I left my house this morning in a foul mood following a few hours’ worth of CNN, prepared to kick in the face of any man who gave me cause. After reaching my destination and spending a mere few minutes discussing the ins and outs of Thai food, I returned home in a far rosier mindset. Food can do that for you. That’s what I like about it. It’s the equivalent of puppy and kitten videos and an afternoon spent watching Youtube videos of people attempting yoga moves that are far too advanced and falling, but not falling so badly that they seriously injure themselves, because we are nice people and not gaslighting douchebags who get defensive when asked about beer.
There goes my mood again. Let’s focus on some other things that make us happy when we’re in a bad mood, like (many) glasses of wine or 45 minutes of extremely mild cardio. Watching Lifetime channel specials featuring gourmet detectives or witches with magical powers whose most serious problem is when a rare flower gets cut in the public park. Listening to Aretha Franklin’s version of “I Say a Little Prayer”. Hugging my children. Did I mention wine earlier?
And of course, stuffing my face. What is so great about Thailand is that there are so many different ways to go, and they are all good. One of these ways is boat noodles, which sprouted up around the 1940s as small bowls served by canal-faring vendors who thickened the broth with a splash of pork or beef blood. These noodles remain popular, renowned particularly in the Victory Monument area, but they also have a following in other waterborne areas such as Ayutthaya.
Nakhon Nayok is another such place, generously studded with waterlogged rice paddies and shot through by the (what else) Nakhon Nayok River. Not surprisingly, then, boat noodles also figure here, but there is a type of boat noodle that is not served anywhere else. Called “Guaythiew Ruea Gati Sod” (boat noodles with fresh coconut milk), the vendor claims to make it from an “ancient recipe”, but a little questioning will tell you that she actually invented the noodles herself.
Adding the coconut milk to the noodles is not for everyone: it smoothes over all of boat noodles’ hard edges and sweetens the broth, sort of like khao soy without all the texture or garnishes. But if you are looking for something different, or if you prefer your noodles sans broth, simply a good bowl of boat noodles, trek over to Thanon Yai Lumlukka between Klongs 9 and 10, soak in the view out over the river, and treat yourself to a bowl or three of noodles, both with broth and without. You will probably leave in a better mood than when you came.