Feast Thailand spent some time with Khun Nhong from Guay Tiaw Chom Suan and asked about the restaurant.
How did your restaurant start?
"At the time of my parents' passing, I was working as a tour guide in Hua Hin. My sister, Nim, was living in Bangkok with her family. After our parents' passing, I suggested my sister move her family to Hua Hin and they all move into the house our parents had lived in at Soi 16, turning it into a restaurant. Being both original Hua Hin residents, Nim agreed. I no longer wished to work as a tour guide and so Guay Tiaw Chom Suan was born."
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well.
Khun Nim became the chef whilst Khun Nhong the face of the restaurant, working front of house. Not being a trained chef did not deter Khun Nim, as she loves food and is a self-confessed foodie. She knows good food when she tastes it and how to make it. She will only serve what tastes delicious. “I cook with love”, she says.
What dishes did you start with?
"It started in 2011 with noodles," they both said. "The original plan was that if the restaurant didn't succeed in 6 months, we would stop, as we would still have the house to live in. Thankfully we have been very successful in the last 6 years. We just need to always focus on the quality of our food and the customer satisfaction and the rest will look after itself."
As they started to get more and more busy, they realised they needed to expand the menu.
"We have quite a lot of Muslim customers looking for something to eat, but with true local flavours", says Khun Nong. "We then expanded the menu to include some chicken-based dishes with roti, as well as fried rice with prawns."
What is your most popular dish?
"It’s noodles, of course; Guay Tiaw," says Khun Nhong. "Due to the broth; its depth of flavour. There is not too much broth in the bowl but the customers can add more protein – like crispy pork, boiled egg etc to add more texture as well as flavour."
What makes your Pad Thai so sought after?
"Before deciding to start the restaurant, Nim wanted to go to the UK to work in kitchens. Before before she did that, she went to Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School at the Dusit Thani in Bangkok to train and learn about making the Top 10 Thai dishes, achieving a certificate for the making of her Pad Thai. It has a depth of flavour that is quite remarkable. The paste is made daily using the freshest ingredients. She will only cook a single dish at a time, so that she can control the flavour."
Khun Nhong, if Khun Nim is the chef, what is your role?
"I buy all the ingredients fresh from the local Dinosaur market. I am also the host, meeting a greeting each customer as they arrive. It is my job to make sure every customer is happy."
Who is your customer?
"The majority of our customers are very local people, though we do get many people from Bangkok, as word has spread around. They have found us generally by staying in the area and, of course, by word of mouth."
How do you keep your customers happy?
"One example is the introduction of rice crackers and peanut sauce to the menu. When we started to get very busy, due to only Nim and her assistant in the kitchen, wait times started to increase, causing some of our customers to become impatient. As we cook everything fresh to order, we introduced rice crackers with peanut sauce to help ease the wait times. This allowed us to continue to cook fresh but, also give the customers something to start with, so they were not waiting too long."
Do you find your customers having to wait long?
"Not normally, but again, we cook everything fresh. We don’t cook 10 Pad Thai at once. Nim needs to be able to control the flavours of dishes, so bulk cooking is definitely out. Once our customers realise that flavour has to be no. 1, they are ok to wait."
What else is important about your restaurant?
"Our staff are very important to us. Alongside Nim is her right hand woman who has been with her for 6 years in the kitchen. Out the front, I work with the staff to ensure they have the right information to give the customers about the food, but also to ensure we have fast, efficient and friendly service."
How do you work together so well?
"We have very different strengths and our own roles where we focus on those strengths. We also both love food and service," says Khun Nhong.
You can experience some of the best that Guay Tiaw Chom Suan has to offer on Feast Thailand's Eat Like A Local Tour, which operates daily.
Guay Tiaw Chom Suan (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวชมสวน)
10/37 Hua Hin Soi 16,
Hua Hin, Chang Wat Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110
Tel : 080-456 7913
Open Everyday: 08.30 – 17.30