Thai food is great. However, most people visiting Thailand only experience a small range of dishes such as green curry, masaman curry, and pad Thai. To really experience good Thai food you need to seek out restaurants where they serve a more extensive range of dishes.
If you are in Thong Nai Pan, on Koh Phangan, a good bet would be to go for dinner at Baanpanburi Village on Thong Nai Pan Yai. This laid back, old-school bungalow style, resort has an excellent beach front restaurant which is open to anyone even if they aren’t staying at the resort. My friends and I like it here. It is inexpensive and informal, with friendly attentive staff: just the sort of place to go with friends or family for a relaxed dinner and drinks after a day at the beach.
The two dishes we recommend are:
Haw Mok Talay Ma Prao: This a distinctive thick Southern style fish curry. It is served in a young coconut. The coconut is not a tourist gimmick – this is the traditional way of serving the dish, which uses the flesh and milk of the young coconut to create a thick and creamy curry sauce.
Pa Kapong Phad Gratiem Phrik Thai: This is white snapper fried with garlic and black pepper. Again this is another distinctive Southern Thai dish. The crunchy fried fish skin is subtly favoured by the fried garlic and pepper creating a pleasing contrast to the succulent and tender white flesh of the fish underneath. They fry it quick on a high heat to ensure that the flesh of the fish itself doesn’t dry out.
These two dishes together, with rice and ice cold Singha beer, make for a heavenly dinner listening to the sound of the waves lapping on the white sand. Everything you want from a dinner on a small tropical island at a very reasonable price of around $20 USD for two with drinks.