DO you enjoy eating breakfast? Waking up bright and early has never been such a treat than when travelling to Phuket, as the locals offer some unique breakfast options that surely shouldn’t be missed. When looking for authentic morning food, your best bet is to head on to the Phuket Town area, especially the old town, where restaurants’ owners prepare traditional cuisine based on their ancestors’ recipes for many generations. Here are my suggestions for your early bird treats.
Xiao Boi is the term used by local people to refer to dim sum. Throughout history, Phuket has a strong heritage from China and Chinese-influenced cuisine can be found often on the menu, including the classic that is Xiao Boi. Juan Hiang, a popular venue located in different parts of Phuket Town, is one of the original restaurants in Phuket, where the current owner uses the same recipe her grandfather created decades ago. Every item is made fresh to order and goes alongside a unique, spicy, yet sweet thick red sauce.
This noodle soup uses white thin noodles, similar to vermicelli but richer in taste and softer in texture. The noodles are boiled in a well-seasoned soup with minced pork and guts topped with soft boiled egg, ginger, chopped spring onions and deep-fried shallots. The seasoning of vinegar, chilli powder and fish sauce is always served aside, so you can add up your own taste. Mee Sua can often be found in Xiao Boi shops.
Ba Gud Tae
Ba Gud Tae is another Chinese-inspired popular breakfast dish in Phuket. This brown soup is packed with Chinese herbs, making the taste of this dish as stunning as its fragrance. Adding to the mix are some slow-stewed pork ribs to add a bit of tender texture; you certainly won’t need to have lunch after a breakfast like that. Ba Gud Tae is usually served with hot steamed Jasmine rice on the side and can be found in most Xiao Boi restaurants as well.
China is not the only influencer when it comes to food in Phuket; Muslim dishes have long inspired Phuketians in their cuisine, and roti is a perfect example of that. Whether you like it sweet or prefer a dish with more consistency, this deep-fried crispy dough can be topped with condensed milk and sugar or lightly salted and topped with a beef or goat curry. Mataba Roti is another variant of this dish, which is stuffed with dry herbal curry. Delicious! We recommend Aroon Restaurant on Thalang Road, in Phuket Old Town, or the Roti Chaofa, located on Chaofa East Road, in Chalong Sub-district.
Believe it or not, Phuketians eat pretty spicily, that includes breakfast. Kanomjeen is a famous dish nationwide but not many places consider it as a breakfast menu. The concept is simple; some fresh rice noodles mixed with your choice of curries. In Phuket, it is often served with a choice of Naam Ya, a spicy coconut curry with minced fish, Naam Prik, a sweet and spicy curry with minced fish and peanuts, Gang Pu, a spicy coconut curry with crab meat and of course, the classic green curry with chicken. Plenty of vegetables and side dishes are available in all Kanomjeen shops, but we recommend you to try Hor Mok, a soft and spicy steamed fish cake served in a folded banana leaf.
Top: Dim sum is called Xiao Boi in Phuket and here are some of the delectable treat.
First inset: More Phuket-style Xiao Boi to enjoy.
Second inset: A bowl of Mee Sua noodles early in the morning is what many yearn for.
Third inset: Ba Gud Tae is a popular breakfast dish in Phuket and very filling.
Fourth inset: Not all Phuket breakfast dishes are Chinese-inspired – for something different try Mataba Roti.
Fifth inset: Kanomjeen for breakfast is quite unusual but that’s how it is in Phuket.
By Nattha Thepbamrung