Recently the Boyf and I spent some time in Krabi relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Ao Nang and eating some of the most amazing and authentic Thai food. Krabi was our final stop after four weeks of travelling and eating throughout Asia, and we were still so hungry for more good food.
Before I go into detail about what we ate, a little bit of background information on our trip: Four weeks, five countries, eight cities and the itinerary 90% based on food reviews from the travel blogger Mark Wiens over at Migrationology.com. Mark is a passionate foodie who travels the world eating local food and making videos about it all. His videos range from stock standard street food (think Pad Thai and Tandoori Chicken) to the really out there stuff you may not have heard of ( durian and sea pineapples, anyone?). The Boyf and I have been watching Mark’s video blogs for a few years now, so we spent a couple of months going back through all the videos we loved with food we wanted to try. We created an itinerary, booked flights and the rest is history. You read correctly, we based almost our entire holiday on food reviews from someone we’ve never met. We’re cray – but Mark’s videos are that good!
Anywho, back to Krabi and back to the food…
After three and a half weeks of gorging on Asian cuisine we still hadn’t had our fix, and lucky for us right outside our resort was a street food market where local workers (and a few eager tourists) had their lunch. There were between 10 to 15 street vendors there at any one time, all serving up delicious, fresh and extremely cheap Thai food. We went here for lunch most days and stopped in for fruit shakes and Thai iced teas more than we needed to.
On the menu was $2 Som Tum, a beautifully flavoured green papaya salad, $2 seafood pad thai – some of the best I’ve had in Thailand, $4 chicken yellow curry – a bit too spicy for me but the Boyf loved it and $4 stir fried calamari in chilli and soy. We ate like kings those few days, ordering way more than we needed but struggling through to eat it all anyway. The food from these markets was some of the best on the entire trip. So authentic, so cheap and so tasty. We always knew we were in a good restaurant or food stall if it was crowded full of locals. We avoided over priced tourists restaurants like the plague.
We found an amazing Indian restaurant on our first night called Taj Palace in Ao Nang. The place was full of Indian customers, the beer was cheap and the aromas were too good to keep walking past. There were no seats available but the owner set up a makeshift table out the front of the restaurant for us which we thought was the best seat in the house! We ordered beers, chicken tikka butter masala, dal makhani, baingan bharta and the staples like rice, naan and raita. Everything was exquisite but the stand out for me was the dal makhani – the best I’ve had. Ever!
The food here was SO good we went back again a couple of nights later and tried some tandoori chicken, a chicken madras curry and I couldn’t go past the dal makhani again! The owner remembered us from the first night and was so pleased to see us again he gave us free dessert. I’d highly recommend Taj Palace for your Indian cravings when in Krabi!
One night, we took Mark Wiens up on his recommendation for one of the best restaurants in Krabi – Nong Joke. The restaurant was in Krabi Town, approximately 30 minutes by taxi from our resort in Ao Nang beach but the trip was well worth it. The meal ended up actually being cheaper than the return taxi fare but we would do it all again without hesitation – it was that good! Nong Joke is off the beaten tourist track, even the taxi driver stopped twice to ask locals for directions – so if you’re visiting Krabi Town there’s no way you’re just stumbling across this place! The restaurant was fairly modern and very clean with an ‘open air’ feeling. As we expected, the place was packed with local families enjoying their dinner. We were seated and handed a menu… and then the fun started! We had a list of recommended dishes from Mark but we were lost in the massive selection available on the menu. We held strong and chose three dishes that came recommended…
First up sataw pao, also known as roasted stink beans. I don’t have a photo of these but visually they’re kind of a long the lines of Japanese edamame, only bigger and roasted not steamed. The dish was unique and not really my cup of tea but the Boyf wolfed them down as they were the first thing to arrive on the table and he was fading away. Pla insee tod see ew (crispy king mackerel steak – top right photo below) was amazing and one of the highlights of the night. The mackerel steak was deep fried with skin and bones and served with a light soy/sesame sauce. The bones were minimal and the taste and texture of the flesh was absolute perfection. Also recommended was goong pad kapi sataw (top left photo below), a dish of stir fried stink beans and prawns in a tamarind and shrimp paste sauce. The sauce was salty, sour and sweet, the stink beans were crunchy and the prawns were meaty and fresh. This was my ultimate favourite dish during my four week trip. Unreal!! As per usual we over-ordered, also getting thai green curry, salt and pepper calamari and stir fried water morning glory (bottom three photos). These dishes were all great as well. Overall we were super impressed by Nong Joke and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Krabi. The menu was in English and Thai and we found it easy to communicate with the friendly staff.
On a side note – stink beans. My first introduction to stink beans was in one of Mark’s videos and I always wondered about their name as never mentioned them smelling. This question was answered after dinner and for the next 24 hours. The stinks beans had no initial ‘bad’ taste (in fact they were delicious) but not long after the meal ended I couldn’t stop burping these horrible stinky burps… Then we both started farting and I’m sure the stench could have knocked out a baby elephant. It was much worse the following morning upon the throne. My god, everything stunk. My breath, my burps, my farts and my poop. I felt like I was sweating stink bean stench. Ugh. It was so bad I vowed never to eat stink beans again. On reflection (and now that I don’t have that taste in my mouth) that was a silly statement and I can’t wait to try them next time I visit Thailand!
The food in Krabi was fantastic! If you want a local and authentic experience skip the obvious tourist traps and head to where the locals eat. Eat street food and be merry!