Southern Thai cuisine has an appeal of its own – an unparalleled simplicity that unfolds into a multitude of flavours in every bite. I’m not talking about Pad Thai or mango salad; but “real” Southern Thai food that is delicious by even local standards. We found this at Anchalee Restaurant in Krabi.
The ambiance isn’t like your regular Thai joint. Tables are well spaced on the large property to allow customers some form of privacy, dim lighting and plenty of trees to cool the air on a humid day. Take heed though, for when the night falls, mosquitoes come out to play. It is wise to come with a protection of repellent.
We started with a house special – fresh vegetables and shrimp dip, comprising vegetables from the Krabi region. The dip packs quite a wallop; spicy, creamy and pungent from the pounded shrimp. I loved the Pad Pak Mieng, a bitter leafy green that’s popular in Southern Thailand, stir-fried with egg and oyster sauce. Simple, yet full of flavour.
Anchalee serves an amazing tom yam kung, a perfect rhythm of sweet, salty, sour and spicy. The soup is thick with large fresh prawns. It was very good. Our waitress recommended the deep fried snapper in dark soy sauce and while it looked unassuming, this was one of our favourite dishes that night. The fish was fresh, and the coating of fried garlic, crispy shallots and soy sauce was simple but drool-worthy.
The red Thai curry pork was more yellow-orange that red, a result of adding coconut milk and fresh turmeric during the cooking process, I was told. This was wicked stuff and one that gives the tongue an (addictive) assault of spices and heat. Beads of sweat broke from my forehead and neck as I devoured this with much gusto.
Food was so good at Anchalee that I insisted on ordering the stir-fried squid with salted egg yolk. And it did not disappoint. This dish had a creamy complexity and a sneaky heat at the end of each bite, and the squid was perfectly tender. I salivate at the sheer thought of this, until today.
All in, dinner was excellent and service was friendly throughout. The staff didn’t speak much English but they tried their very best to explain the dishes to us and made wonderful recommendations. The bill for all the above came up to slightly less than 1,000baht, which works out to be about RM100. Aroi mak mak!
The car ride to Anchalee cost us more – we paid 1,200baht since we stayed in Aonang. But for such amazing food, it’s worth it. I would do it all over again and again.
Food: 8.5/10 (non halal)
Verdict: Best Thai food I ate in Krabi.
Pak Nam Subdistrict,
Krabi Town 81000,
Tel: +66 75 631 797