Anyone who has been to a typical Phuket Thai restaurant will be able to list a range of popular Thai lunch and dinner dishes, but breakfast is often harder to find. Most hotels serve only continental breakfasts, with a few international options. To find a real Thai breakfast, you often have to seek out little local restaurants. What kind of dishes can early-morning explorers expect to find?
The Chinese influence in Southern Thailand generally and Phuket specifically is especially apparent in the popularity of dim sum as a morning repast. If you head to Phuket Old Town, you’ll find an especially good selection, including steamed buns (salapao). Most are stuffed with pork, but you can find others stuffed with shrimp, mushroom or tofu. They are generally served with a spicy soy sauce dip.
Most Phuket Thai restaurants which serve breakfast will serve jok. It’s very similar to porridge in taste and texture, but is made of rice that’s been boiled until it starts to break down and become gluttonous. It is often served with pork balls, spring onions, ginger, garlic, pepper and soy and/or fish sauce. Like with dim sum, you can trace the origins of this dish back to China, but jok is more popular right across Thailand.
To put it simply, kai jeow is just a Thai-style omelette. They are generally less fluffy than their western counterparts because no milk is added during the preparation. Instead, pepper and minced pork are added to whisked eggs. The combination is then wok-fried in hot oil and served with steamed rice. It’s probably the least spicy of the Thai breakfasts, making it a good choice if your stomach isn’t ready for too much excitement so early in the morning.
You probably won’t find moo ping in a Phuket Thai restaurant. It’s a popular street snack and, while you could theoretically eat it at any time of day, vendors are most easily found in the morning. The smell of pork marinated in coriander root, coconut milk, pepper and garlic being barbecued over charcoal is delightful, as is the sweet flavour. It is usually served with sticky rice and a spicy dip.
Khao man gai
Chicken on rice is a simple staple of Thai cuisine. It is exactly what it sounds like – poached chicken served on steamed rice, generally with a bowl of chicken broth on the side. It usually also comes with a dipping sauce made of chillies, ginger, lime juice and garlic, which adds a pleasant tang to the flavour.