Friday, March 2, 2012

Halal Food in Phuket

In the footsteps of my previous post for Halal Food in Bangkok, I decided that since I travel so much, why not I'd share with people on the places to go to when their tummies start rumbling. At least, I get to share the best of food (as per my experience) and also be able to warn you not to visit certain premises that are not so yummy. 

Looking for halal food in Phuket is not that difficult, I was told by the immigration staff at the airport (who coincidentally is also a Muslim) that 45% of the population in Phuket are Muslims. Halal food can be distinguished by the halal logo as per the drink above, so should you be hungry or looking for food, you can look for the nearby food joints or just drop by any 7-eleven stores. 



First stop: Phuket Town

Phuket Town is about 20 minutes drive to Patong, when people say it's quiet, it really is. There is absolutely no nightlife (not that I know of anyway) and once the sun has set, there's almost practically nothing to do. Since we were staying at Samkong Place (located in Phuket Town, not far from Bangkok Hospital) we decided to look around for any Muslim food nearby. 


This stall is just around the corner from Samkong Place. Upon realizing that the stall operator wears a hijab, we deducted, this must be a Muslim stall selling halal food, I'm sorry if you might find this to be stereotyping, i.e. hijab = muslim, and there's always a possibility that the stall operator is not a Muslim right? So, we decided on a second test to determine if the stall operator is a Muslim, we gave her Salaam and she answered the salaam in the Muslim way *syukur alhamdulillah*.



Here is the stall operator. However, a word of caution, she only speaks Thai. So if you have your Thai phrasebook or one of those apps SpeakThai apps in your phone, well, you can kinda communicate what you want. 


A jug of plain water is available for free at all tables. 


What does she serve? We don't know what's it called, but it looks and tastes like soupy beehoon (rice vermicelli) with marinated chicken. 

So what we have here is noodles, onion leaves, and chicken soup (with the huge portion of chicken of course!)


You can actually choose between beehoon or kuetiaw like noodles. 

Verdict:
Recommended! You can see that the stall is clean and well maintained and none of us had any bouts of diarrhea the next morning. Total cost for two soupy beehoon and drinks was around THB100 or in Malaysian Ringgit that should be around RM10. 


We discovered another Muslim cafe just before Bangkok Hospital, also deducted from the same method, distinguishing that the operators and patrons are hijab-wearers. For this cafe, it's easier for us to communicate with the owner as she also speaks Malay. I was informed that a majority of Thais who are from Narathiwat bordering on one of Malaysia's state, Kelantan can speak Malay.


There's a stall selling roti canai right next to the cafe. 


This was around 10 or 11 pm at night. We landed in Phuket at around 8.30 pm. Took us about 30 - 40 minutes to reach Samkong Place from the airport. After checking into the hotel, we discovered that we're starving for food. This place operates from 5 pm onwards so, this place is applicable to those who are looking for dinner and supper. 


We actually ordered Nasi Lemak but what arrived was Nasi Briyani.


This is their version of Roti Canai. If you like Roti Canai, we don't recommend ordering one at this cafe. Nothing similar (in taste) to our Roti Canai in Malaysia. 


Roti Canai with Egg. Tasted more like omelette to us. In Malaysia usually the roti canai is served with curry or dhal, but over here, it's served with sweetened milk. 

Verdict:
Not recommended. Although total cost of our food was also somewhere around THB150 (MYR15) but they did not serve what we want, the food is passable at best.

Second stop: Patong

You have not been to Phuket if you've not been to Patong. Seriously, the most popular beach in Phuket is Patong or Karon (about 10 minutes away from Patong) so you can expect the place to be buzzing with tourists and commercial activity. 


Tandoor is actually an Indian restaurant (we were informed that they have about three outlets in Patong). This one is the one near Patong Top. 


How to get there? Patong Top (as per the signage behind me) is located opposite of Hard Rock Cafe. Just walk straight down the street (behind me) then once you've reached a T junction, turn left. Tandoor is about 20 meters away. 

What we ordered:


Plain rice. 


Omelette.


Stir-fried mixed vegetables. 


Steamed fish.


Tom Yum Goong (Tom Yum with prawns).

Tom Yam Khai (Tom Yam with Chicken).

Verdict:
Recommended! All was yummy except for our Tom Yam Goong which we deduced to be missing one or two more herbs and spices. Amount spent was around THB800 (MYR80).



Another restaurant that we went to was the Rajbut Baba, located opposite the Patong beach. However, bear in mind that the beach stretches to about a few kilometers so if you're walking, it's quite a distance. The cafe is somewhat quite secluded from the main road (Thawiwong Road), there's a slight turning to the right before you see the restaurant. 


They claim to serve Malaysian and Indian food, however, when asked, the owner revealed that he has never stepped foot in Malaysia. He claims that there are Indians in Malaysia therefore Indian food must be Malaysian food as well. 


We ordered Chicken Briyani and Lamb Briyani. 


The owner later claims that he makes the food to order so if you want to ask for extras, there are no extras, you will just have to order the dish and he prepares them from scratch. 

Verdict:
Not recommended. The food was so-so and the price is slightly expensive. Total cost: THB1300 (equivalent to MYR130). 


Driving (or walking) around Patong you'll discover a lot of Arabic joints selling halal Arabic food. This time we decided to try a Lebanese Restaurant located at Rat-U-Thit Songroi Pi.


Pickles. Unfortunately for us, we decided to order Thai food instead of Lebanese cuisine. 


Green Curry Chicken. 


Plain rice. 


Tom Yam Goong. 

Verdict: 
The worst Thai food ever! The meal costs us around THB1300 (MYR130). You might have better luck with Lebanese food though but we are not stepping into this restaurant ever again. 

Other restaurants/ cafes around Patong (however, we didn't manage to sample the food here, so the jury is still out on these restaurants/ cafes): 


Cairo. Right across the Lebanese restaurant. 



There's various halal kebabs scattered all over Patong. 


And also various Indian restaurants. 

So, the one thing that irked me was, where are all the delicious Thai food? There's Indian, Arabic, and Lebanese food everywhere but no Thai food? Lucky for us, on our third day (right after the Lebanese Restaurant fiasco) we accidentally stumbled upon this restaurant while leaving Patong for Phuket town.

Best Restaurant in Patong, Phuket: Tem-Eim Restaurant.


The restaurant is located right next a traffic light intersection (at Phra Barami Road) not far from Nurul Islamiyah Mosque.


The name of the restaurant, Tem-Eim Restaurant.


The menu, in Thai. 


The decor. Definitely Muslim, right?


They serve pre-cooked food. 


Longan drink. Absolute yum! 


Scrambled eggs. 


Bitter grout with salted eggs. 


Plain rice. 


Tom Yam Goong. 


Stir-fried fish. 


Papaya salad (i.e. kerabu betik)


They also serve salmon steak. This would cost you about THB200 (i.e. MYR20). 


And a very juicy beef steak. Also costing around THB200 or maybe less. 

Verdict: 
Definitely recommended. I'd go again to this restaurant again if I have the chance to revisit Phuket. Our meal costs us about THB800 (i.e. MYR80) for food and drinks. Super cheap if you compare the fact that we ordered both local Thai cuisine and western food. 

Hope this helps those who are planning to travel to Phuket in the future.

For easy reference, you may want to check out my Facebook page [here], the halal guides are included in my photo albums complete with the restaurant's address (or the very least, directions on how to get there).

To wanderlust and food expeditions.


xoxo Mrs Fashionista