Thai Boat Noodle Soup (Kuaytiaw Reua)

  • Serves

    serves 8


It's the heft in boudin noir, the intrigue in jugged hare. It's a silken presence in soups and congee. Blood is bold, a bit bitter—and, frankly, kind of creepy. But we like it. Especially in this spicy, delicious Thai noodle soup, enhanced with a touch of crimson pig's blood. Similar to one served at Andy Ricker's Portland, Oregon, restaurant Pok Pok, it's adapted from a recipe in his cookbook, Pok Pok (Ten Speed Press, 2013). Ask your butcher for pig's blood. If it's unavailable, you can substitute beef blood. This recipe first appeared in our 2015 SAVEUR 100.

Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Soups and Stews


For the Broth

  • 2 12 lb. boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 oz. Thai rock sugar or 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 10 cups pork stock or water
  • 34 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 10 sprigs cilantro
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh or frozen pandan leaves
  • 2 stalks Chinese or regular celery, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece fresh or frozen galangal, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 stick cinnamon

For the Soup

  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. frozen Thai pork balls
  • 10 oz. thin, flat rice noodles, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
  • 8 oz. boneless pork shoulder, sliced into 1-inch strips (about 1/8-inch–thick)
  • 2 stalks Chinese or regular celery, leaves and tender stalks roughly chopped
  • 2 oz. Chinese or regular spinach, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 12 cups bean sprouts
  • 4 tsp. pig's or beef blood
  • 14 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 14 cup Thai fish sauce
  • 14 cup vinegar-pickled Thai chiles, thinly sliced, plus 1/4 cup pickling liquid
  • 4 tsp. chile powder
  • 4 tsp. granulated sugar


Step 1

Make the broth: Boil ingredients in an 8-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until pork is tender, about 1 hour. Strain broth into a bowl. Using tongs, transfer pork, discarding aromatics, to broth; keep warm.

Step 2

Make the soup: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-low; cook until garlic is golden, 6–8 minutes. Boil pork balls, rice noodles, sliced raw pork shoulder, and celery until pork is cooked through, 4–6 minutes. Add spinach and bean sprouts and cook 30 seconds more; divide mixture between bowls. Top with reserved broth and pork and garlic oil. Stir blood into each bowl; top with remaining ingredients.

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