Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket’s peckish, so hop to it and make it snappy

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: Crocodile, frog, snake and warthog aren’t the first things that spring to mind when a westerner thinks “bar snack”.

But in Thailand, these delicacies belong to the food group known as Gup Glam (snack food to be devoured with alcohol).

And where better to sample these outlandish delights than in the jungle on the outskirts of Kathu waterfall, where there’s an open-air Thai-style restaurant called Kruew Phai Lin.

You can’t get much closer to nature than this.

Large trees with roots the size of human legs form steps – and booby traps – alongside the path leading to the restaurant.

There are three outdoor seating options: right, left and center stage. There’s a smattering of heavy-set stone tables and chairs on three tiers of dusty earth, forming a semi-circular arena around the beating heart of this culinary-jungle amphitheater – the kitchen.

More than 30 people are already sat and eating, impressive, considering it’s just gone midday on a Thursday.

We opt for a table in the middle as an extended family of chickens cluck around our ankles approvingly.

As we eye the menu, the waitress tells us that all frogs used in the restaurant’s dishes are sourced locally – very locally – from the jungle around you.

Wisps of eye-stinging chili smoke tease the nostrils and make us splutter as sizzling and clanging goes on in the corrugated-tin-roof kitchen nearby.

Our food order arrives: spicy stir-fried crocodile (180 baht), fried frog with garlic and pepper (120 baht), fried deer with ginger (180 baht), and spicy stir-fried wild boar (190 baht).

We order another stiff drink as we mull over whether we’re going to eat what is in front of us.

We take the plunge and each dip into a dish, and as we snack and sip our way through them, our initial apprehension fades.

Even though there are springy little legs that look poised to leap from the plate of fried frog, and crocodile meat that has an almost serrated outer-skin, it all tastes deliciously familiar.

The wild boar was, surprisingly, a bit chewier and fattier than regular pork and had thicker skin.

The deer dish was the spiciest, and tasted a lot like beef. The crocodile had the most distinctive and unusual taste and texture of the dishes, but was our group’s most popular dish.

The frog was crunchy and had a few bones, but at the risk of sounding predictable, tasted a lot like fried chicken.

Despite their popularity as a bar snack in the Kingdom, frogs are seen by some virtuous Thais as passive animals and eating them is believed to bring about bad karma.

So if you’re superstitiously inclined perhaps opt for the crocodile out of the above dishes – it’s aggressive and tasty.

But Kruew Phai Lin serves regular Thai dishes as well, also exceptionally flavorful.

All ingredients are bought market fresh each day by restaurant owner Suwanna “Bheung” Saeteon, 36, originally from Phang Nga.

It’s the quality ingredients and menu variety that has kept the 60-or-so daily stream of customers coming for the past 17 years, she says.

She also says the natural surroundings and atmosphere of the restaurant is a draw for customers.

But we suspect the restaurant’s popularity may also have something to do with the humble Bheung’s skill and passion.

She’s cooking away furiously as she speaks, adding meat and vegetables into the steaming, sizzling wok, spinning it around and reaching for pinches of the huge variety of spices and herbs on the rack in front of her. Her movements in the kitchen are effortless, natural, at one with her surroundings – just like her restaurant.

And the reason she serves such bizarre dishes?

She just likes to give her customers something different to enjoy.

“I think a large part of peoples’ happiness and wellbeing comes from eating, and I enjoy giving people the opportunity to feel good about themselves by serving them great tasting food that makes them happy when they eat,” she adds.

— Alexandra Andersson

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | AoT warns about tourist exuberance, easing of restrictions | June 22

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

CCSA: Bars to stay closed for now, drunk customers risk the spread of Covid-19

Bangkok4 hours ago

Woman dies after jumping from Phra Khanong BTS station in Bangkok

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

263 covid cases linked to canned seafood factory in Songkhla

Drugs5 hours ago

Narcotics Control Board announce recent drug busts, heroin and cocaine sent by mail

Environment6 hours ago

3 Cambodian activists arrested for plotting against the government/insulting the king after documenting waste run-off

Chiang Mai6 hours ago

Chiang Mai eases restrictions, alcohol now allowed at restaurants

Thailand6 hours ago

Angry ex allegedly sets motorcycle on fire in school parking garage

Cambodia7 hours ago

6 arrested in Cambodia for allegedly trafficking people into Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 4,059 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand8 hours ago

Power outages coming to Kathu

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Samut Sakhon governor calls for more vaccine doses after order was cut

Thailand9 hours ago

Fruit buyer arrested for allegedly using counterfeit certificates to export durian

Tourism10 hours ago

Airports of Thailand president says tourism won’t pick back up until October

Thailand10 hours ago

Mobile sterilisation/vaccination truck helps Pattaya’s cats and dogs

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending