Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Phuket street foods

Thawiwong Road runs along the Patong beach in Phuket. This must be the most vibrant and happening stretch of road in the whole of Phuket island. The night scene here is ebullient and full of energy. Restaurants and shops cater to the thousands of tourists.

Off Thawiwong Road are several side lanes that tap the spillover from the main scene. In these side lanes, there are more restaurants, bars and shops; as well as stalls that sell everything and anything for tourists, not unlike our pasar malams.

One of these side lanes specialize in street foods. It was indeed a very happy lane. The sight and smell of the displayed fares was most titillating to the senses.

I did not manage to taste all the goodies. It would be quite impossible. I will however show some of the foods they offer here. Like these barbecued pork and ribs that looked better than it tasted.

Prawn fritters, spring rolls and other fried stuffs - very tempting to the palate.

More fried stuffs.

Grilled shrimps on a skewer.

Fresh oysters to go. However I would be wary to try them. Freshness and cleanliness would be my concern considering that they are raw.

Grilled stuffed squids.

Dim sum ala Thai.

Nasi briyani also ala Thai.

Grilled fish encased in salt.

An assortment of I-don't-know-what. I did looked and wondered. One of the trays was century egg. The others beat me.

More assortments of deep fried stuffs. Again, I could only guess what was inside the fried.

Chestnuts - very similar to the ones we have in Malaysia.

This was interesting. Looked like twisted yew char kueh (油炸鬼), sold with a sauce. I wanted to buy it, but somehow missed it later.

Sea snails - another interesting item that I should have tried.

This and that in skewers.

Sea food in skewers.

Fried noodles and rice. The noodles were rather bland.

Some kind of sausage, I guess.

More skewered stuffs.

Miniature sushis.

Meat balls of various animals.

Sausages and more meat balls.

I have no idea what these were. I don't even know if they were sweet or savory. But they certainly looked appetizing.

Fruit salad.

These pineapples were just the size of tennis balls. They were sold by an old lady who was carefully cutting them. I like pineapples and I believe these to be very sweet. I went over to buy but balked at the price - 80 bahts (RM8) for a small fruit.

Seafood egg pancake. It reminded me of our "hor chian" (oyster omelette - 蚝煎). But it did not taste like it. It wasn't good. It was more flour than anything.

This was squid eggs lightly fried. Must be sinful. But I liked it.

Very mundane roast chicken.

Seafood - prawn, fish maw, squid and oyster - all to be made into salads.

Deep fried pork crumbs.

I was looking for deep fried locust and other insects that are so popular in Bangkok. I was gamed to try and write about them. I did see a guy carrying a big tray on his shoulder. In it were what I believed to be the insects that I was looking for. He moved very quickly and was off before I could stop him. Well, perhaps another time.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


We have just returned from a short vacation in Phuket. It was such a happening place. It was supposedly the low season in Phuket -  being the raining season there and summer in Europe. The peak season in Phuket is during the European winter when the people go there to escape the cold. Still the presence of "farangs" (Thai for mat sallehs) was overwhelming. You can hardly find a place without a white face.

On the day of our arrival, we drove aimlessly around Phuket city and then decided to proceed to Patong where our hotel was. Patong is THE place to be in Phuket. It has a long stretch of beautiful white beach and along it are rows of shops catering to tourists. Every other shop was a makan place. Almost all the makan places in Patong are fusion - offering the combination of Thai and western cuisines. We did not leave Patong until the day of our departure.

Our culinary experience in Phuket was thus concentrated around Patong. Arriving at Patong, we parked our car and headed to the beach to look for food. Our first meal there was in a small beach restaurant which was most pleasant and relaxing.

This bowl of glass noodles in soup was from the beach restaurant. It was with chicken and some seafood. The soup was simple and sweet. It was delicious.

The Prad Thai is equivalent to our Penang char koay teow. Looked and tasted quite the same. It was served with some raw taugeh and ground peanuts but was without see hum (蚶, cockles). I particularly liked the noodles they used. It was not koay teow. It was a finer noodle which had a nice springy texture.

This tempura prawn was great. The pieces were so crunchy, yet soft to the bite. Delicious.

Later we had a Thai dinner in a small restaurant known as Arroi while watching the Netherlands played Japan. Guess what? The live telecast was by Astro Super Sports.

The fish we had was recommended by the waitress. She said it was a good Thai fish. Turned out to be a tilapia. It was deep fried and cooked in a Thai sauce. It was not bad but not great.

The green chicken curry was not of that color at all. It was white as milk. But it did taste like green curry. It was very santan rich. Not bad with rice.

The papaya salad was not particular good. I just liked the cashew nuts in it.

We also had a glass noodle salad. It was better than the papaya. At least the glass noodles were quite palatable. Again, it was the cashew nuts that I liked most.

We visited the Jungceylon shopping mall a couple of times. It was a big modern set up. It wasn't too crowded and was actually quite relaxing to walk around. All 3 of us in the family had nice Thai massages there. Absolutely wonderful and relaxing. Cheap. Only 300 bahts (RM30) per person for one full hour.

We had lunch in a cafe in Jungceylon. I cannot even remember the name of the place. Like all other makan outlets, it was a Thai-Western fusion place.

I had a roast beef sandwich. It was served some salad and french fries. They used a lot of fresh basil in the sandwich and I found it a little overwhelming.

My wife had a seafood glass noodle dish. She seemed to have opted for a lot of glass noodles in Phuket. Anyway, the dish was way too spicy. They use a lot of red-hot chili padi. It was simply over-powering.

Our daughter had a salmon quiche. I did not have a taste of it and can only show how it looked like.

We also had a plate of gyoza. It was unlike any gyoza I have ever seen. Instead of being pan-fried, the gyoza they made was deep fried.

On our last evening in Phuket, we dined in a nice restaurant known as the Orchid along Rut-U-Thit Songroi Pi Road in Patong.

We had a lobster. It was pretty expensive - 1100 baht (RM110) just for the lobster. But heck, we were on holidays. We were weighing our options on how to have it cooked. I wanted it steamed with butter and garlic but I was vetoed by my 2 ladies. They were not eager about the butter. We finally had it grilled, at the suggestion of the waitress. I think it was a bad choice. It turned rather dry and we did not taste the full succulence of the lobster meat.

The Panang curry pork was quite delicious. Panang is a Thai-Laotian dish. I enjoyed the rich curry flavor.

The squid we had was steamed in butter and garlic - the way that I wanted the lobster done. I liked it very much. It was rich and the flavor of the butter was really good.

We also had a beef with mushroom, which was rather ordinary...

And a dish of asparagus, which was even more ordinary.

Desserts were fried ice cream which encased in flour  and deep fried in a ball, served with cream, chocolate and strewberry syrup...

And deep fried banana and ice cream which I liked more. The fried banana was very well done. It was quite unlike our goreng pisang. It was soft, creamy and very nice in the mouth.

There are more food stories from Phuket. In my next posting, I will focus on the street foods there.