same technique.

I used to do this when I was young. Later, I learned to use chopsticks, although the way I handle them still amuse some people...

Suggested Reading:   Thai Sticky Rice   Thai Breakfast

Thailand Breeze > Food & Fruits > Noodles In Thailand (Part 2)

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