Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Raya (ระย้า) @ Dibuk Road, Phuket, Thailand

Cuisine: Thai (Southern)
Price: ~ THB350 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 20 December 2013
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Value for money: 6/10
Services: 4/10

Visiting Phuket for a short vacation, it is perhaps a must thing to do these days to pop by Raya which is currently one of the most famous restaurant on Phuket Island. Raya is located on Dibuk Road, just by the corner where Dibuk Road (ถนนดีบุก) and Thepkasattri Road (ถนนเทพกระษัตรี) intersect. It is pretty easy to locate the place. It is an old build with two storeys and there is a big "Raya" sign to spot.

Raya @ Dibuk Road, Phuket, Thailand

the old house-converted building

The interior has been perhaps kept with most of original feature. I kind of like the old fashion ambient myself. The place is rather large. I guess up to 100 customers can be held at once. Range of food here is local Southern Thai food. Although, there are some of those famous Thai dishes available but please do not bother with non Southern dishes. On the pricing side, it is not cheap but not so dearly cost.

still kept the old fashion interior

more rooms on the upper level

One of the dish that we could not really miss was crab meat with curry and coconut milk - แกงเนื้อปูใบชะพลู (7/10). This is probably the most famous dish from the Southern part of Thailand. The dish itself was nice and lovely. The curry paste was flavourful. The overall taste was not too spicy and I guess foreigners can take the dish with care. They were fairly generous with the fresh blue crab meat in the curry. Though the dish was nice, the overall taste however was not as expected by the local. It tasted more like the recipe has been adjusted to suit the liking of Bangkokian and travellers. You may perhaps try the crab curry in a more local place to compare. I would not say I do not like this dish but I am not so fond of it. One of the knowledge that we have learnt from the local was chaphlu leaves (piper sarmentosum or wild betel) are never an ingredient for crab curry. Well, it may be Raya's own recipe.

The other soup base dish that we had to order was prawn and pak meang in coconut milk - แกงกะทิผักเหมียงกุ้ง (8/10). Pak Meang is a local vegetable in the South of Thailand. It can be a great ingredient for coconut milk base soup as well as to go with omelette. This soup was lovely indeed. Thick coconut milk with fresh leaves and fresh prawn. So simple and so authentic. Love it. (ps. I could not see it in the menu but you sure can ask for it)

crab meat with curry and coconut milk - แกงเนื้อปูใบชะพลู (THB600)

zoom up to crab meat

prawn and pak meang in coconut milk - แกงกะทิผักเหมียงกุ้ง (THB350)

prawn and pak meang

Steamed pork with pepper and garlic - หมูฮ้อง (6/10) was somehow less enjoyable than expected. I think that the overall palate was overwhelmed by pepper. I would personally love to see less pepper and a touch more of sweetness to balance. The pork itself, on the other hand, was wonderfully tender. I suggest asking for the belly part. The pleasure of a bite that combines both tender meat and fatty/gelatin part was wonderful in fact.

The other dishes that you may not like to miss were stir-fried sataw with shrimps - ผัดสะตอกะปิกุ้ง (7/10) and deep-fried pork with salt - หมูคั่วเกลือ (6/10). Sataw was fresh and delicious. Some may say that the natural scent of sataw can be unpleasant. Well, I disagree with the claim and would encourage to really try the dish. It was stir-fried nicely with shrimp paste. Deep-fried pork with salt is almost everyone, every gender, and every generation favourite dish. No strong chili or herbal taste. The texture is the part that comes into play. Crisp and light salted. Terrific indeed. Only if pork could be sliced in a thinner form, the dish would be perfect.

steamed pork with pepper and garlic - หมูฮ้อง (THB350)

tender piece of pork

stir-fried sataw with shrimps - ผัดสะตอกะปิกุ้ง (THB350)

deep-fried pork with salt - หมูคั่วเกลือ (THB200)

For dessert, something cool and sweet is really a compliment for hot weather in Phuket. Grass jelly with longan - เฉาก๊วยลำไย (6/10) is not the one to pay attention to. You can find this anywhere in Thailand. Lukchok in syrup - ลูกชกลอยแก้ว (7/10) is, on the other hand, the one you should try if it is available. You would not see much of lukchok elsewhere in Thailand. Lukchok is similar to lukchid (palm seed) but in a smaller form and round. The texture is chewy just like palm seed but firmer.

All in all, Raya is a lovely restaurant with nice ambient of local atmosphere and nice food. Some may have been transformed to suit the modern day liking but still enjoyable. For me, I would not really chase for it much but if you have not tried, why not?

lukchok in syrup - ลูกชกลอยแก้ว (THB30)

grass jelly with longan - เฉาก๊วยลำไย (THB30)

Raya @ Dibuk Road, Phuket, Thailand - ระย้า @ ถนนดีบุก จังหวัดภูเก็ต
48 Dibuk Road
Talat Yai, Mueang

Open Hours: daily from 10:00am - 10:00pm
Tel: +66 (0) 76 218 155

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