One reason many tourists choose to return to Phuket again and again is because they love the food available on the island. The variety of dishes is huge but one type of food that plays a big role in Phuket’s Thai-and-international culinary culture is seafood.
Living on an island, local people have, of course, enjoyed seafood almost since time began. They can easily live on seafood alone if they wanted to.
A Simple Local Seafood Menu For a Day:
Kanom jeen (thin, spaghetti-like noodles made from rice) with carp or other fish, and dipping sauces.
Kuay tiew pla (noodle soup with fish) or khao phad poo (fried rice with crab).
Rice with tom yum koong (spicy-and-sour soup with shrimp) plus fried vegetables with squid.
The Thai seafood tradition is all-pervasive. You’ll find seafood made into every type of dish: appetizers, curries, fried dishes, soups and sauces, and with rice and noodles. Don’t worry, not all of them are spicy. In fact, the majority are not spicy – which is why you almost always get spicy dip or sauces when you order seafood here.
Wander along the beach road in Patong or any of Phuket’s other popular resort areas and you are bound to come across restaurants fronted by huge trays of crushed ice with fish, lobsters, prawns, crabs and shellfish laid out in colourful patterns, or huge glass tanks with seafood just waiting for dinner – your dinner.
Diners simply choose what they want to eat. In addition, most restaurants have picture menus, allowing customers to see what the cooked seafood will look like and making the whole what-you-see-is-what-you-eat approach both easy and entertaining.
Seafood prices are usually based on weight (the fish’s, not yours), and vary according to what’s most readily available at the time. But on average most seafood dishes cost between 100 and 200 baht. Here, Phuket.com selects some items that are common and one that is decidedly unusual.
What to Order?
• Pla Meuk Yang Gleua (Barbecued squid with salt and pepper)
• Hoi Maeng Poh Op Moh Din (Steamed mussels with lemongrass and herbs)
• Thord Mun koong (Deep-fried shrimp cake with plum sauce)
• Tom Yum Talay (Spicy and sour soup with mixed seafood such as shrimp, fish and squid)
• Poo Pad Pong Karee (Fried crab meat with yellow curry)
• Pla Meuk Pad Prik (Squid sautéed with onion, pepper and green onion)
• Pla Lard Prik (Crispy fish filet topped with three-flavor sauce – spicy, sweet and sour)
• Haw Mok Pla (Curried fish mousse served in individual cups made of banana leaf)
• Yum Kai Maengda (Spicy salad with horseshoe crab eggs)
Where to Go For Great Seafood?
It’s impossible to list all the seafood restaurants in Phuket. But here is a menu of places that have large selections of high quality, fresh, local seafood from the Andaman Sea:
Kan Eang Restaurant opened on the seafront at Chalong Bay in 1973. Apart from serving fresh seafood, it also specialises in local Phuket cuisine. It is open seven days a week, from 10:00 to midnight. Address: 9/3 Chaofa East Rd, Chalong Bay, Phuket 83130. Tel: +66 (0) 76 381 649
Kan Eang@Pier, owned by the same family, it is also on the seafront in Chalong, next to the big pier. It recently underwent a major renovation, allowing guests to dine al fresco or in air-conditioned rooms, surrounded by very tasteful décor and design. Address: 44/1 Viset Rd, Moo 5, Rawai (Chalong). Tel: +66 (0) 76 381 212
Patong Seafood, on the beach road 200 metres north of Soi Bangla in Patong, also opened a long time ago (since 1979) and is one of the best-known seafood restaurants in Phuket, serving local delicacies. Tel: +66 (0) 76 340 247
Mali Restaurant on Kata Beach offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes including authentic Thai dishes and international cuisine in a casual environment. Contact: 20/10 Kata Rd, Kata Beach. Tel: +66 (0) 76 284 404 Ext. 6
Phuket Floating Seafood Restaurants
A delightfully novel way to dine is at one of the floating seafood restaurants (known in Thai as krachang) that can be found on the east coast of Phuket. The restaurants have adapted the technology of the fish-farming industry, keeping fish, crabs, prawns and other seafood in floating wood-and-net enclosures. All guests have to do is walk along planks between the enclosures and choose the seafood they want to eat.
There are several krachang open every day, including Bang Ied Restaurant (Tel: +66  8 9726 5435) and Kroo Suvit’s (Tel: + 66  8959 4016). To get to either of these, take a three-minute longtail boat ride from Laem Hin Pier, which is just north of Phuket City. The boat ride is free.