t is a few minutes after 6pm, and Lim Lao Sa, a fishball noodle stand tucked into an alleyway near the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, has just opened. Rain is falling, hard. A series of deftly arranged tarps shelter patrons sitting on red plastic stools at a handful of tables. Water drizzles off the tarp edges, down the concrete walls and past exposed wiring. Fluorescent bulbs cast harsh shadows. Lim Lao Sa’s owners – a brother and sister who have inherited the 60-year-old business from their father – bicker vigorously.
My friend Win Luanchaison, a real-estate developer and fervent culinary explorer, and I tuck into our bowls. The quenelle-like fishballs are at once springy and creamy, the rice noodles supple, the broth clear and sure of purpose.
It is easy to understand why Lim Lao Sa cook annually for the Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. “She eats egg noodles served dry,” says Pawita Boriboonchaisiri, the sister.