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Thong Lo Duck Noodles (Closed, alas)

Michael Babcock, March 18th, 2010

UPDATE: Alas, my favorite noodle shop is now closed (probably in 2013, actually). If you’re looking for another noodle shop in Thong Lo, try Lee’s Noodles.

I’ll leave this blog posted for historical reasons.


I have a particularly fond spot in my heart for duck noodles in Thailand; luckily they are available at in a little duck noodle shop at the Thong Lo neighborhood where I often stay.

Duck Noodle Shop

“Mandarin” Duck Noodle Shop

On my very first trip to Thailand (in 1992) I arrived in the early morning and by the time I got to my hotel in Thong Lo* it was past 3:00 a.m. I was hungry so Kasma took me across Sukhumvit Road to the night market on Soi 38. I was amazed! The street was all lit up, as bright as daytime, and there were maybe 20 different food stalls, many with patrons sitting in front. We went to a duck noodle stall and I still can taste those noodles. (A recent Wednesday Photo showed a night market vendor at the same market.)

Duck Noodle Shop from Street

Duck Noodle Shop on Thong Lo

That very first year I discovered a duck noodle shop right around the corner from where we stay. It’s become a favorite place to eat ever since. It’s a fairly typical storefront eating place in Thailand, opening right up onto the street with the food assembled in the front and tables and chairs in back. The sign above the store says (in Thai) “Mandarin.”

Making Duck Noodles

Making duck noodles

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

It is on Thong Lo (Sukhumvit Soi 55) on the Soi 55 side somewhat more than a block in; so quite close to the Thong Lo Skytrain stop. It’s next to a Japanese bakery and on the other side it’s two buildings before a driveway for the Grand Tower Inn. (The bakery address is 25/15.) You’ll see the plump ducks hanging in the glass display case in front.

To my taste, the duck in Thailand tastes a whole lot better than what we get in the states. They seem plumper and tastier. There is somewhat less fat (it is a warm climate, presumably they don’t need it there) and the taste is just exquisite.

Duck Noodles

Duck Noodles at the Mandarin

Like most noodle shops, this one specializes in one type of noodle, in this case, duck, roast duck (such as you find hanging in Chinatown stores here in the U.S.); there are other shops that serve, instead, stewed duck noodles. This shop also sell pork dishes, and though the crispy pork looks very appetizing, the only thing I’ve ever ordered there is duck. On occasion with Kasma we’ll order a plate of the duck and some chinese kroccoli cooked with oyster sauce. The other 90% of the time, I’ll get “Dry Duck Noodles” – Ba Mee Bped Haeng. The cost is 55 baht. This might be considered somewhat pricey compared to street stalls but there is a substantial amount of duck and I think it’s well worth it.

Condiment Set

Condiment set for adding flavors

When you order noodles in Thailand you first specify the type of noodle; in this case it is ba mee, a thin wheat noodle. Next you specify the meat – bped, meaning duck. Then you specify whether you want soup noodles by saying nahm (water, meaning soup) or haeng, meaning dry.

Each bowl is made to order and will include some greens along with the noodles and duck. The noodles come largely without flavoring – you are expected to spice them up according to your taste preference. I have a theory that this learning to balance and harmonize flavors from an early age (whenever they eat noodles) helps Thais to be such excellent cooks.

Duck Noodle Shop Inside

Inside the Mandarin

To flavor your foods, you’ll use the condiment set on the table; although the exact contents vary slightly from place to place, here you have 4 containers with fish sauce or soy (for salty), chilies in vinegar (for sour), dried chillies and roasted chillies in oil. There’s also sugar available on the table, to add sweetness but also to balance the other flavors. (See Kasma’s article, Balancing Flavors: An Exercise .)

I like to add a fair amount of the chillies in oil (I take it to the edge of my heat tolerance) along with some sour, salty and a bit of sugar to balance. After the initial additions, I’ll take a taste and then adjust as needed until it’s just right.

Roast Duck To Go

Roast duck to go

They offer various soft drinks but I usually just get the tea in a glass; it’s free, but the ice is 3 baht. Some noodle shops have a plastic container of weak tea (or water) on the table.

We often get a half a duck to go when we leave. They package it up in a styrofoam container and give you a package of gravy, package of soy sauce based dipping sauce, and a package of pickles. We’ll eat it later, sharing with Kasma’s sister and mom.

* Note: I use the official spelling for Sukhumvit Soi 55, which is Thong Lo (though sometimes Thong Lor, or Thonglor). A more phonetic spelling for the soi would be “Tawng Law.” (See A Note on Thai Pronunciation and Spelling.)

Duck Noodle Close-up

Duck Noodles, spiced, ready to eat


Written by Michael Babcock, March 2010. Updated December 2014.

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9 Responses to “Thong Lo Duck Noodles (Closed, alas)”

  1. […] the left we see Roast Duck Noodles from my favorite duck noodle shop in Thong Lo (pronounced “tawng law” – Sukhumvit Soi 55). This dish uses what the Thais call […]

  2. […] very tasty; they are seasoned very well. All in all, it will do as a replacement for the other Thong Lo Duck Noodle Shop that I patronized for so many years (now, sadly, closed). I would say, though, that I preferred the […]

  3. […] the left we see Roast Duck Noodles from my favorite duck noodle shop in Thong Lo (pronounced “tawng law” – Sukhumvit Soi 55). This dish uses what the Thais call […]

  4. […] feverishly stalking the blog, Thai Food and Travel, I stumbled upon an interesting post featuring a little shop full of […]

  5. […] There’s one vendor who I have extreme difficulty just walking by, without stopping to make a purchase. It’s found on Thong Lo just a little ways in from Sukhumvit Road on the lower-numbered soi side, just a little bit further in than the shop with Mangos (and Sticky Rice); a bit further down is my favorite place for Duck Noodles. […]

  6. […] to be poured over the sticky rice only when you are ready to eat. Our favorite duck noodle shop (Thong Lo Duck Noodles) also uses a combination of styrofoam, in this case for roasted duck, with the accoutrements of two […]

  7. […] last blog on March 18 was on Thong Lo Duck Noodles; here’s one more blog on a Thong Lo stop. Thong Lo (pronounced “Tawng Law”) is […]

  8. Trinidad Francoeur says:

    Blog looks really good mate, keep it up! Inspires me to keep building a following of my own.

  9. emily says:

    i just want to tell ms. loha-unchit how wonderful her cookbook is! i adore it! and i loved seeing her bio in the latest savuer magazine, too. the recipe for coconut custard in kabocha squash was lovely, and the drunken noodles were delicious too. so many great recipes, and it is beautifully written. thank you,
    emily

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