With the earnest onset of the rains this year comes a general sense of malaise. I can’t seem to get anything done. Deadlines to be met, babies to be diapered, self to be showered, cookies to be baked (yes, my Carol Brady moment. All for charity! Contact @NamjaiMarket) — all pressing demands that I somehow manage to consistently ignore, day after day. It’s like a helmet of smog has been fastened onto my head, and I can’t seem to shake it off.
And then, with @anuntakob and @aceimage on a wild goose chase to find the egg noodle stand belonging to a picture we had stumbled upon in a guidebook, a brief reprieve from the smog of apathy. But I should start from the beginning.
We’re working on a project that I don’t want to talk about, because I don’t want to jinx it. It’s the whole reason I’m here, sullying the web with my senseless chatter. Anyway. One night over a little monjya (a gigantic, flour-and-egg-based type of Japanese crepe) and a lot of Asahi, we chanced upon a picture of a bowl of crinkly yellow noodles, crowned with a sprinkling of spice and ringed by a line of egg — almost pristine in its perfection. The party responsible: Gobu Rot Sing (Klong Jan, across from Nida), the last two words in the name literally translating into “racing flavor”. Naturally we had to go.
So we went — somewhere. We don’t know, because we got lost. Numerous times. Terrorizing a number of cats skulking along quiet neighborhood lanes, dead-ending into countless gardens, driving slowly toward the bank of what appeared to be an enormous lake … you get the picture. This place was wicked hard to find. Finally, in front of a 7-11, just around the corner from what would end up being our final destination, interrogating the 80th person who claimed not to know what we were talking about, we back up to u-turn in a quiet side-alley only to find a rickety wooden shed outfitted with a series of burners, a bubbling cauldron set up over an open fire, and a massive display of egg crates. It looked like a caricature of what movie people would imagine roadside noodle stands to be, like something out of the Japanese noodle western movie “Tampopo”.
But what’s in the bowl is anything but Japanese. I’m sorry to have to say it, because I know people are suspicious of superlatives — people like what they like, this coming from the person who prefers France to Spain, cooking over sous-vide, Troisgros over Fat Duck (yes, I said it). Maybe because of that you won’t believe me when I say these were the best egg noodles I’ve ever had. But they are: the tom yum broth made the traditional way, with no coconut milk to muddy the strong, clear flavors; the noodles freshly blanched in a pot set over an open flame; shot through with roasted ground chilies that lend a nutty, almost woody heat to the broth; two barely cooked eggs which coat the noodles with a thick, carbonara-like silk. It is all kinds of yum.
Now, if only I could manage to find this place again…