Ultimate Guide to Southern Thai Cuisine

Thailand’s cuisine is renowned globally, largely owing to the abundance of fresh ingredients available, the distinct regional flavours and diverse culinary influences.

Most authentic Thai dishes are made with fresh, local ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, Thai basil, lime, chili and coconut milk, to name just a few. These ingredients are known for their unique flavours and ability to change the overall result of a dish by utilising different combinations.

Here is our ultimate reference guide of Southern Thai and Phuket-centric dishes that we recommend sampling during your stay:

Pak Miang is also referred to as the “Queen of Southern Local Vegetables” and boasts a distinct taste that combines sweetness, bitterness and a hint of astringency. It is often served as a side vegetable dish, the leaves which are an edible shrub similar to spinach are simply stir-fried in oyster sauce, often with chopped-up egg, to accompany and balance out spicy dishes.

Hokkien stir-fried noodles (or Hokkien Mee) is a famous noodle dish that originated in the Hokkien Chinese community in Phuket. This dish came to Phuket with the early Chinese immigrants from the southern area of Fujian province who settled all across Southeast. It consists of thick yellow noodles usually with seafood, pork and vegetables together with a flavourful broth made with soy sauce, fish sauce and garlic.

Another authentic Southern Thai dish not to be missed is Moo Hong; a stewed pork dish originating in southern Thailand. Slow-cooked chunks of pork belly are marinaded in a sweet paste consisting of garlic, coriander root, black peppercorn and coconut sugar. After this, the meat is then slowly stewed in a thick gravy flavoured with soy sauce, oyster sauce, cinnamon and star anise to produce a sweet, fatty and delicious dish which is typically served with rice.

For a dish unlike anything else you will ever experience, give Geang Sataw a try; which basically means ‘stinky bean curry’ and there is a very good reason behind this! Sataw beans are only grown in the south and have a strong distinctive smell and taste which tends to divide people on their opinion of them. Prawns or meat is added to fermented shrimp paste which is stir-fried with fresh chilis, fish sauce and other sweet or zesty ingredients to offset the bitterness of the beans. Whether you love or hate them, there is no denying it is a Southern favourite.

A popular type of rice noodle that is widely consumed in Southern Thailand, particularly in the provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phuket, is known as Kanom Jeen. In Southern Thai cuisine, Kanom Jeen has different versions which are typically served with spicy and aromatic curries or sauces made with fish, shrimp or crab adding to the rich and diverse culinary traditions of the region. This is a simple but delicious dish that can be enjoyed at any time of the day, although it is most commonly eaten for breakfast, and therefore can be found in many food markets.

We hope you have enjoyed our gastronomy tour of Southern Thailand and finding out more about just some of the unique and ‘arroy’ (delicious) dishes which showcase the regions diverse cuisine; from sweet, sour and salty, through to spicy, creamy and bitter.


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