Jeh O Chula, Bangkok: 2-hour Queue for Michelin Bib Gourmand Instant Noodles

Jeh O Chula (spelled as “Jay Oh” in the Michelin Guide) has about forty years of history and started off selling boiled rice (like Teochew porridge) with Thai dishes.

But it got famous only when it started serving Tom Yum instant noodles a few years ago. And because of the noodles, it received its Bib Gourmand.

First, you go to the counter (with blue poster) to get a queue number. Chiobu advised us to visit after 10pm to skip the queue, but it was useless. It was still crowded. We waited for about 40 minutes before we got a table.

Shrimp cakes (100 Baht, S$4.50)

The server/boss? said it would take the tom yum noodles one hour to arrive and asked us if we wanted to order some dishes first. WE SHOULD HAVE SAID NO.

I’m advising everyone to reject the offer because
(1) the tom yum noodles take only about 20 minutes to come, not an hour,
(2) you’d be too full and couldn’t enjoy the tom yum noodles properly,
(3) you will waste food when you can’t finish the noodles,
(4) the dishes suck.

Can’t fault the server/boss for asking–good business acumen there–although I personally felt cheated as if they wanted to earn more money.

Stir-fried kang kong

We just ordered whatever the server/boss recommended.

He, however, did not recommend the salmon sashimi doused in Thai dressing which is supposed to be their signature starter. In any case, we wouldn’t have ordered it. It’s risky to eat raw street food. We were on a holiday, there to have a good time, and if we had diarrhoea, it wouldn’t been fun.

Crispy fried pork (100 baht (S$4.50) / 160 baht (S$7.20) / 200 baht (S$9)

The shrimp cakes are no good at all: too much flour that you cannot taste an iota of the shrimps. It is like eating bread. The fried kangkong is run of the mill.

Only the crispy fried pork is excellent, tender and crispy but not greasy, but don’t order it if you have it in the tom yum noodles. Since this was our first time here, we did not know the pork was in our noodles too. As a result, we ate so much pork that we were repulsed by it.

Mama instant noodles, crispy pork, prawn, squid, pork balls, two raw yolks 250baht (S$11.25)

The pricing for tom yum noodles [120 baht (S$5.40) to 800 baht (S$36)] depends on ingredients in the pot. They may include crispy pork, raw egg yolk, squid, prawn, pork ball, crabs, etc. We got the 250baht one.

Pro tip: check out the number of yolks in photo (see menu below). If there are 4 yolks, the tom yum noodles can be shared between 4 persons. The number of yolks is proportional to the number of people sharing the noodle.

The squid and prawns are fresh, but nothing to write home about. The pork balls are disappointing, bland. The crispy pork, which I mention previously that it is good, remains crispy even in the soup.

But what is really good is the tom yum soup. Some people complain that it is not spicy enough. For us, who cannot take spicy stuff, it is at the right level, not too spicy to incinerate the tastebuds and destroy all joy of eating, but spicy enough to give a kick and a good sweat.

The soup is aromatic, full of spices, and thick.

To be honest, although the soup is phenomenal, it is the only good thing there. The ingredients of the soup are mediocre. So are the other dishes we tried. Even though the crispy pork is good, I can name 10 other places with equally good or better crispy pork.

My advice: Perhaps visit Jeh O Chula once to see what the fuss is about. But I don’t think I will go a second time. Just order the tom yum noodles, don’t order anything else.

We paid 560baht (S$25) for two persons.


Jeh O Chula
Add:113/1 Thanon Charat Mueang, Rong Mueang, (opposite to Chula soi 16) Bangkok.
Tel:+66 64 118 5888
5.30pm – 1am daily

How to get to Jeh O Chula:
Nearest: BTS National Stadium
But I advise you to take a Grab directly. It’s a long walk from the stadium.

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Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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