It’s always interesting trying to get a taxi to take me home. You see, my Soi (Street) doesn’t actually have a name. It’s a tiny Soi off a main thoroughfare next to a major Expressway. On a map it looks like a “L”…well actually a backwards “J”. I normally tell them the area I live in and then “guide” them in–the whole time they think I am a clueless farang (foreigner) because it’s not where a foreigner would normally live. In total, and with a little help provided from Google Map, my Soi is about 130 meters in length. But in this itty bitty space there is so much character!
We have a small coffee house to the left and a stained glass store to the right guarding the entrance of the Soi. The small coffee house makes an awesome iced cappuccino and the stained glass store always has new and interesting wrought iron and stained glass works on display. They’ve recently opened a bed and breakfast attached to the stained glass place called the Rainbow Room Guest House and it’s been on our radar for when we have family visiting.
A little further down the Soi, depending on the time of day, you will be welcomed with the smell of either fried chicken or freshly baked bread. In the morning it smells like fresh bread from the bakery that churns out fresh loaves of yumminess destined for restaurants (no personal sales, I asked), and in the afternoon it smells like fried chicken from the family that does all their food stall cooking in front of their home before transporting it all in a truck that is more rust than metal to their food stall down the road (that IS available for sale, I’ve asked and purchased!). It is this section of pavement that needs the most attention as it it broken up and often holding pools of greasy water–I mean character!
The family across the street from us runs a construction firm (the office is downstairs and the living area is upstairs); on Sundays they all pile into a car and go out to eat together. Our neighbor sells used cars and does the body work and detailing of new inventory vehicles in front of her house; it’s taken me some months but I’ve finally gotten her to smile (and it’s lovely). It’s the kind of Soi where you know that you are an outsider and feel a little more joyful every time you feel a little more accepted–it’s special and it makes you feel special to be attached to and slowly accepted into it.
The Soi dead ends at a barrier preventing access to the main road under the expressway, and at its termination is an amazing noodle shop that no one seems to know the name of (just as no one knows the name of this Soi). In fact, if you look on GoogleMaps it is labeled as the “Local Noodle Shop”. Though no one knows the name of this noodle shop, many locals know of it and its deliciousness. That creates a bit of traffic in our tiny Soi.
When Anna wanted to rent this shophouse/apartment the first question the landlord asked her was “Do you have a car?”. Anna was able to rent the place because she didn’t. You see, this “Local Noodle Shop” is open 7 days a week from morning to 2 pm churning out amazing soup to the masses and parking is limited on this tiny Soi during those hours of operation. So there’s a silent agreement from all residents on this no name Soi to accept that during these opening hours there will be cars trying to negotiate the Soi’s limited width (to and fro) and trying to find parking. It’s not uncommon to see a Porsche trying to squeeze around a Mercedes as it vies for parking with a BMW. For reasons I don’t understand this indistinct noodle shop is a mecca for folks with deep pockets and nice rides. Yet the bowls of delicious noodle goodness are only 50 baht.
The standard bowl of noodles comes with your choice of noodles (egg, vermicelli, and the wide, flat white noodles), a couple of ladles of rich broth, 3 or 4 minced pork balls (the showstopper here–deliciously seasoned with garlic and some secret family recipe–I could eat a bowl of these), strips of tender pork, a couple of strips of liver, and 2 or 3 bits of chewy intestine. I prefer the egg noodles and skip on the liver and intestine bits. Since I go there often enough they know exactly what I like so all I have to do is have a seat (I try my best to make sure that I’m there by 1130 to beat the lunch rush so that I can have a seat–and am usually joined by strangers at my table needing a place to sit and eat) and immediately a bowl of delicious noodles is delivered to me just the way I like and with a bottle of water on the side. At each table is an assortment of condiments (fish sauce, green chillies in vinegar, sugar, crushed peanuts, fresh lemon juice, and crushed dried red chillies that seem to ignite a soup on impact). I like to add a little fish sauce and chillies (both red and green). It’s taken me awhile to master the proper dosage so that I’m sweating from the heat but also wanting to lick the bowl clean!
I love this place because they operate like a well oiled machine. They have several workers operating 2 stations and getting the meals to the customers. You sit, receive your food quickly, dine, and pay. No fuss with missing food items. No waiting for the bill, and you will never be disappointed with the meal.
The bowls of noodle soup are 50 baht and a bottle of water is 10 baht. I recommend you pay with a 100 baht note so you can use that change to buy some Saku Sai Moo, tapioca dumplings with a tangy pork and peanut filling for 30 baht. The little dumpling stand is operated by a very kind man who will be happy to give you a sample if you ask. I guarantee if you sample it you will be walking away with a take-away container of dumplings!
I really like living on this little no name Soi. Yeah, you have to commute a bit to get to the major shopping areas. But my neighbors are wonderfully interesting, and there’s a great noodle shop 30 seconds away!
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