Krua Maireab Restaurant
Update 2016 - this restaurant closed in 2012, but in 2015 the owner reopened a (nicer) place, but with similar food, in a nearby location - see Maireab Zaap Ver.
One of the great things about living in Phuket is that you can get all kinds of food, and there are so many restaurants to choose from. Some restaurants are aimed squarely at tourists. The main beach areas offer enough restaurants that you can never get bored. Most hotels have their own restaurants too. There are some very very nice places to eat in Phuket, some very fancy restaurants serving all kinds food, but .. (big but) fancy places are out of our price range except for a splurge now and then, and in any case, I feel uncomfortable if I have to dress up. I like good, tasty food, maybe with a nice view, but also like a place where I (and the rest of the family) can relax.
Krua Maireab (Krua is the Thai word for Kitchen, Maireab is the name of the area) suits us very well. It's close to home, along the road to Kathu waterfall. It's now run by a friend of ours who we've known for years, though we were coming to this restaurant before she took it over last year. Food is good, and food is not expensive. Mostly the Thai dishes are 40 - 60 Baht. Lots of locals come to eat here, it suits us very well as a place to take the kids to eat rather than eating at home. At this price, we figure it might even be cheaper to eat out!
Above - does not look like a very imposing place, just as I like it. You can get the best food in little roadside restaurants like this all over Phuket, all over Thailand in fact. Give it a try! OK, some little shacks can be a bit dirty, you can judge for yourself. My dear wife is quite picky in this regard, but our friend (her name is Kung) who runs Krua Maireab, she keeps it very clean and tidy.
They do have a menu with some dishes translated into English, but basically just think of any standard Thai dish and you can get it. Our kids are growing up as non-fussy eaters, though spicy curries are not yet on their menu. They tend to get something like fried rice (Kao Pad) or fried noodles (Pad Sii Eew) or garlic chicken (see photo below). My wife likes Kana Pla Kem - this is fried Kana (Kale) with salted fish. I sometimes have fried beef with garlic, or a very good and very spicy fried catfish (Pad Pet Pla Duk).
Drinks - you can get ice tea, ice coffee, water (free), coke... If you want a beer, please note that the restaurant has no alcohol licence, but you can nip over the road to the little shop and buy one :)
Now, let me introduce you to one of my favourite foods at the moment, a current craving. This is a southern Thai dish, especially from the area around Phuket and Phang Nga: Nam Prik Kung Seab. What? So, "nam prik" is chili paste which can be made in many different ways using chilis, lime, shrimp or fish paste and garlic. It has many regional varieties. The "kung seab" is dried/smoked crunchy shrimps. This is added to the nam prik with some shredded papaya and a little sugar. It's spicy, sweet and sour at the same time, a very typical southern Thai combination. You eat with rice and boiled veg and maybe an omelette (Kai Jeow). A bit of rice, a bit of veg, a bit of nam prik and pop it in your mouth. I love this stuff!
I can't imagine too many people will read this blog and head directly for Krua Maireab, but if you are in the exploring mood, heading to Kathu maybe to check out the local market or Kathu waterfall, then this is a good stop for some food!