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If you’ve ever taken one too many tokes of your favorite strain and forgotten about a pot of soup on the stove, you might regret that first bite. That said, you are definitely not the first amateur chef to get lost in the sauce. But what happens when you plan to leave the stove on all day and reuse yesterday’s remains in every meal — for 45 years straight?
At the Wattana Panich restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, that’s exactly what is served every day. According to a new report from Great Big Story, the third-generation restaurant has been serving one single batch of noodle soup from a giant cauldron for nearly half a century.
“Our beef noodle soup (neua tune) is popular in Bangkok because the broth has been preserved for 45 years, thus giving it a unique flavor and aroma,” Nattapong Kaweenuntawong, the restaurant’s current owner, said. “For 45 years, the broth of our soup has never been thrown away after a day’s cooking.”
Using a cooking style called hunter’s stew or perpetual pot, the Wattana Panich team uses fresh vegetables, noodles, and meat to frequently replenish the soup — including stewed beef, raw sliced beef, meatballs, tripe, and other internal organs — but have been saving and reusing the same batch of broth since the mid-70s.
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The result? If you’re to believe the reporters at Great Big Story and the constant flow of customers into Wattana Panich, it’s an inimitable soup with the kind of flavor that can’t be canned. And if Nattapong Kaweenuntawong has it his way, that flavor will be saved for years to come, with his own kids already growing up inside the restaurant and preparing for their turn to take over the famed family ladle.
Of course, to get a bowl, you’ll have to muster up the strength to look past the four and a half decades of congealed fat and stew spillover piled up around the massive soup pot. But to build 45 years of flavor, you’ve gotta break a few health codes.
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