Phuket has a rich culinary heritage, and there are several local dishes that you should try when visiting the island.
Here are some of the best local dishes to try during your stay in Phuket:
- Tom Yam Goong: A spicy and sour soup made with shrimp, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and chili peppers.
- Massaman Curry: A flavorful curry made with tender chunks of beef or chicken, potatoes, peanuts, and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaves.
- Pad Thai: A stir-fried noodle dish made with shrimp, tofu, bean sprouts, egg, and tamarind sauce.
- Gaeng Som: A sour curry made with fish, vegetables, and spices such as turmeric, shrimp paste, and chili peppers.
- Laab Gai: A spicy and tangy minced chicken salad made with lime juice, chili peppers, shallots, and fresh herbs such as mint and cilantro.
- Moo Hong: A savory dish made with tender pork belly cooked in a flavorful sauce of soy sauce, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon and star anise.
- Khao Pad Sapparot: A fried rice dish made with pineapple, cashew nuts, and shrimp or chicken.
- Kanom Jeen: A dish of fresh rice noodles served with a spicy curry sauce and an array of fresh vegetables and herbs.
- Khao Man Gai: A simple but delicious dish of steamed chicken served with rice cooked in chicken broth and a flavorful dipping sauce made with chili, garlic, and ginger.
- Bami Goreng: A spicy and savory Indonesian-style fried noodle dish.
Vegetarian Dishes to Order in Phuket
Thai cuisine has many delicious vegetarian options, packed with flavor and spice. Here are some good vegetarian dishes to order in Thai restaurants:
- Pad Thai Jay: A vegetarian version of the popular Pad Thai dish, made with tofu, vegetables, and rice noodles. It’s a slightly sweet and tangy dish that is a favorite among many vegetarians.
- Tom Yum Hed: A spicy and sour soup made with mushrooms and herbs such as lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. It’s a flavorful and aromatic soup that is a great choice for those who enjoy spicy food.
- Som Tam: A spicy and sour salad made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes, peanuts, and chili. It’s a refreshing and healthy dish that is perfect for hot days.
- Green Curry: A curry made with coconut milk, vegetables, and green curry paste. It’s a rich and creamy dish that has a spicy kick, but can be made milder by requesting less spice.
- Pad Pak Ruam Mit: A stir-fry dish made with mixed vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and mushrooms. It’s a simple and flavorful dish that is perfect for those who prefer milder flavors.
- Massaman Curry: A curry made with coconut milk, potatoes, peanuts, and spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and coriander. It’s a milder and sweeter curry that is a great choice for those who prefer less spicy dishes.
These are just a few examples of the many delicious vegetarian dishes available in Thai cuisine.
When ordering at a Thai restaurant, be sure to let the waiter know that you are vegetarian to ensure that your dish is free of any meat or seafood. Trya saying:
- “Jae” or”Jey” (เจ) – vegetarian/vegan, or
- “Mang sa werat” (มังสวิรัติ) – no meat.
Don’t Want Your Food To Sweet Or Spicy?
Spicy or not? It’s always wise to check how spicy or sweet you’d like your dish. The chef should be able to adjust according to taste (though at the small little restaurants, no guarantee!
If you want to ask for little or no spice in Thai food, you can use the following phrases when ordering at a restaurant:
- “Mai pet” – This means “not spicy” in Thai. You can use this phrase to ask for a dish that is not spicy at all.
- “Pet nit noy” – This means “a little bit spicy” in Thai. You can use this phrase to ask for a dish that has just a hint of spice.
- “Mai sai prik” – This means “no chili” in Thai. You can use this phrase to ask for a dish without any chili peppers, which are the main ingredient that adds spiciness to Thai food.
- “Aow wan” – This means “less sweet” in Thai. Sometimes, Thai dishes can be too sweet for some people’s tastes. If you want a less sweet dish, you can use this phrase to ask the waiter to reduce the sugar in the dish.
When you use these phrases, it’s a good idea to use polite language and a friendly tone to ensure that the waiter understands your request. You can also point to the phrase on a menu or use a translation app to make sure that there is no confusion.
Got a super fussy kid (or adult!) who simply won’t try anything new and adventurous? Don’t worry, we’ve been there! Try our fussy eaters guide to dining out in Phuket.
Best Street Foods To Try in Phuket
Phuket is known for its street food scene, which offers a variety of tasty and affordable options. Here are ten popular street foods to try in Phuket (along with their approximate costs):
- Satay: Grilled skewered meat, typically chicken, served with peanut sauce. Cost: 10-20 THB per skewer.
- Som Tam: A spicy and sour green papaya salad made with tomatoes, peanuts, chili, and fish sauce. Cost: 40-60 THB.
- Roti: A popular snack made with a thin layer of dough cooked on a griddle and served with a sweet or savory filling such as banana or egg. Cost: 20-30 THB.
- Moo Ping: Grilled pork skewers marinated in a sweet and savory sauce. Cost: 10-20 THB per skewer.
- Khanom Bueang: A crispy Thai-style crepe filled with sweet or savory ingredients such as coconut cream or minced pork. Cost: 10-20 THB per piece.
- Khanom Krok: Small coconut milk pancakes served with a variety of sweet and savory toppings such as corn or green onions. Cost: 20-30 THB per piece.
Safety tips eating in Thailand (not to get sick)
Phuket is a relatively safe place to eat, but there are some precautions that you should take to ensure that you enjoy your food safely. Here are some safety tips for eating food safely in Phuket:
- Choose reputable restaurants: Look for restaurants that are popular and have good reviews. Avoid eating at street food vendors that do not look clean or hygienic.
- Check the hygiene: Look for restaurants and food stalls that follow basic hygiene practices such as wearing gloves, hairnets, and washing their hands regularly. You can also check for cleanliness and sanitation in the restaurant’s kitchen and dining area.
- Avoid raw or undercooked food: Make sure that meat, seafood, and eggs are thoroughly cooked before eating. Raw or undercooked food can contain harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Stick to bottled water: Drink only bottled water, and avoid tap water, ice cubes, and drinks that may have been made with tap water.
- Be careful with fruits and vegetables: Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean water before eating, or choose fruits that have a peel that can be removed.
- Use utensils: Use utensils such as forks, spoons, and chopsticks to eat food. Avoid using your hands, which can transfer bacteria and viruses.
- Bring medication: If you have a sensitive stomach, consider bringing medication such as antacids or anti-diarrheal medication in case of an upset stomach (though these are also easy to get from a pharmacy)
© Mama Loves Phuket