This beef noodle shop in Bangkok offers the option to order a bowl of soup that has been simmering for more than 40 years.
The shop has a giant pot with brimming beef-the melting cuts have been stewed for more than eight hours, as well as plenty of fresh coriander and some secret ingredients.
The stew smells sweet and rich.
You can taste cinnamon, star anise, black peppercorns, garlic, and ten types of aromatic Chinese herbs. This dark stew has been cooking nonstop for 40 years and it’s said to be the oldest beef stew in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.
The Oldest Stew in Thailand: Tasting the Old Thailand?
The Wattana Panich restaurant has been serving countless bowls of this stew for three generations. Although new eateries are popping up every day, this business has kept the same spot in the city in a competitive scene with plenty of consistency, dedication, and precision.
The Chinese-Thai owner of the restaurant, Nattapong Kaweenuntawong says that they keep tasting and that there’s no recipe. He’s 40 and works every single day. He fills up bowls after bowls with the legacy of his family.
The stew includes various beef cuts that are cooked to perfection, as well as noodles and garlic. The rich stew is topped with fresh Chinese celery.
Every single bowl that’s served is an example of the art of cooking which the family needed decades to perfect. He started tasting the stew at a young age and under his dad’s guidance, he learned how to keep its perfection.
He remembers his dad seasoning the stew and giving it to him to taste it. At first, he didn’t get it, but once this became a routine practice, he started to notice when the taste would change.
His dad would also tell him what was missing.
He explains that the taste changes once the stock is added. And, the amount of the stock varies every time. They continue tasting to find the missing piece and then season it.
Customers Come to Taste the Decades-Old Culinary Heritage Stew
Customers dive into the notorious traffic of Bangkok to reach this old-school shop to taste the decades-old culinary inheritance that was created by Nattapong’s grandpa when he set up a small food stall some 60 years ago near Chao Phraya River.
He later moved the stall to a different location before it was transformed into a two-story shop in Ekamai in central Bangkok and there, this soup has been cooking since the time Nattapong was born.
The staff has been using the soup from the previous day for four decades as the basis for the next day.
When the soup has reduced at night, they keep it in the pot and simmer it. It’s used as stock for the next day. This is their practice since the opening of the restaurant.
The soup is made using beef bones and the meat is stewed for hours daily to extract the sweetness. Once tender, they’re cut into smaller pieces and cooked for four more hours in the stock prior to being served.
With the stew aging, the popularity of this restaurant grows.
It’s frequented not just by locals, but also foreign visitors from all over the world. Nattapong notes that they welcome guests from China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, and Singapore. In recent years, there are also customers from Europe and the US.
One Sebastian Lee from Singapore says that he discovered the place on YouTube and read about it from food bloggers. This is when he decided to come and try it himself.
He describes it as a pot of goodness–an awesome broth and exceptionally tender beef.