(CNN) — Bangkok may have thousands of noodle vendors, but the freshest ingredients and most flavorsome broths put these noodle shops several slurps above the rest.
Bangkok's best Thai noodles -- Recommended: Ratchawat Market
Bangkok's market stalls are a paradise for noodle lovers.
This might be cheating a bit, but rather than pick just one venue we're going to go out on a limb and recommend the entire area in front of Bangkok's Ratchawat Market as a goldmine for noodle lovers.
At one nameless shophouse, an old man has been serving the same style of steaming hot bowls of noodles for 50 years. Available in several styles of noodles, dry or with soup, they're topped with a few perfectly cooked pieces of liver, pork and fish balls.
Shophouse Guay Teow Tom Yum Khun Muay looks like it should be abandoned and boarded up, not teeming with slurp-happy customers bent over steaming bowls of spicy noodle soup.
And over at Ma Yodpak Radna Ratchawat there's fantastic pad see eiu (stir-fried wide rice noodles) and sen yai radna (wide rice noodles in brown gravy).
For beef noodle fans, head to Nua Wooah Rai Tiem Taan, a noodle stall surrounded by giant shade trees that steams up a sensational bowl of simple noodle soup topped with fresh lettuce, thick slices of marbled Kobe beef, fried garlic shavings and a robust beefy broth.
All of these Ratchawat restaurants are located on Nakhon Chaisi Road, with the exception of Nua Wooah Rai Tiem Taan, which is around the corner at 500/2 Rama 5 Road. Open daily, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Bangkok's best Thai noodles -- Recommended: Rad na at Gai Thong
Rad na should retain the smoky aftertaste of the wok.
Rad na is a stir-fried rice noodle dish that's heavily influenced by the Chinese, but seasoned in a way that's 100% Thai.
For the best rad na, TV personality and food critic Chef McDang recommends Gai Thong, which has outlets on Thonglor 13, Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi and Hong Kong.
"The noodle itself has to be stir fried to the point that it picks up the smell of metal," he says.
"In Thai we say 'glin gratak,' which refers to the smoky smell of the wok. Hard to find these days as people don't know how to cook properly. They throw some stuff in the wok but don't use enough heat. But the rad na is very good at Gai Thong."
Open for 15 years, Gai Thong serves a variety of dishes based on old family recipes including seafood stir fries, fried chicken and tasty veggie-based meals.
164/13-15 Muang Thong Thani 3, Thanon Bondstri, Nonthaburi. Tel: +66 (0) 2 981 7771. Open daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Bangkok's best Thai noodles -- Recommended: Sukhothai noodles at Nara
Sukhotai Noodles -- blow your mind and your sinuses.
Ignore the fact that Nara is in the basement of a luxury shopping mall because there's nothing predictable or boring about this charming Thai bistro.
There's plenty on the menu but the Sukhothai boat noodles are especially delicious. The combination of sweet, savory, soft and crunchy will blow your mind (and your sinuses if you forget to ask for it not too spicy).
The decor is refreshingly modern for those sick of the same "traditional" Thai furnishings at every other restaurant in the city.
During lunch hour Nara is packed with local business people and high-society ladies so make sure to book a table in advance.
Erawan Bangkok Mall, 494 Ploenchit Road. Tel: +66 (0) 22 50 7707. Open daily, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Bangkok's best Thai noodles -- Winner: Boat noodles at Provence Cafe
Whatever floats your boat noodles.
Family-owned Provence Cafe, inside Bangkok's Peninsula Plaza, has a huge menu of satisfying pasta, seafood and meat dishes. But it's the Thai noodle dishes that get local foodies salivating.
When prime ministers and celebrities like TV host Chef McDang are coming to your restaurant specifically for your boat noodles, you know you're doing something right.
The noodles are handmade onsite while all the ingredients are fresh, including the imported beef. But it's the perfectly seasoned broth that really makes this dish a Bangkok standout.
In fact, the owner tells us that its regulars are so addicted to the chef's broth that they know right away if she's on holiday and someone else is working in the kitchen.
Provence now has a branch in Gaysorn Plaza as well, but for the freshest noodles, McDang recommends sticking to the original, in Peninsula Plaza.
Peninsula Plaza, 153 Rajdamri Road. Tel: +66 (0) 2 652 1399. Open daily, 10 a.m.-9p.m.
This article was previously published in 2010. It was reformatted and republished in 2017.