Zesty lemongrass, creamy coconut and fiery chilli – Thai food is among some of the most fragrant and colourful food in the world. Combining sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours, as well as juxtaposing textures, the cuisine here is as diverse and unique as you could imagine. Visiting Phuket, just like Thailand, can be a real attack on the senses when it comes to the local food and drink. You’ll find brightly-coloured and oddly-shaped fruits, fragrant dishes that are both full of bold flavours yet distinctly delicate and yep… insects. With so much to try, you want to be sure you’re really getting all of the best bits. So, we’ve done your research for you (partly from first-hand experience) and popped our top 10 definite must-try dishes of Phuket.
Also known as tom yam, this hot and sour soup is recognised as one of the national dishes of Thailand and can be cooked with a choice of meat or seafood. Since you’re visiting Phuket and surrounded by some of the freshest seafood going, we recommend trying the tom yam goong – generous portions or large shrimp and cooked into this fresh and spicy broth.
Whilst a pretty obvious choice for the list, experiencing a traditional pad thai in Thailand will make you fall in love with this amazing dish all over again. Rice noodles are stir-fried with a range of veg such as beansprouts and spring onions, then dressed with crushed peanuts and chilli to taste.
A street food staple and ubiquitous among street markets across Thailand, moo ping are skewers of marinated grilled pork cooked over a large grill. With every vendor having their own unique marinade, they can vary in flavour from one stall to the next but typically have a sticky-sweet soy or satay glaze and are often accompanied by small bags of sticky rice. I can confirm that every single one of these I’ve eaten was delicious!
Por Pia Thod
Spring rolls. Need we say more? Found on almost every restaurant menu and with plenty of street food stalls dedicated to the perfect ‘roll’, these crispy rolls of goodness are stuffed with fresh veg and served with a spicy dip. They also make a great snack between meals whilst out exploring.
I know, not technically a dish – but stopping by a fresh fruit cart on a hot day is a real treat, especially when its exotic fruit that you’ve never had before. Look for the bright pink dragonfruit, the hairy rambutan and the odd-looking custard apple. Don’t forget to try the infamous durian fruit before you leave. Some say this Thai delicacy is the best fruit they’ve tasted and reminiscent of custard and almonds… while others say it reminds them of rotting food and raw sewage. You decide! It certainly was not for me!
Looking to cool off in the Phuket heat? Look no further than a delicious bowl of oh eaw. Made from shaved ice and a sticky sweet flavour paste of red beans, banana jelly and a sugary syrup, it’s the perfect way to cool off – Phuket style.
Kanob Jeeb or Dim sum
Heavily influenced by the Chinese, the people of Phuket have infused the world-famous dim sum with a distinct Thai flavour – and in turn, a Thai breakfast staple was born. Brightly coloured and packed full of flavour, these fragrant little parcels are the perfect way to start the day!
A delicious stir-fried noodle dish consisting of egg and wheat noodles muddled with pork, spring onions, eggs and veg, and topped with a light broth and finished with crispy shallots and pork crackling to garnish. A true Phuket speciality!
From crispy little crickets and salty bamboo worms to gooey silkworms and chunky scorpions, you’ll find it all in Phuket. We said must-eats, we didn’t say it would to everyone’s tastes – but when in Rome… Top tip; I’d avoid the giant water bugs – they look like cockroaches and they pretty much taste like one too.
Roti or Thai pancake
Eaten savoury with meals or sweet as a desert, this Thai-style bread is found all over Phuket. Look out for the street vendors selling the traditional sweet banana roti – a roti dough stretched thin and topped with condensed milk, banana, sugar and occasionally Nutella. Your sweet tooth will not be disappointed.
Ready to discover Phuket for yourself? Learn more about this Thai paradise here or check out our top 10 reasons why you should make Phuket your next holiday destination!