Kway Teow Tom Yam
December 17, 2010 § 1 Comment
Soi Convent, near the offices of BK Magazine, is choked with street stalls on both sides, many with full table-and-stool setups for office workers to sit down to lunch at. It makes for difficult walking, especially when you’re in a hurry and especially when crowds are waiting around the popular stalls, eyeing tables about to vacate (but take their own sweet time).
But when you’re on the other side, one of the impatient and the hungry privately clamoring for your bowl of something good at a disastrously popular stall—well, it’s equally frustrating. This was the plight of my co-workers and I couple of days ago. We had decided to finally brave the crazy-busy noodle stall we’d always been fighting to move past in weeks past, secretly eyeing their extra-large bowls of noodles, one and a half times the size of the usual ones. Also impressive has been the giant pile of lime rinds collecting beside their makeshift operation. Nothing like fresh lime in your tom yam broth. This time, we waited under the canopy of mismatched parasols, which created a sort of greenhouse effect on an already hot and humid day, shirts sticking to our backs.
But oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Once we got a bite of this kway teow tom yam, there was no looking back. For those unfamiliar with this dish, kway teow tom yam is not just noodles in tom yam soup. The broth here is a lot lighter (though some places give you a creamier option), but has similar elements: a lot of sweet, a lot of lime-sour, a lot of spice and a bit of savory. (If you like a bit of creamy, ask for a boiled egg and, seriously, stir the yolk into your broth. It’s umami up the whazoo.)
Of course, you have your choice of noodles. I went for the bamee (Chinese wheat and egg based) because I like that extra bit of body and egginess. This place, called Kway Teow Khae, also offers a wide range of meat balls: look chin moo (pork), look chin tauhoo (fishy tofu), look chin koong (shrimp with herbs, pre-fried with deep-brown crust—mmm!). The balance of sweet, freshly-sour (as opposed to vinegary sour) and the earthy meatiness of the balls is a lovely combination. I love that when I’m done eating, there’s still the (now extra-seasoned) soup to get through.
And get this: the big bowl was only B40. I hope the day never comes when this sweet team of elderly father and spitfire daughter realize they’re brilliant and everyone loves them and they jack their prices.