A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.



Khao Soi Sophaphan

Posted date:  October 20, 2007
14 Comments


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I used to think khao soi, the northern Thai curry noodle dish, was nearly impossible to find in Bangkok, but in the last few weeks I’ve run across it more than a couple times. My latest discovery was ironically only a few kilos from my house, under the Ram Intra Expressway near the intersection with Lad Phrao.

Arriving just after lunch with my generally reliable food sidekick Aong, we were dismayed to find that they only khao sois remaining at that time were the pork and seafood varieties. This was immensely disturbing news, as khao soi is almost exclusively served with chicken or beef (a sign of the dish’s Muslim roots). Pork is a lazy substitute and seafood khao soi is a heresy beyond words, and those responsible for the concept should be forced to eat…seafood khao soi for the rest of their days. Grudgingly, we chose the pork (shown above). The dish was a decent, if not mediocre take on the dish, but lacking the creamy, oily, spiciness of Faa Haam’s nearly-perfect bowl. The sides (pickled mustard cabbage, sliced shallots and lime) also seemed of substandard quality. Sophaphan also serves the Shan noodle dish, naam ngiaow, as well as some northern Thai standards and som tam. Good in a pinch, I reckon, or if you’re in the neighborhood (make sure you come early), but you’ll be much happier if you make the trip over to Viphawadee to eat at Faa Haam.

I’ve also come across khao soi on Sukhumvit Sois 22 and 31; stay tuned for a detailed investigation.

Khao Soi Sophaphan
86 Soi Inthraphorn (under the Ram Intra Expressway not far from the intersection with Lad Phrao)
02 530 6292
Mon-Sat, 9am-4:30pm

Addendum: In flipping through my replies to this blog, I recently received a comment from a woman who’s doing a blog exclusively about khao soi in New York City! Honestly, I was surprised enough to find out that one can actually get khao soi in in the US (it’s hard enough to find in Bangkok), but even more shocking is the price: $16 for a bowl of khao soi??!!?? Maybe I’m spoiled living here, but the price I payed for the bowl above, 30 baht–slightly less than $1, feels about right to me. Guess I won’t be going home anytime soon…


14 Comments for Khao Soi Sophaphan


Another one of my favorite Thai dish! Will be looking forward to reading your Sukhumvit Khao Soi post!

I was so disappointed that I could only find Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, cause once i had it I wanted it again and again, so it’s good to see that there are places in Bangkok to get it!

Ack – seafood kao soi. I agree, an utter abomination!

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say kao soi is ‘rarely if ever’ made with pork. Chiang Mai’s ‘other’ famous kao soi joint, Lamduan, does a pork version that is as, if not more, popular (judging from what’s on the tables) than their chicken kao soi, and there are plenty of other pork versions around the city (small stalls and such).

Muslim origins for kao soi? I think you’ve suggested, in the past, Burmese origins for kao soi (related to ohn no khauk swe)? Which might allow for pork in the ‘original’ version, unless you meant that the dish originated with Burmese Muslims. But I thought the sort of ‘accepted’ culinary trajectory for kao soi is Burma to Thailand and then, once it was in N Thailand, Muslim influence (via Chinese Muslims from Yunnan who traded/settled in Burma/N Thailand/Lao from Yunnan).

Unless the dish was ‘Muslim-ized’ in Burma and then brought to N Thailand with the Cin Haw traders. (To further confuse the issue, Thompson suggests the dish originated in Yunnan, so who knows.)

A friend from Chiang Mai had taken me to some hawker on the 2nd floor of Pantip Plaza for some quite decent khao soi gai. Not as good as slurping it down at the nightmarket in CM of course!

Have to say 30 bath Koi Soi is looked better than 16$ one!

I had Khao Soi for the first time in Bangkok at a place called Sphinx http://www.sphinxpub.com/

Great stuff! I can confirm that it is very hard to find the stuff on menus at Thai restaurants here in New York.

You can get fabulous chicken khao soi at Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon. Also, Aiyara Thai, in Springfield, OR, serves khao soi, but I haven’t eaten it there.

Hi Austin,

I just discovered this: the Shan Cultural Association UK has interesting notes on the origins of khao soi, which the association attributes to the Tai Neu near the Chinese border, and the Tais of Sipsongpanna. Apparently they use diced pork blood in their khao soi. And the East Dai version calls for pork skin.
http://www.sca-uk.org.uk/html/shan_recipe.html#KhaoSoyDaiKentung

It seems chicken is by far the most common khao soi meat among city shops in northern Thailand. But I’ve also found khao soi with pork, particularly in more rural areas and areas of people who originally came from Burma or China.

Hawker food always get a big markup in the States. I wish we had a real hawker culture of our own.

magnifique!!

can you give me the address where i can find khao soi faa haam in bangkok? i cannot seem to find that information. thanks!

Hi, Austin. I’m Hideki stay in Sukumvit.
I found the place where Khao Soi was available.
That is “Gedohawa”, where is at Soi 35, Sukumvit.
That is northern Thailand dishes tiny restaurant.
I remembered that the price is around 40 or 50Baht.
Please try!

Khao soi is surprisingly fairly common around the San Francisco Bay Area. So far, I’ve only had it at the following places:
-Thai House Express, on Larkin in San Francisco (some of the best Thai fare in the Bay Area can be found here)
-Grand Ave Thai, on Grand Ave across from Lake Merritt, Oakland (only available at lunchtime)
-Khao Sarn Thai Cuisine in Point Richmond

None are served with crispy noodles or shallots, although Thai House Express, the best of the three, does include red onions and pickled mustard greens. Grand Ave Thai has a fairly tasty version, no condiments. Would not recommend Khao Sarn in Richmond for anything.

Chowhound thread on khai soi in the Bay Area:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/447845

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