Get your fill of fiery southern fare.
Best known for its fearlessly spicy, rich and flavorful food, Nong Joke has long been popular among locals and Thai travelers, and now thanks to foodie Youtuber Mark Wiens it also welcomes throngs of foreigners in search of authentic southern flavors. Must-gets are the pungent and punchy kua kling (southern-style dry minced pork curry, B120), which comes loaded with peppercorns and the comforting gaeng som pla kapong yawd maprao (spicy-sour turmeric-based soup with snapper and crisp coconut shoots, B150).
50/3 Moo 7, Sai Thai Rd., 075-611-639. Open daily 11am-2pm; 5-9pm
Kanom Jeen Pa Tom
Though the rest of Thailand tends to eat kanom jeen for lunch, the south likes to kick off its mornings with the fiery noodle dish. Pa Tom is well-loved for its soft, fermented rice noodles that come with bold curries and crunchy fried chicken at jaw-droppingly low prices. Try the nam ya kati (a coconut curry blended with fish puree, B20) and the mouth-numbing gaeng tai pla (B20), topped off with a soft boiled egg (B10) and a few sprigs of deep-fried chili. Oh, and don’t forget the fried chicken (B15 a piece)—it’s a must.
Krabi Rd., 086-686-1243. Open daily 7am-2pm
Eating here requires a bit of patience, since queues often form from early morning till late afternoon. Rest assured that their famous moo krob (crispy roasted pork belly) and moo daeng (red pork) are well worth the wait. Their thick cuts of pork belly are fried until the skin turns crisp and crunchy, and taste so comforting drenched in the flavorful, spiced gravy. Slightly less popular but no less delicious are the Hainanese chicken-rice and the roasted duck on a pile of soft egg noodles.
92/27 Vicar Rd., 075-612-550. Open daily 7am-3pm
Bangnara Roti & Coffee
This place draws the crowds for its soft, fluffy, crisp-edged roti and flavorful beef/chicken curries (B30). It makes for the perfect spot get the day rolling with some local favorites and a cup of Joe. Located in a Muslim neighborhood right next to Ao Nang’s masjid, the diner offers a range of Thai-Malay dishes, including murtabak and nasi kerabu along with sweet roti drenched in condensed milk (B20). For something fresh and savory, get the spicy khao yam, a southern Malaysian-style rice salad with coconut-flavored rice tossed with fresh herbs and vegetables (B30). Wash it all down with their signature cha chuk (B25), an aromatic brew of black tea with condensed milk, prepared using the pulling technique of repeatedly pouring tea from one jug to another.
92/37 Luangpor Rd., 082-802-0798. Open daily 9am-2pm
Thirty-six years of service have made this Sino-Thai kitchen so good at what it does that it recently had to move to a bigger location to satisfy the crowds. Enjoy amazing dishes of braised pork belly (kao yok, B150), tofu topped with crabmeat gravy (tao hoo song krueng, B120), and stir-fried chicken with gingko nuts and syrup prunes (pad ngow guay, B150). Of course, you can’t miss their southern food—crab curry with rice noodles (B180) and gaeng som (a spicy sour soup, B150) are favorites of the region.
66 Maharaj Rd., 091-951-9245. Open daily 11am-10pm. fb.com/kotungkrabi2522
Ruenmai BK Pick!
This Krabi favorite is all about traditional, spicy southern food. Customers’ favorites include goong pad kapi sataw (shrimp stir-fried in shrimp paste with sataw beans, B250) and pla inn sii thod sii ew (fried mackerel in soy sauce, B240). The setting in the middle of a small canal surrounded by trees is stunning, while the place is powered by solar energy. The open-air bamboo structure, with its soaring conical ceiling, rustic decor, traditional tiles and private dining salas, is a lovely setting to enjoy excellent Thai food.
117 Moo 3, Klong Jilad Rd., 089-288-3232. Open daily 10:30am-3pm, 5-10pm. fb.com/ruenmaikrabirestuarant
The Hilltop Restaurant
For some of the best views in Krabi, book a table at this spacious and sleekly designed restaurant above Ao Nang and Noppharat Thara beaches. The menu covers a solid selection of Thai favorites with a focus on seafood like gaeng puu bai chapoo (Southern style curry with crab meat and herbs, B390) and nam prig goong sod (prawn and chilli dip with assorted vegetables, B160). Request a table on the grassy area away from the main building for the best views.
99 Moo 3, Ao Nang, 075-637-195. Open daily 11am-1am. www.thehilltopaonang.com
Must-Visit Street Food and Night Markets
Maharaj Soi 10
Start off your morning with a stroll through this market, which is packed with an array of fresh veggies and fruits as well as tiny little breakfast spots offering coffee, tea and typical Thai morning dishes like porridge, guay jub and fried-chicken sticky rice. The market really has a little bit of everything with a lively and energetic vibe that’s just perfect to wake you up for the day ahead.
Krabi Walking Street
Located right next to Vogue Department Store, this is probably the biggest night bazaar in town. It only operates from Friday to Sunday each week (5-10pm) and the main draw is its plethora of food stalls, with choices ranging from small bites like fried chicken and grilled seafood on wooden sticks to local khao gaeng-style favorites. There’s live music playing almost every night and the market is surrounded by restaurants, most of which allow you to bring in food from the market to enjoy with their dishes. A less impressive range of goods like clothing is also on offer.