Eating Thai Boat Noodles When You Cross the Thai Border

Eating Thai Boat Noodles When You Cross the Thai Border

Eating Thai Boat Noodles When You Cross the Thai Border

Thai Boat Noodles or Guai Dtiaw Rua (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ) is a Thai style robust noodle dish with a strong flavor. If you’re a noodle enthusiast, you will enjoy this one bowl dish with relish.

Hatyai has many street foods for your eating pleasure. This is my go-to dish to fill hungry tummies whenever I enter Hatyai before I head for the best nibbles at 7-Eleven.

You can choose from several kinds of noodles. I prefer the rice vermicelli to Guai Dtiaw. Sometimes you can ask for a mix of both types of noodles if you are able to communicate this to the staff. Many of the street food stall staff does not speak English. Some speak a little Teochew (a Chinese dialect). All you need to do point to order.

The authentic Thai Boat Noodles is loaded with both pork and beef slices, meatballs, braised eggs and pig’s liver. There are some pickled bean curd and some other spices.

A Choice of Soups

There are two types of soups. The dark Nam Tok broth means it contains blood. Raw cow blood or pig’s blood is often used in Thailand to enrich regular noodle dishes. The broth is seasoned with various herbs that make it flavorful. The soup base has a great balance of all the five tastes with an underlying meaty flavor!

If this is too is too adventurous for you, you can order Nam Sai. You can ask for more spicy gravy when you order.

Ask for beef if you are not a pork eater.

Eating Thai Boat Noodles When You Cross the Thai Border_Stall
Customers at the shop along the highway just after the border crossing. Photo: Doris Lim


The noodles are often sold at a medium-sized bowl. The free salads are the additional raw bean sprouts and minty Vietnamese Coriander which you can add to your liking.

Each bowl cost about THB 40. The price is inexpensive for a quick stop to fill your tummy.


At every table, there are different Thai sauces which you can add to the soup for extra punch. The chili powder can be very spicy if you have a mild palate.

At every stall, you will find plastic wrapped Deep Fried Pork Crackling or rind. A pack of pork crackling is about THB 15.

You can eat it on its own or add the pork rind into the boat noodle soup before you eat it.

Eating Thai Boat Noodles When You Cross the Thai Border_Pork Crackling
Pork Crackling is a delicious condiment to the Thai Boat Noodle. Photo: Doris Lim

Origins of Boat Noodles

Thai Boat Noodles are small bowls of noodles. These can be finished between two to three mouthfuls. The noodles are served from the boats plying the river markets in Thailand’s in the old days. Often patrons need to take a few bowls to fill up their tummies.


Authentic in flavor and delicious, I finished the last bit of my dark soup before discovering it was made with blood. I was surprised that it tasted so good. The darkness of the soup wasn’t from dark soy sauce.

We have a vegetarian friend with us and the owner quickly soft boiled an organic egg for him. The result is a perfect soft boiled egg; the yolk soft and the white firm.

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The loaded Thai Boat Noodle with pork slices and meatballs. The soups are served separately. Photo: Doris Lim
Eating Thai Boat Noodles When You Cross the Thai Border_Eggs
Perfectly hard boiled Organic Eggs. Photo: Doris Lim

Where to Eat

We found this stall just off the highway after we cleared customs. The customers are all locals and do not speak English. Our Thai friend ordered the food for us.

If you’re in Bangkok, head to Victory Monument to sample Bangkok’s famous Thai Boat Noodles. The day I went it was jammed packed and as we were starving we went to coffee shop for chicken rice instead.

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