15 July 2009

Make room for noodles

While my mom was visiting Bangkok recently, we took an afternoon sans kids and did some exploring of the much neglected by tourists neighborhood of Victory Monument. Sure, it's the main intersection of Bangkok (and as a side note, the location of the most recent Red Shirt protest activity that shut the city down for a number of hours). But, a lot of tourists consider Victory Monument a place to pass quickly through en route to another location. Stop for a couple of hours and you'll be richly rewarded with covered market after covered market (after covered market and on and on...).

Used and refurbished shoe sellers stand elbow to elbow with home made noodle vendors and imported clothing stalls selling shirts and dresses for a song. Umbrellas and faux designer watches mingle with MAC cosmetics and Christian Fior (no typo... you read it correctly) handbags.

And, unfortunately, a little cart-like front of a McDonald's is plopped down right in the middle of no less than two dozen vendors selling every type of homemade noodle under the sun. Good grief. In a country that does fast food so well, hand cooked quickly, with natural ingredients and traditional culinary skills, why must the frozen slab of pseudo meat place exist here too? If you find yourself with an hour of two to pass in Bangkok, head to Victory Monument's ring of covered markets, skip the Big Mc Meal and sample a locally made ice cream concoction, a plate of noodles or a mixed Thai soda. Then, take a fist full of coins and score some excellent deals on all sorts of wonderful finds.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 58:
Coconut Curry Egg Noodles
This noodle dish is a wonderfully satisfying meal at the end of a long afternoon of shopping. Slightly creamy, not spicy and full of fresh flavors, it pairs well with a tall iced tea or sparkling water with lime. I enjoy making Char Siew and serving it on top of the noodles, but any protein would sit well with the dish.

1/2 pound of egg noodles, approximately
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of mild red curry paste
2 cups of loosely packed greens (spinach, arugula, celery leaves, finely sliced cabbage all work well)
1 carrot, finely cut into 2 inch matchsticks
1 large hand full of cilantro
1 cup of chopped green onion, about 1/4 inch long
1 lime, cut into wedges
Cooked protein of choice: char siew, steamed sliced chicken, quickly boiled large prawns

In a large wok, bring the coconut milk and curry paste to a simmer. Add the carrots and greens. Cook until the vegetables are slightly wilted, but still crunchy. In a separate pot, bring a full container of water to a boil and quickly cook the noodles, no more than three minutes. They should be chewy and al dente. Drain, rinse and add to the coconut curry mixture. Toss the noodles to coat and place generous portions into four bowls. Generously top with cilantro and green onions. Serve with one lime wedge and top with protein of choice.

Yield: four generous servings


  1. I fully agree! I'm not a McDs hater but seriously - one need only look glance at the recipe you've provided to know that fresh food with deep flavors is so readily available in Bangkok. Perhaps it's still the novelty of it all?

    Speaking of the recipe, it's fantastic! I've made Thai food at home only with the aid of pre-packaged spice mixes or else, I leave it to the professionals at our favorite restaurant. This Curried egg noodle dish is definitely something I'd love to try!

  2. The noodles sound so great! I just found your blog through an RT on Twitter. I'm headed to Bangkok in Oct so I'll definitely be sure to check this place out, minus the McD's. :)

  3. I've been jonesing for a post. Thanks!

    BTW, I love that you've started to add food photos to your posts.

  4. Natalie-- As always, thank you for your loyal reading and for expressing your enjoyment! Glad you're enjoying the photos...

  5. And, Lori-- Welcome to Loving Rice! I'm so glad you found the blog and enjoyed a post. If you need any Bangkok advice, don't hesitate to send me a tweet.


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