Phuket – the land of beaches, water and fun. But what is a holiday without great street food? It simply cannot do. If you are heading to Phuket or thinking of going, read on to find out the 10 street foods that you should eat while you are there.
Tom Yam Goong
Now, you may think that we have this in Singapore too, but this is the original Tom Yam Goong! Nowhere in the world will you find this authentic soup except in Thailand. For those of you who do not know, Tom Yam Goong is a soup dish that is made up of spicy prawns and sour soup. The taste is exquisite and it is just oh-so-heavenly!
Singapore’s version cannot measure up to it as our version has been tempered for local taste. If you cannot take prawns for whatever reasons, fret not. There are also other variations such as Tom Yam Talay (Seafood), Tom Yam Gai (Chicken) and Tom Yam Kradook Moo (Pork Ribs). The main ingredients of the soup are made up of coconut milk, red chili, mushroom, herbs and other spices.
This dish looks similar to our local Malay dish – Mee Siam. The soup broth is made from coconut milk cooked with chicken, mushrooms, galangal, tomatoes and lemongrass. The seller will usually add some chili but it is not as spicy as some of the other soup dishes. Nonetheless, this is flavourful because of the lemongrass and coconut milk. To make this dish better than Mee Siam, add in chicken, fish, beef, crab and vegetables to create your very own Kanom Jeen.
This can be sweet or savoury. Most of the time, you will find it as a sweet pancake dessert. These pancakes can be found in Singapore in the version of French crepes but the Thai version is definitely a different way to eat a pancake. The vendor will usually make the dough (made of flour, eggs, condensed milk, sugar, and salt) on a hot plate. The pancake dough is then filled with fruits (you can choose) and top with more condensed milk. Afterwards, they will cut it into smaller pieces before serving it to you. Some variation of the pancake includes adding thicken coconut milk or even coconut ice cream. The end result is an extremely sweet pancake that will leave you yearning for more.
Do you love pork? Do you love skewers? If you love both, you will love Moo Ping. It is one of the most popular street foods that are eaten as breakfast by many. Moo Ping is marinated grilled pork on a skewer. Very much like our local Satay, these skewers are served with fragrant white rice. Moo Ping tends to be sticky in nature because the marinate sauce is made of fish sauce, palm sugar, garlic and coconut milk.
This is what we call the green papaya salad in Singapore. However, this is totally different from what you will expect from the Singapore version. It is bursting with flavours and one would see vendors with large carts preparing this dish to the delight of all their customers. The dish is made up of green papaya, chili, lime, fish sauce and palm sugar. Common choice of additions includes brined crabs, tomatoes, long beans, and carrots. The result of all these is the flavourful Som Tam that tastes sweet, sour, salty and spicy all at the same time. The burst of flavours as you put this into your mouth would make you want to savour every bite you take and to bring it home with you.
This is the Thai version of Otah. However, it is not long and it is not grilled over charcoal. Instead, this dish is commonly found wrapped in cute little bun-like case of banana leaf. It is actually a steamed and curried dish made of fish or crab mousse together with chilli paste and coconut milk. Due to its small size, it is usually eat as a snack or as a side dish to the Kanom Jeen.
This is a descendent of the Baba culture from the Straits Chinese in Thailand. It is made up of prawns and grass, both battered and then deep-fried. They are usually sold in long skewers and prove to be as tasty as they look. The snack is crispy and is enjoyed by many locals.
Sweet Sticky Rice
We do not find sweet sticky rice in Singapore so often. What is offered is usually found in Thai restaurants, and they will never measure up to the sweet sticky rice found in the streets of Phuket. These vendors are usually found carrying their wares in rattan baskets and walking along the street, stopping only for customers who want to buy a snack. The sweet sticky rice are filled with banana, shredded coconut or red beans wrapped tightly in a banana leaf. This treat will leave your hand and mouth sticky, and your stomach sated.
You can find popiah easily in Singapore you say. How about freshly fried popiah with meat? This popiah is special because it is made Thai-style. With pastry skin used to wrap around meat, prawns, vegetables and rice noodles, this freshly made roll is then deep fried and served with sauce. It is filling and oh-so-satisfyingly when you bite into one of these.
These are basically grilled meatballs and squids on skewers, Thai style. We do not get these off the streets of Singapore of course, and the taste of these skewers is worth the time in waiting for them to be grilled. These skewers are grilled freshly off the cart on a charcoal or electronic grill, and customers will wait for their food to be cooked. These will be served with one of the two sauces available – a sweet brown sauce or a spicy red nam jin sauce.
I can hear you rushing to pack your bags for a trip down to Phuket now. Go on, book that ticket now and enjoy the street food that is served warm every day on the sunny island.