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Phnom Penh noodles (also known as Kuy Teav Phnom Penh or simply kuy teav) is a breakfast favorite in Cambodia, and is named after the country’s bustling capital — Phnom Penh. Kuy Teav is the Cambodian answer to its world-renowned Vietnamese cousin, Pho.
Much like Pho, Kuy Teav is based on a bone broth, incorporates an assortment of meats, herbs, and greens, and gives the diner ultimate freedom over which toppings to use. This eclectic mix of Cambodian ingredients afford Kuy Teav its singular liquorice-y, piquant, and zesty flavor and aroma. However, because of this customizability, Phnom Penh Noodles is a dish that tastes slightly different and means something unique for everyone who tries it.
Recently, Kuy Teav has enjoyed an uptick of popularity across the globe (and notably in the US), as Cambodian food is slowly but surely receiving its much deserved acclaim. However, if there are no restaurants that serve Kuy Teav in your community (a frustration shared by many Cambodians abroad), worry not. Our Phnom Penh noodles recipe is authentic, the cooking directions are relatively simple, and the resulting broth is nothing short of scrumptious.
Our recipe for the famous Phnom Penh noodle soup recreates the delicious Kuy Teav broth you’ll find in the many street food stalls that line the leafy boulevards of the Cambodian capital. However, cooking Phnom Penh noodles on your own can be problematic — it takes a while to prepare the broth. In fact, the Cambodian restaurant owners who specialize in Kuy Teav wake up at ungodly hours to get the broth ready just in. time for breakfast. So, as we’ve tested this recipe at home, we’ve tried our best to shorten the cooking times by performing certain steps concurrently. And while it’ll still take you some time to prepare this Phnom Penh Noodle Soup, the good news is that you can (and should) make a large batch and freeze the leftovers in containers. This way, you can reheat your Kuy Teav at any time, add the toppings, and enjoy a delicious bowl of noodle soup.
Phnom Penh Noodles [Kuy Teav Phnom Penh]
- 1 3-quart pot
- 1 6-quart pot
- 1 Strainer scooper
- 1 Colander
- 1 Butcher knife
Phnom Penh Noodle Soup Ingredients
- 2 pounds Pork bone
- 1 Dried squid medium sized
- 1 Carrot large
- 1 Daikon radish large
- 1 White onion
Anise star(affiliate link)
- 5 Coriander stems
- ½ tablespoon
Kampot peppercorn(affiliate link)
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable seasoning
- ½ tablespoon Sugar
- ½ tablespoon
- 1 ½ tablespoon Salt
- ½ pound Beef balls
- 1 ½ pound
Kuy teav noodles(affiliate link)
Kuy Teav Phnom Penh Toppings Ingredients
Alternative Topping Ingredients
- Pork blood to taste
- Pork intestines to taste
- Rice wine vinegar to taste (instead of lime wedges)
Soy sauce(affiliate link) to taste (instead of fish sauce or salt)
- Honey to taste (instead of sugar)
Noodle Soup Preparation Instructions
- Wash and place the pork bones into a 3/4 full 3-quart pot of water, set to boil.
- Let the pork bones boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat, discard the water, and wash the bones under warm water to remove all the gunk.
- Once washed, place the pork bones into a 6-quart pot that's 3/4 full with water and set to boil on high heat. You can prepare and add the other broth ingredients while the pork bone boils to save time.
- Clean and chop the carrot and daikon radish into 1-inch pieces and add to the broth.
- Peel the onion and add to the broth, whole.
- Add the star anise to the broth.
- Cut the stems from a bunch of cilantro, rinse them, then add them to the broth.
- Cut the dried squid into 1-inch wide slices and add to the broth.
- Place the black peppercorns in the Kuy Teav broth.
- Add salt, vegetable seasoning, MSG, and sugar to the broth.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the broth to simmer for 1 hour.
- Once the broth has been simmering for an hour, add the meatballs to the soup and allow them to boil for another 15 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Kuy Teav Toppings Preparation Instructions
- Peel the garlic, crush it with the flat side of a butcher knife, then mince it finely.
- On a large skillet, heat half a tablespoon of cooking oil over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir continuously for 5 minutes or until the garlic turns a golden-brown.
- Remove the garlic from the frying pan and set aside.
- Chop the Thai basil, green onions, and limes, and set aside with the fried garlic.
- Slice the beef into thin pieces, then place the meat into the boiling broth with a strainer scoop, and allow it to boil for 3 minutes (or less, if you prefer the beef rare). Then, pull the meat out and set aside.
- Devein the shrimp and remove the heads, place into the strainer scoop, then immerse in the boiling Kuy Teav broth. Allow the shimp to boil for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.
- Boil half a 3-quart pot of water over high heat, then add the noodles to the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium.
- Let the noodles boil for 5 minutes while stirring them often.
- Strain the noodles with a colander and set aside.
Instructions for Serving Phnom Penh Noodles
- In a soup bowl, place 1 cup of bean sprouts.
- Divide the noodles into 6 portions, then place a single portion into the bowl over the bean sprouts.
- Divide the beef into 6 servings, then place one portion on top of the noodles.
- Place 2 shrimps on top of the Kuy Teav noodles.
- Add the broth, including carrots, daikon, and some pork bone to the bowl — just enough to submerge the noodles (or up to your personal preference).
- Sprinkle the Thai basil, green onions, fried garlic, sriracha sauce, and chilli flakes on top of the soup.
- Add fish sauce,
juice from lime cheeks, and sugar as needed to make the noodle soup more savoury, acidic, or sweet.
Where did Kuy Teav originate?
Kuy Teav originated in Cambodia and spread to neighboring nations, including Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia, where it’s ubiquitous in restaurants and street food stalls. While the Kuy Teav recipe differs among these countries, the roots can be traced back to the original Cambodian breakfast noodle soup. In fact, Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce recognized Phnom Penh Noodles as a collective mark (also known as a “trade mark”), to identify Kuy Teav’s Cambodian origin and establish a level of quality for the dish.
The term Kuy Teav originated from the Chaozhou (also known as Teochew) Chinese word gue diao. This Chinese word refers to both the type of rice noodles used in the soup, and the type of noodle soup that includes various meats and vegetable toppings. In Cambodia, this noodle soup is now known as Kuy Teav Phnom Penh. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the equivalent noodle soup dish is known as Hu Tieu Nam Vang; in Thailand, a similar soup is called Kuai Tiao; in Malaysia, Kway Teow is the name of a comparable noodle soup. Elsewhere in the world, Kuy Teav Phnom Penh may be referred to simply as Phnom Penh noodles.
What’s the difference between Pho and Hu Tieu?
The difference between Pho and Hu Tieu (also known as Kuy Teav) is in the noodles and the type of meat used in the broth. Pho noodles are quite a bit wider than those used in Kuy Teav. At the same time, the Pho and Kuy Teav broths are based on different proteins. Whereas the Pho broth is made with beef bones, its Kuy Teav equivalent is cooked using pork bones. Likewise, while Pho generally includes various cuts of beef, Kuy Teav may be served with beef, shrimp, pork blood, pork intestines, any or all of the above.
What does Nam Vang mean?
Nam Vang means “Phnom Penh” in Vietnamese. Hence, the Phnom Penh Noodles dish and Kuy Teav Phnom Penh are known as Nam Vang Noodles or Hu Tieu Nam Vang, respectively, in Vietnam.
If you live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the EU, you may see a paste called “Nam Vang” being sold at Asian supermarkets. This paste is used to make instant broth for Phnom Penh Kuy Teav. While the Nam Vang paste makes a decent broth, it falls far short of the rich, delectable flavor you’ll achieve by following an authentic Phnom Penh noodles recipe — such as the one we’ve shared above.
What do Cambodians eat for breakfast?
For breakfast, Cambodians typically eat either Phnom Penh noodles, grilled pork with rice (Bai Sach Chrouk), plain rice soup (bor bor soar), or Khmer Noodles with a fish curry broth (Nom Banh Chok). Apart from these three dishes, Cambodians also like to start their day with various soups that come with an assortment of noodles. Usually, street food stalls that open for breakfast will offer a choice of noodles, such as glass noodles, short noodles, egg noodles, and Kuy Teav. These breakfast restaurants will also let the diner choose their proteins, with popular options including beef, pork, meatballs, and blood.
Also read: Beef shank and green papaya soup
Phnom Penh Noodle Soup: Parting Words
This Kuy Teav Phnom Penh recipe make take a while to prepare, but we hope that your patience will reward you with a delicious, memorable dish. Have you made Phnom Penh noodles with this recipe (or any other recipe) yet? How did the soup turn out? Is there anything you’d change in our instructions or ingredients? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section.