I have tried various Thai style noodle dishes inside and outside of Thailand. But on this particular Saturday I was invited to taste Boat Noodles at one of my favourite eating establishments in Copenhagen, MD Cafe and Restaurant. And I’m happy to report that they didn’t let me down. As always, it was tasteful and authentic with all the rich and subtle flavours that ultimately make for a delicious meal. So should you happen to be in Copenhagen, this legendary noodle dish should not be missed.
If you have followed my blog, you have probably read about MD Cafe and Restaurant at MD Cafe & Restaurant: Authentic Thai Seafood in Copenhagen
The journey of recipe
A couple of year ago, a buddhist abbot from Copenhagen went to Norway for his regular meeting with other abbots. Through the meeting he got to know a wealthy man who owned a famous boat noodle franchise in Thailand. The wealthy man was seeking to acquire the abbot’s so-called ‘first buddhist amulets’. Instead of money, however, the wealthy man paid by donating his secret Boat Noodle recipe worth an estimated THB 300,000 or USD 85,000. The recipe had been in his family for more than 50 years prior to the creation of his food empire.
The abbot initially gave the recipe to the chef at an almshouse, but his attempts at mastering this secret family recipe fell short.
Then, at one point, when the owner of MD Cafe and Restaurant happened to visit the abbot, the owner got the recipe and was instantly successful in creating in achieving the proper taste. The abbot, therefore, convinced the restaurant owner that serving Boat Noodles in his restaurant would be a smart move. And since then, the restaurant has been flooded with customers eager for Boat Noodles.
The restaurant owner told me that the keys of this dish are fresh and high quality ingredients and hygienic control. He uses fresh noodles imported from Thailand every week. The difference between freshly made noodles and dried noodles is the cooking time and the opaque. Fresh noodles require less cooking time and look less opaque than dried noodles once cooked. Personally, I would recommend fresh noodles because they have more bite to them. Boat noodles always have sliced meat and meat balls. The meat can be either pork or beef. And even if I, too, watched the eye-opening Cow-Spiracy documentary, my choice would be beef. It simply tastes a bit better. If beef is what you choose, you will get meat balls as well as part of the dish. Impressively, the owner makes the meat balls himself, as he wants to achieve the same size and taste as you would expect if the dish was served in Thailand. Boat noodles would not be authentic without strong smelling soup. The soup is made from pig or cow’s bone broth and a tea-spoon of frozen pig or cow’s blood. The best pork bone broth, according to this recipe, is spine bones, freshly roasted hot peppers, vegetables, and family-owned secret ingredients which makes this recipe so special. And as far as I was told, there is no MSG nor contain any wheat, milk or nuts in this recipe. The owner told me that although he makes more than 20 litres of soup per day, there is none left after 3pm. First, the soup has to boil and simmer for at least 2 hours, and its temperature has to be more than 75 degree Celsius. Now it is ready to be mixed with the frozen blood (as per serving). Due to regulations from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, pig or cow’s blood can be used for cooking only after it has been frozen for more than 48 hours before serving in order to kill bacteria. Boat noodles are garnished with homemade fried pork skin and garlic, fresh bean sprouts, and fresh Thai basil leaves. Thai people, myself included, have pork rinds and a bit of fresh veggies with this dish. When I was younger I enjoyed hearing the fizzing sounds of the pork rinds soaking into the warm soup. As the rule of thumbs, there is no need to add any seasoning for the perfect dish–except chilli. That’s the motto for many Thais. Authentic boat noodles often come with spicy and sour seasoning sauce. The owner of MD also makes the sauce himself using green chilli, habanero and tamarin. Some people use the sauce for dipping the meat and the meat balls. Some add it to the dish in order to intensify the taste. Serving sizes here are similar to what you would get in Thailand because the perfect taste comes with the proper portion. Personally, two servings is plenty fine for me. However, recently three guys set a record eating 15 portions. An equally silly and jaw-dropping feat.
At MD boat noodles are served only for lunch, which means from noon until 3pm every day. Prices start at DKK 49 or USD 7.50, but the one I recommend is DKK 59 or USD 8.50. Extra topping, such as bean sprouts, basil leaves or pork rinds, cost DKK 10-20 or USD 1.5-3. For dedicated carnivores, grilled meat ball skewers are available. So… what are you waiting for?
Read more about MD Cafe & Restaurant at: