My Favourite Thai Noodles at Ann Guay Tiew Kua Gai
Guay Teow Kua Gai wasn’t always my favourite Thai noodle. In fact, I didn’t even know what they were until I came to Bangkok. I, like most people, only knew about pad Thai and pad see-ew. Both of those dishes are mainstays on any Western Thai restaurants menu, and neither of which would be something I would go out of my way to order.
It wasn’t until moved to Bangkok that I discovered Guay teow Kua Gai, and now that I have, I literally can’t get enough of these simple, yet incredibly satisfying fried noodles.
There’s only one place I had to to get my fix, and that is Luang road in Bangkok’s Chinatown. There is a small alleyway dedicated to these fantastic noodles with a number of different stalls all selling their own versions. There are some amazing outdoor spots like Nai Hong, but for today I’ll be focusing on Ann Guay Tiew Kua Gai.
The high heat cooking is what gives guay teow Kua Gai it’s flavour, this is a street food dish after all, who wants to be burning charcoal inside their kitchen all night? ‘Ann’ Is unique in this respect as it’s actually a small air-conditioned restaurant on the main road that back’s onto the alleyway. Here they cook the noodles street style and serve it to their customers in an icy cold air con setting, giving you the best of both worlds. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I hate paying for substandard food just so I can enjoy air conditioning but when I’m offered street food prices, and I don’t have to sweat, I’ll take that all day long!
So What is Guay Teow Kua Gai?
Guay Teow means noodles in Thai, Kua is to fry in a wok until dry and Gai is chicken so the name literally translates to dry fried chicken noodles and that pretty much sums them up. Unlike their more famous cousins, pad Thai and pad see-ew, there is no sauce used in guay teow Kua Gai. All their flavour comes from being cooked over coals at an insanely high heat in pork fat with a little soy sauce and finished with spring onions and egg. The flat. Wide rice noodles char and blister and you end up with something resembling a noodle omelette.
At Ann Guay Tiew Kua Gai you have a few options to choose from:
Chicken, which is the most common, chicken and ham, seafood or a mix of everything. Next, you pick your egg; You can have the egg cooked omelette style, or just cracked on top fresh, which kind of cooks itself from the heat of the noodles.
I usually just order the chicken as I’m not a huge fan of the preserved squid they use in the seafood bowl. I love the fact that they use chicken thigh here which is much less likely to dry out when frying as breast does. The chicken pieces come simply marinated in soy and pepper and fried until charred and crispy. The noodles are soft and chewy and blistered to perfection, and my personal preference is the cooked egg, although I do sometimes roll the dice and order the ‘raw’ egg! The only other things in the bowl are spring onion and lettuce; Guay teow Kua Gai is always served with lettuce.
Condiments wise, you have the usual suspects; chilli vinegar, dried chilli flakes, white pepper and sugar. You also get some soy sauce at ‘Ann’ in case you like it a little saltier. I never touch the sugar, but a big drizzle of sour vinegar is a must to cut through the richness of the fatty noodles. My bowl is complete when I’ve covered my noodles with red-hot chilli flakes ( I put chilli on everything) and some white pepper!
There is an argument to be made that Nai Hong’s noodles are actually tastier and if you love the whole street vibe, then this might be a better bet. If you’re bringing guests and they don’t like sitting outside in the Bangkok heat (like my wife Helen), then Ann Guay Teow Kua Gai is the perfect spot to get them acquainted with their new favoured Thai noodles.
The menu here is in English and Thai so ordering couldn’t be easier. A bowl of Chicken Guay Teow will set you back 50 THB (£1.10 / $1.50), while the mixed bowl with set you back 80 THB (£1.80 / $2.40) like I said street food prices!
Why don’t you take a trip down to Luang alley, try all the noodles and make your own mind up as to which are best? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Feel free to check out my youtube channel for a full video review:
How do I get there?
Luang road is situated a 5-10 minute walk from Bangkok’s main parts of Chinatown, Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road.