100% Beef (and some Pig Breasts) in Udon Thani

By Mark Wiens 8 Comments
best restaurants in Udon Thani
Meat meal at Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด) restaurant, Udon Thani

I really love people who are passionate about what they do… especially when they are cooks.

On my latest visit to Udon Thani, in the northern part of the Isaan region of Thailand, I went to a restaurant known as Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด เนื้อวัว 100%), a restaurant that specializes in serving 100% beef (เนื้อวัว 100%) as it says in the full name of the restaurant… although I later learned they recently added a few extra pork dishes to their menu as well.

Udon Thani has a number of restaurants that specialize in serving just a few dishes, but extremely fresh, and expertly prepared. For beef lovers, Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด) is a legendary restaurant in the city.

As a beef lover myself, I was very excited to eat here.

Beef in Thailand
Beef is what you’ll be eating at this Udon Thani restaurant

As soon as you enter the restaurant, it’s not hard to tell the cow is the main event here.

Sitting in the glass display cabinet were a pair of brahman cows, next to the fish sauce, and just above a number of simmering cauldrons of bubbling beef.

Meat in Thailand
What could these beautiful slices of meat be!?

But before we get too far into the amazing beef dishes, the first thing I noticed when I walked into Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด), after smelling the beef, were these pink slices of meat.

I didn’t know what it was at first, but it looked like they were preparing to serve a lot of it, and it didn’t just look like any kind of beef steak.

After asking, they told me it was, in Thai, puang nom moo (พวงนมหมู), or pig breasts.

“We formerly just sold beef, but I’ve been testing out pig breasts,” said the owner of the restaurant.

So of course I had to try it.

พวงนมหมู
Pig breasts (พวงนมหมู) on the grill

The pig breasts (พวงนมหมู) were sliced thinly, and then grilled over a pretty hot charcoal grill so they were slightly charred and crispy on the outside edges, but the meat remained juicy and tender.

Eating pig breasts
Grilled pig breasts (พวงนมหมู) – juicy and tender

Pig breasts (พวงนมหมู)

Before trying it, I thought the meat would be extremely fatty, like pork belly.

But it turned out the grilled pig breasts (พวงนมหมู) were a little fatty, but it was marbled into the meat. The meat was outrageously tender and juicy, and was almost like pork collar, but even more tender with a slight more meaty taste to it.

Slices of the pork along with the Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด) signature sauce, a secret mixture of dry chilies flakes and fish sauce, and a bunch of bitter bile, it was insanely delicious.

Price – 70 THB

Tom haeng luak jim (ต้มแห้งลวกจิ้ม)
Tom haeng luak jim (ต้มแห้งลวกจิ้ม) – boiled beef

Tom haeng luak jim (ต้มแห้งลวกจิ้ม)

Another one of their signature dishes at Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด) is the well known Isaan dish called tom haeng luak jim (ต้มแห้งลวกจิ้ม), boiled meat served with chili dipping sauce.

The meat was boiled in lemongrass and galangal, giving it a light herb essence, but keeping the focus on the flavor of the meat itself.

Price – 70 THB

restaurants in Udon Thani
Assorted parts of the cow, fragrant with lemongrass and galangal

The plate of tom haeng luak jim (ต้มแห้งลวกจิ้ม) included just about everything from the cow – grassy pieces of rumen, intestines, and some real chunks of meat too.

It was garnished with cilantro and green onions, and served with both a normal, yet extra fiery dry chili dipping sauce, and the other glorious bile dipping sauce.

The meat was tender and fragrant, and I loved it, random pieces and all.

beef soup in Thailand
Slow braised beef soup

Tom saeb neua buay (ต้มแซ่บเนื้อเปื่อย)

A meal in Isaan wouldn’t be complete without the addition of a soup, and in this case, their speciality soup, which nearly every table orders is tom saeb neua buay (ต้มแซ่บเนื้อเปื่อย), tender stewed cubes of beef in a rich and flavorsome beef stock.

The beef was similar in flavor and texture to other beef restaurants in Thailand, but the broth was more country style, packed with flavor, salty, and spicy, without being very sour.

I loved the flavor of the beef soup, and also I loved how it was served, in the middle of the table, over the top of a little burner of charcoal, so it stayed piping hot for our entire meal.

Price – 70 THB

Thai laab salad
Laab khalang (ลาบขาลัง) – Thai laab salad with beef

Laab khalang (ลาบขาลัง)

I didn’t know what khalang (ขาลัง) was at first, so the chef explained that it was meat from the back legs or shanks of the cow.

A little different from the more well known version of laab salad, this plate of laab khalang (ลาบขาลัง) included the meat, mixed with lots of chilies, fish sauce, and lime juice, and a good handful of mint, pungent green onions, and shallots.

On top of the delicious flavor of the laab khalang (ลาบขาลัง), the chef added a generous amount of khao khua, the sticky rice powder that makes a plate of laab complete. His khao khua was fresh and home-cooked, giving the meat a lovely crunch and smoky flavor.

Price – 70 THB

ก้อยคั่วเนื้อ
Koi khua neua (ก้อยคั่วเนื้อ) – half cooked beef salad

Koi khua neua (ก้อยคั่วเนื้อ)

Having eaten a few too many raw dishes lately, I decided to go for the half cooked version of koi neua (ก้อยคั่วเนื้อ).

Normally the Isaan dish of koi (ก้อย) intends raw meat, but you can always ask them to serve it to you khua (คั่ว), and it will come half cooked, still a little red, but it takes the bacteria edge off a bit!

Of all the meat filled dishes we ordered, the koi khua neua (ก้อยคั่วเนื้อ) was probably my favorite.

The meat was tender and juicy, and the dressing was perfect for me – sour from lime juice, spicy, and bitter from bile.

And again, the crunch and smokiness of the khao khua really came through beautifully.

Price – 70 THB

Thai cuisine
Raw chilies and garlic make even delicious things better

Along with all the wonderful beef and pork breast we ate at Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด), our meal was served with fresh green Thai chilies and raw garlic… to give our already extremely well flavored food even more of a boost.

I’ll never turn down raw chilies and raw garlic – two of my favorite natural things in the world.

Thai sticky rice
Sticky rice is a must

And finally, it would be impossible to eat all these glorious Isaan dishes without some sticky rice.

Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด เนื้อวัว 100%) restaurant in Udon Thani
Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด เนื้อวัว 100%)

Conclusion

Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด เนื้อวัว 100%) is a restaurant in Udon Thani that specializes in serving beef, with just a few pork dishes on their menu – pig breasts to be more specific.

I ordered a nice selection of meat dishes, including laab, an Isaan meat salad, and koi khua neua (ก้อยคั่วเนื้อ), slightly cooked beef salad, that was absolutely spectacular. Everything I tried was delicious, including the tenderly juicy pig breasts.

If you love meat, specifically country style Isaan Thai beef, you don’t want to miss eating at Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด เนื้อวัว 100%) when you’re in Udon Thani.

The owner’s passion for beef shines.

Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด เนื้อวัว 100%)

Address: 35/1 Thanon Chomchuen, Mak Khaeng, Udon Thani, Thailand 41000
Phone: 042-328-172
Open hours: 8 am – 3 pm, closed Sunday
Prices: It’s pretty easy, every dish they serve it 70 THB and well worth it

ที่อยู่ ถนนศรีชมชื่น (อยู่ติดมัสญิด) หมากแข้ง , เมืองอุดรธานี , อุดรธานี 41000
โทร. 042-328-172
เปิด จันทร์ – เสาร์ 8.00 – 15.00 น.

How to get there:

Laab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด เนื้อวัว 100%) is located just south of the main Udon Thani prison, along Thanon Chomchuen, and next to Kuwatil Mosque. To see it on the map, scroll down to “Isaan” then click on “Laab Nuad.”

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  • ian pearson

    4 years ago

    came across your enthusiastic videos on youtube,great website and i am now actually printing off all the restaraunts you recommend in udon thani,khon kaen and bangkok.I have been to all 3 places but i just relied on my gf to pick me out delicious naitve thai food which she never failed to do.I can honestly say ive always got a big smile on my face eating thai food and even the simplest places can give you a surprise.Keep up the good work and thanks for unearthing all these gems. will be checking them all out in jan/feb 2016.

  • Adam turner

    4 years ago

    Hi mark, found your blog, am currently in Udon Thani. I own a Thai restaurant in the UK and am in Thailand for 3 weeks writing a new menu….. Will be off to Laab Nuad tomorrow. Cheers

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Adam, great to hear from you, glad you’re in Udon. Enjoy Laab Nuad, his food is awesome – the bile sauce is incredible! What’s your restaurant in the UK?

      • Adam Turner

        4 years ago

        The restaurant called The Thai House (not very original but it say what it does on the tin) and its in a little place called Hastings, East Sussex.

  • Rocky

    5 years ago

    You’re playing with fire eating undercooked beef in a 3rd world country, Mark.

    Ever heard of Taenia saginata?

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hi Rocky, thank you for reading and for the reminder. I do tend to take de-worming pills every now and then.

      • Rocky

        4 years ago

        De-worming pills might be a good idea.

        But I’m surprised you rave about beef in Thailand.

        I’ve only eaten beef twice in Thailand, at that Muslim restaurant and when I purchased a sirloin steak at Big C. I was disappointed both times, as the meat was tough. As I like my steak medium rare, with just a hint of blood in the middle, I definitely didn’t overcook the steak I cooked.

        The problem is it’s too fresh.

        Yes, that’s right. Fresh beef is tough and aged beef is more tender. Of course, the beef needs to be aged in a refrigerator and I doubt Thailand has this kind of facilities. Of course, this is something that can be done with just a refrigerator, but the best Thai restaurants do not have extensive refrigerator space:
        http://www.memock.com/2011/04/14/turning-tough-thai-beef-into-succulent-steaks/

        Ever seen the first Rocky movie where he’s in a meat locker punching the beef carcasses? That’s what they were ding there—aging the beef to make it more tender.

        • Mark Wiens

          4 years ago

          Hi Rocky, yah, I take a dose every couple of months, especially if I’ve eaten a lot of raw food, meat.

          I normally don’t rave about beef in Thailand because it’s not typically all that good, that’s why I raved about this place, because I really loved it. However, I didn’t eat a steak here, so all the beef was cut into bite sizes pieces, and cooked in the perfect dressing and spices (or soup).

          Thanks for sharing the aged beef article, that’s an interesting read, might try that out.