If you enter the front room at 20 Thalang Road in Phuket you may be tempted to sit down in the lovely red sofa there and stare in wonder at the beautiful Chinese artifacts, figurines, lacquer work, textiles and fabrics… but don’t. This is because the sofa, a ‘Thairalia’ seasoned hardwood goose and duck feather-filled marvel, is for sale.
Still, you’re more than welcome to walk through this long shop-house to the backyard restaurant, where there are several table-and-chair sets, and take a pew.
Interested in this tour? Book it here.
Welcome to China Inn Café & Restaurant, a beautifully restored example of what people can do with a rundown old building if they possess dedication, patience and an unswervable vision. The restaurant stands in the heart of Phuket’s old town; a place brimming with history and tradition. This is where Phuket’s heart of commerce beat over 100 years ago when tin was in great demand and Chinese labourers flooded in from both north and south to fill the labour shortage on the island.
It took Supat "Noi" Promchan, the owner, and her husband two-and-a-half years to renovate and refurbish China Inn and by golly they did a good job. (Read more about Old Phuket Town and China Inn's renovation)
The inside features tastefully distributed classic memorabilia; a stone tile varnished floor adds a classic feel and in the corner by the bar stands a sensational antique Laos Buddha.
However, diners sit outside at China Inn and there it’s no less tastefully fitted out with antique fans, old framed Chinese advertising posters and ‘before and after’ photos of the building. Half of the Feng Shui-inspired backyard is comprised of spectacularly tall plants and it’s obvious that someone has green fingers around here.
The clientele at China Inn tend to be Caucasian and appreciative of what in effect is a huge labour of love. China Inn doesn’t have a touristy atmosphere – more one of epicurean concentration and with the background music at little more than a murmur, it’s a place to enjoy good company and food at a leisurely pace.
During the high season China Inn is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights but for the most part it is a day dining eatery and closes at 7pm unless you book beforehand for an evening group.
China Inn has an extensive Thai menu featuring all the classic dishes as well as an eclectic western menu. There are lovely touches to the presentation such as a vivid flower that comes with the spanking fresh prawn-based spring rolls (more like spring sticks) and dipping sauce.
The red duck curry is tasty and extremely colourful while a whole fish in a specially prepared tamarind sauce is prepared to perfection.
An all-in breakfast costs 220 baht while spaghetti and penne plates go for 280 baht. China Inn’s fare is reminiscent of home cooking (never a bad thing) and with the lovely décor and interesting atmosphere it really is a place with an individual feel to it.
Very respectful and more than willing to help diners in every little way; Khun Noi is a very gracious host and, in keeping with the nature of China Inn, you will be made welcome.
China Inn Phuket
- Location: 20 Thalang Road, Phuket Old Town
- Remarks: Thalang Road is a one-way western-heading thoroughfare and it is never easy finding a parking space there so it’s perhaps best to park wherever you can in the area and walk the rest of the way.
- Tel: +66 (0)76 356 239