Panya Thai in North Miami Beach Serves Delicious Pork Intestine Soup
About a month ago, Panya Amporn, the owner of North Miami Beach's Panya Thai, asked his ex-wife to come back to work for the restaurant.
Photos by Zachary Fagenson Guay jab, also known as crunchy pork soup.
"An employee quit, and he called me," Judy Khuanthong says.
Back in 2003, when the pair was still married, she helped her husband open the restaurant. About five years later, they divorced.
Today, she seems rather nonchalant about her return. "We can work together; there's no need to fight," she explains.
Indeed, the restaurant feels peaceful. During a weekday lunch, Khuanthong and a pair of waitresses wear frilly blouses that match their intricately embroidered skirts. Men in business attire crowd the dining room while slurping long rice noodles from steaming bowls.
One of the suits says he dated a Thai girl who loved this place. "Everything here is great!" he bellows to an out-of-towner, who stares blankly at the menu.
Eventually, they decide. The pair orders chicken pad thai and pork in a green curry sauce.
But Panya Thai's best dishes are not pad thai or curry. Its gems are laced with offal -- rich soups simmered slowly with liver, kidneys, and blood.
Fried mussels with bean sprouts, fish sauce, and cilantro.
The guay jab ($10) is a dark soup, filled with tofu, wide rice noodles curled up into rolls, and chunks of pig intestine. Its stock is thickened with oyster sauce and infused with star anise, cinnamon, and garlic.
Perhaps you're not ready to be that adventuresome. For shyer appetites, Khuanthong recommends the spicy boat noodles with pork or beef meatballs. She also suggests the pan-fried mussels, which are cooked in a crisp, egg-based crêpe and draped over bean sprouts, cilantro, and fish sauce.