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Kuay Teaw: Best Cambodian Soup Recipe


Picture of Brian Kennett

Brian Kennett

Amateur Chef and Boozy Traveling Foodie Extraordinaire

Kuay Teaw is the best Cambodian soup cum stew dish

Kuay Teaw is up there with the best. Have you ever craved a hot, steamy bowl of noodle soup that can satisfy your taste buds and warm your heart? If your answer is yes, then you’re in for a treat! In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the wonders of Kuay Teaw, a beloved Cambodian noodle soup that will leave you craving more.

Now, let’s get into the main topic of our article. Kuay Teaw is a dish that has been enjoyed for centuries in Cambodia, and its popularity has only grown over time. Made with a variety of ingredients such as meat, seafood, vegetables, and aromatic herbs, this noodle soup is not only delicious but also a symbol of Cambodian culture and tradition.

But what makes Kuay Teaw so unique? Unlike other noodle soups, Kuay Teaw has a delicate balance of flavors that complement each other perfectly. The broth is made by simmering meat bones, spices, and herbs for hours, resulting in a rich and flavourful soup that is both comforting and nourishing. 

The noodles used in Kuay Teaw can vary, from thin and delicate rice noodles to thick and chewy egg noodles, adding another layer of texture to the dish.

In conclusion, if you’re a food lover looking to expand your palate and try something new from Cambodia, Kuay Teaw is the dish for you. So, grab a spoon, slurp up some noodles, and enjoy this incredible example of Cambodian cuisine.

Kuay Teaw Cambodian beef noodles

Suggested beverage pairing with Kuy Teaw, local beer Angkor.

Kuy Teaw, a Cambodian beef curry noodle dish – how did come did I come about this recipe? Well my mate Dougy and me were reading the in-flight magazine on our way to Phnom Penh for our Tabitha Foundation house building in October’12. This edition happened to have a section on Cambodian street food, and a must-try were these amazing-looking breakfast noodles.

Curry beef noodles to be exact, are named Kuy Teaw. Try and find a recipe for this, you just can’t, well I couldn’t. It’s a staple food for the market vendors, 1st thing in the morning you wolf this down to sustain you for the rest of the day. And boy does it do that. It is simply a gorgeous dish – actually at any time of the day!

So with no recipe on hand at all, it is time for a Semi-Naked Chef creating moment. What were those flavours? What was the garnish? How did they get the meat and tendon so so soft? What was that aftertaste? Well here we go, my recreation of this thick, sticky, curry gravy on glass noodles, with slow and long-cooked ‘fall apart’ beef with soft tendon that melts in your mouth. 

This will really set you up for the day, clearly why so popular with the market stall owners. Of course, as we were on a volunteer vacation we washed it down with a local beverage or four.

Cannot emphasise how good this is. Traditionally eaten as breakfast before the workers man their stalls in the market. A must!!! This is my version of Kuay Teaw.

Back I went with Ollie one year later, and yes did we go to 126 for breakfast – bloody right we did

Kuay Teaw cambodian beef noodles

My recommendation of the local beverage to have with this soup is called Angkor. The locals of Phnom Penh also call it “Beer”. It really goes together well no matter what time of the day it is. If ever you have the good fortune to get to Phnom Penh, please please try this dish and try it at this restaurant

Ask any tuk-tuk to take you to 126 Hawker/foodcourt, next to the food market – 10 am is a good time. Sit, relax, chill, people watch, sip that beverage and enjoy the dish. I know you will.

Kuay Teaw at restaurant 126 phnom penh

The guys hard at work at Restaurant 126 – full of local market workers stuffing a good breakfast down their throat before the long day ahead And if you want to cook it you can try my version of this sticky, unctuous gravy dish – so yes you need let this thing sit bubbling away for about 2-3 hours. 

The meat will then literally turn to a butter consistency, and the gravy will literally be sticky. This is potentially one of the best things I have created to date from scratch, I hope it does not disappoint.

My Kuay Teaw Cambodian Beef Noodles Recipe

This will be enough for easily 4-5 – or has happened in my place enough for 2, as Ollie and Mary ate it all:

  • 2kg of oxtail or beef tail and some beef tendon (if you like that type of thing);
  • Half a cup of dark soy;
  • 2 cinnamon sticks;
  • 4-6 whole cloves;
  • A knob of butter;
  • 2 chili padi chopped;
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped;
  • 3 litres of beef stock, and I added another beef stock cube to really get the beef flavour going;
  • 2 tablespoons of your basic “run of the mill” curry powder;
  • If you need to thicken (you shouldn’t if you did indeed leave this for 2-3 hours) add some corn starch that you have dissolved and stirred in some cold water;
  • A pack or two of Kway Teow Noodles or flat rice noodles – or to be honest any noodle or even plain steamed white rice. However, for the more authentic Cambodia market experience go with the flat rice noodles;
  • Finely chopped green tops of 4 or so spring onions; and
  • A handful of beansprouts for garnishing the soup on serving.

Marinade the oxtails in the soy sauce, with some salt and pepper, and set aside.

In a big pot place all the ingredients, excluding the oxtail, soy sauce, Spring onion tops, and beansprouts. Bring to a boil, drop the heat to a simmer, and then add the oxtail and soy sauce. 

You are nearly finished, as all you do now is let this simmer away for about 2-3 hours until the oxtail is cooked – it needs to be soft and literally falling from the bone.

Then zap the heat on high and let it go for about 15 minutes on a full boil to really reduce the gravy. Whilst that’s going on, quickly blanch some flat rice noodles in some boiling water (about 1-2 minutes) and drain. Place the noodles in the bottom of some soup bowls, serve the oxtails and the gravy on top, and sprinkle the green tops of the onions, and the bean sprouts – you’ll get the idea from the picture.

Kuay Teaw beef noodle soup

Here is the original dish – Kuy Theaw – looks at those lumps of gristle. Well, so you think. This has cooked down so long it is like butter, but beef-flavoured butter.

Dig in fellow foodies, this is one of the best I have ever recipes created from a traveling experience. I seriously recommend my Best Kuay Teaw Recipe for Cambodian Beef Curried Noodles. It’s a curry dish to die for. Meaty, fatty, lightly curry flavoured, and hit with a variety of spices and herbs. 


Damn good in my reckoning and always reminds me of great times in the wonderful country of Cambodia. Such a beautiful place. Such beautiful people. I reckon you really should have a go. ENJOY!!!

Kuay Teaw: A Savoury Cambodian Breakfast Dish

Kuay Teaw is a popular Cambodian breakfast dish that has become a staple food for market vendors, providing them with sustenance for the long day ahead. This savory noodle dish has a rich history and tradition in Cambodia, and its origins date back many generations.

The traditional way to eat Kuay Theaw

The traditional way of eating Kuy Theaw is before starting the day at the market, which is why it is a breakfast dish. The dish is prepared with slow-cooked, fall-apart beef and tendon that melts in your mouth, paired with sticky glass noodles in a thick, unctuous gravy.

Recommendation to try Kuay Teaw at Restaurant 126 in Phnom Penh

For those who wish to try Kuay Teaw for themselves, Restaurant 126 in Phnom Penh is a must-visit destination. This restaurant is situated in a food court next to the local market and offers an authentic dining experience. The suggested beverage pairing with Kuay Teaw is the local beer, Angkor, which complements the dish’s flavors perfectly.

Difficulty in finding a recipe for Kuay Teaw and the process of creating a version of the dish

Despite its popularity, finding a recipe for Kuay Teaw can be a challenge, as it is not a widely known dish outside of Cambodia. However, as the creator of the popular “Is Life a Recipe” YouTube channel, I stumbled upon this dish in an in-flight magazine on his way to Phnom Penh for a Tabitha Foundation house-building project. After being captivated by the dish, I decided to create my own version of Kuay Teaw.

How to prepare Kuay Teaw

To prepare Kuay Teaw, ingredients such as oxtail or beef tail, soy sauce, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, garlic, beef stock, curry powder, and flat rice noodles are needed. 

The oxtail or beef tail should be marinated in soy sauce with salt and pepper, then cooked with the remaining ingredients until it is soft and falling off the bone. Finally, the gravy is reduced, and the dish is garnished with spring onion tops and bean sprouts before serving.

The dish is a heavenly combination of flavors and textures, with the tender beef and soft tendon melting in your mouth, and the rich, thick gravy coating every bite of the sticky noodles. Kuay Teaw not only satisfies your hunger but also connects you with the rich culture and traditions of Cambodia.

Restaurant 126 Phnom Penh - get off the beaten track...

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