Last month, I joined rif and a few of his friends on a road trip up north – to Hat Yai. I’ve never been a fan of such excursions until I met him and this has become one of my favourite ways to travel. When you drive, you see and take in so much more of your surroundings compared to flying.
Hat Yai is a busy town with plenty to see, shop and eat. While we weren’t big on checking out the pots and pans available, rif and I checked out the food and visited a few popular spots, including the floating market. We took a tuk tuk up to Bon Khao Restaurant after that; for dinner and to watch the sunset from the hilltop.
Bon Khao offers an excellent view over Hat Yai and the view during the day is very different from what it is at night. The 14 of us tucked into a feast of Thai favourites – pork knuckle, fresh shrimp, tom yam soup, green curry chicken, steamed chicken and pineapple fried rice – and several bottles of beer.
Food wasn’t fantastic, but I enjoyed most of what I tried. The starter of fresh shrimp came flavoured with fish sauce and lime juice, and served with a side of garlic and hot & sour dip. I would have preferred the prawns to be colder, for this was just slightly chilled and didn’t have a crunchy texture. That said, the dipping sauces packed a punch. The fried fish cakes made a good snack with beer and portion was pretty sizable.
The tom yam gung was good stuff. It was fragrant, spicy and savoury with a natural sweetness from the seafood. Also not bad was the Thai green curry chicken, served in a metal pot as well. This came laden with baby eggplant, and the gravy smelt terrific from the generous addition of basil and lime leaves.
We ordered a large plate of pineapple fried rice to go with the dishes, and while it didn’t leave any impression on me, this was good enough to go with the green curry.
The highlight of our meal was the deep fried pork knuckle, served with sweet chilli sauce and chopped garlic for added oomph. I had a field time with this, from crispy skin right down to the bits near the bone. For 350 baht (approximately RM35), it was good value for money.
Less exciting was the steamed chicken with garlic and sour dip. The chicken was tasteless and I dislike that they gave us only chicken breast. We barely touched this and I suggest you skip this when you’re here.
Besides the steamed chicken, dinner was pretty good and the above cost us about RM25 per head inclusive of beer and drinks. I wouldn’t mind coming back again if I’m in Hat Yai. By the way, wifi is provided. :)
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Food: 6.5/10 (non halal)
Verdict: Definitely try the pork knuckle!
1/9 Karnjanavanich Road,
Hat Yai, Songkhla,
GPS Coordinates: N 7 02.395 E 100 30.726