Noodle Buoy


Specialty of the house: egg noodles with broth on the side at  Buoy

I am supposed to be a writer, but it’s been a long time since I’ve really written. I no longer tell people that I do anything for a living, and I no longer think of writing as part of my identity. If I were to tell the truth about what it is that I do, a calling which gives my life real meaning, I would say that I watch television.

I watch a lot of TV. It’s like my job that I haven’t been paid for yet, but that I still do because someday I expect a check to show up in the mail. I am as rigorous about it as doctors who check in on their patients, or accountants who do stuff with numbers. Here’s my day: I wake up and watch CNN until I absolutely cannot bear it (about 45-50 minutes), then I switch to Ellen DeGeneres. I try to catch “Veep” and/or “Silicon Valley” if I can. Maybe some “Hoarders” or “Love at First Sight”. Then I take a lunch break, and then I watch the “Sopranos”. The rest of the day is devoted to Netflix. If it’s Monday or Tuesday, I can watch American football all day long and not have to change channels. It’s a pretty full schedule.

Sometimes, I go to the gym. It’s the only thing that consistently gets me out of the house. I have not one, but two personal trainers, both of whom are named Champ. One is “Big Champ” even though he is little, while the bigger one is “Even Bigger Champ” (just kidding. He’s “Little Champ.”) Both like to give me advice on where to eat, probably because it is the only thing I like to talk about while working out.

Some of their advice is terrible. I can say this because they like to make fun of me, and I only realize they are making fun of me after I have been humiliated. Like when they tell me that the “chicken at Lumpini Park is delicious.” Now let me give you some advice: don’t go to Lumpini Park and ask people about where to get good chicken. You aren’t going to end up with chicken (see: som tum at Hualumpong Station). Just take my word for it.

But because they are Thai, some real advice slips out occasionally. For a while now, everyone has been telling me about a killer bamee egg noodle place called “Hia Buoy” (or “Uncle Pickled Plum”, named after the owner, 10/2 Soi Polo, 081-629-5231). He offers a few soup noodle dishes like yen ta fo (pink seafood noodles), but the real standout is, of course, the egg noodles with pork and tom yum seasonings, silky and full of flavor. The servings are decently big (though not so big that I can’t eat two), and when I order hang (dry), as I am wont to do, I get a little bowl of aromatic pork broth on the side, because it’s the right thing to do. There was a time when Thais expected you to eat dry rice and noodles with a side of soup, you know, because it would help the rice kernels and noodle strands go down. Now when I go to a noodle stand and order hang, vendors usually don’t give me anything on the side, and I end up feeling like when I see a playlist of “Greatest Punk Songs of All Time” that includes Green Day and Blink 182 and then I make a face like:


I will never stop using this photo

Like, why not just go whole hog and include Avril Lavigne while you’re at it? Oh, Offspring, never mind. LOL Elvis Costello.

All the same, I will probably end up downloading it, because I have no standards or pride. Also, I need something to listen to while I’m on the road in Japan. I will be there for 3 weeks, sans television! Wish me luck.


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16 responses to “Noodle Buoy

  1. You can watch the movie “Hiro Dreams of Sushi” on your TV. That might count as part of your occupational activity. Most of the movie is a revelation but the part where they go to the hometown is a bit of a yawn. Still worth watching. I’m with you about the pseudo punks. Maybe add Billy “Its Still Rock n’ Roll to Me” Joel?

    • I did watch it and have to say I wish someone would do an equivalent for Thai street food.
      A writer I admire loves billy Joel. But I do notice some people hate him, esp men from NY. I really shouldn’t pour scorn on acts that are genuinely sincere and write with real feeling. Even if it’s fall out boy (?)

      • I loved the part where the one junior chef cried when his tamago-yaki was finally accepted! The cinematography was great also. I thought Giro was like a Bunraku master but I am not sure how enjoyable it would be to eat at his place, as the reputation is that customers are rushed along. I am from Long Island, and so I love Billy Joel as a Long Island boy who made good, no doubt. I liked his earlier stuff more, I felt it was more from the heart. I was just making the comment in relation to not quite punks being on the punks list, and using his rock n’ roll song as an example because, I never thought of him as a genuine rocker. But I didn’t mean any disrespect to him.

        • I hear customers are rushed at his place, too. I’d love to ask someone who has been there if it’s worth it. There are so many fantastic but less famous sushi bars in Tokyo to choose from.

          • I don’t know anyone who has been there, after the movie the waiting time for reservations was months or more, I believe. His son has a more causal – or less stern – restaurant with similar standards that might be easier to get in to. I want to relax and savor a meal, rushing through it seems too sterile. When I order omekase at one of my favorite places in Los Angeles, Kiriko, a fun relationship arises between my guests and I and the sushi chef. How was that one? What else would you enjoy? Do you like this? What is that? For me that exchange is one of the enjoyments. It is a total experience.

  2. I’m a dormant writer too, and I feel you completely. But you are writing on this blog, and it’s quality writing, and this stranger in California is reading and enjoying it. You are still a writer. (Though being a professional TV watcher sounds awesome too. Gimme some of that!)

  3. How long will you be in Japan? I get there Dec 29. I mean, I know we’ve never met, but…meet-up?

  4. Ok you have to get yourself a VPN that way you can watch TV anywhere in the world including the UK. Then you’ll have access to BBCi Player which has some of the best programmes in the world and you can down load them to watch later. Even from Japan.
    Oh, and get out more!

  5. Louie

    I head to Tokyo next week Ms. Food. How about a recommendation for Sushi the Noodle. Soup. Please.


    • Louie

      Sorry for the typo. I meant Sushi and then noodle soup separately.

      • Ha ha I thought you were a robot.
        I’m not sure where I’ll be going yet, especially for sushi since Tsukiji might have moved already. I’ll keep you updated while I’m there!

        • Yoshi

          Tsukiji is still there with all the tourists swarming around.
          Toyosu hasn’t been proved safe enough yet, so you’ll be able to enjoy Sushi and Sashimi in Tsukiji all you want.
          It’s not cheap but still it’s going to be worth what you pay for.

          By the way, I love and enjoy the two books of yours, and I’m looking forward to visiting Bangkok next week to find how many of the shops are still there.
          Hope your stay in Japan is going to be full of delicious experiences.

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