WATTANA PANICH THE OLDEST BEEF SOUP OF BANGKOK
“Good Broth may be made in an old pot”, that’s what comes to my mind when i think about Wattana Panich’s story.
The cooks at Wattana Panich have been boiling and refilling the huge cauldron where their beef soup is made famous for the past 60 years (The purists will say 40 years since they have moved location). Needless to say that this story alone picked my interest and motivated me to pay a visit to Wattana Panich. In addition to that myth, the reviews are all excellent and everyone praises this restaurant’s dishes, describing the soup as a unique and tasty experience.
Wattana Panich (วัฒนาพานิช-ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเนื้อ) is a famous traditional restaurant located between the Wattana and Khlong Tan Nuea districts which is a bit far away from the main attractions of Bangkok.
The restaurant was an hour and a half walking distance from my place. If you wonder why i am mentioning the distance by foot? That’s how i like to enjoy new cities, by walking, whatever the distance. An hour and a half walk is not much except when it is 35 degrees outside and humid. Then you are melting quicker than ice in the Arctic.
Despite this awful joke it was amazing to be able to enjoy this weather in Bangkok while it is rainy back in Europe (sorry guys!).
The restaurant itself is quite big with a lot of seats to accommodate the many visitors. When i arrived there was a small queue waiting in line and my turn went pretty quickly (the benefit of eating alone!). The waitress was super efficient, despite the aircon in the restaurant she was drenched in sweat from running everywhere, it was quite a show to see.
Back to business. The menu at Wattana Panich is presented as below for the foreigners and we can already spot many interesting items on the list!
I went for the Goat stewed in selected Chinese herbs and the beef noodle soup to start with.
GOAT STEWED IN SELECTED CHINESE HERB:
The Goat stewed in selected Chinese herbs is item 1 listed on the menu. It is an absolute little gem and a perfect starter to enter the realm of Wattana Panich. I went for this one out of pure curiosity. I haven’t eaten goat in a while and i was curious to see what this stew would taste like.
First thing to mention is that the bowl is not massive. It wouldn’t be a meal on its own unless you have a very small appetite. From my point of view it is in fact perfectly sized considering how heavy this dish could become if it was served in a massive bowl (i mean, don’t try me).
The broth has a thick consistency, sticky and some would even say viscous. We won’t go that far, it is more like a super rich and creamy Tonkotsu for my fellow ramen lovers. It is super tasty, well balanced in spice and salt, with a meaty flavour and a depth that i really enjoyed. I could slurp it endlessly (see!). Talking about spice the stew is not hot at all, there are no chillies and you could add some if you want a bit more kick.
There are huge chunks of goat meat in the broth. The meat is really flavourful and tender and is probably the highlight of this dish. The broth is made of mushroom, goji berry, coriander and some roots.
It is a 5/5 for me. The goat stewed in Chinese herbs reminds me of the hotpot your grandma would do on a winter day. So comforting… It increased my appetite and i was carving for more.
THE FAMOUS BEEF SOUP:
People visit Wattana Panich primarily for the beef soup, and there is a good reason for that, it is amazing.
It is a complete dish which can be served with different types of noodles (depending on what you like), many cuts of meat and beef balls, and some herbs and roots.
I decided to go for the thin noodles and they accompany this soup very well.
The taste of the soup is really different compared to the goat stew. The flavour is lighter but with even more complexity and depth. The broth is meaty and really aromatic. Something i have hardly eaten before. A really original beef soup (as expected considering that it has been cooking endlessly in this huge cauldron).
The amount of beef in the soup was generous and was well cooked, the meat was really tender almost butter-like texture melting in your mouth. Delicious!
A perfect score again for me.
DON’T YOU FORGET THE PUDDING!
After these two dishes and considering the hot weather i couldn’t resist something more refreshing, a sweet dessert to end this meal. I guess it is probably because of my French education where we always tend to have a sweet touch to properly end a meal (or maybe i am just using that as an excuse to eat more sweets!).
The pudding at Wattana Panich is between a yoghurt and a drink, super watery and thick at the same time, you can slurp it pretty easily. The pudding had a nice sweet taste not too overwhelming with pretty decent chunks of fruits. Super refreshing and a perfect final touch before heading back in the heat of Bangkok.
Overall, after this trio i didn’t feel heavy at all as i was ready to take on my next journey in food’s paradise.
I paid a total of 340 baht for this meal at Wattana Panich (approx 10$). I think is a bit an inflated price for tourists (Especially considering that most of the items were below a hundred baht in the Thai menu on the wall). There was no price indication in the English menu (the obvious tourist trap) and they probably use that to charge us more. It remains very competitive for the quality of the dishes served. That’s the only negative thing i had to mention as i know that some people don’t like to be fooled. It didn’t change much of my experience there, it was a blast all the way.
Eating at Wattana Panich is one of those meals where you leave the restaurant serene and happy, thinking that you just need to lit a cigarette and you’d be ready to die peacefully after tasting so many good flavours.
One thing is for sure, i will head back to Wattana Panich again before leaving Bangkok.
“Wattana Panich serves an amazing Beef Noodles soup worth walking an hour and a half in the heat of Bangkok. Don’t forget to try the other items on the menu, they are absolutely amazing too!”
Price for value: 4/5