Pantip Food Market, in the centre of Thong Sala, has Koh Phangan’s best street food. The stalls start appearing from midday, but it doesn’t really get going until 4 pm. The best time to visit though is in the evening when it becomes a lively place to eat and drink. From a culinary perspective, no trip to Koh Phangan is complete without a visit to the Pantip Food Market. Beer and other drinks are on sale and there is seating outside, as well as inside the Pantip Food Centre adjacent to the market.
Here is our guide to some of the highlights of the market stalls.
Chicken and Rice Stall
Khao Man Gai (Hainanese Chicken and Rice) is a real Thai classic. They make it well here and it’s 40 THB a plate. Other options are Khao Kha Moo (stewed pork leg on rice), Khao Moo Grawp (crispy pork on rice) and Khao Moo Daeng (red pork on rice with sweet sticky red sauce) all at 50 THB a plate. If you are hungry you ask for ‘pee set’ (which means ‘special) and get a larger portion for an extra 10 THB.
Not Thai food, but a tasty and cheap alternative if you are missing Western food. A slice of pizza costs 40 THB and a calzone costs 50THB. Several vegetarian and meat options are available.
Three dishes available covering a range of Thai fried food: Spring Rolls, Thai Money Bags, Pad Thai. Very tasty snacks to accompany a beer.
Curry and Rice
Another classic of Thai food – a pick and mix of authentic Thai curries and stir fries with rice. You pay for what you have. One curry with rice is 40 THB and two curries with rice is 50THB. This stall probably has the widest range of foods available in the market. You can expect to find familiar Thai classics like green curry and somtam (green papaya salad). For Thai food aficionados (and braver dinners) this a great place to sample authentic southern Thai food like the super spicy orange curry (Gaeng Som) with fish or gaeng sataw (thick curry paste with a broad bean like vegetable and minced pork). Not for the faint hearted, but a must if you want to say you have tried the local cuisine.
Traditional Thai Cakes
Most tourists stay well away from this stall. This is a huge error. Everything costs 10 THB a portion and they taste great, if unusual. The three things we recommend you try are: khanom chan (gelatine layer cake), khao tom mak (sticky rice with banana in a banana leaf), and tong yot (round egg custard). The bright colours don’t come from food additives but a variety of unusual food flavourings. The best of which is the pandamus leaf (a plant a bit like aloe vera) which has a subtle flavour that the Thais love and gives the desserts a vivid green colour.