Restaurant 1
Restaurant 2
NEXT-->Phi Phi Islands

Food from the market & the restaurants - 2017 to 2019

On the adjoining map I've identified locations of my favorite restaurants in Kathu. Without speaking and being able to read Thai it's very difficult to locate restaurants. Most don't have a website. Addresses are not easy to understand. I have identified my favorites as follows:

  1. Kao soi
  2. Kabob
  3. Papas House
  4. Ketho dim sum - across from the park
  5. Thum restaurant
  6. Cafe - next to Thum
  7. Prong dong - near the market
  8. Bang siam - dim sum
  9. Corner restaurant - next to post office
  10. Red chair restaurant -
    • down the street from us near the 7-11
  11. Il Fiume restaurant
    • up near Ban Maireab school

Not only are the restaurant names and locations difficult to communicate, but the names of favorite dishes is a challenge to remember and share. We end up doing research on the internet to be able to order the same thing again. Even if we go to the same restaurant we often have to point to a picture of the dish because we can't read the Thai menu. We go to Thai cooking videos, expat forums and various articles to try to put together our favorites. There are four different regional cuisines in Thailand so a restaurant may not offer all dishes that some other restaurant offers. The menu options are somewhat tribal. There are also two or three different options for the hours a restaurant keeps. Sometimes it's written on a sign in the restaurant. Most of the time it's not. The three schedules are: breakfast places (6am to noon or 3pm), lunch places (10 or 11am to 4 or 5pm), evening places (4 or 5pm to 10 or 11pm). The schedule for the markets is similar except there are morning markets and evening/night markets. There are also weekend markets.

Our experience was mostly in Kathu on the island of Phuket. The region is very touristy and there are lots of expats. Our experience is not the common experience across Thailand. Because we were in a heavily international area we could get some western food, more people spoke some level of English. We had a convenient airport. There were lots of services that are not common throughout Thailand.

The dishes to the left are
  • 1) orange curry from Thum
  • 2) Laab from Northeast Thailand
  • 3) Pork with the ever present bowl of broth
  • 4) Soup from Ban Siam dim sum restaurant, a rich mellow broth with chunks of meat, a variety of mushrooms including straw mushrooms and whole cilantro with roots etc on the side. This is a breakfast place by the way.

One of the things I experienced in Thailand was time and great peace. I had all the time in the world. I didn't have to cook. Good prepared food was cheap and various and readily available. That's always been a constraint of time involved in shopping for and preparing food and cleaning up afterwards. In Thailand we eat and we're done. What a time saver.

There are some unusual ingredients in Thai food. They have coconut available but the coconut milk and coconut cream is a special ingredient. Coconut milk is used in some of the soups rather than regular milk. It makes for a delicious dish. Duck is not a common meat in America but it is fairly common in Thailand. It has a rich flavor compared to chicken or turkey. They don't do turkey or much beef in Thailand. What they serve as beef is likely water buffalo. I did not see any pigs in the whole country in our 3 years there except one time on a truck in cages. But they do serve a lot of pork. They use birds nest for soups and sell the nests for a pretty penny to China. There are pics of those cliff dwelling birds on the website here. Kefir lime leaves are divine. It has a bit of a lime taste but when baked they are crunchy. One of my favorite dishes uses that ingredient. There are a huge variety of mushrooms. A lot of them are available in the US, but there they were cheap. When we did a science project at a school I taught in they grew mushrooms. One kid brought his kit from home that his family used. It was amazing. They serve of forest of green sides including cilantro with the roots attached. The roots are a stronger taste than the leaves. Along with the cilantro are a variety of other green vegetable leaves. I can't talk about strange foods unless I mention durian. THAT is an experience. It smells bad and the consistency is slimy. Otherwise it's a fruit whose consistency is how it gains its' fame. A friend has lived there for years. He says there are certain varieties that are special. Durian is not durian.

Don't forget to order a smoothie every day if you visit Thailand. They have the best fruit and it makes a terrific smoothie. They're widely available. Some examples are: pineapple, Ovaltine, watermelon, mango, coconut. Hot weather? Cool smoothie! Perfect combination.

  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
Kao soi at Ka moo restaurant
  Smiley face Smiley face  
Thum restaurant
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
Prong dong
Prong dong
The first picture is jack fruit and durian. These are huge fruit. They are about the size of a basketball. The durian are a strange fruit. They smell like death and the fruit is slimy and gooey.

This row of pics is from the Costco of Thailand called Makro. Makro has a large international section of foods in a warehouse with many hospitality items for hotels and restaurants. They sell everything from kitchen equipment to dining ware to alcohol to bed sheets to dog food. 
Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
This coconut fritter is legendary in my mind. I understand it may originate in the Philippines. It's like Turkish coffee. When you're in Greece it's called Greek coffee. Who's right? The fritters are addicting. The coconut flavor is not strong. The crispy, gummy texture is what's addicting somehow. Phonetically its name is Khanum choo choon.

In the middle photo is one of the dim sum restaurants we frequent. It shows the bucket of condiments that come with some of the meals. Certain meals come with a whole platter of optional condiments. Pictured in the middle is Khanum Jee Namwa. Platter, bucket or tray, there are lots of options with certain meals. The US has a much simpler set of condiments: salt & pepper, sugar. With pizza we serve mozzarella cheese, hot peppers. With oatmeal we serve brown sugar and butter. Thailand seems to have much more fresh local greens that come with a meal. 
Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
I don't know why, but they still deliver ice to Thai restaurants. Most have a cooler which displays drinks, but maybe they don't have a freezer. The ice trucks are out delivering all the time. Every restaurant has large ice chests that hold their cold items.  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
The left picture shows my favorite breakfast porridge which I first had on the plane to China in 2015. It is called Jouk. You can choose the meat you want included. I choose pork, so I order Jouk moo. It is a rice porridge similar to oatmeal. The middle picture on the left has a homemade knife with a rod being welded to a sharpened bar.  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
There are a couple of great bakeries at the Central Festival mall in Kathu. Thailand does not have the French influence some other countries nearby have, so baked items are not commonly consumed or produced. This makes food healthier but that trend also means it's hard to find an apartment with an oven.

Good chocolate is also very foreign to Thai people. They have brown syrup they decorate various items with but it does not have a chocolate flavor. It's purely a decorative device. One of the splurges I allowed myself when we moved here was a supply of dark chocolate bars I found for a good price at the grocery at the mall. At first I wasn't able to find even a consistent supply. Then I had trouble finding a decent price. Finally I was satisfied and relieved my chocolate fix. 
Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
The middle vegetable is small eggplant. They seem to serve eggplant in various sizes and stages of development.  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face
  Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face