Welcome to Thailand’s UNESCO city of gastronomy and one of Southeast Asia’s hottest food havens, Phuket! This vibrant city is filled with lots of beautiful temples and historic places as well as rich food scene that ranges from classic Thai and seafood dishes to the most bizarre eats for the brave souls like the fried scorpion and raw pig’s blood!
If you’re a food connoisseur, an adventurer, and you want to visit and explore Phuket City’s finest food selections, here are the top 50 best dishes that you should definitely try when you visit Phuket.
Tom Yam Goong
Nobody leaves Thailand without trying their most popular national dish, Tom Yang Goong or Spicy and Sour Prawn Soup. Beloved by both locals and tourists alike, this hot soup is the epitome of spicy, savoury and creamy. Goes well with rice, noodles, or you can gobble it up by itself!
This tourist-approved Thai dish that originated in China is made of stir-fried noodles mixed with vegetables like bean sprouts and shallots, dried shrimp, and several spices to enhance this light yet savoury, easy-to-eat dish.
Just because you’re in Thailand doesn’t mean they can’t have something else available. Phuket has its own share of Chinese influence in their cuisine, so don’t be surprised if they have a variety of dim sum treats that you can choose from. You’ll easily find them in the public and night food markets.
Green Curry Chicken
Also known as Gaeng Keaw Wan Gai, this is a special type of curry that is cooked with chicken and two types of eggplants cut in quarters. What’s good about this dish is that eggplants are known to be beneficial in terms of lowering cholesterol levels. So if you’re looking for something delectable and healthy to eat at a cheap price, this is a dish that’s perfect for you.
Every Southeast Asian country has a twist to spring roll and this is Phuket’s version. Deep-fried spring rolls filled with prawn or meat, vegetables, and rice noodles! It’s very crispy and surprisingly light to the palate.
Another well-loved street culinary treat in Thailand and its provinces is their satay, varying from pork, chicken, or beef satay. These greasy, sizzling char-grilled goodies often come with peanut sauce as a dip, which is even interesting enough on its own!
What Westerners call crepe is what Thailand’s Roti Pancakes is. This delicious dessert is usually made from a dough consisting of flour, condensed milk, sugar, salt, and eggs and is usually filled with any kind of fruit available within the season and topped off with coconut milk or chocolate syrup. This dessert can be found typically anywhere, from the fanciest restaurants to street hawkers in public and night markets.
Crab Yellow Curry
One of Khanom Jeen’s several variations, also known as Khanom Jeen Kang Poo, made from freshly harvested crabs cooked in different spices and coconut milk.
Moo Hong Phuket
Also known as one of Phuket specialty’s Thai Pork Belly Stew, Moo Hong is slow-cooked pork belly and topped with coriander leaves and has a sweet and salty taste. This closely resembles the Philippines’ most famous dish, adobo.
Spicy Horseshoe Crab Roe Salad
Food Fact: Did you know that the only thing that’s edible in horseshoe crab salad is its eggs? Also known as Yum Kai Meng Da, this salad consists of raw horseshoe crab eggs mixed with green mangoes, celery, chilis, coriander, and tomatoes. If you have an upset tummy, don’t try to eat this one.
If you find the weather a bit hot, stop by at the Look Tien Food Court if you’re nearby and have some Oh Eaw, which is shaved ice topped with oh eaw which is a type of jelly made from medicinal herbs and bananas, red bean, grass jelly, and syrup.
Khanom Jeen Noodles
A must-try savoury dish that uses only the freshest ingredients of either beef, fish, chicken or seafood, and vegetables simmered in a soup base made with tomatoes, galangal (which closely resembles ginger in appearance), coconut milk with lemongrass. Not too spicy, packed with flavour.
Yen Ta Fo
Yen Ta Fo is a cheap but stomach-filling dish found in the heart of Phuket’s oldest markets and is made from fermented soybean paste and mixed with vegetables and dumplings or seafood.
Also one of the Thai people’s food faves, Pandan Chicken is fried boneless chicken that’s wrapped in pandan leaves to enhance its aroma and flavour.
Pineapple Fried Rice
Pineapple fried rice is made from fried rice mixed with pineapple and is typically served in a pineapple, which surely brings you the tropical and refreshing vibe on your plate!
Fried Garlic and Pepper Prawns
Simple but innovative yet surprising in texture — that’s what this dish is about. Who knew that the texture of an almost burnt- looking fried garlic would go so well prawns cooked in pepper?
Pla Tom Som
Extremely sour seafood soup on rainy weather? Big check! Pla Tom Som is a soup made with sea bass cooked for hours in fresh tamarind fruit and is guaranteed to give a rich flavour which is best paired with steaming hot rice.
Yam Neua Yang
Thai Style grilled beef salad is something that goes along really well with a bottle of beer or wine. A very simple dish to make, but exploding in different flavours. You can learn how to quip up this dish at the Yai Yai Kitchen!
Green Papaya Salad
Known by the locals as Som Tum, this refreshing dish is made of shredded green papaya, tomatoes, green beans, and chili. You can always ask vendors to customise the amount of spiciness for you, in case you can’t handle the heat of this dish.
This is Phuket’s version of stir-fried Hokkien style egg noodles with eggs and mixed with vegetables.
Khao Kha Moo
Stewed pork leg with rice is one of the ideal dishes to eat while you sit in a public food market while you chug down a glass of beer with your new friends. A combination of fat, skin, and thick slices of meat paired with rice after a tiring day of touring Phuket is a great idea, don’t you think?
Inspired from Chinese cuisine, O Tao is an oyster omelette which is made of baby oysters, taro, bean sprouts, pork crackling, or even seafood. Usually, this dish is being eaten during Chinese New Year but is also commonly found in public food markets.
Aa Phong is like your typical crepes — only thinner! It’s made with coconut milk, sugar, and rice flour. Best to eat it while it’s extremely hot, perfectly crispy and sweet!
Mee Hoon Kra Dook Moo
This dish is also known as stir-fried vermicelli noodles and is a popular food staple especially in Look Tien Food Court. This dish’s flavour is balanced out with a pork rib soup which usually comes when you order this noodle dish.
Lo Bah Offal
Marinated and deep-fried pork? Yes, we’ll take it! Lo Bah Offal can come in as a snack when you’re tired in your Phuket tour and is usually served with dipping soy sauce that takes the whole flavour to new heights. Simple yet tempting.
Po Pia Sod
Po Pia Sod is a steamed rice flour pancake filled with seafood, vegetables, pork, and lettuce and is coated in thick sweet and spicy sauce Other countries also have different versions of this spring roll.
This is Thailand’s version of the Chinese’s sticky rice dumplings. It comes in different sizes but most locals say that the best ones come in small packages. Try it out for yourself at the old Phuket town!
Another Chinese cuisine-derived dish, Tao Sor are small cakes filled with mung beans, salted egg, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper. Delicious, not too dry, and bite-sized — perfect to eat while walking.
Bak Kuh Teh
If you got accidentally feeling under the weather or caught a cold, Bak Kuh Teh is your go-to soup dish. This boiled pork rib and kidney soup simmer for long hours along with medicinal herbs such as cinnamon, star anise, clove, tree basil, garlic, and other Chinese herbs.
Pla Tu Yat Sai
Picky about fish because of its bones? No worries, this stuffed fish has been deboned and stuffed with chili paste and herbs. Pla Tu Yat Sai is an exceptional seafood dish that is well-loved by locals and tourists.
Khao Na Gai Tao Jiao
Also known as braised chicken with fermented soybean, this is another version of the Khao tom (boiled rice soup) and is topped with dried seaweed.
Phad Mee Sua
Stir-fried vermicelli noodles with vegetables is an easy-to-cook daily food staple for people, not to mention it really costs cheap.
Another savoury treat from the gastronomy capital of Thailand is the Massaman curry, which is a curry dish that consists of the main ingredient, whether meat, fish, or seafood and is cooked in fresh coconut milk doused in lime juice with basil, tomatoes, and peanuts to finish and is best paired with rice or noodles.
Khao Man Gai
Popularly known as Chicken Rice, Khao Man Gai is an interesting chicken dish where the chicken is boiled for several hours and topped on steamed Jasmine rice and garnished with a special spicy and savoury sauce made of ginger, chilis, garlic, and soya sauce.
Known by the world as geoduck or “the shell that looks like a male genital”. Razor clams are best served fresh from the waters, raw, and thinly sliced while dipped in light soy sauce.
What Philippines’ stunning sisig is, is Phuket’s Kra Prow. Stir-fried pork or chicken served with basil and chilis and topped off with a runny, sunny-side-up egg, this dish is perfect when you’re on a night out with friends. It’s even recognised by Michelin as one of the best street food spots in Phuket!
Red Ant Eggs
In Southeast Asia, it’s uncommon to find the most bewildering and gut-challenging appetizers and dishes such as Larb Mote Daeng or Red Ant Eggs. This exotic, stir-fried delicacy tastes a whole lot better than it looks. Or if you’re a little bit adventurous, you can try eating it raw.
Fat Palm Tree Grubs
Believe it or not, these larvae could become the world’s next sustainable protein and nutrient provider. Palm grubs are often harvested in decaying palm trees and can be eaten raw or stir-fried to a crisp.
Phuket’s version of grilled chicken which is best paired with sticky rice and is often sold by street hawkers and during night markets.
Khao Tom Haeng
If there’s your typical rice porridge, here’s a dry version that exists. Khao Tom Haeng is softened rice with marinated, deep-fried pork and chives on top served with a separate bowl of sour-based broth.
Mama Moo Sap
Perhaps you’re wondering why we included an instant ramen noodle stir-fry here. It’s because foreigners and students who are on a budget love it and it’s super easy to cook.
Kwe Tiau Radna
A very underrated noodle dish that’s made of stir-fried flat rice noodles with thick gravy. Give this dish a try when you visit one of Phuket’s old food markets.
Nam Prik Ong
Nam Prik Ong or Thai chili pork dip is good as a dipping sauce for cucumbers or any sliced veggie or as rice topping along with steamed meat or chicken and vegetables.
Nam Prik is the traditional Thai sauce, which consists of fresh and/or dry chilies, lime juice, garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste. It is a common condiment among Thai homes and is the perfect dipping sauce for any cooked dishes that have meat and seafood.
Slightly similar looking with Massaman Curry, Khao Soi’s secret for bursting flavour is the spices used: red curry Khao Soi paste, turmeric powder, and curry powder. The soup is accompanied by traditional egg noodles, your choice of meat, and chopped coriander, lime, and shallots.
If you’re a vegan and you love things spicy, then today’s your day. Laab Het or Spicy Mushroom Salad is a good alternative if you don’t like meat or poultry on your greens.
Pla Dook Foo
Because mud fields are a common sight in an agricultural country like Thailand, catfish is a very common food staple and crispy catfish is one of the best ways to cook this delicacy.
No trip to Thailand or a province like Phuket is going to be complete without trying Malang Tod or fried insects. Ranging from grasshoppers, crickets, worms, and even waterbugs, you might be surprised that some of them even taste like meat! Bring out their full flavour by dipping it in fish sauce.
Gong Chae Nam Pla
At first, raw mantis prawns looks a bit challenging to eat. But this fresh sea delicacy tastes just like any well-loved seafood sashimi — just be careful when peeling its shell, though. Best dipped in soy sauce to enhance its flavor and texture.
Southeast Asia is home to some of the freshest seafood. If there’s a live octopus, there’s also dancing shrimps in Thailand. These live shrimps are drizzled with sauce and you can see them squirming to escape on your plate. Be careful when eating it though, it made others choke.
Now, plan travelling to Phuket in the future and immerse yourself on an amazing culinary experience!