While there are many new restaurants opening every month in Phuket, visitors who are looking to explore local culture should not miss the island’s traditional-style food centres.
Phuket Town residents will be proud to point out a few well-known local food outlets to you but the one that always stands out is Soi Lor Rong Market, at the top of Pattana Road. Here you’ll find many stalls selling all kinds of yummy treats and at very reasonable prices.
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience
- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
- Introduction to City Tour
- John Gray's Cave Canoeing Tour in Phang Nga Bay
Soi Lor Rong Market is a busy place. “I remember coming here when I was a little girl. And I know that it was here long before that.” says Wanida, a 60-something local told us. This market has a small-town centre feel to it and it has a great little Chinese-Thai community atmosphere too. It's a good place to get a feel of what everyday life is like in Phuket. Here are a few snacks and sweets that you will find there:
- Oh eaw: This sweet is a specialty of the Phuket-Chinese community. It’s an iced dessert made of flour, banana, and a little seaweed.
- Lo bah: An all-time local favourite snack made from deep-fried tripe with fried tofu and spicy sweet-and-sour sauce.
- Mee hoon pah chang: Fried noodles with pork bone soup
- Salapao: Chinese steamed buns, popular for breakfast.
- Popiah: Fresh spring rolls. There is a family here that has been selling nothing but popiah at this place for the past four generations. Their popiah is very popular and is usually sold not long after lunchtime. Their stand closes every Tuesday.
- Kanom sod: Literary means ‘fresh desserts’. It refers to Thai traditional sweets, many served wrapped in banana leaves. These include khao niew sangkaya (sweet sticky rice with egg custard), kanom chan (layered sweet cake) and khao niew ma muang (sweet sticky rice with mango).
There’s a covered dining space where Thai ‘fast food’ is served such as phad thai, noodles soup, somtam papaya salad, deep-fried chicken and fried rice.
The original name of this food/sweet centre is Talad Chumcha (or Chumcha Market) which refers to a big rain tree (aka monkey pod) that was once standing at the corner. Sadly it was cut down a few years ago but in the old days people enjoyed the benefit of its shade by placing tables and their goods under it. Many locals (especially the older generation) still prefer to call this market by its old name.
It’s best to carry some small change with you as the cost for food and sweets here is very minimal. The sellers would appreciate it more if you don’t hand them big bank notes for sweets worth 7-10 baht per piece. The area is near the busy city centre therefore parking can sometimes be a problem, especially during the rush hours and at lunchtime.
Soi Lor Rong Market
- Opening Hours: All year round from 06:00 – 17:00. Some stands close during Chinese New Year while others close on Thai holidays.
- Location: On Pattana Road, near the junction between Ranong Market and Wichitsongkram Road. It’s about 200 metres from the famous Jui Tui Shrine and towards Surakul Stadium.