kuay tiew reua boat noodles

7:55 AM sians 0 Comments

"beloved thai dish --
a secret ingredient;
boat noodles, it's called"

boat noodles has sailed from the 'land of smiles' and landed at kuala lumpur since earlier this year. about a month ago, {jl} asked me to check out his friend's new boat noodles shack in kuchai lama -- the kuay tiew reua boat noodles.

i am a stranger to boat noodles prior to the first of of its kind that opened in damansara perdana, bringing that thai love that originated from the days when the kingdom's capitol was ayutthaya and the country was still connected by canals. ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ or guai dtiaw rua is a classic thai cuisine where the boats pulled up to the shore to serve soup to people who savored them on the banks of the canal. on present day, this beloved warm bowls of comforting noodles are also sold at urban floating markets. resonating its rich history of origin, the richness of the broth is attributed to the addition of a (or perhaps, not-so-) secret ingredient. 

kuay tiew reua boat noodles is a petite shop nestled in the commercial row in kuchai entrepreneur's park. its decor was oddly reminiscent of the local food shops that i had seen or eaten at during my visits to thailand  -- minimal decoration on the orange walls that contrasted the monochrome tables and chairs. you can find the cook in action as he dished out petite bowls and bowls of noodles in the open kitchen at the back of the shop.

despite the rainy evening, the queue outside the door was not surprising. after waiting in line for about 5-10 minutes as we were willing for our turn to come by very soon, much to our horror and disbelief, a staff placed a 'sold out' sign at the entrance! i almost over-reacted! >.< before they explained that they were still accommodating those who were already in line. phew, that was close! 

the menu was simple: there is a total of six noodle options. soup or dry versions where you can pick your options of noodles: thai rice noodles, vermicelli or glass noodles. not knowing how many bowls would take to satiate the hunger without stuffing ourselves silly, we started with five bowls each.

a few things: closed on mondays, it's cash only, no take away's, crispy pork rinds for extra texture are sold at the counter and waiting is inevitable. because it sure felt that our waiting moved from the queue at the entrance to the tables -- it took a pretty long time before the many bowls of noodles finally invaded our table.

with all the usual thai fixin's, it was customary to enhance the flavor of the noodles with the addition sugar, fish sauce, or the variations of chilli condiments - spicy chili oil, toasted chili flakes, spicy green chili in vinegar. or you can even combine them all in a ratio if are a daredevil of all things spicy. in other words, you can customize the noodles till your taste bud's content!

i smell the breathe of an englishman noodles, bowls aplenty..."

okay, my inner giant was awaken at the sight of the number of bowls on the table. (trust me, it's a lot better if you imagined it being said in a deep voice). each two-bite-noodle bowls were topped with slices of pork, pork meat balls, chopped spring onions and finally garnished with crispy chopped garlic.

between the soup and the dry versions, my vote of preference goes to the former. its stock was (here it is, the secret ingredient!) porcine blood-thickened giving it a nice depth and thin richness as its savoriness danced with the mild fragrance of the spices. it reminded me of vietnamese pho but with a very subtle hint of complexity. its mildness of flavor was probably to accommodate the addition of fixin's if you like it spicier, sweeter or saltier. the delightful pork meatball was moist and most of the pork slices were succulent. the fried garlic was a brilliant inclusion to bring another dimension to the flavor profile. the dry version was less inspiring since it didn't quite possess that familiar thai flavors distinction.

overall, this bowl of noodles was pretty tasty and the condiments are a must. i think i found my favorite combination of all varieties that we've tried: thai rice noodles in soup, a dash of fish sauce and a spoonful of vinegar-y chopped green chilies -- savory, vaguely sour and spicy. as we were working on our fourth bowl, we begun to think that five bowls per person were maybe one bowl too many. each portion was surprisingly filling although it looked deceivingly small. i had to admit that the long wait harbored some frustration that somewhat put a dent into the whole experience.

although i've never tried the boat noodles before in its country of origin, this pretty tasty offering from kuey tiaw reua boat noodles prepared by a thai local was enough to convince me to be on the look out for this beloved canal street food the next time i go on vacation to bangkok. :) just be prepared to do some waiting since crowds are probably steadily flocking towards these boat noodles as the novelty still runs high.

kuay tiew reua boat noodles | location
no 40-g, jln kuchai maju 9
off jalan kuchai lama
58200 kuala lumpur

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.