So here is my latest blog with my favorite spots both for food and for social drinks on Koh Tao… To cater for people on a shoe string budget and also for people with a little more cash.
Most people who visit Koh Tao are backpackers, whom are seeking food & drink on a lower budget. Make no mistake, although the prices of living in Asia are fairly cheaper, compared to the western world, the cost of the social scene, is a lot more expensive, than in years gone by. Both due to the increased tourism and the fall in exchange rates over the years.
For people on a low budget there are many small Thai restaurants, located mostly off the beach front, in Sairee Village. You will find a wide selection of Authentic Thai restaurants, offering a delicious wide variety of both, Thai and Western cuisine. Obviously these restaurants have Thai or Burmese chefs so opting for Thai food would be recommended. Here are a few of my favorite lower budget restaurants and some of my favorite dishes…
- [singlepic id=258 w=320 h=240 float=right]1. Pud – This is a very small but lovely little restaurant that is run by one woman “Pud”. At Pud’s Restaurant you can find, in my opinions, the most authentic Thai cuisine on the island! Pud herself is a quiet but lovely woman who cooks all her dishes right in front of you. Very entertaining watching her cooking techniques while you have enjoy a drink. As Pud is alone in a very small kitchen the wait and intervals between dishes can be a little long, so if you are very hungry maybe avoid “Pud’s” until you have some more time the next evening. If you are not in a rush the food is undoubtedly well worth the wait. Whenever we go to eat as a group of friends, a good suggestion is to get a mixture of dishes and all share, so no-one is waiting longer than anyone else. My favorite dishes at Pud include Tempura Prawns, Thai Omelet, Penang Curry (chicken or pork), Indian Curry and the standard Red, Green Curry’s are also very enjoyable. I cannot speak highly enough of the food at Puds, you will walk away stuffed with spare change from 200 Baht…Including Drinks!!! Bargain!!!
- 2. Boomerang- Much like Pud, “Boomerang” Bar & Restaurant, is run by a Thai woman called Jam. Aptly, the restaurant gets the name “Boomerang” as the food is so good, that everyone always comes back. With specials everyday, both Thai & Western, the food is of the highest standard and always freshly cooked to order. [singlepic id=255 w=320 h=240 float=left]My favorite dishes here are again Penang Curry (beef or chicken) and No-Name Vegetable are very good to start. Many of the islanders fitness fanatics, also eat here, as there is a healthy option of Grilled Chicken Breast with brown rice and steamed veggies. The western cuisine here is also awesome with a special Homemade 300gram Beef Burger with chillies and melted cheese. Jam is a lovely Thai woman who speaks very good English, and enjoys a drink or two!!! P-a-r-t-y, why??? …because we can!!
- [singlepic id=260 w=320 h=240 float=right]3. Tukta – A delicious Thai Food restaurant, located in the south of Koh Tao, in the Chaolok Baan Kao region. If you’re staying in Sairee, you will need a scooter or a motorbike, or you have to be willing to pay for a taxi, to get to this very authentic little Thai restaurant. Nebertheless, the food here is well worth the journey and the money. My favorites including Tempura Prawn, Prawn Fishcake, a delicious Massaman Curry and Fried Fish with Garlic Tukta is well worth a visit in case you are running out of options in Sairee Village.
Now let’s move onto some places that are a little bit more pricey, but absolutely worth a try. We are now in the 200 – 500 Baht per head range:
- 1. Fizz- Located at the North end of Sairee Beach, “Fizz” is a very relaxed ‘western style’ beach bar & restaurant, offering a wide variety of both, Western & Thai cuisine. With a fantastic area of comfy bean bags to chill out on for a pre- or after-drink, and a large section of dinner tables to enjoy a delicious meal. [singlepic id=261 w=320 h=240 float=right]Fizz is one of my favorite places to go to “treat myself”, to a more expensive dinner every now and again. My favorite meals here include Britain’s favorite “Chicken Tikka Masala” and also the Teriyaki Tuna Steak is to die for! All Thai dishes are very well done although maybe a little bit more expensive, seeing as the restaurant is situated on the beach front…Saturday night is very enjoyable down Fizz, with a funky chill-out Dj Set, to get in the mood for the weekend!
- 2. Hippo Bar & Grill- This is one of Sairee dive staff’s liked places to hang out. Often if there is a night out planned, Hippo is the first stop for some good food and drinks…Co-owned by our manager Bear, this restaurant caters much like Fizz, for both Western and Thai styles. My favorite [singlepic id=256 w=320 h=240 float=left]dishes here are the Steak Deal, on Every night for 6pm – 8pm. Served is fillet steak with french fries and a glass of wine all for only 229 Baht, great value for money!!! Another more pricey favorite of mine is the Grilled Duck Breast or the Duck Salad…Mmmm. After food be sure to try the wide variety of cocktails on offer. My choice, Long Island Iced Tea… with 5 separate shot of hard alcohol and me being Scottish, I tend to start a night out like I mean to go on… Most Saturday nights you will find most of the Dive Staff of Sairee Cottage Diving in Hippo enjoying some fantastic food and maybe a drink or ten!!!
- [singlepic id=257 w=320 h=240 float=right]3. Whitening- Located in Mae Haad south of Sairee Village. Whitening is set of the beach with a very relaxed and romantic vibe. The food although pricey is undoubtedly amongst the best of the island with a wide variety of Thai, Western and Seafood cuisine I highly recommend this place if you are trying to impress anyone. My personal Favorite are the Thai fish cakes to Start followed by the Herby Lamb Chops. When my friend were out from Wales I took them to Whitening and they were adamant the Thai Style Tiger Prawns were amongst the best food they have ever tasted! Don’t miss out on Whitening!!!!
- 4. Lung Pae – Located in the mountain behind Sairee Village. “Lung Pae” has epic views of the whole of Sairee Beach at night, with all the glistening lights of the diving boats and the bright green glow of the Fishing boats out at sea doing some squid fishing, the scenery from this establishment is breathtaking! The food is cooked to match! Again with the option of Thai and Western dishes, my favorite and many other peoples favorite here is the E4 Steak, its so popular the staff actually wear the E4 logo on their T-shirt, a Fillet of steak, cooked to taste with a bundle of mashed potatos and Salad accompanied with a red wine sauce!!! Even writing about it makes me want to go and get one right now!!! Other options include Pork Chops and Lamb Chops as well as Thai cuisine… Seeing as “Lung Pae” is situated in the mountain, the restaurant actually offers a free taxi service to and from the restaurant to encourage people to come up there! All you need to do is call them up and they will come and collect you!!!
Writing this blog has just made me want to go and eat at all these places and I hope whoever reads this will too… I was encouraged to write this blog by a couple of my students who were recently on Koh Tao. They were very impressed by my suggestions and Lloyd (one of the students) was actually a chef and ownes his own restaurant back in South Africa. What can I say, I must love food!!!
Check in next month for my next blog of “The Koh Tao Party Scene”.
Cheers for now, Gordon