Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort has unveiled a new menu of authentic local dishes to celebrate the island’s rich culinary history and unique cuisine. Featuring dishes originating from Phuket Old Town, the historic and cultural heart of Phuket, this new menu at the Pool House restaurant draws on the influence of Chinese and Malaysian settlers who helped shape the culture, cuisine, architecture and fortunes of the island over a century ago.
This spicy fusion of Southern Thai cooking styles and traditional Chinese Hokkien specialties emanates from the compact warren of lively streets and intriguing alleyways, where the well-maintained and brightly coloured Chinese shophouses are now gentrified and re-imagined as boutiques, galleries, coffee shops and fine dining restaurants.
In a bygone era, the town was populated by Chinese merchants and tin magnates who gave rise to the popularisation of this distinctive culinary culture and their opulent lifestyles can be experienced today within the wonderfully restored Sino-Portuguese mansions.
Marriage between the Chinese immigrants and local Thai women led to a mixed-race culture known as Baba-Nyonya, and out of this community in Phuket evolved a culinary heritage unlike any other. The Baba-Nyonya community have ensured that the recipes were not lost to future generations, and their commitment was recognised in 2015 when Phuket Old Town was awarded the prestigious title of UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
“Our team of chefs often talk about the local dishes we enjoy and which restaurants in the Old Town serve which kind of specialty”, says Jackrit Gunmol, executive sous chef at Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort, and a Phuket local. “This gave us the idea to create a special menu with some of our favourite dishes”.
From moo hong, a sweet and salty stewed pork belly adapted from an aromatic Chinese ceremonial dish favoured by Hokkien traders, to krill chu lu, a salty krill, shallot and coriander dish that was passed down through generations of Phuket Sea Gypsies, guests at the Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort can experience an authentic taste of the real Phuket.
Bai liang phad khai, stir-fried baegu leaves with egg, is unique as the leaves only grow in the south of Thailand. They flourish naturally beneath the rubber trees, a delicious way for the farmers to maximise every inch of space in their plantation.
Jak ga jan talay tord kra tiem, stir-fried crispy mole crab with garlic and pepper provided a tasty snack for local fisherman at Mai Khao beach. When casting a specially made net in the surf, they would land a haul of tiny mole crab, sometimes known as sand crab, which when deep-fried were perfect to enjoy among their friends with cold local beer.
Each specially prepared dish has a tale to tell about local culinary culture and is available daily at the Pool House restaurant between 12 noon and 10pm.