All You Need to Know About Dining in Phuket
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, and it is one of the most visited destinations in Southeast Asia. The impressive coastline and its long stretches of sandy beaches interrupted only by rock formations have attracted millions of domestic and international tourists for decades.
The island has a rich heritage, beautiful nature spots, and of course, offers some of the best food in the country. Thai cuisine is famous the world over for robust, unique flavors. Restaurants and food stalls alike allow visitors to sample everything from the familiar to the truly exotic.
The History of Phuket Food
Phuket has been one of Thailand’s most popular commercial port for hundreds of years. European, Chinese, and Muslim traders have been visiting the island since at least the 16th century. Hokkien and Cantonese Chinese in the early 20th century left a significant mark on the island—regional cuisines, ingredients, and cooking techniques.
These many cultural influences are reflected in Phuket cuisine and have no true counterpart elsewhere in Thailand. In Phuket, you’ll get a real mish-mash of flavors and dishes.
Top 10 Phuket Dishes
Phuket food is influenced by Thai, Malay, Chinese, and even Indian cuisines. Island restaurants have access to fresh seafood and tropical fruits and vegetables. Phuket is also very vegetarian-friendly.
Check out our list of the best Thai food you should try on your next visit to Phuket:
1. Mee Hokkien noodles – These noodles are a must-try Phuket specialty. It’s a simple stir-fried noodle dish with pork, egg, squid, prawns, bean sprouts, and thick broth. It’s usually served with sambal chili and lime juice.
2. Moo hong – Fatty pork cuts are braised in brown sugar and sweet soy sauce with garlic and black pepper. Upscale restaurants across the island highlight this blend of Chinese and local cooking styles and ingredients.
3. Loba – One of the most beloved dishes on the island and likely the most intimidating to tourists. Loba is pork head, heart, lungs, intestines, and tongue braised in five-spice powder along with spring rolls and stuffed tofu. A sweet/spicy dip brings the two dishes together.
4. Khanom jeen – This is a breakfast staple in formal restaurants and food stalls in Phuket. It’s a spicy coconut milk-based soup made with mushrooms, lemongrass, vegetables, fruit, and your choice of beef, chicken, fish, or crab.
5. Massaman curry – Influenced by Indian cuisine, this curry combines the usual Thai ingredients like coconut milk, lemongrass, and galangal with cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon. It is best served with fish, beef, or pork over noodles or rice.
7. Gai pad med ma muang – The finest cashews in the world are grown on the island of Phuket. Chicken is stir-fried with cashew nuts, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and chili.
8. Oh tao – This traditional Phuket street food staple is thought to be Hokkien Chinese in origin. This dish is made by combining eggs, taro root, and oysters and then frying them together in a batter flavored with chili and soy sauce. It’s served with deep-fried pork rinds on top and a spicy dipping sauce on the side.
9. Khua kling – An unapologetically hot and spicy dish made of minced pork or chicken fried in lemongrass, kaffir lime, galangal, and many sliced chilies.
10. Por pia – These Fujian-style fresh spring rolls arrived with Chinese settlers on the island. Por pia is crepes rolled in Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, and eggs smothered in a thick sauce.
Phuket is a terrific destination for domestic and international tourists. The beaches are beautiful, the nightlife is hopping, and delicious food can be found in every corner. Food in Phuket has influences from China, India, Malaysia, and even England and Portugal. The unique flavors and mish-mash of techniques make every dish something to remember.
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