A Bangkok Restaurant Has Been Simmering Beef Stew For 40 Years Straight

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, consistently tops the charts for the best culinary cities in the world. Thai food and Bangkok's street food scene in particular are known for their incredible flavors, fresh herbs and citrus, and unique menus that many tourists have never had the chance to try. One of the popular dishes in Bangkok is neua tune, a classic beef and noodle soup. But one shop's take on the dish stands out above the rest, at least in part because their soup has been brewing for over 40 years. 

If 40-year-old soup doesn't exactly whet your appetite, you're missing out on an incredible tradition of soup-making and rich flavors that have been carefully maintained over multiple generations. Wondering how a pot of soup can be on offer for 4 decades without causing major quality, and potentially hazardous health issues? The owner of Wattana Panich, the Bangkok-based home of the middle-aged soup, dishes on the details to Viral Press on YouTube

The forever soup of Wattana Panich

Nattapong Kaweenuntawong was just a child when his grandfather started the bowl of soup that would make the shop famous decades later. He is the third generation to take care of the business, and the special (secret) soup recipe that folks can't get enough of. But the tradition of ancient extends far beyond his family — Wattana Panich uses a technique known as Perpetual Stew or Hunter's Stew that has been seen throughout much of the world. Arthur Prager alleged that one such Perpetual Soup spanned from the 15th century to World War II in Perpignan, France. This tradition simply consists of reducing the previous day's soup into a stock, and then re-using that same stock to start the same soup the following day.

The thinking is that it is easier for maintaining flavor consistency between batches, and requires less tweaking than starting from scratch with fresh water each day. So while the bits of beef you enjoy in the soup today weren't butchered 40 years ago, all of the protein, fat, and flavor they left behind help to make this soup so uniquely sumptuous. "Hopefully, 15 years from now it will become the 60-year-old soup," says Kaweenuntawong.