A bowl of noodles in a rich spicy broth is a signature street food in Bangkok. You can get a bowl on just about any street in the Big Mango on any day and at any time. Commuters on their way to the Sky Train to take them downtown will stop for a slurp break from a cart next to their own home. Noontime crowds of government clerks jam the alleyways around Telegraph Road for a bowl of rice noodles and fish balls. And the party crowd at Soi Cowboy start to sober up with a bowl of Udon noodles in the wee morning hours.
It’s easy to enjoy a street noodle spree while you’re in Bangkok. Rule Number One: Always eat at the carts that are the busiest. Rule Number Two: If the meatballs look dicey, order your noodles with tofu — the Thai word for tofu is . . . ‘tofu.’ Rule Number Three: Always get the broad noodles if they have them; just point. Rule Number Four: There’s always a som tum stand next to a noodle stand, so you should definitely treat yourself to some. It’s a green papaya salad ground up with mortar and pestle with many luscious and savory herbs and spices — it can’t be duplicated outside of Thailand, and it is the perfect accompaniment for street noodles.