Thai street food : kuai tiao, or guai tiao (spicy pork rib & peanut noodle soup) Chiang Mai


Chiang mai is a great city, full of life and good food at every turn.  There is real food heritage, and dishes you wouldn’t find in western style Thai restaurants. Northern food contains influence from many of the surrounding countries – Loatian, Burmese and Chinese food.

We eat a lot of noodle soup, almost always for breakfast and this particular one in Chiang Mai is one of my favourite simple noodle soups. Rich and full of flavour.

A spicy, meaty broth made from pork rib, dark in colour and sweet in flavour from aromats and meat juice with beansprouts, chunks of slowly cooked pork that has fallen off the bones, meatballs, and peanuts. I love the texture and crunch of peanuts in noodle soup, and it worked beautifully with the soft set egg, perfectly cooked with a slightly gooey yolk and set albumen.

Who needs cornflakes?

Who needs cornflakes?

The broth was garnished with small chunks of diced crackling and fried garlic which soaked up all the sweet meaty flavours of the stock.

Guai tiao is the general term for noodle soup. It’s not specific to this pork rib soup, There’s lots of variations. Presumably, the name – and the dish – comes from Chinese migration similarily to koay teow, popular in Malaysia and  and the stir fried noodle dish, char kway teow in Singapore and Malaysia.  You can choose a variety of noodles and choose between soup (num) and dry (Haeng ) style.  You will often find noodle soups available from street carts too, look for bundles of noodles and pre-cooked pork or chicken on the shelf.

Expect to pay around 45B for a big bowl. We ate several times (and will again, when we next head back) at a small restaurant between soi’s 8 & 9 on Moon Muang with Thai signage and tables made from old singer sewing machines. Arroy mak!   

Useful words

Nueng – one
Sawng – two
Tow rai? – How much?
Mai Phet – not spicy (phet is pronounced ‘pet’ not ‘fet’)
Phet nit nawy – a little bit spicy
Sai tung – takeaway (literally, put in bag)
Arroy– delicious     


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