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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

THE KING OF YELLOW NOODLES ราชาบะหมี่เกี๊ยว or RA CHA BA MEE KEAW & Navigation in Thailand

Outdoor Dining At The "King of Yellow Noodles". An Unforgettable Experience, If You Can  Find Him.
Mae-Kao-Add-Sai Intersection
In Chiang Mai, Thailand on National Hwy 118 Just down the street from the Mae-Kao-Add-Sai Intersection but before National Road 1001 turn off to San Sai and conveniently located across the street from the, Talad Sam Yak San Sai Market or in Thai ตลาดสามแยกสันทราย you will find,if your lucky(after 6 PM in the evening), the "King of Yellow Noodles" 
Talad Sam Yak San Sai Market
We have been coming to Chiang Mai for almost 10 years but just recently discovered "The King of Yellow Noodles" ราชาบะหมี่เกี๊ยว just a few kilometers from our home.  
Asking For Directions in Thailand
Thailand isn't very big on addresses or maps but instead  you find things in Thailand by reference to other things.   The King of Yellow Noodles shop is no different.   I can give you his current GPS coordinates but unless you have a GPS you'd be out of luck.  None the less, here they are:  Latitude:  18°48'38.14"N  Longitude:  99° 1'41.02"E  

More often than not, when you ask for directions from a native Thai or even a foreigner your response will most likely be something like,  "Oh,  it's down the street from the train station and across from the 7-11.  No one is going to say, "Oh it's at 273/45 Soi 4, San Sai.  Why?  In short Thai's don't read maps and even if they did or even if you do there is a significant lack of signage in any language.

This is as good an opportunity to talk about some of the fundamental reasons why a Thai will never say,  "Go North three blocks...etc."  or Take th 118  East to San Sai and then go North 5 blocks."  In the west compass headings, and map reading are fairly common skills throughout the population.  Not so in Thailand.

The first illustration above of course depicts the cardinal directions North, South, East and West with the ordinal or intercardinal directions of North East, South East, South West and North West.

Below I have drawn a crude illustration of the Thai equivalent ordinal and cardinal names. 
English Transliteration of Thai Names for Cardinal and inter-cardinal compass directions
An estimated ninety five percent (95% ) of Native Thai's could not tell you the Ordinal or cardinal names of a compass if their life depended on it, in English or in Thai.    It's not something they were ever taught, nor is it knowledge they have a use for.  Don't ask me why.  It's in the water or something.   This is the main reason diretions are given out by reference to landmarks.  Secondly, is the lack of signage, street names or house numbers. 

Meeting the King of Yellow Noodles.
To assure yourself of a good seat and prompt service we recommend showing up fashionably early at around 6:00 to 7:00 PM. If you arrive early, as we like to do, you might be met by a few empty tables and note people aimlessly lingering, don't be alarmed, They are simply waiting for the King.
The King of Noodles just after arriving in his trusty Mitsubishi Kitchen Truck.  Power is on, TV is hooked up the water is boiling, noodles are simmering and the fun is about to begin It's still a little dark on the street as he hasn't had time to unfurl his extension cord and turn on his portable street lights.  Note the prices displayed on the marque are reasonable at 30 Baht or about $1.00 Below, with the street lights now on the crowds will begin to gather.

A fatherless young Thai family waiting for the King of Yellow Noodles to open shop.

Those premium tables fill up fast as one of the nights first customers prepares to indulge.

Here we see the King himself shaking out a freshly immersed batch of Yellow noodles.

The Master hard at work.  Doing what he loves and has a passion for.

The King of Yellow noodles always ready to offer help, assistance and directions.   "Yes, just down on the left across from the Honda dealer across from the flower shop..."

And a friendly smile

The master hard at work as a drive in customer pulls up behind the  Kitchen.

A bowl of noodles can be ordered with either red pork or regular pork

The cup of ice cold water is free.  Pour it yourself.

Be sure to come back tomorrow when we take a quick look inside the Talad Sam Yak San Sai Market, ตลาดสามแยกสันทราย and uncover the mysteries of Thai market life and food. 


Anonymous said...

haha...thai people call the yellow noodle as "Bami", I like eat it as well..And I know there is a small restaurant only open at night, they sell the dry "Bami" and pork-spareribs soup, such delicious...I will show you if getta chance...^^

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