Restaurant Tip: Moo Grob Khun Yai
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:
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 :)
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:
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!
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.
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).
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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