What street food to try in Phuket?

Phuket street food is fun, cheap, and a great way to experience simple real Thai food. It definitely is more authentic than in tourist restaurants you find in Patong Beach. It’s fast and a lot cleaner than you might think. If you have a sensitive digestive system or allergies, you might want to skip this, but I think it’s as safe as eating in some restaurants I’ve seen in Patong. Of course, we also know there is a lot more street food you can find, and we only listed ten of the most classic items you can eat in the street of Patong and around.

Phuket Street Food

You often find some grilled seafood along beach roads, and more in the centre of towns, you can expect to find a few types of noodle soups. Som Tum with grilled catfish is easy to find by the streets, and it definitely will be spicier than the new you had at the touristic Thai restaurant you tried last night.

1. Pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles with shrimps)

Pad Thai

Those fried rice noodles don’t need to be introduced anymore and are, without a doubt, the most popular street food in Phuket. Ironically it originated in China and is mostly loved by tourist and not so much by Thai. Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish made of rice noodles, eggs, tofu, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chilli pepper and palm sugar, served with lime wedges and often peanuts. It usually comes with bean sprouts, garlic chives and sometimes banana leaves on the side.

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2. Pancake (Roti)

Pancakes in Phuket

Pancake is the number one snack or dessert, and almost everyone loves it, whether it uses banana, chocolate, condensed milk, Nutella. Yes, we know It’s called roti, but it sells a lot better when called Pancake, so every cart now advertises these as Pancakes. So don’t worry about finding them on your next holidays; they are everywhere on the island.

3. Kuay Teow (Noodle Soups)

Noodle Soup in Phuket

The most popular dish comes in many ways: pork, beef, chicken, or seafood served with rice noodles or yellow noodles. To pick your ingredients, you can point at things usually on display on the carts. 2 words you might want to remember: ‘Mai Nai’ meaning ‘no entrails’ since not everybody likes to find pieces of intestines in their soup.

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4. Som Tum (Papaya Salad)

Som Tam in Phuket

A timeless dish in Thailand found almost everywhere. Som tum comes in few variations with some extremes, such as Som Tum Poo Pala (Papaya salad with fermented crab, super pungent). The safest option is Som Tum Thai, which usually only uses papaya, tomatoes, green beans and a variable amount of chillies. Most of the time, if you don’t specify how spicy you want your Som Tum to be, the cook will look at you and guess how many chillies you can take. You are farang (foreigner) and can’t speak Thai? You’ll get 1 chilli or even none! So, if you like it spicy (because that’s how it’s best), you can learn those words: Pet Mak (very spicy, but he will only half believe you anyway). Now, if you worry about spice levels, say ‘Mai Pet’ (not spicy). Som Tum is often best with grilled catfish, grilled chicken or pork.

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5. Khao Pad Kai (Fried rice with chicken)

Fried Rice in Phuket

Khao Pad is another super classic dish. It can be cooked with pork or chicken or seafood and is always served with precisely three cucumber slices. It’s even better if you ask for Plik Nam Pla, a bit of fish sauce with chopped chillies in it, gives a nice extra salty punch.

6. Kai Yang (Grilled Chicken)

Grilled Chicken in Phuket

Grilled chicken is everywhere, and you have to follow your nose to spot them. Cooked on a tiny cart and more often as a takeaway than a seated meal, grilled is best eaten with sticky rice (Khao Niaow). Delicious and so cheap!

7. Moo Ping (Pork Satay)

Similar to grilled chicken, Moo Ping is even easier to spot in the streets. Before you can smell it, you will see a vertical column of smoke rushing into the sky. That’s the Moo Ping guy. They used to grill those skewers on a little barbecue and use a small bamboo fan until one guy started to use a recycled electric fan to create a powerful air stream. Double benefit: the fire always gets ventilated, and the cook does not stand in a permanent cloud of smoke anymore! Just remember that if you stand next to a Moo Ping cart for more than 5 minutes, you will smell like a Moo Ping yourself for at least an hour.

8. Khao Ka Moo (Stewed Pork Leg with Rice)

Khao Ka Moo

One of my favourites dishes, it’s quite close to some stew we cook in Europe. Here it is a big fat leg of pork stewed and served on rice. It usually comes with fat and skin, which is not to everyone’s taste. One of the best Khao Ka Moo in Phuket is Kha Moo Bhoran in Kathu.

9. Pad See Ew (Fried Yellow Noodles with chicken or shrimp)

Pad See Ew is not the same as Pad Thai since it uses yellow noodles and no eggs. It’s a favourite dish if you cannot eat spicy food. Like fried rice, it comes with chicken, pork or seafood.

10. Kanom Jeeb (Thai Steamed Dumplings)

These small and colourful steamed dumplings are usually made with pork and served with soy sauce. Great as a Thai breakfast

Where to find street food in Phuket?

Technically, street food is everywhere, but you can find some on the beachfront near Graceland resort, here and there near a convenience store and a lot near fresh markets like Banzaan market behind Jungceylon.

Prices are fixed and cheap, so don’t try to bargain. They might not have a menu, so look around the cart, and if you don’t see something you like, point at what you see on other customers’ tables. Of course, there are tons of variations but go with basic stuff.

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