There may be more kui tio, noodle dishes, in Thailand than anywhere else. Even a partial list covers a number of noodle dishes. There's kui tio moo (rice noodles with pork), kui tio nuea (rice noodles with beef), kui tio luk chin pla (rice noodles with balls of pounded fish meat) and ba mee moo daeng (wheat noodles with Chinese red pork) or kui tio baeb Kwangtoong (Cantonese-style rice noodles). Also popular are yen ta fo (a rice noodle dish with a red sauce), kui tio Kae (Khae Chinese-style rice noodles) and kui tio Hailam (Hainanese-style rice noodles). And of course we have the standby, kui tio ped (rice noodles with duck meat), kui tio khaek (a curried rice noodle dish), khao soi (a curried wheat noodle dish), kui tio nuea liang (a beef noodle dish from Chanthaburi Province), kui tio kai mara (rice noodles with chicken and bitter melon), kui tio kai cheek baeb Ayutthaya (Ayutthaya-style rice noodles with chicken meat broken into pieces by hand). Also popular here are the Vietnamese chicken or beef rice noodles called pho. And then there are the new ones that keep appearing.
CUTTING CORNERS: Above, a box containing pounded peanuts, dried chillies and sugar to season noodles. Most shops today buy these at the market instead of preparing them fresh.
Among all the dishes in this repertoire, it is pork noodles (kui tio moo) that have been with us the longest. They remain the most popular, and there are many types. The basic format is simple and it is delicious and easy to prepare if you understand the basic technique. But many of the vendors now complicate things unnecessarily, so that it doesn't taste good and has little in common with the original dish. In the past, cooks made these dishes using just noodles and broth made by boiling pork bones with garlic, coriander root, salt and some soy sauce.