To me, Phuket is like a giant bowl of clear broth seafood Tom Yum soup containing all its rich flavours and ingredients, forming the little islets around the main island rising above the broth.
Imagine your vision zooming into the main island where giant king prawns bask out in the mid day sun to welcome you with its entourage of fresh kaffir lime leaves and coriander whispering the savoury lime-ish scents as you hover over with rings of lemon grass that beach themselves on the soft fish slices of the shores of the main isle.
As our eyes probe deeper and level with the isle of seafood, generous portions of mushrooms and tomatoes form the smaller islets around it, making tiny ripples in the broth as the warm sea breeze blows by.
This is Phuket, an island off Thailand that beckons the world for serenity and delight. With its tall hill slope in the center of the island and beaches to its east and west, Phuket was once known for its dodgy vice and fetish past.
A lot has changed in recent years. Phuket has cleaned up most of its strip clubs and brothels, blooming with more shops, night markets, restaurants and pubs instead.
To celebrate the coming of the cooler monsoon season here in Thailand, here are some top places to get your taste buds ignited while eating like a local.
Not much of a name for a great restaurant that serves excellent, authentic local cuisines. The original outlet was located in north of Patong, on a little hill side enclaved corner. Its street side shop at Patong area, located about 2 minutes walk from the end of Bangla Street northwards and opens from 10am to 10pm daily, is small and has limited seats. Hence, tourists would have to queue for hours to get a whiff of the restaurant’s spell binding dishes and culinary delights.
For those who are up for an adventure and have some time to spare in a lush green environs, I suggest you opt for its hillside restaurant instead. A tuk-tuk truck will whisk hungry patrons up between both restaurants for free.
Tucked away at the highest point on one of the closest hill just north of Patong town is the original No.6 Restaurant. It is a hillside dining restaurant and well shaded with its natural forest. With more seats and a cooler venue with an awesome view of the city, this hideout is amazing. The menu of food served here tastes exactly the same as would the other outlet on the street side. The prices here are also very reasonable given their huge portions and beautiful presentation. All their Thai dishes are so mouth-wateringly awesome that it kept me going back for more every alternate day!
I would highly recommend their pineapple rice, red broth seafood tom yum soup and a Thai mango salad as appetizer. To end the meal, its mango sticky rice adds a touch of sweetness to your palate like an addiction that lasts throughout the day.
Bangla Street Night Market
Near the east entrance of the infamous Bangla Street, a night street food bazaar has recently opened featuring all the new and classic Thai dishes to play with your senses.
From cheese infused barbecued clams to western styled barbecued ribs, this is a great place to fill your bellies before a night full of drinking at the nearby pubs. The prices here are reasonable and the ingredients are fresh everyday.
This is a nice stop over for those who aren’t interested in the other kind of ‘shows’ and a street full of pubs.
Ban Son Night Market
Possibly the most crowded and best night market in Phuket. Ban Son Night Market is seated right in front of Baan Zaan market. Here you will find all kinds of cheap delicious local food. From local pastries to freshly cooked Pad Thai and soup noodles, this place has rows after rows of food stalls. Due to the overwhelming crowd of people, the walkways become narrow from patrons ordering and those being spoilt for choices.
The only down side is there is no sitting place for patrons. You will have to pack your orders back to your hotel and eat. Prices here are the cheapest and everything is prepared and cooked freshly upon ordering. A definite recommend.
During the day, Baan Zaan market opens as a fresh market with a food court upstairs. The seafood mongers sell their catch of the day and their seafood restaurant located in the food court upstairs will have your choices cooked immediately according to your preferred cooking style.
Jungceylon Food Court
An air conditioned food court located in the basement level of Jungceylon, the one and only shopping mall of Phuket. This food court offers a wide variety of local and foreign cuisines and has lots of Chinese influences. Most of the staffs are even trained to speak Chinese!
Prices are slightly reasonable on the 100 Baht end. However, given the convenience of a brightly lit and air conditioned food court with updated furnitures and clean cutleries, it seems worth the value if you plan to cool down from the tropical sun.
Big C Supermarket – Bakery and Rotisserie
Big C supermarket located inside of Jungceylon shopping mall has more to offer than your usual supply of grocery needs. It has its own rotisserie section, bakery and fresh fruit station.
For vegetarians, this place is your second haven with enormous varieties of salads, greens, fresh fruits and local vegan produces; both dried and fresh. Fruit juices are freshly squeezed, bottled and buried in ice to keep them chilled. Don’t forget the local deserts that are also packed fresh daily here.
Grilling just about everything from fresh mackerels to spring chickens and glazed barbecue pork, rotisserie items are all packed warm and ready to eat with the coat of marinades you’d find anywhere but interesting. A small tag indicates the time it was cooked and a huge sign board above shows their cooking intervals for you to catch the freshly cooked ones.
Although Phuket is known for its pristine beaches, cheap beers and wildly bachelor night-outs, it has nonetheless evolved into a night-out foodie haven. There are undoubtedly more hidden fares waiting to be discovered and much more culinary delights being innovated in current times. Many new night markets and open-aired street side stalls are mushrooming about in Phuket. As my stomach can only take so much this trip, I will be back again in time to hunt for more foodie ‘islets’ on this little island. Should I spot anything new, you are sure to get a good sniff of them here.
If you have any more interesting places to recommend, do leave a comment below or drop me a line. I would like to hear from you.
Next Read: Checking In Sira Grande Hotel Phuket
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