On the culinary front, Phuket has come a long way. It was the first Asian city to be named by UNESCO as a City of Gastronomy.
To give you a flavour of what this world kitchen has to offer, we take you to some of the most well-loved food places. It’s an insider’s guide to the timeless tastes of old Phuket.
Located along Soi Romanee, in a charmingly restored shophouse, Torry’s Daily is the perfect place to escape the heat of the tropical sun. The three year-old ice-cream parlour, started by brother and sister pair Torry and Fern Wongwattanakit, has been “bringing local experiences and the taste of Phuket to visitors by turning forgotten childhood snacks into delicious ice-cream flavours,” Fern says.
Made naturally using no artificial scent or colouring, ice-cream flavours range from avocado, banana, and corn milk to pumpkin, coconut sorbet, and o-aew, a refreshing ice-cream with red bean and jelly. A must-try is a local-style crepe known as apong, made from coconut milk, pan-fried on a mini wok over hot charcoal, and served with ice-cream.
Sharing the space is Torry’s other venture, Malou Tea Atelier. Taking pride in serving their own blends, Malou Tea’s delicate flavours include rooibos rose lavender, green tea spearmint, and Ceylon rose.
16 Talang Road, Soi Romanee,
Taladyai, Mueang, Phuket
Tel: +66 76 510 888
Open from 11am to 6pm, Tuesdays to Thursdays
Open from 11am to 9.30pm, Fridays to Sundays
For a magnificent bird’s eye view of Phuket Town, head to Tunk-Ka Cafe on Rang Hill (known also as Khao Rang). The open-air hilltop restaurant boasts not just postcard-worthy panoramic views, but an equally impressive all-round menu.
The entry to the restaurant is by a shaded wooden walkway, undulating through lush bamboo bushes. The restaurant itself has three separate terraces, surrounded by the majestic canopy of banyan trees. Wherever you sit, there is a sweeping view to behold. When the lights are turned on, the setting is simply magical.
Food-wise, Tunk-Ka Cafe serves authentically prepared Thai fare, including a very good moo hong (southern Thai stewed pork belly) and steamed whole fish in lemon juice and chillies. Don’t forget to leave some room for the mango bee-go, a sweet concoction of mango, coconut ice-cream, and black sticky glutinous rice.
Top of Rang Hill, Kosimbee Road,
Ratchada, Mueang, Phuket
Tel: +66 76 211 500
Open from 11am to 10pm, daily
Mee Ao Ke
It’s difficult to do a simple dish well. And this coffeeshop does the local version of Hokkien noodles really, really well.
All it is is a bowl of dry egg noodles, stir-fried in soya sauce, sugar, and sweet sauce, accompanied by fishball, shredded pork, and vegetables, and finally topped with a perfectly done soft-boiled egg. Mix everything together and what you get is the dark, gooey goodness that keeps the crowd coming back for more. No frills, no gimmicks—just food from the heart.
97/1 Soi Poonpon3, Poonpon Road,
Tel: +66 76 213 058
Open from 10am to 3.30pm, daily
Coffs & Burgh
Thalang Road, the main artery of Phuket Town, is lined on both sides with charming and colourful shophouses, many of which are over a century-old. Today, these shophouses are home to an eclectic mix of businesses, such as cafes, barber shops, hostels, souvenir shops, and eateries.
To experience some of the old world charm, step into Coffs & Burgh, which occupies one of the shophouses on the main drag. The cafe has maintained a lovely vintage vibe, with furniture and objects from a seemingly bygone era. The owner has also kept the architecture of the building intact, so you can wander around and be amazed by just how well-built and airy these old structures are.
Don’t be in a rush at Coffs & Burgh though. It is a special place to just linger, slow down over a cup of a strong coffee, and soak in the wonderful atmosphere.
92 Talang Road, Taladyai,
Tel: +66 88 658 0002
Open from 10am to 8pm, Thursdays to Tuesdays
Boon Rat Dim Sum
For an authentic taste of traditional Phuketian Chinese breakfast, make your way to 100 year-old Boon Rat Dim Sum. Started in 1917, the popular eatery still prepares its delectable dim sum using recipes brought over from Guangzhou, China. These recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, and today Boon Rat Dim Sum has expanded to several branches, run by fourth-generation Mrs Wilaivat Vorranoppakul.
Dim sum refers to little morsels of steamed or fried meats, served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Favourites at Boon Rat Dim Sum include steamed pork dumpling, shrimp dumpling, deep-fried crab with pork, and a silky smooth wheat flour noodle. Mrs Vorranoppakul’s daughter, who helps in the family business, explains that even though traditional recipes are used, the dim sum is served with a selection of condiments like hot sauce, fish sauce, and green chillies in vinegar to suit the local palate.
26/41 Bangkok Road, Talad Nuea,
Tel: +66 76 212 034
Open from 6am to 10am, daily
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