Discovering the authentic tastes and cuisine of the island is not difficult when you explore Phuket Old Town. Just head to the local food stands known by the collective names of ‘Lock Tien’ and ‘Old Siam Theatre’ or just ‘Siam’ on Yaowarat Road. This simple food court caters to a variety of local tastes with dishes that are hard to find anywhere else.
Such dishes include mee hoon pah chang (fried noodles with pork bone soup), lo bah (deep-fried tripe with fried tofu and spicy sweet-and-sour sauce), mee nam Hokkien (noodles soup with prawn Hokkienese style), por phee (a fresh non-fried spring roll) and oh eaw (an iced dessert made of flour, banana, and a little seaweed.) They serve some of the best satays in town, too.
This open-air food court is more than 50 years old and a few years back it had a big renovation. The result is not bad at all; it still manages to keep the same easy going atmosphere but looks more appealing and is more hygienic. The best time to go is before lunchtime around 11:00 or 11:30 before it gets really busy.
If time allows, walk to a dead-end soi by the name Soi Soon-u-Thit located on the other side of Hi-So Shop. Here you will come across two small food stands at the top of the soi.
The first one has a sign in both English and Thai saying ‘A Pong Mae Sunee’ where a young couple is busy making one of Phuket most popular sweets/snacks called a pong. It goes very well with coffee and tea anytime of the day but many of the older generation prefer to have this crispy-around-the- edge-but-soft-in-the-middle pancake as part of their breakfast. Having been here since their mother’s time over 30 years ago explains why they have such a strong number of followers. Waiting for 10-15 minutes might be necessary sometimes. Look on the bright side, it’s a chance to observe how this authentic sweet is made (old- style clay stoves play a major role in the process). Open: from about 09:00 – afternoon.
Next to it is another small stand devoted to nothing but fried noodles with pork bone soup. Rumor has it that this is the original Phuket’s mee hoon pah chang (direct translation is Aunty Chang’s mee hoon) as the old lady selling it is also called Aunty Chang and she has been here forever. Keep in mind that this is a very simple set up, meaning you will get to enjoy your noodles sitting at the side of this small alley (they provide a plastic chair.) Open: Daily from 13:00 – 17:00
Lock Tien Food Court
- Opening Hours: Open from 06:30 – 17:00 or when supplies run out. Closed Tuesdays.
- Location: At the traffic lights between Dibuk and Yaowarat Road