It was a long weekend in Thailand. It was the birthday of Queen Sirikit (known as the mother of Thailand); therefore, it was also known as 'mother's day'. So; we headed to Phuket for the long weekend. We always have to eat once at one of the best seafood restaurants in Phuket.
The restaurant is called Kan-aeng II (the first Kan-aeng is on another beach). This Kan-aeng is enourmous. I have never counted how many tables they have but it must reach to the hundreds. It is an open-air restaurant. If it does rain, there are roofed areas and huts (photo above). All the tables are situated on the edge, next to the beach. The restaurant is very basic, plastic chairs and tables. But the service is excellent, the atmosphere is very tropical and the prices are absolutely amazing. For the amount of food we always eat, we always shake our heads in amazement when the bill arrives. Soooo cheap! But the seafood is the star of the restaurant. Always fresh and cooked perfectly.
The first dish was sea snails (hoi chak teen luak). These snails are very precious. A friend of mine stopped going to a seafood restaurant in Phuket just because they stopped serving these snails. The snails were grilled and arrived hot. You took a toothpick and fished out the snail and dipped it into a very spicy green sauce (but the sauce is so good). The snails are a very nice start before dinner.
The next dish was deep fried morning glory (ber thawte). One of my favourite Kan-aeng specialties. It is deadly for your cholesterol but I don' care. It is so good. ber thawte is deep fried morning glory with shrimp. It is a great starter that went well with the white wine we were drinking. It arrived on the table hot, crunchy & crispy. It came with a red sweetish sauce. I can eat several plates of this stuff.
The next dish was green vegetable with dried shrimp (phak meang phad kung saeb). I have no idea what the name of the vegetable was, but it was very nice. The oyster sauce was light so that it did not over whelm the taste of the vegetable. The dried shrimp added more flavour and texture.
The next dish was seafood mousse (haw mok Phuket). This has got to be one of the best dishes in the world. It is a coconut cream seafood mousse, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. Describing the haw mok makes me always hungry. You order the haw mok by piece and when we order, we always restraint ourselves from ordering 20 of them because they are so good. Kan-eang makes the best haw mok in the world. They are creamy, tasty and spicy. Haw mok is always best eaten with steam rice. The rice helps lessen the intensity of the spiciness.
The next dish was a sea water fish and I have no idea how to translate this fish into English (pla mong). This is the best fish grilled. It is always cooked perfectly at Kan-aeng. The meat was tender and juicy. The sauce that came with it was a mixture of the sweet, sour and spicy. But I preferred the green spicy sauce to go with the fish.
The next dish was red cockles in curry (kaeng hoi khrang bai cha phlu). A unique dish and you rarely can find this in a restaurant. The fresh cockles added nice texture and taste to the dish. The curry was rich and flavourful and it was not too spicy. The curry was also best eaten with steam rice because the rice soaked up the curry and tasted so good.
The next dish was shrimp baked with clear noodles (kung op woon sen). The clear noodles are baked in an aluminum pot over the shrimp, ginger and lemon grass. When the pot arrived on the table, the waiter took off the lid, the steam flowed out and when the steam disappeared, there was sitting a pot with glistening noodles. I dug deep into the pot and brought the steamed shrimp to the top. The mix of flavours and textures of this dish makes it a favourite with us.
I prefer my seafood grilled, especially at Kan-aeng because they grill the seafood with coconut as the natural burning fuel. The coconut gives the seafood a nice & unique taste and smell.
Kan-eang II is a great place to go in Phuket. It is a place where you can be sitting under the stars & moon, sitting next to the beach, having the freshest & tastiest seafood and all that will cost you nothing. It truly is a special place.