If you know what boat noodles or kuey teow ruer are, you’ll know that it has always been served in small bowls, and if you liked, in large quantities. A great example would be Malaysia’s own Boat Noodle franchise. Boat Noodle serves the strong and aromatic rice noodle dish from Ayutthaya’s floating markets, holding strong to the tradition of how it’s served. But what you may not know is the story behind these tiny little bowls.
Gather ’round kids, it’s time for a story!
So back in Ayutthaya, noodle merchants traversing on narrow boats would be the only person cooking, serving and collecting money for their noodles. And since they were on the water, there would be a possibility of spilling the noodles over whether you were holding it to eat or collecting it from the vendor. That said, small bowls were used instead as they fit nicely in your hands and were easy to pass around.
Though visitors can now enjoy the delicious kuey teow ruer in canteens or restaurants by these boats, their culture of serving the noodles in small bowls is still maintained. It has also become a fun challenge to see who consumes the most bowls by stacking them up!