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Kanom jeen: soft and tender rice noodle in Thailand

There are a lot of delicious noodle dishes in Thailand and one of our favorites is kanom jeen. The noodle texture is unique – the accompanying vegetables that go with it have interesting taste, aroma and texture. And the curry, depending on which you choose, will determine the overall experience of the dish. Let’s talk more about this seemingly simple, but delicious noodle dish.

Featured photo taken from WeGo Phatthalung.

Table of Contents

What is kanom jeen?


Kanom jeen refers to fresh, soft, thin rice noodles in Thailand. There are two main types of kanom jeen noodles, one made of fermented rice flour and the other with fresh rice flour. The former has a softer texture and the latter has a sturdier texture. However in today’s day and age, people normally use kanom jeen to refer to a dish including the noodle and the accompanying side dishes and sauce. Usually kanom jeen will have vegetables to go with it and also curry sauce to pour over the noodles. The curry sauce used for this dish can be crab/fish curry, green curry and nam prik (sweet chilli sauce made with shrimp and coconut milk). 

What makes it a unique dish?

This dish has a wide array of vegetables with varying taste, aroma and texture. Every time you choose a different curry to go with the dish, you will have a totally different eating experience. 

What vegetables that normally go with kanom jeen? The common ones are pickled mustard, shredded cabbage, bean sprout, basil leaves, long bean. These vegetables are served raw. You can also find other raw or more exotic vegetables depending on where you are in Thailand for example you may find banana blossom in Central Thailand but stinky beans would be a lot more common in Southern Thailand.

As mentioned earlier, the curry sauce that goes with the noodle can be any types but common ones are crab/fish curry (nam ya), green curry and nam prik. 

Other ways to enjoy kanom jeen

Apart from eating with curry sauce and the accompanying vegetables, you can enjoy eating the noodle together with other dishes like Som Tum or the Thai papaya salad. So, just imagine having Som Tum with the soft, tender rice kanom jeen noodles. There are other noodles that you can add to Som Tum as per this guide

Is this dish healthy (calorie-wise)?

If we think about the ingredients, the raw vegetables have very little calories and they are generally very healthy for the body. What we might need to be more cautious of is the noodle and the curry calories. 

However, from a research on comparison of noodle calories, it seems that kanom jeen noodles are very healthy comparatively. Per 100g, it has around 90 Cal of calories, which is lower than Pad Thai noodles at 350 Cal and instant noodles at 454 Cal. 

For curry, the healthiest type is nam ya or fish/crab curry at approximately 65-81 Cal (depending on without or with coconut milk. Nam prik and green curry have higher calories count at 152 and 154 Cal, respectively. 

Should you eat kanom jeen while in Thailand?

Definitely! This dish is unique in Thailand and it is also healthy. Just be mindful not to add too much curry if you want to make it healthier or if you are cautious of your calorie intake. 

Good kanom jeen dish is available almost everywhere in Thailand, but we might come back with some recommendations of our personal favorites once we try more versions of this dish across different places! 

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