Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Stranger in Bangkok finds 1 reason to go to Yaowarat -- Kway Chap

Yaowarat is the name of Bangkok's Chinatown. It's a place known for amazing chinese restaurants, goods of all sorts, goldsmiths, money changers, hardware houses, but above all else, traffic jams. The scene depicted on the picture above is a common daily scene at Yaowarat. Countless motionless cars struggling in the heat, pedestrians meandering through the crevices among stagnant vehicles..... it's just a horrible place to go to.

I still remember the only time I went to meet a customer, we couldn't find a place to park, and when we finally did, we had to walk around 1.5km to my customer's shop through many small streets, and back again after the meeting, only to be stuck in the traffic forever..... it's just so inefficient.

However, thanks to my Uni-mate Wendy (another fellow Stranger-in-Bangkok) and her Thai friend Neung, I begin to understand the beauty of Yaowarat, starting with the dish -- Kway Chap. For all my foreign readers, maybe you might not understand what I am talking about, but my Singaporean and Malaysian friends would identify this dish with deliciously-braised pork bits accompanied by a bowl of piping hot, curled-up flat rice noodle.

Kway Chap - Singapore style
It's always been one of my favourite coffeeshop foods in Singapore. The Kuching version is slightly different, with the pork bits added on top of the flat rice noodle in 1 single bowl, but equally salty, soya saucy and yummy.

However, when this bowl of Kway Chap at Yaowarat (at the junction of Thanon Yaowaphanit) was served in front of me, it looked very suspicious. It wasn't brown at all, in fact, almost clear, looking like Singapore's 猪杂汤(mixed pork innards soup). The first taste of the broth surprised me yet again, as it's spicy, exceedingly spicy, the peppery way, reminding me of Bak Kut Teh instead.

The spicy peppery Singapore Bak Kut Teh
Seriously, it's really a bowl full of pleasant surprises, it looks like pork innards soup, tastes like Bak Kut Teh and is really Thailand's version of Kway Chap (which is a reasonable name because it has the curled up flat rice noodles at the bottom, which is what the name means). Even the usually bubbly and cheerful Wendy fell into a dead silence after taking her first sip, it was too good for us to even think of splitting our concentration for one moment.
Presenting Thailand's Kway Chap, complete with fresh odourless innards and crispy pork belly!
I realised why I couldn't feel the true allure of Yaowarat the last time, because stalls like these could only open after 630pm, which is the time when I am already battling with the ferocious jams trying to manoeuvre my way back to the office. That's when the REAL food shows up, and the fiery afternoon sun takes a rest to be replaced by a bearable evening breeze.
Wendy (left) and Neung (right)
Thank you ladies, for giving me the opportunity to change my view of Chinatown.

It's clear that the durian season is drawing near
With such exotic sights and exciting tastes, I have no doubt that I will be back in Yaowarat again, not for work, but for a leisurely stroll down the delectable street food stalls on a lazy Sunday evening.


  1. Hi! I would love to try the thai kway chap. May I ask which soi this stall is near?

    Thks! :D


  2. Hi Di

    Oops! I did not take note which Soi it is near, but I will find out for you.


  3. Hello Di

    Sorry for the LATE LATE reply. Are you living in Bangkok now? Sorry if you have left!

    I asked my Thai friends, checked maps, and none of these ways could give me a proper answer to your question.

    The only thing I can say that it is a roadside stall right smack on the main Yaowarat road, with seats on the pavements. It operates in front of a well-known theatre building that is already our of business.

    I guess there's nothing much more I can do aside of this. Also note that there are 2 other popular Kway chap stalls, one has a shop, the other one is a roadside stall at a major T junction.

    If you manage to find the right stall, try their lotus root drink too, it's fantastic.

  4. Hey Eddie!

    Krob khun maak kha!

    I am due to travel to bkk next week and looking forward to it. I will try looking for it when i'm there! Many thanks! Chok dee kha :D

    Best regards,

  5. Hello Di

    Did you manage to get the right place? Anyways, no matter whether you found the exact stall, I hope you enjoyed all the food you had at Yaowarat all the same!



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