Noodle soups are a pillar of Thai street food; in fact, Thai street food probably wouldn’t exist without it. It was probably the first type of street food to appear in Bangkok, brought to our shores from the Chinese immigrants to sold this dish alongside the canals that criss-crossed the city at the time.
Noodle soups are still everywhere to be found in Bangkok, in hundreds of different iterations. The easiest way to categorize them, though, is through the protein used: chicken, fish, pork, and of course, beef. Although many Thais don’t eat beef for religious reasons, beef is still a popular option — and getting more popular as time goes by, if the number of vendors offering Japanese beef options are anything to go by.
Time was, you had to traipse all the way into Chinatown to get a chance at some super-expensive obsessively massaged, sake-fed beef, sold in an alleyway in the shadow of a temple. Now, there are a handful of brave beef noodle vendors who offer your choice of Wagyu, Kobe or even Matsuzaka Japanese beef varieties, and not just in the confines of an air-conditioned luxury mall. Now you, too, can sweat in an open-air dining room, just like any other common prole with his or her bowl of yen ta fo.
Introducing Pu Raitiemthan, set out on Pracha Uthit Road across from Kesinee KIS School. Their beef — which you can order either krob (“crunchy”, usually a cut of beef shank that’s been simmered in beef broth), thun (stewed) or sod (“fresh”, or blanched slices of beef to order) — is sourced from Japan, Australia and Thailand (although the owner tells us he may stop ordering some cuts of Thai beef such as the “rugby” cut, due to inconsistent quality). You can have any of these preparations (or any kind of combination) with noodles (gub guaythiew), or with just broth or “dry” (gowlow nam or hang), accompanied by a small bowl of noodles or rice on the side that has been sprinkled with bits of deep-fried garlic. Here at Pu (and I’m sorry, since it’s a common Thai nickname meaning “crab”, but I do refuse to use the more popular spelling “Poo”), if they are not using the Thai varieties, they like to use Wagyu for their krob beef, Kobe for their stewed beef, and either Matsuzaka or Kobe for their freshly blanched beef.
Some beef vendors are known for their broth, and some are known for their meatballs, but the folks at Pu are known for their way with their cuts of beef: using exactly those cuts that are suited for their particular treatments. That goes for Thai beef too — never tough, always fresh, with a nice meaty heft to the broth that ensures you clean your bowl even after the beef is all gone.
Pracha Uthit Road across from Kesinee Ville compound
Open: 10am-8pm (or until they are sold out)