RECENTLY recognised by UNESCO as a City of Gastronomy, Phuket offers one of the most comprehensive cuisine, a perfect balance of sweetness, spiciness, sourness and bitterness. Most of the tourists coming to Phuket often end up eating the same dishes over and over, and this mainly happens for one reason: they simply don’t know about our regional delicacies.
Everyone has heard of Pad Thai or Tom Yum before; those dishes are widely available in foreign countries, though often served not as spicy as the originals. But Phuketian food is rather inexistent on the international scene; it is a cuisine you must devour while staying in its birthplace to grasp the full extent of its flavours.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to five of my favourite island treats that I’m sure you’ll be falling in love with at first bite.
Pla Thod Kamin
A crispy deep-fried fish with turmeric, right from the Andaman Sea; the crispness from the skin coated by the crusty turmeric and garlic gives a unique herbal aroma to the fish while the meat is left tender and juicy inside. It is paired wonderfully with hot steamed jasmine rice.
This is actually my favourite dish when it comes to Phuketian cuisine. Oh Tao is a delicious mix of corn flour soft dough with clams, egg, bean sprouts and crispy pork skin. The ingredients are stir-fried in a flat pan altogether with chilli powder and other seasonings until the whole starts to shine in a yellow-gold colour. It is usually topped with chopped spring onions and served with sweet and spicy sauce.
Mee Hoon Kradug Moo
For breakfast, lunch or even for an easy dinner, Mee Hun Kradug Moo is a favourite Phuket street food. This stir-fried vermicelli in brown sauce is topped with deep-fried crispy shallots, chopped spring onions and chilli powder. Mee Hoon is always served with a clear pork ribs soup seasoned to perfection.
Amateurs of shrimps? This one is for you! Bua Thod is a mix of deep-fried bamboo and betel leaves topped with shrimps and served alongside a sweet and mildly spicy sauce. The crispness of the greens that meets with the texture of the shrimps gives this dish an interesting savour. Give it a bite and I promise you won’t stop.
This porky dish certainly is a must-try local appetiser. Loh Ba combines some of the best parts of the pork, all gathered in one plate, such as the ears, tongue and intestines. Granted; it may seem scary for some, but the cuts are boiled in a flavoursome herbal brown stew and then deep-fried until the outside texture starts to crisp leaving the inside soft and tender. Loh Ba is usually served alongside Tao Gua, or deep fried tofu, alongside a sweet, sour and spicy tamarind sauce.
Top: A typical Phuketian treat that visitors usually miss.
First inset: Coming straight from the Andaman Sea and fried to perfection is Pla Thod Kamin.
Second inset: Oh Tao at its tasty best.
Third inset: Mee Hoon Kradug Moo is a joy to eat anytime at all.
By Nattha Thepbamrung