Jamie's Phuket Blog

Restaurant Tip: Moo Grob Khun Yai

Oh yes, time for another little local restaurant treat! Forget those fancy places, they're out of my budget! All the restaurant guides I read feature the same old places, all of which will cost an arm and a leg, though I am sure plenty of people love an expensive meal with sauce "drizzled" artistically across the plate... The restaurant section on this blog does not feature too many fancy restaurants. Partly because we are not rich and partly because we feel more comfortable in a more local setting without art deco meals. And .. if you want real local food, you find this in LOCAL restaurants where LOCAL people eat. Food is quite a personal issue, so if you disagree with me, no worries, go find your own favorite place!

Moo Grob (หมูกรอบ) is a bit of a special thing... it's crispy pork belly, and if it's done well, it's crispy, crunchy, crackly, yet retains some soft meat and a little fat, (oh, if you are vegetarian, this place is not for you!) - Moo Grob can be too soft sometimes, or too fatty or too meaty.. I mean, Moo Grob lovers will have their own style, but what I am saying is, Moo Grob is an art. And Tik, the owner of Moo Grob Khun Yai is the artist. The restaurant is on the road between Central Festival mall and Phuket Town, on the left side as you head into town. Looks like this:

Moo Grob Khun Yai, front view

We've known Tik for some years. Her son was in the same class as our daughter at school, but he moved to another school where Tik's husband is a teacher. We'd not been for ages, but met Tik and her son Kane a couple of weeks ago (in Pizza Company, yeh, I know, you own a restaurant and your kid wants to go eat pizza), so we went to eat at her place the next day. The restaurant was run by her mother before her - "Khun Yai" means Grandmother. This is Tik .... she's a happy smiley person :)

Tik is the owner

The menu in this restaurant is basically 4 different options. You have Khao Moo Grob (rice with crispy pork), Khao Moo Daeng (rice with red pork), Khao Man Gai (rice with chicken) and Khao Ka Moo (rice with a kind of stewed pork leg). Or you can mix up the meats. You can get the dishes as a small portion (which is called Tama Da) or large portion (for this you ask for Pee Set). Don't be asking for fried rice or anything else. These 4 dishes are among the most popular simple meals all over Thailand. If you can't guess, my favourite is Moo Grob :) Tik makes it herself from pieces of pork belly, carefully grilled. Looks like this, hanging up at the front of the restaurant:

Moo Grob

Then Tik slices off a section - note use of plastic gloves... my wife is quite picky with little local restaurants, they are not all this clean!

Cutting the Moo Grob

And the slice of pork is cut into smaller pieces, piled on some rice and that's it! On the table are some different sauces, a mix of sweet and spicy, which you can "drizzle" onto your pork. Big plate = 45 Baht, small plate = 35 Baht. The Moo Daeng is the same price. On this day I had one plate of each.

Khao Moo Grob

Khao Moo Daeng

I am hungry now just looking at the photos! It's not just meat, you do get a small plate of greens with the meal too and a little bowl of clear soup. And you can get an ice tea or ice coffee for 10-15 Baht, or just drink water (drinking water and ice is normally free with meals at this kind of restaurant).

Greens and Soup

Don't get me wrong, Phuket has got some very (very) nice restaurants, with 5 star food and wine lists to match. And there are websites which happily let these places advertise. On this blog, you see the places where I eat, or where my family eats. And if you want the "real" Phuket... this is it! Damn, I fancy a plate of Moo Grob now!

Some more Phuket restaurants to get good local food:

Laem Hin Seafood
Tunk Ka Cafe
Kopitiam in Phuket Town
Pak Nam Seafood

Moo Grob Khun Yai - Location Map

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