Food from Isaan (northeast Thailand) is my favorite food in Thailand. I wish I could say that southern Thailand has the best food since my wife is from the south, but I just can’t. BBQ pork neck with tamarind sauce (kor moo yang nahm jim jaew) and larb moo are two dishes I order whenever I get the chance. Other famous dishes from Isaan is papaya salad (som tum) and Isaan fermented sausage (sai grok Isaan).
When we were in Koh Samui a couple of days earlier this year, we were driving around hungry looking for a place to eat. Eventually, we stopped at a place called Tumlai By Copacabana. Boy, are we happy we ended up here! We loved the food so much we decided to come back the next day. I also brought my camera.
Yaowarat, or Chinatown as most tourists would call it is a must-visit in Bangkok with its good vibe, especially at night between 6 p.m. and midnight when both locals and tourists can be seen everywhere along the Yaowarat Road munching one of the best street foods in the world (except Mondays as there are no stalls due to sidewalk cleaning).
We visited Chinatown after 10.00 p.m., and some of the neon signs were already turned off. You should, therefore, come here earlier because the long strip of neon signs are really cool and provides some great night photos.
Massaman curry is a relatively mild, but rich Thai Muslim curry with potatoes and most commonly chicken. This dish was voted #1 in CNN Travel’s ‘World’s 50 best foods‘. I personally don’t agree on that, but I know that many would do anything for a nice Massaman curry.
When I asked the girl who would later become my wife out to dinner the first time, I asked if she knew a good restaurant. Sure, she knew. She knew very well! Oh boy, DID SHE KNOW?! When it was time to pay I was a bit shocked it was so expensive. I thought it was cheap eating out in Thailand. It turned out she had taken me to one of the finest and most expensive restaurants in Phuket. She has never eaten there before, but she wanted to try. She is not dumb, my wife. But it was probably the best dining experience I ever had in Thailand. The bill landed at around 2,500-3,000 THB (600 Norwegian kroner or 75 USD).
Ruen Mai is without a doubt the best restaurant in Krabi if you want to eat authentic southern Thai food. When we had lunch here, most of the guests were Thai – probably tourists from Bangkok on holiday in Krabi interested in trying real southern Thai cuisine.
The famous Kang Ban Phe (Mantis Shrimp Noodle Soup) from Rayong can also be enjoyed in Bangkok. The mantis shrimp is a delicious type of crayfish with a sweet taste like lobster and tender meat like crab.
The Kang Ban Phe Noodle & Seafood Café is located in a hip spot in the area of Lumpini Park, near Ploen Chit BTS station in Bangkok. At the prices of around 200-250 baht per dish, it’s quite a reasonable price, given the quality; fresh mantis shrimp caught in the morning. The only downside is the small portion. If you love seafood, give it a try, but avoid rush hour (12-1 p.m) if you don’t want to queue.
The dog conch, known as “Hoy Chak Teen” in Thai, is a species of sea snail, famous in Krabi’s cuisine. Chak teen means ‘feet pulling’ and hoi means ‘shell’. To prepare the dog conch, the shell is soaked in salty water for about 30 minutes. The dog conch then begins expelling the mud from inside by pushing its feet out. It is rinsed several times and then boiled gently, starting with cold water. This way, the dog conch pushes its feet out, so when cooked, they can be easily picked out with a toothpick. The dog conch is eaten with a spicy chili dipping sauce called Nam Jim Seafood.
Fresh dog conches at the floating seafood restaurant in Bang Pat Fishing Village.
The dog conch is an important economic asset in the Indo-Pacific, and it may be suffering population declines due to overfishing; ecologists have recommended a reduction in its exploitation rate. Initiatives in Thailand are attempting to manage the natural populations; good for us who want to eat this dog conch with a clean conscience.
There are plenty of local markets in Phuket, and one of them is Tawee Samarn market, located close the Phuket Rajabhat University in Phuket Town. It’s not one of the most famous markets, and when I googled this place I could hardly find any information; but it’s a nice place for a touch of local life – something I always enjoy. Usually, my wife and I eat out in Thailand, but this day my wife wanted to cook something special, and since we stayed at my brother-in-law’s house, we had the opportunity to cook by ourselves.