If you’re looking to try some authentic Phuket dishes, we recommend visiting Lock Tien Food Court at the intersection of Dibuk Road and Yaowarat Road. Here, you’ll find 10 local specialties or popular Phuket variations of classic Thai dishes. While these specialties can also be found in other places around town, this location is especially convenient if you’re planning to explore the area around Thalang Road. Give it a try!
1. Por Pia
Fresh spring rolls are a popular dish in Phuket. They consist of fresh herbs and vegetables, such as lettuce and turnip, wrapped in thin rice paper and served with a dipping sauce. The filling can vary, but often include shrimp, pork, or tofu. They’re light and healthy, making it a popular option as a starter or a light meal. They can be found at many local restaurants and street vendors in Phuket.
2. Mee Hokkien
Mee Hokkien, also known as “Phuket-style Hokkien noodles,” is a popular dish in Phuket that originates from the southern Chinese province of Fujian. It is a type of stir-fried noodle dish that typically includes yellow noodles, seafood, and vegetables in a flavorful sauce made with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and pork broth. The dish is known for its savory and slightly sweet taste.
In Phuket, Mee Hokkien is often made with local seafood ingredients like squids, shrimps, and sometimes also pork. If you want to try this delicious dish, you can find it at many local street vendors or Chinese restaurants in Phuket, especially in the market or in the night street food areas.
3. Mee Hoon Kra Dook Moo
The dish was highlighted by the crispy fried shallots which were generously sprinkled on top of the noodles, providing a delicious caramelized onion flavor. The noodles were also seasoned with black pepper and green onions. The soup base was made from pork and contained tender pork rib bones. It had a well-balanced combination of flavors, including a hint of sweetness and a nice saltiness.
The standout element of the dish for me was the incredibly fragrant and fresh crispy shallots. It’s worth noting that some restaurants in Thailand may use pre-fried shallots or store them for a few days, but it’s clear that the shallots in this dish were deep-fried fresh daily, which made all the difference in taste
4. Lo Ba
“Lo-Ba” is a specific dish from Phuket, a local specialty dish that features deep-fried pork giblets. It’s a popular street food in Phuket and it’s considered a traditional dish of the local Chinese-Thai community.
The giblets typically include organs such as liver, heart, and intestines, which are cleaned, seasoned and then deep-fried until crispy. The dish is commonly served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce and it’s often accompanied by a cold beer.
You can find “Lo-Ba” at street vendors and local restaurants in Phuket, particularly in the markets and night street food areas. As the dish contains organ meats, it is a delicacy and not for everyone, but for those who dare to try, it’s a real taste of local culture.
Oh Eaw is a traditional shaved ice dessert from Phuket, which is made by shaving a block of ice and topping it with sweet syrups, sweetened condensed milk, and various toppings such as grass jelly, red beans. It’s a popular and refreshing dessert that can be found at street vendors, local markets, and night street food areas, particularly during the hot and humid weather in Phuket. It’s a variation of the traditional Thai dessert “nam kang sai” or “nam keng sai” which is also a shaved ice dessert, but Oh Eaw is a specific version that is commonly found in Phuket.
While it may have a similar taste to other Thai shaved ice desserts, what makes Oh Eaw unique are the big chunks of transparent jelly it has which gives it a nice jiggly texture and goes well with the crushed ice. If you’re looking for a sweet and refreshing snack to cool down, it’s a must-try delicacy in Phuket.
A-Pong is a popular local dessert in Phuket. It is believed to have originated from Malaysia, where it was known as “Thai Pancake” and was later brought to Phuket by Penang and Malaysian immigrants. The traditional A-Pong recipe consists of flour, sugar, egg, coconut milk and yeast, all mixed together and then spread into a circle shape in a pan with moderate heat. It’s left for a few minutes until it turns a brown-yellow color, then it’s peeled and rolled. The texture of A-Pong is usually crispy on the edges and soft in the middle.
It is often served with a cup of hot kopi (black coffee) and can be found at local markets and food stalls. The method of making A-Pong is similar to the Sri Lankan egg hopper, which uses the same type of pan and cooking method, but with a different-tasting batter.
The A-Pong is made by heating a rounded mini-wok over charcoal, then spooning in a ladle of crepe batter. Using a wrist swirl motion, the batter is spread out over the pan, keeping it thicker on the bottom and thinner on the edges. The lid is placed on the pan and cooked for a few minutes, until it becomes golden brown and crispy on the edges. The A-Pong is then rolled up into a cigar-like shape and served.
7. Kanom Jeen Phuket
Kanom Jeen Phuket is a type of thin, fermented rice noodle that is popular in southern Thailand, particularly in the Phuket province. It is typically served with a variety of curries, and then it is up to you to add condiments and toppings such as fresh or marinated vegetables, thinly sliced banana leaves, morning glory and herbs. Common toppings include cucumbers, bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, pickled carrots, cucumbers, and cabbage. These marinated veggies have a sweet and sour taste and can also be flavored with chili, fish sauce, and shallots. This combination makes the dish flavorful and balanced. Kanom Jeen Phuket is a perfect choice for breakfast, best when paired with local coffee or tea.
8. Hor Mok Phuket
Hor Mok Phuket is a traditional Thai dish that is particularly popular in the Phuket region. It is a type of curry made with fish, coconut milk, and a mixture of herbs and spices, typically steamed inside Bai Cha-Ploo leaves (Piper sarmentosum Roxd) and wrapped in banana leaves. This dish is a must-try for its unique combination of spicy and savory flavors, but be aware that it may come with a strong fishy taste and can be quite spicy. Hor Mok can be enjoyed with rice.
9. Tao Sor
Tao Sor is a Chinese-inspired snack that is popular among visitors to Phuket. It is similar in appearance to khanom pia, but is smaller in size. Tao Sor is known for its delicious filling, which is traditionally made from preserved egg, but can also come in variations such as pineapple, wax gourd, and black beans. The defining characteristic of Taosor is its crisp, crumbly crust.
This is achieved by using a special technique of kneading wheat flour to get the right texture. The filling, whether it be mung bean or an alternative, such as a savory mix of salt, onion, coriander roots, and pepper, is steamed and mashed before being sweetened with sugar.
The filling is then wrapped in dough, and the outside is brushed with egg yolk before being baked, which gives Tao Sor its golden crust. Sesame seeds are sometimes sprinkled on top. Before being packaged, each Tao Sor is stamped with a Chinese symbol.
10. O Taw
O Taw is a popular oyster-based dish from Phuket, Thailand, that is considered a must-try for those who appreciate local cuisine. Despite its small size, it is a hearty dish that can be enjoyed as a meal at any time of day.
O Taw is made with small oysters, eggs, flour and taro root as unique ingredients. It is considered a street food, and the aroma of stir-fried oysters and taro is hard to forget. It is cooked in a large wok, and the sound of the spatula scraping against the pan often draws crowds of hungry people. The dish takes 2-3 minutes to prepare and is served with crispy pork as a topping.