Monday, February 13, 2012

Rawai Beach - Fancy some Fish?

Where to eat fish and seafood in Rawai Beach, Phuket written by James Bagely

Fancy some Fish?

From Chalong Circle (roundabout), take the 5m dual carriageway south. At the end of this road it turns hard right. If you don’t take this bend, you will find yourself driving down Rawai pier. A clear sign that you have gone wrong somewhere.

100 meters after the right turn the now single lane road opens up onto Rawai Beach. No sun-loungers or umbrellas in sight. At high tied the sea rises all the way up to the sea wall, on the other side of that is a wide footpath lined with a sort of pine tree that runs the whole kilometer length of the beach road. In the water or lying on the sand you will find scores of speedboats and traditional Thai longtail fishing boats. This is a more traditional Thai Fishermans beach, which is why you are here.

At the North end you will find “Nakita’s” bar and restaurant. A popular, western owned and influenced, establishment with Thai lanterns hanging in trees and a view of the sea and the pier at Rawai that remains virtually unused by boats but is popular with pedestrians in the evenings. The pier, simply lit with occasional street lights, makes for a far more attractive picture than the multi-coloured neon lighting that runs along Chalong pier. If you are not hungry you can sit and just have a beer or cocktail, but they also offer a mixture of Thai and Western dishes. If you are missing your traditional English fish, chips and mushy peas, then it is definitely worth a visit. The staff all speak English and it is priced at the tourist. It has some parking.

At the other end of the Beach road is a more Thai style restaurant which, again, overlooks Rawai Beach and Pier. Baan Rawai Sea Food. A more basic ambience, but the sea food makes up for it. You can choose your prawns, fish or crab etc. directly from the tank. Certainly cheaper than its Northerly counterpart, more traditionally Thai and arguably better seafood. It also has its own car park.

My choice, however, is to find somewhere to park along the beach road and find a free table and chairs (Or mat and cushions if you really want Thai style). From there order from one of the many little Thai seafood restaurants that run for about half the length of the beach. The waitresses dance with the traffic to take your orders and serve you some of the most fantastic fish brought in on the longtails that day (or even while you watch sometimes). You still have the sea view and you are on the pavement to take a stroll when you have finished. It is certainly more basic than either of the restaurants, bring your own wine if you want it, but I my opinion the food is better. The locals eat here so it has to be good.

Some options to try:
  • Tempura (battered) squid : It’s always good but if it is really fresh it’s amazing.
  • King Prawns in Tamarind Sauce : Prepare to get sticky.
  • Yam Pladook Fu : Flaked catfish fried until crispy then served on a papaya salad with a strong lemon sauce. It usually comes spicey so let the waitress know if don’t want the chillys.
  • Fish of the day : either fried, barbequed or, in my opinion, best steamed and with a sauce or flavouring of your option.

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