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Island View: And then there was beef



PHUKET: For me, one of the most exciting things about moving to Phuket was all the delicious Thai food one could ask for. However, once I had moved, there was just one thing I craved – a nice, juicy beef steak.

Thai people can cook a lot of different kinds of food, with spices that can make the sweat drip out of every pore and burn your taste buds to a crisp, yet keep you going back for more. Much as I love the local food, though, there’s one thing I feel they can’t do justice to – and that is beef.

I searched high and low for any local restaurant with a good beef dish. I tried Khao Pad Nua at more than 20 eateries, in addition to other beef dishes that cooks swore were ‘the best you can find anywhere in Thailand’. But sadly, their beef dishes were always a disappointment.

Cooking with chicken is fun, but can get monotonous after awhile. The craving for beef – real man’s meat – kept rearing its nagging head. I went to several shops, but all I could find was over-priced imported angus beef.

Then one day, at Makro Kathu, the ‘halal’ beef products section caught my eye. There, much to my delight, I discovered the most reasonably priced beef I had seen in all of Phuket. That night, I bought a massive one and a half pound beef rib-eye for 250 baht, hardly believing my good fortune.

The sweet, meaty smell of my slow-grilled steak wafted out of my condo’s tiny kitchen for the next hour or so, and I couldn’t have been happier.

The first scrumptious bite made me realize that I had struck gold. The tiny halal beef section in the corner of that Makro store had evaded me for almost a year. What a joy it was to finally be able to cook steak in the comfort of my own apartment, whenever I wanted. Incidentally, after my great discovery I had a whopping seven steaks, one every night for the entire week.

I feel at home in Phuket for several reasons, but finding affordable beef to cook definitely belongs near the top. Sometimes I think Phuket has everything one could ask for – beaches, party places, monsoon, mountains… and beef. Definitely, beef.

— Zohaib Sikander


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