The kind of Thai food Phuket has to offer is remarkably varied, from the Royal Thai cuisine of the finest Phuket Thai restaurant to the simple but amazingly popular banana pancake you get from a simple food cart. However, the world – renowned Thai cuisine also has some surprises up its sleeves, including some genuinely bizarre street dishes which, while very popular with locals, are often unheard of or untried by visitors. Here are a few of the weirdest available in Phuket.
You might have encountered these crispy critters on a drunken night out in Patong, but locals will often munch of them as readily as they would a pack of peanuts. One of the staple favourites is fried grasshoppers, which are actually surprisingly addictive. Once you get past the disgust of putting an insect in your mouth, you’ll find a very salty flavour rather like slightly soggy crisps.
Generally associated with French cuisine, frogs legs are also not uncommon in Thai food. To tell the truth, they aren’t even that weird. When they’ve been deep fried, they both look and taste just like a chicken leg, though perhaps a little tougher and chewier. If the vendor didn’t tell you that they came from an amphibian, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
You’ll see barbecued meats on skewers in most of the sections devoted to Thai food Phuket night markets always have. For the most part, they are in the shape of balls or hot dog-like sausages and, just like the hot dogs back home, it’s probably best not to ask which part of animal (or even which animal) went into it. However, Thais tend to be fairly pragmatic about their barbecues and see no reason to waste the offals which westerners would often discard. Instead, it is relatively common to find gizzards, livers, hearts and other organs also presented on skewers. They generally go down surprisingly well with some spicy dip and sticky rice.
When it comes to fine Thai food, Phuket lobster is something of a staple. However, this monstrous, insect-like creature is just as tasty. Generally only available in local Phuket Thai restaurants, it usually comes served with the ever-popular spicy mango salad, with added mantis shrimp eggs to give it some extra texture.
Braised Chicken Feet
This is the first one on our list which isn’t secretly very tasty. Instead, they’re fiddly to eat and the meat is not especially enticing. Probably a gift from the Chinese influence which is especially prominent in Phuket, the popularity of this gruesome spectacle is rather mysterious. Certainly the soft braised meat absorbs the flavours of the stock it is cooked in, giving it a pleasant taste, but the little amount of meat on the boney and chewy skeleton makes enjoying them very much an acquired skill.