Noodles

Nai Ek Roll Noodle Soup

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Luke C.

Like the main neon-lit strip of Yaowarat on which Nai Ek Rolled Noodles sits, the shophouse eatery is a chaotic frenzy. The clattering bowls, queues of hungry punters and workers who cook, serve and wash up on the fringes of diners doesn't make for a relaxing dining experience, though it's an experience.Β 

It's one of several joints in the district to serve kway jab rolled rice noodles and is the incarnation of what was once a humble pushcart started by a Chinese immigrant in the '60s. Nai Ek spent several decades working as a street cook saving to open his shophouse restaurant which he did in 1989. His black and white photo proudly sits at the top of the menu.

The turnover is fast, so don't be concerned by joining the back of the queue (which has admittedly become longer since being awarded a Michelin Plate). The staff are used to a quick customer churn and you'll be seated quicker than you think.

Like many of Bangkok's shophouses, the open-sided interior is simple enough here - lines of flimsy metal tables and some colourful plastic stools (some of which spill out onto the pavement) under fluorescent strip lighting. The open kitchen and pass takes up the street-side corner of the restaurant giving passersby a sneak peak at what's on offer.

The staff are friendly enough, but little English is spoken and bear in mind they are almost continuously busy, so don't expect recommendations. There are simple English translations on the menu along with pictures of the food. Bowls of soup and rice plates start from 50 THB (around $1.60).

What to order

Nai Ek Rolled Noodles is known for two things - their chewy rice noodles and crispy pork belly. If you're going to visit just once, try one of their signature bowls of peppery rolled noodled soup cooked with fresh garlic and coriander or their pork entrail soup which is dotted with blood jelly. Both have the option to pick from crispy pork belly, sliced pork, minced pork, liver, kidney and tongue.

Once you've tried what they are known for, there are plenty more excellent things to try like the double-cooked soups - duck and winter melon with preserved lime, pork spare ribs with bamboo or the black chicken with Chinese herbs. Or there are the rice plates - deep-fried Chinese sausage, boiled bean curd tofu, braised pork trotters or fried fish in ginger gravy. Pair everything with a Singha beer or cold chrysanthemum tea.

Directions to Nai Ek Roll Noodle Soup

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