13 Thai Food to Try in Phuket

13 Thai Food to Try in Phuket
13 Thai Food to Try in Phuket
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13 Thai Food to Try in Phuket

1) Tom Yam Goong

Tom Yam is one of Thailand’s favourite and most well known dish, to locals and visitors alike. It’s is not a tourist trap, it is really
part of Thai life. Tom Yam means hot and sour soup and Goong means prawns. Other famous variations are Tom Yam Talay (seafood), Tom Yam Gai (chicken), Kradook Moo (pork ribs). Orange color in Tom Yam Goong Mae Nam comes from the fatty juice in the head of river prawns; this juice adds aroma, color, taste and all the extraordinaire to the soup. Read more


2) Som Tam – Green Papaya Salad

Som Tam is probably one of the cornerstones of Thai Cuisine and it comes in various versions, but the main ingredients will almost always include grated green papaya with fish sauce, lime juice, chilies, dry shrimps, green beans and peanuts. Som Tam Tai is the most simple form and popular variations are the Som Tam Poo with salted black crabs and Som Tam Kai Kem, prepared with salted eggs. It might surprise you the first time but you should really try. Ask for ‘Som Tam Thai’ and mention ‘Mai Pet’ (not spicy) as it can be prepared really hot in local southern restaurant. It is excellent eaten with Kao Niao (sticky rice) or even Kanom Jeen (cold rice noodles).


3) Tam Sua – Mixed Hardcore Salad

Tam Sua is a tough variation of the well known Som Tam even though the word Tam Sua practically means ‘salad anything’. The dish looks pretty much like the photo above every time I order it. So what’s inside? Here’s my version of Tam Sua. You’ll find that it’s really similar to a Som Tam… for the brave! Read more

4) Kanom Jeen

Kanom Jeen is without a doubt our favourite Thai breakfast on weekends and we’ll never miss a chance to go to ‘Pa Mai Kanom Jeen Restaurant’, on Satun road in Phuket Town, just next to the Blue Elephant restaurant. If we manage to wake up on time of course. Pa Mai Restaurant is open from 5.30 am to 11 am as well as Mae Ting, the relative’s shop just down the same road. Pa Mai Restaurant might not be as popular as the original one, but we like it better. Not only because it’s easier to get a parking and there is always a table available, but also because we like the taste of their Kanom Jeen. Read more

5) Hor Mok Talay

Hor Mok is not exactly a Phuket or Southern Thailand’s specialty, but the specific type and taste of Hor Mok you can find in Southern Thailand is Phuket style. Central Thailand has its own version Southern style has a greater aroma with a smooth taste and texture. Hor Mok is made of coconut milk, chili paste, fish and some secret ingredients all put together in banana leaf and steamed or grilled.


6) Khao Soi

This curry noodle soup has its origin or influences from a Muslim community from Yunnan in China who moved to a north province of Thailand once called ‘Lanna’. Being Muslim food, the meat of choice in this dish is either Beef or Chicken and not pork. But these days, there are other variation such as tofu or fish.


7) Gaeng Fak

The most common Faks in Thailand are ‘Fak Kiew‘ which is a kind of gourd; ‘Fak Tong‘ or pumpkin then ‘Fak Maew‘ which is Chayote. When we say Fak, however, it normally refers to the gourd kind. We almost always call pumpkin by the full name Fak Tong, I’ll talk about Fak Tong some other time.


8) Nam Prik

Nam Prik’s exact translation is Chili (Prik) Water (Nam). As the name suggests, the main ingredient of this very traditional Thai dish is chili and boiled or raw vegetables. The next important thing is Ka-Pi or shrimp paste, the smelly brown paste that define the taste of this dish. Often eaten with rice, lots of veggies and sometimes Kai Tom, boiled egg, Nam Prik might be a bit too smelly or taste too green for beginners.


9) Kai Mang Da Talay

Kai Mang Da Talay is definitely a Thai dish for the brave, it looks scary, it tastes fishy and since you only eat the eggs, it has a rubbery consistency… but wait, there is more… a lot more! Horseshoe crabs are arthropods, considered living fossils, living primarily on soft sandy bottoms of shallow ocean waters and will occasionally come on shore for mating. Horseshoe crabs might resemble crustaceans, but belong to a the Chelicerata and are therefore more closely related to spiders and scorpions! Read more


10) Hor Mok Kanom Krok

Hor Mok Kanom Krok is in fact a dish combining two specialties: Hor Mok which is a delicious spicy fish mousse very similar to the Malaysian otah-otah, and Kanom Krok, a beautiful Thai sweet dish made from coconut milk and palm sugar, cooked with this clay plate. The result is this fun looking dish found is various Thai seafood restaurants such as Lemongrass in Phuket Town.

Mang Da

11) Mang Da

Mang Da looks like over-sized, mutated cockroaches, but I can confirm that they’re not. They are called Mang Da Na in Thai and apparently are the biggest kind water bug there are. I think the English name is ‘Giant Water Bug’. These guys are not just another type of deep-fried bugs on the push carts. They’re a little more special than that. This is because male Mang Da has distinct fragrance that made them a nice ingredient for other Thai dishes; such as various Nam Prik or Chili Paste, Som Tam or Papaya Salad, and you’ll also find Nam Pla Mang Da or Fish Sauce with Mang Da fragrance. Read more


12) Poh Taek

The words ‘Poh Taek actually means broken fisherman’s basket (or maybe fisherman’s pier rather, I’m not really sure here). The soup, though clear, can be very spicy with fresh bird eye chilies. The taste is quite similar to Tom Yum in a way but several additional herbs and ingredients add a very nice and unique aroma to this dish. You might not find this dish in most touristy seafood restarant, so if you feel like trying it, read Phuket Best Local Seafood Restaurants


13) Goong Pad Sa-Tor

Sa-tor or smelly bean is local to Southern Thailand. It is eaten raw or like this dish, stir-fried with meats, often prawns. Not all Thais can eat Sa-tor though. Fun fact: people using toilet after you might be able to tell that you just had Sa-Tor bean, as the name suggests, the thing is quite smelly and the effect lasts a while… enjoy 🙂

Written by

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world in my 20s and never stopped until I finally settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 22 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I now manage 30 online travel guides in Asia and beyond, including Phuket.com, Bangkok.com and Bali-Indonesia.com