The age old advice states that if you want to sample authentic cuisine, pick a restaurant where the locals are eating.
This certainly applies to Indian restaurants in the UK – if it’s frequented by non-Asians, chances are it will be bland and not quite up to scratch.
So I adopted this rule of thumb when looking for food places in Phuket, Thailand, and following the guidance paid off.
Phuket is an island littered with tourists, no more so than on the legendary Jungceylon area, which features the notorious Bangla road, a haven for backpackers, partygoers and the odd dirty old man looking for a Thai lady friend (but I won’t go into that).
So as you can imagine, a lot of food places cater for the western market, and there are enough McDonalds’, Burger Kings and Starbucks to satisfy the most unsophisticated of pallets.
We fell in the tourist trap a few times, by being talked into visiting an Indo-Thai restaurant, which though nice, was similar to what we’d get back home.
So one night hubby and I decided to make a concerted effort to find a more authentic food place, and it really didn’t take that long.
Along a main road we found many a restaurant offering a variety of fresh seafood dishes. As we couldn’t eat the non-halal meat, they were our best option, plus I quite liked the idea of fresh fish, which we scarcely get in the UK.
Anyway, we stumbled upon an open front restaurant which had people literally queuing outside, and without sounding racist, there wasn’t a brown or white face among them. The clientele was mainly made of tourists from China, Hong Kong and possibly some locals.
So our search for an authentic that restaurant paid off, as we weren’t disappointed.
Hats off to my hubby, he’s an experimental one. I’ve been completely put off crab since this one time I tried it in Islington. I was initially enthused at the idea, but when a mucous-filled head and spiky claws were presented to me, I couldn’t stomach it. And I’d never had crab since… until my no.6 meal.
My hubby ordered crab curry, which to my delight, was minus the mucous-y head, and simply had a few claws to chomp through. After several unsuccessful attempts at breaking the claws to get to the flesh, we were mercifully offered a nut-cracker and given a demo of how to use it, at my request.
Once we’d got to the meaty flesh, it was actually pretty good. The curry sauce was similar to that of chip shop curry, which makes sense as to why in the UK we call it ‘Chinese curry sauce’.
The dish also had potatoes and other veg so was a real bonus.
I on the other hand, played it safe by ordering my flavour of the holiday – Tom Yum soup, and a prawn and vegetable dish.
My prawn dish was good, if not a little underwhelming compared to the crab show-stopper.
The soup, while delicious, was tongue burningly-hot. I’d been ordering the fiery, spicy and tangy Tom Yum soup almost every day of the trip, and this was by far the hottest yet. So much so, that I couldn’t finish it for fear of my lips burning off. But despite the heated punch, the soup was delicious, and a touch of coconut milk might have eased off the spice.
We washed this all down with fresh mango juice, and given we were on a tropical island, the mango itself was no doubt picked, plucked and blended that day.
As well as being a popular, bustling restaurant with shared benches for diners, no.6 was also very reasonable, costing around £14 for both of us.
So if you find yourself in Phuket, look for the No.6 restaurant, which is just off Bangla road. If in doubt, look for the locals.
For things to do in Phuket: click here
For the review of where we stayed in Phuket, click here
For my roundup of thingsto do in Hong Kong, click here