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August 30, 2017

Just one thing… at Lantern by Nu

The dish that makes Nu's mum most proud.

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  • Story: Sharmonie Cockayne

There’s something about making a parent (or anyone we respect) proud that just makes us feel good.


Lantern by Nu is tucked away on 10 Selby Street, Adelaide.

Prolific Adelaide-based Thai chef, and founder of new Selby Street Thai restaurant, Lantern by Nu, Nu Suandokmai, has done a lot in his life that would make any parent proud. As well as being instrumental in some of Adelaide’s most recently successful restaurants (Gin Long Canteen and Golden Boy), he’s also opened a number of his own restaurants in Adelaide (Nu Thai and Mrs Q), in Sydney (Bathers Pavilion and Nu), and heading up various big name restaurants abroad.

But, it is when he travels back to Thailand once a year and cooks this specific dish for his mother – the woman who taught him how to cook – that he feels he makes her most proud:

Boat Noodle Soup.

It’s a soup similar to Vietnamese phở. Richer, more flavoursome, and served with less soup and more solids, the dish feels and tastes unlike any Asian soup served in Adelaide restaurants.

And thats probably because it isn’t and hasn’t ever been served in any Adelaide restaurants.

“Boat Noodle Soup is street food from Thailand,” explains Nu. “They make from the pork stock and beef stock together with sugar cane to make the stock. Then we put garlic and coriander root and cinnamon. After, you BBQ the onion as well.”

Then, the magic ingredient: “then the stock will have pig’s blood. You don’t see it, but it’s in there.”

Like any good phở, the stock is the most important ingredient. Nu’s is cooked for 6 to 8 hours the day before serving.

And on top, heaps of noodles, meat, water spinach and Chinese broccoli.

To add, Nu offers up a bunch of extras to taste. “Lots of dried chilli, sugar, vinegar if you need that. It depends on the people, if they want it more hot or more sour or sweet, then people add themselves.”

The presentation is on point at Lantern by Nu.

Nu is happy with the dish, how it tastes and how it looks, and so are his customers, and that’s the most important thing.

But for Nu’s mum to be its number one fan, that’s the cherry.

“She very proud. She happy.”

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