Samchong Seafood Restaurant (Phang Nga)
Well, last weekend we dragged our lazy bones out of the house for a proper day out, even managing to leave Phuket! I am sure most people realise that Phuket is an island, but Phuket is connected to the mainland by the Sarasin bridge (well, 2 bridges actually which run parallel), so you can drive to/from Phuket. The bridges are about 500m long and when you hit the other side you are in Phang Nga province which has a wealth of attractions including Phang Nga Bay, Khao Sok National Park (well, that's actually in Surat Thani province), the Similan Islands and the temple in a cave at Wat Suwan Kuha.
After visiting the temple and checking out the nearby Raman Waterfall and National forest park (which we will revisit), we went looking for lunch. A friend had told me to look for a restaurant called "Poo Dam" (meaning Black Crab) around the Khok Kloi area which is a bit north of Phuket. I had assumed it was on the water, so as we drove back towards Phuket we looked for "Poo Dam" signs. No luck... Feeling hungry we followed instead a sign to "Samchong Seafood" which was well signposted (but only in Thai!), with the turn off near the village of Ka Lai, about 10km from Khok Kloi and about 20km from the Sarasin bridge. You drive about 2km down the side road and reach a wide mangrove channel, some floating jetties and the Samchong Seafood restaurant floating in the water, accessed by a stilted walkway. The sign you can look for :
And here's the restaurant ...
It looked decent, the views were great along the channel, with some of the Phang Nga limestone formations visible to the east, and a stilted village similar to the famous Panyee village just over the water. Longtail boats acted as taxis across to the village. A peaceful location (I don't count the occasional longtail engine). A few cars with Phuket plates were parked nearby. Maybe a restaurant that Phuket people visit for an "off island" lunch! I liked the place even before we ordered food.
There was an English menu, but I'd reckon they don't get many tourists here. I should note that we found the English menu was about 10 Baht more per dish than the Thai menu. We chose the Thai price. We ordered a salad made with smoked prawns, a whole snapper with lime and garlic, plus chicken with garlic for the kids. The price of the fish dish was less than places we have eaten in Phuket, only 280 Baht per kilo. Service was fast, though the place was not very busy as we arrived a bit later than normal lunchtime.
Food was very tasty - fish was excellent, we are already planning a return visit to Samchong Seafood. No photo of the fish, sorry. I am not a good food blogger.. we had already started attacking the fish and agreeing on how tasty it was, then I realised I had not taken a photo. Ah well, next time... Photos above show Yam Gung Seab (salad with dried smoked shrimp) and Kung Che Nam Pla (raw prawns with fish / chili sauce). From our house, only about an hour to drive there, and it's not just the food, it's the location! Some more views from Samchong Seafood:
It's been a good year for finding new places to eat so far. We must vow to continue our explorations and not be so lazy!
Update March 2012: We have now done a couple of trips out to Phang Nga Bay from Samchong Seafood - easy to get a longtail from there to James Bond Island and Koh Panyee / Panyi.
Samchong Seafood - Location Map
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