4 months ago

Fah Thai Magazine May June 2018

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HAPPENINGS THAILAND PHUKET SPOTLIGHT Charm of a Restaurant UNESCO’s recognition of Phuket as a City of Gastronomy recently spurred increased interest among the local and international crowd for the city’s local cuisines, especially Peranakan food. The latest addition to an already vibrant and varied food scene is ‘The Charm,’ a traditional restaurant in Phuket Old Town that features rarely found homemade Peranakan recipes. These have been gathered by the owner’s family by watching and learning over time in their ancestors’ kitchens. The traditional fusion cuisine itself has a long heritage that traces back to early Chinese migrants who settled in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Distinctively influenced and tasty dishes once exclusively prepared in the homes of Phuket natives are now served to diners to satisfy inquisitive palates. Gaeng Tu Mee or Muslim-inspired fish curry, the unfamiliar delicacy of Gaeng Plaa Ama (Ama’s style fish curry) requiring a good quality sesame oil, or the Hainanese-style pork steak that used to be a favourite among Western engineers working Phuket’s mines back in the day; all are usually hard to find in a restaurant. Diners should not miss the signature dessert of Koi Taa Lam, a Phuket delicacy of pandanus-infused custard served in a modern style. Open Tuesday - Sunday: 11am - 10pm, 93 Deebuk Road, Amphur Muang, Phuket, +66 (0) 96 998 9244 WORKING THE LAND IN PHUKET If you’re looking for a change from Phuket’s beaches, just a few kilometres north of Phuket Old Town sits Vanich Farm where you can learn about the farming life. Gain insight on how rice is grown, cook Thai dishes and even get up close and personal with water buffalos, the farmer’s trusty companion in the rice paddy. While Vanich farm dedicates a large part of the land to growing sweet corn, their rice paddy complete with tractors and farm animals sets this place apart from other destinations in Phuket. Visitors can come in and take a stroll before retreating to a farm-to-table meal at Barn Café where recommended dishes include a Mulberry Salad and of course, corn soup. Those determined to know more can sign up for packaged tours with offers of educational experiences, like the hands-on planting of rice seedlings in the comfortable outfit of a farmer’s ‘morhom’ shirt, cropped pants and protective straw hat. Workshops on how to make salted eggs, and how to maintain a worm farm are also interesting choices. Open daily: 10am - 6pm, 19/540 Rassada Road, Amphur Muang, Phuket, +66 (0) 98 671 2168, KNOWING MEE Phuket always has its own local interpretation of staple foods. An example is the ubiquitous rice vermicelli known as ‘sen mee’ in other parts of Thailand but in Phuket, it’s known as ‘mee hun’. Enjoying this thinner strand of rice noodle requires a quick trip to Talad Lor Rong food court a few kilometres away from Phuket Town. Expect mee hun noodles in Phuket to be served with crabmeat curry or stir-fried and served with pork rib soup. When ordering mee hun, this widely-used name brings to mind that the beloved noodle should be blanched until perfectly al dente and served with myriad dishes. Mee hun is cooked up differently and also has the novelty of being called a ‘mee Thai.’ Although a lesser known name of the rice noodle, mee Thai is great for those who love a meatless dish. The noodle strands get stir-fried with coconut cream until fragrant, served with crunchy beansprouts, julienned cucumber and chopped chives with super delicious results. Staple condiments include toasted dried chillies and maybe a spoonful of sugar. It’s a great afternoon munch. Talad Lor Rong is also the place you can find other indigenous Phuket snacks, such as their famous spring rolls and rice pancakes called ‘A Pong.’ Ranong Road, Amphur Muang, Phuket, open daily (except Tuesdays): 11am - 3pm, +66 (0) 86 814 9772 96