I can’t believe it’s already 2016. And that I’ll be turning 33 in a few months. And my daughter will be turning 8 that same month.
2015 was a fantastic year for our family. We met two of our close friends ( both chefs!) and relocated from Phuket to Chiang Mai.
We traveled to Bangkok on numerous occasions and went to Malaysia probably 8 times. Speaking of Malaysia, I’m heading to Penang on Tuesday!
Another thing that made 2015 exciting was that I was hired to photograph for a culinary travel feature on Phuket. Talk about a dream opportunity! It was this stalking of chefs for photos that lead me to meet my good friend Jack Langdon of The Food Gallery.
Which brings me of course to thinking of the best eats of 2015 and restaurants I think those venturing out to South East Asia will enjoy!
For starters, I miss the food at Kopitiam by Wilai in Phuket Town. I would always get the bai la pla curry, and haven’t been able to find anything like it here in Chiang Mai. The aromatic herbs give it a unique flavour and add to the overall heat of the dish.
Their mango and sticky rice is also something worth mentioning folks. Just take a look at it!!
I’m so lucky I lived in Phuket Town and could walk to Kopitiam, and the many other restaurants we’d frequent, such as The Food Gallery. Jack’s fish specials are seriously the best. I’m still made he took the seabass over mint-pea mash off the menu though.
The shanghai noodles with a spicy pesto at Suay were my weekly guilty pleasure. A fusion between classic pesto and Thai prik, it also was a hit with my 7 year old.
Chef Thammasak- who is now on the Thai version of Iron Chef- makes some mean salmon tacos too.
Owner and head chef at Osot, Than cares deeply about serving up the freshest ingredients and uses organic vegetables. Than’s agli olio is the best I’ve ever had. Ever. And his pizzas sell out fast.
His baked spinach is equally as amazing, as are his huge salads! Than also gets in some desserts that are made by a local expat from I believe Belgium, plus has a mango crepe that is literally addictive. You will eat more than one, fyi.
But of course, nothing beats oysters, and I had some good Thai and imported ones in 2015. Back in 2012, we used to live in Chalong and there was a oyster cart ( yes, CART) that would come around our street and shuck oysters for us. Extremely cheap, extremely fresh. We haven’t seen the oyster cart since, although I’m sure there are a few around the island.
We would get our Thai oysters from the Sunday market in Phuket Town, or for a treat, at La Brasserie. They don’t have Thai oysters at the latter but serve the same condiments.
Our frequent trips to Penang resulted in me chowing down on as much Indian food as possible. Poori is such a good comfort food, is it not?
But I’m all about laksa. And Penang is all about the laksa friends. You probably know that already. There are several types of laksa too, and I love all of them. My favorite haunts in Georgetown ( Guan Seang Restaurant and Edelweiss Cafe) both have tangy, alluring laksa.
Viet-Hue served us some tantalizing spring rolls and noodles. We love their food so much that we would book our hotel to be in walking distance, just so we could go there everyday we were in Bangkok.
And the mixed veg basket that you can order to accompany your meal is a must!
I’ve had many other good meals. In fact, I don’t remember a bad meal, to be honest. Although truth be told, I’ve had some mediocre gaeng som up here in Chiang Mai. But that’s to be expected since the dish is from the south.