The Beauty of Noodle Soup (On a Hot Day in Thailand)…

chiang rai noodles

It’s 38c (about 100 degrees to you back home). Yes, I know most of the world uses Celsius, but us silly Americans (due to inertia) still hold on to that particularly outdated notion of Fahrenheit. More about this later, now let’s talk about food, in this case noodle soup.

Noodle soup, hot and spicy, steaming, and with tender pork and fresh fish balls simmering in broth, with lovely rice noodles and green onions. Are you crazy, I mean man it’s 38 or 104 or whatever it is, it’s bloody hot and you’re going to eat noodle soup? Forget it. I’m back in the States, it’s cold and I walk into my kitchen and I’m freezing my ass off in the middle of winter and yes, I’m having some soup—steaming hot—but Thailand?

Noodle soup is beautiful, especially if it’s good noodle soup and this noodle soup goes that extra mile, calling it near great noodle soup.

The best way to get great noodle soup in Thailand is to know someone. Not a foreigner who wouldn’t no great noodle soup if it stood up in their noodle soup—but a Thai, and a local Thai if you can find one while out in the provinces who’ll put up with you. Getting great noodle soup is like getting a seat at the best restaurant in New York (or Bangkok) you need patience, or that friendly Thai who’ll whisper in your ear and says, “psst, this is great noodle soup—come with me.”

So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, and no it’s not in Lonely Planet so don’t bother looking. When you’re in Chiang Rai head about 10 kilometers (that’s about 7 miles) out of own, pass a little purple sign on Highway 1 heading north toward Mae Sai, and about 25 meters past a man selling wicker baskets, or a lady selling second hand shoes, or an orange juice stand (your guess is as good as mine), you’ll experience the best damn noodle soup in the north of Thailand…

I’ve had some awful noodle soup in Thailand, nine times out of ten I can’t even eat it. Every man and his dog seems to open a noodle shop in Thailand, and It’s great for them and their customers, but for foreigners expecting something amazing it’s usually a disappointment, filled with pork or chicken innards, dubious fish balls, pig blood, and cheap noodles.

Did I call this near great? No, it’s great, perfect, amazing, and I’d crawl on my knees, or fight the truck traffic on Highway 1 to have it again—So, remember pass the airport, a few clicks, on your left, look for the lady selling baskets, or…

chiang rai noodles 2

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