Occupying the ground floor of an old wood building, this 70-year-old cafe brews coffee (B25) the traditional Thai way—in a tea filter. For breakfast, order some crispy pa tong ko (fried dough, B2) for dipping. More of a savory person? The rice porridge is cooked to silky perfection (B25). In the evening, Jek Pea serves Thai food a la carte. Signature dishes include stir-fried soft-shell crab with black pepper (B200), stir-fried crayfish with garlic (B200) and Thai hot pot chim chum with an assortment of meat, seafood and fresh vegetables (B200 per set).
51/6 Hua Hin Soi 57, 032-511-289. Open daily 6:30am-12:30pm, 5-7:30pm
Somchai Pa Tong Ko
The lip-smacking pa tong ko at Jek Pea are actually made across the street, at “uncle” Somchai’s stall. He’s been serving up his own recipe of fried dough for over 20 years. His pa tong ko comes in a single strip (B2), instead of the typical paired strip. You might arrive to a line, but take the waiting time as an opportunity to watch the master knead and fry—he’s got some serious moves.
Hua Hin Soi 57, 032-534-292. Open daily 5:30-9:30am
Chat Chai Market
Head here for fresh produce as well as all manner of preserved seafood: dried shrimp, pickled mussels, and fish both pickled and dried. Food deep inside the market is more affordable than that on the outside. The mussels in sweet and sour chili sauce (B35 per 100 grams) are delicious eaten hot with a side of steaming sticky rice.
Phetkasem Rd., between Hua Hin Soi 70 and 72. Open daily 5am-4pm
Nothing says lunchtime like somtam, and nothing screams somtam like this no-name spot on Hua Hin Soi 101. Expect classic varieties accompanied by tender grilled chicken with an edge of perfectly-charred, tangy marinade. Prices are between B40-B50 and portions are perfect for sharing. Arrive before noon or after 1pm to avoid the lunchtime rush.
At the beginning of Hua Hin Soi 101, between Somtam Chom Poo restaurant and a big fresh coconut stall. Open daily 11am-4pm
An old seaside house serving up simple Thai dishes that highlight fresh seafood. Regular dishes begin at B100 and the fish at B300, depending on the weight. Try their signature hoi shell pad sauce horapa (stir-fried scallops with sweet basil sauce, B240), which arrives at the table bubbling over its cast iron skillet. The cured egg yolk sauce of the meuk pad kai kem (squid stir-fried with salted egg, B220) is a rich and delicious accompaniment to the fresh squid. The restaurant’s only downside is its small portions. If in doubt, order more.
Naebkehad Rd., Hua Hin Soi 51, 032-530-574. Open daily 11am-10pm. www.fb.com/BaanItsara
Kluay Thod Pa Jay
Break up those big meals with a snack at this famous kluay thod stand. Two grandmas fry up banana, sweet potato, pumpkin, and taro fritters for B10 a bag. The secret ingredient of the batter is ground peanuts, which give each fritter’s crispy jacket an earthy, sweet flavor.
Hua Hin Soi 55, 085-196-2204. Open daily 7am-3pm
Than Roti Mataba
There are 10 Than Rotis in Hua Hin, although the original, opened over 40 years ago, is in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Think flaky, buttery layers of roti with a generous drizzle of condensed milk (B10). Our pick is the savory mataba roti (B30), a crunchy roti skin stuffed with pillowy potato and served with ar-jard (sweet and sour sauce with cucumber slices)—a heavenly, if heavy, snack. Between 3-5pm on Saturdays, they serve chicken curry roti (B60), a special that sells out quick.
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