A Deliciously Tasty Thai Boat Noodle Soup Recipe

With so many flavorful Asian dishes, it can be hard to choose just one when it’s time for dinner. If you’re looking for a traditional option that’s been around for centuries, you’ll want to give Thai food a go. Have you tried the Thai boat noodle soup recipe?

A traditional Thai boat noodle soup recipe will transport you straight to the riverbanks of Thailand, where these noodles were initially sold. You’ll have a delightful experience sampling this fantastic fare.

Read on for everything you need to know about this decadent recipe, including one version of how to make it.

History of Thai Boat Noodles

Boat noodles are a traditional food that had its origins in the period from the 12th to the 16th centuries. Initially, they were served from the boats that traveled the Bangkok canals.

The merchant would operate a one-person show on the boat during that time. They’d paddle the boat, prepare the soup, serve the customers, and accept the money. There was no one else to assist.

Because of the difficulty of handing the bowls to the customers, they were kept smaller. This practice ensured the safety and convenience of the merchant and reduced the possibility of dropping the bowls.

Today, the dish is still very popular and served in restaurants. However, the tradition of the small bowl is generally maintained.

You’ll also find Thai boat noodle soup everywhere, including in the Twin Cities.

What Is Thai Boat Noodle Soup?

Thai boat noodle soup features a robust flavor. It is made with pork, beef, soy sauce, and pickled bean curd. It is often presented with meatballs and a pig’s liver. Part of its rich flavor comes from being seasoned with pig or cow blood mixed with salt and spices. It is similar in color to beef noodle soup but is much thicker because of the added blood.

Other common ingredients found in this dish include fried garlic, bean sprouts, parsley, radish, and Thai chili flakes. Several types of noodles are used, including thin rice noodles and egg noodles. The dish is often served with pork crackling and basil.

Today, many choose to make the recipe without animal blood. There are many considerations to take when using this ingredient, as it will require daily purchasing of supplies to ensure it is safe for the customers.

How To Make Thai Boat Noodle Soup

If you’d like to make your own Thai boat noodle soup, try this recipe. It’s an excellent option for someone who wants to follow a traditional approach to producing this soup.


  • 7 oz dry rice noodles
  • 12 beef or pork balls
  • Beef stock (recipe below)
  • Marinated pork (recipe below)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • ½ cup beef or pork blood (can substitute coconut milk)
  • Fried garlic and garlic oil
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Thai basil
  • Chili flakes
  • Chili vinegar (recipe below)


  • 3 liters water
  • 2 pounds pork or beef bones
  • Top half of a lemongrass stalk
  • Medium onion, chopped roughly
  • 2-3 cilantro roots, crushed
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 pieces galangal
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Golden Mountain Sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons black soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fermented soybean paste, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 20 grams rock sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste

Marinated Pork:

  • 200 g pork loin, sliced thinly into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

Chili Vinegar:

  • 2 spur chilies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ – ½ cup white vinegar, as needed


Marinate the pork:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a container.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Create the broth:

  1. Place pork bones in a large stock pot with water. Ensure they are fully submerged. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering for 45 minutes.
  2. Skim the scum off the water’s surface.
  3. Add all broth ingredients but the salt. Simmer for 1 hour. While this is simmering, prepare the chili vinegar and soak your noodles.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt as needed after the hour is up. If it’s too salty, dilute it with water. Remember, noodles and vegetables will dilute the broth.
  5. Strain the broth. It can be used now or stored for several days in the refrigerator.

Make the Chili Vinegar:

  1. Broil the chilies and garlic cloves. The chilies should become charred and the garlic brown. Alternatively, you can grill or pan-sear them.
  2. Chop the chilies roughly and place them in a small blender. Add the garlic and enough white vinegar to blend easily.
  3. Blend until all large chunks are gone. Add vinegar as needed when the consistency seems too thick.

Make the Noodles:

  1. Soak the noodles in cold water. They should become soft and pliable. For small-size rice noodles, this is about 10-15 minutes. For thin rice noodles, the time is only 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the noodles, wrap them, and place them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

Assemble the Soup:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a complete boil to blanch the noodles. At the same time, bring the broth to a simmer. Keep the pot covered at all times to prevent further reduction. It must stay hot until ready to use.
  2. Using a noodle strainer, blanch one portion of noodles, spinach, and bean sprouts for 5 seconds. Drain and transfer to the serving bowl.
  3. Add a small amount of garlic oil to the noodles and toss. This will prevent them from clumping. Repeat with the following portions.
  4. Add the meatballs to the broth, bringing it to a boil. Next, add the marinated pork, stirring to cook.
  5. After the pork is cooked, stir in the blood. Add one tablespoon per cup of broth. Stirring is very important as it will prevent large clumps from forming.
  6. Add the broth to the noodles.
  7. Place fried garlic and cilantro on top of the soup. Serve with chili vinegar, chili flakes, Thai basil, and pork crackling.

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