Kru Suwit Floating Phuket Restaurant (or Kruvit Raft) is one of the most original way to enjoy dinner when you got tired of your ‘Same Same but Different’ Thai food restaurant. Try this unusual but popular place known as ‘Kra Chang’ (‘fishing basket’) which is in fact an aggregation of several floating restaurants built between Phuket Island east coast and Maphrao Island. It only takes a five minutes free longtail boat ride to reach. Our favourite, called ‘Kru Suwit’, is a great place for a lazy lunch in a cool breeze while contemplating the water around, or perfect for a dinner when you have visiting friends from overseas who think they saw it all. Nothing sophisticated here though, several large wooden rafts are connected together and a series of roofs shelter simple tables and wooden benches. Simple, relaxing, unusual and great seafood.
So what’s so special about Kruvit restaurant apart being floating? Walking around the restaurant will reveal their trick to keep fresh seafood: Fishes, crabs and crustaceans are all kept in nets held between each raft. Feel like a grouper? just point at the big one over there and it is in your plate in minutes. It’s also the source of entertainment for many guests, adults and kids alike. Ever saw a ‘Blow fish’ inflate itself in seconds like a spiky balloon? no? then staff will be happy to scare the poor guy for you to take a photo home. If this blow fish is what is known as ‘Fugu’, I would not recommend to order it. Some of the fishes kept there seem to be mostly for customers’ curiosity, like a dozen or moray eels and some other tropical fishes. I could be wrong but I doubt anyone would eat that pair of leopard sharps swimming in circles in a net, maybe we should ask them to let them go.
On the real menu, King Prawns are huge, and can be served in many different ways. Local oysters are also a curiosity if you are not aware of their size. They are so big, you’ll have to cut them in two or four pieces, then add some fresh garlic, fresh chili, some local herbs and a sour sauce. Pretty good once you past the ‘oh my god this is huge’ point.
Also interesting are the ‘Mantis shrimps’, known to knock down crabs with a strong kick, and also known for their high price, so remember that before ordering a dozen. Occasionally, you will see ‘Horse shoe crabs‘, known as ‘Mang Da Talay‘. They really look like prehistoric ammonites, and only their eggs can be eaten. Try it for fun and for the photo, but it taste quite strong.
Now if you are not adventurous, you can order all the classics: Blue crabs are great, as well as squid, then fried or steamed fish are a must. Don’t forget to order a good old Tom Yam Goong that goes well with anything, or if you want to try an excellent but more local soup, try ‘Pla Kao Tom Towchiew’ made with fish and fermented beans. And if this is your first time in Thailand, don’t overreact when you’ll get the funny question ‘would you like ice with your beer’? It is a very common thing here since beer gets warm fast… and it works.
Prices at Kruvit restaurant are a bit high compared to most local restaurants, but as usual, considering the complexity of carrying everything and storing food, it is understandable.
Tricky if you are not familiar with Phuket. From Phuket town to airport, the small road leading to the restaurant is right before you enter a series of curves (the only series of curves on this road). It will be on your right, just after the Nissan show room, with a sign to ‘The Village Resort’ so pass the curves, take the next U-turn and drive slowly back pass the curves. Once arrived, there will be several restaurants, and each of them have their own paying parking (20 Baht). Next to the parking you will see a pier with a number of longtail boats. Someone is always standing by to take you there… for free (but it’s always nice to tip).