Meet neua tune, the Half-Century-Old soup of Bangkok!3 min read
They said that leftovers are better the next day.
Or, in the case of Bangkok restaurant Wattana Panich, the next generation!
Actually the food safety-minded among us should throw away leftovers after three to four days, but the restaurant in the Thai capital cooks by a different set of rules.
Basically the giant pot of neua tune, a traditional beef stew, has been simmering since owner Nattapong Kaweenuntawong was a child…more than 45 years ago!
Growing up studying the exact flavor profile of the stew from his father, he now balances the flavor himself daily, employing an ancient practice called Hunter’s Stew or Perpetual Stew, using some of the previous day’s leftover broth to start the base of the following day’s soup.
The concept of a never-ending soup is certainly not novel and refers to the practice of keeping a pot of soup slowly simmering at all times, wherein ingredients, such as meats, vegetables and liquids are replenished, but never tossed, as the pot gets low.
And, at least historically, it’s safe.
Generally the pots are almost fully depleted by the end of a day, so only some broth base will be left to start another cycle, and this leftover soup just helps flavor the next pot. While leftover veggies and meat are eaten, the broth will never spoil.
And this happened also into a “pot-au-feu” in Normandy which had reportedly been burning for 300 years, and another one in Perpignan that began in the 1400s but didn’t survive World War II.
“We keep tasting. There is no recipe,” Nattapong Kaweenuntawong said in an interview, and he added that the 45-year-old broth has a unique flavor and aroma thanks to his unconventional cooking method. They have kept the broth overnight, and then used it to cook the next day’s soup.
The specialty includes a secret blend of spices and herbs, stewed beef, raw sliced beef, meatballs, tripe or other internal organs and rice noodles that swim about the deeply bubbling vat.
Either way despite new eateries and high-end condominiums cropping up on every side, the business has managed to maintain its spot in the in Bangkok’s busy Ekamai neighborhood competitive food scene with a long history of dedication, consistency and precision, offering a taste of old Thailand.
Images from web – Google Research