No phone number, no reservations and no name. Just a hard working husband, a grumpy auntie and a daughter, hidden away in one of those tiny alleyways you normally just pass by. Unless you know what meets you inside. They have no name but prefer to call themselves “Golden Wok Chicken Noodles“, if you ask. And that’s also what you get on your plate (Kuay Teow Kua Gai). Despite the hidden location, this street stall has been around for half a century.
The deal is first come, first served. We find ourselves in Trok Issaranuphap, cuing. The husband is stirring the noodles and sweating over his wok, the aunty is shouting something. He looks at her and shakes his head, obviously not happy, then diving back into his dedication for those smoky noodles. It’s seldom you see someone so devoted in making a dish as this chef does, equipped with a flat brass wok over coals and a spoon to mix the ingredients. You have a few of them spread around in Bangkok, but they are really not that many. Another one is by the way the Pad Thai guy in Sukhumvit Soi 38.
We’ve been watching for a couple of minutes. Food is brought to the few metal tables. It’s packed, as so many other times I’ve been here. But it’s worth the wait.
It only takes a couple of minutes to get the food when seated. In an outdoor seating like this, Thai’s normally leave as soon as they have finished eating. And if they try to stay, the decisive and rather grumpy auntie won’t let them. You finish, you leave. It’s as simple as that. She makes sure everyone is served, and that everyone leaves. And you don’t get to pick the table either. You’re shown to the free seat(s), but she accept a wish to sit at the same table if you’re more than one.
Kuay Teow Kua Gai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวคั่วไก่) is wide fried rice noodles with chicken and egg, and you find it all over Chintown. But as always, some are better than others. Some are just to oily and some are not tasty enough. None of those problems are an issue here. The dish is actually Chinese and has similarities with Thai’s Pad See Ew (ผัดซีอิ๊ว).
When seated you soon have a plate of fried noodles with chicken in front of you. And don’t even try to object, not even if you’re just accompanying your friend. She will serve you no matter what you say. And you will pay.
The bright side of the story is that the fried noodles with chicken is delicious. It also include a piece of pickled squid, more for the texture than taste. The wide rice noodles (sen yai) are made to perfection in a garlic-steeped oil, the chicken is juicy and tasty.
The dish has a delicious smokey flavor due to the high heat over the charcoal stove and the technique of letting the noodles stick to the pan for a while before steering, giving a lovely crispiness to some of the mouthfuls.
Personally, I just sprinkle some chili on it, while others prefer to add a a bit of vinegar, fish sauce and a touch of sugar. That’s all about your own preferences. It’s an absolutely perfect starter before moving on to more adventures along the Yaowarat strip. Bon appétit.
Name: No official name (but they prefer Golden Wok Chicken Noodles if you ask them)
Food: Thai wide rice noodles with chicken (Kuay Teow Kua Gai – also written Guay Tiew Kua Gai or Kway Teow Kua Gai)
Open: They say they are open daily 8 p.m. – 1 a.m, but I have found them closed quite many times, also outside regular holidays.
Address: Yaowarat Soi 6, also called Trok Issaranuphap. Coming from Charoen Krung Road head for Soi 16 and walk through the Soi, almost to the entrance of Yaowarat Road. It’ also known as Taalat Mai.
How to get there: First of all, you take the MRT (Metro) to Hua Lamphong, 6 metro stops and 12 minutes away from MRT Sukhumvit which also interlink the BTS station Asoke (Terminal 21 shopping centre). If you take the BTS Silom line you can change at Silom and take the MRT from there, 2 stations heading west. You would prefer that to a taxi during rush hours. If taking a taxi from Hua Lamphong insist on using the meter as always.
An option is the river express (Chao Phraya River Express), if you want to avoid the traffic. Get off at the Ratchawong Pier, and walk up from Ratchawong Road to Yaowarat Road. Cross Yaowarat Road, head right and you find it in the next Soi to the left. A third option are the buses – look for the number 1, 7, 8, 37, 49 and 75.