This recipe is the same or similar to Khao Pun Nam Phik but without the addition of coconut cream. It's very spicy and extremely popular, ubiquitous, through Laos with various interpretations by different minorities. It has incarnations in Thailand througout the various regions.

  • 8 shallots
  • 3 cloves large garlic or 10 cloves small
  • 6  red Thai chillies
  • 500 g (~1 lb) belly pork in a piece
  • 1 kg (~21/4 lb) pork bones
  • 1 kg of pig offal
  • 3 litres (5 pints) water
  • 10 thin slices galangal
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 4 tablespoons padaek water*
  • salt to taste
  • 500 g (~1 lb) fine-fleshed fish fillets
  • 500–750 g (~1–11⁄2 lb) thin rice noodles, soaked in cold water until soft
  • 1⁄2 green papaya, peeled and julienned
  • 1 can shredded bamboo shoots (optional according to taste)
  • 1⁄2 banana flower, peeled of the red carpels and thinly sliced.
  • a few shredded and unshredded cabbage leaves.
  • 250 g (9 oz) yardbeans , cut into 5 cm (2 in) pieces
  • 1⁄2–1 bunch water convulvus (phak bong), cut into 2–5 cm (3⁄4–2 in) lengths

  1. Grill the whole unpeeled shallots, garlic and chillies either on a charcoal fire or under a grill until they are seared and brown.
  2. Remove excess fat from the pork.
  3. Place the pork hock or bones, belly pork and offal in 3 litres (5 pints) water with shallots, garlic, chillies, galangal, lime leaves, *padaek water and salt and bring to the boil, skimming oils and coagulum as it appears. Reduce the flame and simmer the stock until  the meat comes away from the bone.
  4. Take out the meat and slice  into 3 x 4 cm (1 x 11⁄2 in) slices – including the offal if used. Discard the bones, strain the stock into another saucepan and keep it hot.
  5. Put in fish fillets and poach until they are cooked. Remove and slice in 2 cm (3⁄4 in) slices. Return meat and fish to the soup.
  6. Pour boiling water over the noodles. Drain it, rinse it under a cold tap, cut it into manageable lengths with scissors and place on a cabbage-leaf lined platter.
  7. Arrange the separate piles of pawpaw and vegetables on another platter.
  8. Make up small separate bowls of condiments to be placed on the table, being ground dried chilli, sugar, fish sauce, wedges of lime, fresh chillies, mashed garlic, chopped coriander leaves, Thai sweet basil and chopped spring onion (white bulb and green shoot).
  9. To serve, put the soup into a large tureen with the cabbage leaf (or banana leaf) lined platters of noodles gathered and folded into hands or na with plates of vegetables and receptacles of condiments.
  10. Set a large soup bowl for each diner, into which they place one or two noodle hands first followed by the vegetables of their choice and then ladle meat and stock over. This is then "tossed" carefully with chopsticks in one hand and a spoon in the other.
  11. Diners choose their condiments and garnishes to taste.

*Padaek is the Lao version of fermented fish. It's a very pungent ingredient that is used as a flavour enhancer and is often referred to as "special". A very high quality fermented fish is available commercially and is marketed under a Thai name but in fact is Cambodian. Cambodian fermented fish is considered a premium version. It may be carried in a specialty area of a Supermarket or in a large Asian Grocery Store.
  • To make the Padaek Water you simply take about  1 Tbsp of fish paste with 1 cup of water and boil it covered, until you can strain out the condensed solids. Beware the aroma can be quite over-powering and needs a very forceful extractor fan system to be running to eliminate the aroma. (or do it outside on a gas barbecue griddle)