70 years of noodles, hidden in a Chinatown alley

70 years of noodles, hidden in a Chinatown alley

Despite not having a name, this tiny temple-side stand has been serving steaming bowls of noodles to Yaowarat's locals for seven decades

“We don’t have a name, people just know us,” says Surin, owner of a noodle shop situated in the heart of Chinatown’s Sampeng Lane.  

As unlikely as it may sound, this hidden eatery has been around for 70 years. Its history began with Surin’s father, and has survived thanks to the regular customers who live and work in the area. Today, Surin makes the noodles and his wife, Naree, helps out. 

Chinatown BangkokSurin’s noodle dishes come in the same form they have since his father’s generation, with no MSG. The noodles are made traditionally by a carefully chosen supplier, who delivers them every morning at 4 a.m. by simply hanging them on a hook in the alley where Surin has his noodle cart.

Chinatown BangkokLike most noodle joints, you can customize your meal from the assortment of noodles and meats available. But pork satay, kanom jeep (a type of dim sum, also known as siu mai in Cantonese) and traditionally brewed coffee can also be ordered from other food carts located down the same tiny alley.Chinatown BangkokFar too narrow to fit tables and chairs, never mind that having piping hot bowls of noodles floating around is a hazard in such a small space, one obvious question arises: where do customers sit?Chinatown BangkokBranching off the alley is a Chinese shrine, named Joon Siang Jo Sue, with a small courtyard by the entrance. Fabric specialists, bread makers, herbal medicine gurus… This is where the long established business tycoons of Yaowarat enjoy a quiet lunch, in the shadow of a 120-year-old shrine.Chinatown BangkokPerhaps one of the area’s most underrated shrines, Joon Siang Jo Sue is the only temple in Bangkok to feature the sacred god of education, as well as a knowledgeable shrine manager to explain its history. Just a step away from the hectic Sampeng Lane, it's a surprisingly serene place to take a break from a day of shopping and enjoy a delicious lunch.

Getting there

Joon Siang Jo Sue Shrine is situated just off Yaowarat's (Chinatown) Soi Vanich 1, more commonly known as Sampeng Lane. If you enter from Chakrawat Road, keep walking down Sampeng Lane for around 20 meters until you see a plethora of hair-clip shops. There's a clip shop at the beginning of the alley, which branches off to the right. For more cool Chinatown finds, check out CNNGo's walking tour of the area.

Cattleya Jaruthavee is a freelance photographer and writer. She is particularly interested in socio-economic/political disparities in the world and has several ongoing projects.

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