Khao soi, a northern-style curry noodle dish, is quite possibly the Thai dish that I get the most inquiries about. Foreigners in particular seem to love it, and understandably; with khao soi you’ve got meaty, rich, oily spicy, crunchy, soft, salty and sour all in one bowl. Unfortunately, given its northern origins, khao soi is relatively hard to come by in Bangkok, and I suspect that Pantip, the IT mall in central Bangkok, was for a long time one of the handful of places here where the dish was available. People had been mentioning this vendor’s khao soi to me for years, but I’d never investigated until today.
The khao soi is served from a stall at Pantip’s nondescript food court, and despite all the signs indicating otherwise — pre-cooked noodles, scant and ragged-looking condiments, not to mention the fact that you’re dining in what is probably the most unpleasant shopping centre in Bangkok (your noodles are accompanied by a constant and irritating soundtrack of vendors hissing ‘DVD sex? DVD sex?’) — I have to admit that I found the Pantip food court’s khao soi OK. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly isn’t amazing; the broth lacks the dried spice complexity of a solid northern-style bowl of khao soi, and was served with huge chicken thighs, which basically overwhelmed the dish. But it was spicy and even somewhat rich, unlike the bland and gloopy bowls one normally encounters in Bangkok. It’s definitely not worth going out of your way for, but if you find yourself at Pantip, buy a bowl.
Pantip’s khao soi
3rd fl, Pantip Plaza, Th Phetchaburi, Bangkok
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