Eating with the Phuket locals
Patong Beach is obviously filled with tourists, and hence, tourist traps. Many of the places we passed by were filled with foreigners, which to me is not a good sign. So we went on the hunt for real local haunts. It was pretty tough (I had to stop by a roadside vendor selling BBQ corn to temporarily satiate hunger pangs, and it was a bit soggy and cold despite its great looks on the grill, unfortunately). We had even asked our driver from the airport earlier today where he eats, but the place he suggested was also filled with tourists.
Eventually though, we found this really shoddy narrow alley off the big Bangla Road. Even in this alley, there were quite a few foreigners, but there were one or two shops that were only patronized by locals. It was there that we made our stand (I don't know the name of the alley, but the sign on the stall was #7).
What did we get? To start, they gave what appeared to be the Thai version of chips and salsa: assorted raw vegetables, meant to be eaten with that kapi paste and chili peppers. It gave quite a bit of heat, that's for sure (it also made you wonder about how many people double-dipped into that little yellow kapi can before you, but I figured it was just giving my stomach and immune system some practice). Next there was a basic bowl of beef noodles - it was a bit sweeter than I like, but the beef balls were good.
Finally, there was a fresh fish, filleted and deep fried. I was originally expecting a whole fish, but filleting it made it very light and savory too. Anyway, I remember another local food area near here when I was here a few years ago, which I hope to find tomorrow night, although I worry that maybe things have shifted around a bit since the tsunami.