Thai Cuisine and Culture: Boat Noodles

One of my favorite Thai dishes of late has been the legendary Guai Dtiaw Rua, or boat noodle soup. Please allow me to elaborate…..

ก๋วย เตี๋ยกว, or gawai/guai dtiaw, is often thought of as being something of Chinese origins, but it is really a blanket term that refers to rice noodles/rice noodle soup and the ubiquity of this sort of dish in the region indicates such an ancient genesis that assigning countries of origin seems a bit of a stretch, but when you put the word เรือ, or rua, which means boat in front of guai dtiaw there is no question the dish you are referring to is none other than the Thai cuisine classic.

Thai Cuisine and Culture: Boat Noodles - HistoryThe soup’s name and fame seem to come from the days when the kingdom’s capitol was in Ayutthaya and Thailand was still connected by canals and not roads. The Thai people have been watermen since the earliest days of their history; navigating the country’s tangled web of inland waterways in their long slender boats was the most practical means of getting until very, very recently. And the water is never far away; during last year’s floods boats seemed to materialize miraculously and all of a sudden the cars were on the overpasses and everyone was paddling around in canoes as if nothing had happened.

So this soup was a classic of the era when the boats would pull up to the shore and tie off, and serve soup to people who would come eat on the banks of the canal; or it would be served in one of the more crowded urban floating market places.

Read more in our blog post about the process of Boat noodles.

For more info on Thai cuisine and Thai food culture check out our Thai Food and Cooking Tour!

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