I'm finally back home after about two months in Laos, and yet again, am craving odd Thai dishes. This time it's kuaytiaw reua (boat noodles), so naturally I headed to the heartland of the dish (and possibly one of the more underrated food cities in Thailand), Ayuthaya.
Inside knowledge from a local led us to Jay Nit, a longstanding 'restaurant' on the man-made island that forms Ayuthaya's old town. To get here you have to walk through Wat Ratayachai, a temple at the edge of the Chao Phraya River, until you reach what looks like a dilapidated wet market at the edge of the river. The place is frankly filthy, but filthy in that reassuring Southeast Asia way that often suggests good eats.
The ladies here claim that the restaurant has been in business for 40 years, although only the last decade has been on solid land:
The noodle dishes at Jay Nit, which include yen ta fo, are done at two stations, although I didn't really understand the division of labour (one pork station and one beef?). Regardless, they're doing something right. The broth of the pork version was satisfyingly thick, thanks to the addition of blood, but wasn't actually as rich or as spicy as it appeared. But I was most impressed with the pork (illustrated at the top of this post), which was fatty and tender and served in thick slices not unlike a very good bowl of Japanese-style ramen. And unlike most other places in Ayuthaya, the servings here are rather generous (boat noodles are typically served in tiny bowls that sell for as little as 10 or 15 baht - possibly a legacy of the dishe's waterbound origins), making it a heartier version of the dish than most of its counterparts.
More boat noodles to follow; in the meantime, another good bowls can be got at Lung Lek.
Jay Nit Wat Ratayachai (Wat Jin), Ayuthaya 9am-2pm
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