Whenever we go to a corner of Thailand people there ask us to bring authentic Phuket snacks as they are only available here on Phuket. But it also happens regularly that people come visit us here in Phuket, and in that case they often opt for eating some local dishes instead of the standard Thai cuisine. Typical Phuket food is luckily easily available in Phuket, but you still need to know where to go to get the most authentic dishes.
Two of the best known restaurants serving authentic Phuket food are Raya restaurant and One Chun restaurant located in the center of Phuket town, right next to each other at the crossing of Soi Thepkasattri and Dibuk Rd opposite the Phuket Town Inn hotel. The menu of the two restaurants is also very similar which makes me wonder if they do not secretly share a kitchen also. Some of the Thais we take out for dinner to both restaurants often comment that they prefer certain dishes from one restaurant over the same dishes in the other restaurant, but for me it all tastes the same. So no matter which of the two places you pick to eat, you will probably like it all the same unless you are a Thai food expert. In case you really cannot decide which one to visit, One Chun is slightly cheaper which can tip the scale for some people.
Both restaurants have a menu in English so there is no need to worry about that part when you do not bring any Thai friends along. And they also both have a page in the menu with the recommended dishes meaning that even though you have no clue what to select you almost cannot go wrong by sticking to the dishes on that page only. Make sure to ask for the food a bit less spicy if you have trouble with typical Thai dishes. Phuket food is not as spicy as Isaan food, but for the average westerner it can still be hard to not break a sweat with some of the dishes being served.
It is hard for me to recommend which dishes you should take but from going to these restaurants several times, with different Thai people, I would think the following three dishes are the most popular:
- Crab meat in a yellow curry
This dish can be a bit spicy so be sure to ask for “less spicy” when you cannot cope well with spicy food. This dish is best served with the white noodles.
- Smelly beans with shrimp
I am not sure what this dish is called but Thais seem to love it. I often refer to these beans as “smelly beans” although they do not smell that bad at first sight/smell. The really bad smell comes later when you feel gas building up in your stomach that needs to be released. You are warned!
- Phuket pork
This is not something I tend to eat as I do not appreciate the structure of the pork. It is mostly the pork belly with a thick layer of fat. The pork is served in a brownish sauce that does taste nice, but for me it would be much better if the meat was a whole lot less fatty.
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