Ba mee noodles are not uncommon in Bangkok. It's difficult to shuffle through any street food market and not see the ubiquitous yellow noodles being lowered into bubbling water pots. They are mostly good, but rarely exceptional. Not the case at Odean Crab Noodles, a tiny shophouse in Bangkok's Chinatown where whole steamed crab claws elevate the humble noodle to luxurious levels.
This could be construed as simply a lazy way to stand out from the ba mee crowd, but care is taken with every element at Odean. Sweet saltwater crabs are always sourced from the same place in the Southern Thai province of Surat Thani and the noodles are painstakingly handmade creating a pleasingly chewy texture you just don't find with their factory-made counterparts. The soft prawn wontons are made from scratch each day and the rich seafood broth is boiled from the discarded crab shells.
The interior is typical of the shophouses in the district - a simple well-lit yet narrow dining space with little more than a scattering of metal tables and walls peppered with pictures of food, awards and a brightly lit shrine. In recent years Odean have installed air-conditioning which makes for a welcome respite from Bangkok's day time humidity.
Prices start from 60 THB (around US $2) without crab claws, though the regular bowls aren't short on loose crab meat. Crab claw bowls are priced based on their size but are upward of 300 THB (US $10).
Odean Crab Noodles are named after the nearby gate which signals the entrance to Bangkok's Chinatown. It's easy to spot from the window box display of steamed red crab claws that sits in front of the shop.