Beautiful beaches, never-ending nightlife, and oldschool architecture aren’t the only things that make Phuket a dream destination. The culinary traditions of the island elicit fond recollections of past meals. Strong southern spices and fresh seafood are just too good to forget.
For more than 20 years, Raya has offered genuine southern food to Phuket’s visitors, the family recipes passed down by generations. But Raya’s secrets aren’t exclusive to the island. With the debut of Prai Raya, the owner’s niece shares her family’s cuisine with a hungry capital.
Owner Prai has brought more than a culinary legacy with her to Bangkok. Thanks to Sino-Portuguese architecture and stately interiors, the space resembles the outlet down South. Yellow walls, ivory-coloured ceilings, and green accents give this vintage, two-storey house spirit. Like the interiors, the menu features all the delicacies served at Raya, plus a couple of exciting new items, all matching fresh, high-quality ingredients with authentic preparation.
Take a crab meat curry with wild betel leaf (B400/ B600) as an example. The curry paste releases its fragrance and flavour when cooked, providing heat to balance the fresh herb and crab meat; noodles served on the side, a typical partner to this dish, add a cooling element. The hor mok (B250), curried crab steamed inside a banana leaf, uses the same curry paste, but includes coconut milk. It has a texture like custard and hides a fierce heat that might require a glass of water to cool off scorched tongues. Other signatures, such as stir-fried stink beans with shrimp paste and prawns (B250), will please any fan of Phuket’s local dining scene. One of Prai’s special additions to the menu is deep-fried river prawns with spicy shrimp paste (B480). Served in the shell, the succulent meat pulls out easily with the touch of a fork and works like a vessel for the spices. It reaches the ideal balance of hot, salty, and sweet.
It is practically impossible to resist a refreshing drink, such as cha yen or, better yet, a classic Thai dessert after chowing down on these spicy dishes. Apart from tropical fruit juices, tea, and coffee, whiskey and beer are also available from the mini bar. Desserts, however, are limited to grass jelly and a choice of cakes.
Still, if you think Southern dishes are nothing more than heat and more heat, Prai Raya begs to differ. The food here balances spice and subtle flavours to perfection, delivering a taste of Phuket with grace.
59 Sukhumvit 8 (BTS Nana) | 0 2253 5556
facebook.com/PraiRayaSukhumvit8 | daily 10.30am-10.30pm