In our last post, we gave you the run-down on some popular Thai noodle dishes. In many cultures and cuisines, certain foods and dishes acquire names that seem a little odd. There are plenty of those dishes in Thai cuisine, but one that is a real head-scratcher for many diners is Drunken Noodles. Where does that name come from? Are the noodles drunk? Is the name a hint about the best way to enjoy them? No matter what the reason, the best place to get them is Thai restaurants in Nashua, especially Giant of Siam!
A common misconception about drunken noodles is that they contain alcohol. There are multiple stories that account for the name of this dish, but they have nothing to do with the ingredients. Drunken noodles are wide rice noodles mixed with other ingredients and, especially, spices. There are variations on the recipe, but there are some ingredients that are usually included. Those include Thai basil, vinegar, chili peppers, and peppercorns. Drunken noodles are often one of the spiciest options on the menu at a Thai restaurant.
As with many traditional dishes, there are several stories about where the name â€śdrunken noodlesâ€ť came from. More than one of them is related to how spicy these noodles are. One explanation is that because the dish is so spicy, you would have to drink a lot to handle the spice. Another is that the extreme spice of the noodles is the only thing strong enough for inebriated people to taste.
Sticking with people who have already been drinking, another possible origin of these noodles is that people would throw them together with whatever they had handy after a night of drinking. Local stories also try to explain the name of drunken noodles. In one story, a woman was tired of her husbandâ€™s heavy drinking, so she cooked up something extra spicy to teach him a lesson.
Finally, there is one explanation that has nothing to do with actual drinking. During the Vietnam War, US troops couldnâ€™t pronounce the name of many local noodle dishes. Whether they thought the name sounded drunken or they did trying to say it is unclear, but the name stuck.