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Hat Yai | Food - Page 1

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Dining in Hat Yai

Dining in Hat Yai

 

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Hat Yai Food and Restaurants - Page 1

Ten Good Places To Eat In Hat Yai

The following nine pages contain a lot of information about eating options in Hat Yai. But perhaps it is too much information, or perhaps you don't have time to read it all?

In that case I have simplified everything and just created a list of 10 places that I consider are worth eating at in Hat Yai.

Ten Good Places To Eat In Hat Yai

I also listed some coffee shops where I like to sit down and relax.

Ten Relaxing Coffee Shops In Hat Yai

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Introduction

Hat Yai doesn't have a fraction of the dining choices that Bangkok has to offer, but it's not bad. Supply always matches demand, and that applies just as much to food as it does to everything else. Hat Yai doesn't attract many farang tourists and the result is that good, authentic farang food is limited.

 

Muslim restaurants in Hat Yai

Muslim restaurants in Hat Yai

 

It's not like being in Bangkok, Phuket or Pattaya where you can find lots of great Western food as a result of the large farang expat populations.

Hat Yai itself has a large Chinese-Thai population and the majority of visitors from Malaysia and Singapore are also ethnic-Chinese. Consequently, there are many Chinese restaurants.

For farang visitors used to the Westernised Chinese food they eat at home, the Chinese food in Asia is quite different. Songkhla, being one of the Southern provinces, also has a large Muslim population so there are many Muslim restaurants. These are very different to the Chinese restaurants so all tastes are catered for.

The Muslim restaurants sell Halal food and offer a variety of cuisines - Thai, Malaysian and Indian. They are found everywhere around Hat Yai but certain areas seem to have higher concentrations. There is a cluster of Muslim restaurants around the junction of Thanon Niyomrat and Niphat Uthit 1 Road (Map 3).

Dim Sum is another Chinese favourite and restaurants selling it can be found everywhere in Hat Yai. Each dish is a fixed price and prices tend to be higher in the tourist areas. It's commonly eaten for breakfast with most places only open from 6am to 11am, but others stay open all day.

American junk food has become popular in Asia so there are the usual chain restaurants in town to satisfy these tastes. MacDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut are all prominently located at Lee Gardens Plaza right in the centre of town. These places are also very popular with young Thais.

I used to be very critical of American fast food restaurants in Thailand but I have to admit that after spending quite a long time here they can be welcome relief on occasions. Eating rice and noodles day-after-day can get a tad boring and sometimes a pizza or burger just hits the spot.

Street food is everywhere and it's really cheap. Fried rice or fried dishes on steamed rice cost between Bt30 and Bt40. Gwy-tiew (noodles) are also very popular. Despite the street stalls not looking very clean, they are normally fairly safe.

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Restaurants Categorised By Food Type

The main restaurant listings in the following pages are listed by restaurant name in alphabetical order. If you are looking for a particular type of food and don't know the names of restaurants, the following guide might be useful. Just click on any restaurant name for more details.

I have eaten at every restaurant listed here at least once, and a few I have eaten at many, many times. Restaurants marked with an * are personal favourites.

Vegetarian

Moo Ga-ta (cook yourself)

Vietnamese

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Farang Breakfast Food

For farangs passing through Hat Yai, one of the problems can be what to eat for breakfast. I have met quite a few foreigners looking around for something to eat early in the day. Most Westerners prefer bread, eggs and coffee in the morning rather than rice porridge or a spicy fish curry.

 

Chinese dim sum is a big favourite in Hat Yai

Chinese dim sum is a big favourite in Hat Yai

 

The big hotels offer 'Western breakfasts' as do some smaller restaurants, but some of these places are out of the way and difficult to find. In addition, the Western breakfasts at most of these places are disappointing. The eggs are fine (difficult to go wrong with) but that's about it. Thai versions of ham and bacon aren't particularly good and the bread tastes sweet. Even the bread from some places that call themselves bakeries isn't that good. Additionally, the breakfasts are so small that they always leave me feeling hungry.

An English friend told me that The Swan does a very good English breakfast, but whenever I tried to get breakfast there in the morning it was always closed. The mystery was solved when I went to The Swan one lunchtime and spoke to the owner, Khun O.

 

The Swan breakfast menu

The Swan breakfast menu

 

They do indeed serve a full English 'all day' breakfast and it looks great, however, there is one small catch. They don't start serving it until the pub opens at 11am, which is closer to lunchtime than breakfast. This is fine for people who can wait until 11am before they eat breakfast, but I am used to eating breakfast a lot earlier.

The Irish Pub is exactly the same. Pictures of their English breakfast options in the menu look very tasty but, like The Swan, the Irish Pub doesn't open until 11am. At both places, 'breakfast' isn't available until almost lunchtime.

Breakfast at McDonalds is reliable because the food is exactly the same at every branch of McDonalds in the world. An egg McMuffin in Hat Yai is the same as an egg McMuffin in Boise, Idaho. However, be warned. I went through a period of intense craving for Western food and ended up eating at McDonalds a lot. The result was several unwanted kilos of fat around my midriff.

On one early visit downtown McDonalds was full of Malaysian tourists and there was a long wait to be served. I gave McDonalds a miss that day and headed out to find somewhere else. I ended up at Daothiam, which is where I used to go for breakfast a lot when I first came to Hat Yai.

Daothiam has quite a good breakfast menu, the food isn't bad, prices are reasonable, and it's convenient if you are staying in the downtown area.

The Train Hotel restaurant at the railway station used to serve a decent breakfast, but standards have now dropped and these days the breakfast is quite disappointing.

 

Nakorn Nai Big Dish Breakfast ... with spinach

Nakorn Nai Big Dish Breakfast ... with spinach

 

Nakorn Nai, which has been around forever and never changes, is another place that is quite reliable for breakfast. They have various choices, including the Nakorn Nai Big Dish Breakfast for Bt130. Apart from the portion of spinach that it arrives with, it's quite good and the price includes unlimited refills of tea or coffee.

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Local Breakfast Food

To really get your day kick-started a glass of the local coffee should do the trick. They call it 'Kopi', which I think is a Malaysian term, or 'gaa fair dum' (black coffee). It is thick and black, almost having the consistency of mud. The locals drink it with lots of sugar but I don't like it sickly sweet so request - 'mai sai naam dtaan' (without sugar). I like it with some milk but even the condensed milk they use is sweetened so there is no getting away from a sweet taste.

 

Traditional style coffee in Hat Yai

Traditional style coffee in Hat Yai

 

There are various places around town but the photo was taken at a small place on Duangchan Road, opposite the Inter Hotel (Map 3). They also sell Dim Sum between 6am and 11am at just 10 Baht per portion.

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Vegetarian Food

I was introduced to vegetarian food in Hat Yai by a good friend who is vegetarian. She's a local Hat Yai girl so knows the area very well. I was quite surprised at how many places there were catering to vegetarians, and also surprised that I hadn't noticed them before.

 

Vegetarian food in Hat Yai

Vegetarian food in Hat Yai

 

I've heard and read comments that vegetarian restaurants are difficult to find in Hat Yai. They can indeed be difficult to find but they are there. In 2014 I revisited places I had previously listed on this site and found that several vegetarian restaurants had closed, moved or merged. I updated the entries accordingly.

As in Phuket and other places, Hat Yai holds a big Chinese vegetarian festival every year during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar (late September/early October, but Western calendar dates change from year to year). This is when religious devotees perform strange rituals which involve damaging their own bodies.

 

The Thai word for vegetarian food in Hat Yai

The Thai word for vegetarian food in Hat Yai

 

The vegetarian festival activities in Hat Yai are centred along Supasarnrungsarn Road and during this time many carnivorous restaurants will close for a week. Eating vegetarian food is considered by many Thais (especially Chinese Thais) to be an act of merit-making (tum-buun) so even non-vegetarians will observe a vegetarian diet during the festival.

For a list of vegetarian restaurants in Hat Yai see Restaurants Categorised By Food Type.

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Halal Food

There are a lot of Thai Muslims in the southern Thai provinces and many visitors to Hat Yai from Malaysia and Indonesia are also Muslim. Because of this, Halal food is easy to find in Hat Yai. Muslim restaurants are easily identifiable from the signs outside and/or the veiled female staff. If you eat at a restaurant that is obviously run by Muslims then you don't need to worry about the food being Halal.

 

Halal certificate in Hat Yai

Halal certificate in Hat Yai

 

Some restaurants that serve various different types of cuisine (such as Saneha restaurant at the Novotel hotel) display a certificate awarded by the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand indicating that the restaurant is certified to serve Halal food.

A Muslim reader of this site - who is also a frequent visitor to Thailand - informed me that all major restaurant chains in Thailand, such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Chester's Grill, McDonalds, etc, use only officially Halal certified chicken.

To find restaurants on this site that serve Halal food look at the 'Restaurants Categorised By Food Type' section below. Additionally, my Food Sitemap and all individual restaurant listing will show if a restaurant serves Halal food.

Most Buddhist Thais love pork (apparently, the Buddha's last meal was pork), as do Chinese, and there are many ethnic Chinese in Hat Yai - both resident and visiting tourists.

I stopped eating pork at small restaurants after I arrived in Thailand as a result of visiting the local 'fresh' markets. It was at these markets that I saw unrefrigerated pork covered in flies for sale in temperatures of 90+ degrees. The sight and the smell put me off eating pork for good.

I still eat bacon and sausages containing pork bought from supermarkets because I have a little more confidence in the hygiene standards used in their production.

Even after I stopped eating pork I would find that when small restaurants gave me a bowl of soup with my meal it would often be made from pig bones. If you have a similar aversion to eating pork in Thailand, be careful about the food you are given at restaurants.

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The Hat Yai Coffee Shop Craze And Starbucks

Most Thais are followers, not leaders; imitators, not innovators. If they see something that looks like a good idea, they all follow suit.

 

Abah Coffee, Hat Yai

Abah Coffee, Hat Yai

 

When the Jatukham Ramathep amulet craze swept the country, every new shop that opened in Hat Yai was opened specifically to sell Jatukham Ramathep amulets, and almost all existing businesses - from restaurants to pharmacies - started selling Jatukham Ramathep amulets alongside their regular goods. It was a joke, and absolutely nothing to do with Buddhism even though some shops advertised themselves as selling 'Buddhist amulets'.

The Jatukham Ramathep craze fizzled out, naturally, and the Thais started looking to see what the next craze would be. They decided on coffee shops (and later Japanese restaurants). A few years ago there were just a few coffee shops in Hat Yai - places like Ome Bake House, Ep's and the Bakery Box. Now, they are everywhere.

 

Starbucks, Hat Yai

Starbucks, Hat Yai

 

Technology also played a part. Most coffee shops have a free Wi-Fi connection so that customers can play Facebook while drinking their coffee.

Despite the plethora of coffee shops in town, it took a long time for possibly the world's best known coffee shop to arrive.

 

Coffeebucks in Songkhla

Coffeebucks in Songkhla

 

German friends of mine came to visit in January 2013 and wanted to drink coffee at Starbucks. Hat Yai didn't have a branch of Starbucks at the time, but a branch opened shortly after they left at the beginning of April 2013.

Like all big chains, the Hat Yai branch of Starbucks is no different to Starbucks anywhere else. Some drinks cost the equivalent of half a day's wages for some Thais, but nonetheless it still does a lot of business. It is located on the ground floor of Odean department store near Lee Gardens Plaza.

Latitude: N 07° 00' 15.2" (N 07° 00.253')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 16.8" (E 100° 28.280')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

After not having a branch of Starbucks for such a long time, a second branch opened inside Central Festival at the end of 2013.

 

Starbucks Central Festival, Hat Yai

Starbucks Central Festival, Hat Yai

 

Starbucks in Hat Yai opens daily from 7am until 10pm.

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The Japanese Food Craze

This craze followed the coffee shop craze. When I first visited Hat Yai in 2002 there wasn't much Japanese food available. There were a couple of branches of Fuji (excellent but a little expensive), and a few cheaper options, for example, Kiriko and Mariko.

The craze for Japanese food seemed to start some time in 2008 and accelerated in 2009. Every small new restaurant that opened seemed to sell Japanese food. There are even conveyor Sushi restaurants in Hat Yai nowadays.

This is good news. Japanese food is good but it used to be quite an expensive meal. With all these new restaurants opening it means being able to get Japanese food for not much more than you would pay for Thai food.

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Transliteration Of Thai names

I started writing this site before I could read Thai and because some places only have their name written in Thai I had to rely on Thais to help me.

 

Food sign, Hat Yai

Food sign, Hat Yai

 

Unfortunately, Thais have no idea how to transliterate Thai names into English. This is something that I am in the process of correcting.

Where restaurants have made an attempt at transliterating their own name into English I have kept their version (even if it is bad). With road names I have either used the version on the restaurant business card or the version used on the map.

 

Fried chicken feet, Hat Yai

Fried chicken feet, Hat Yai

 

In cases where there was no English transliteration I have transliterated myself using a system that is more phonetically accurate than other systems. This method gives native speakers the greatest chance of being understood by a Thai, unlike the 'official' system of transliteration which is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

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Hat Yai Restaurant Listings

The rest of this page and the following eight pages provide details of individual restaurants in Hat Yai, including some of my own personal impressions. Of course, the type of food we all like is very subjective so even if I don't like a particular type of food it doesn't mean that you won't.

For each listing there is a feedback section where you can provide your own comments. I really appreciate feedback and these comments make this site more useful to other people.

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B's Sweet

B's Sweet, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: 75-77 Thammanoonvitee Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Map: Map 3
Telephone and Fax: +66 (0)74 221909
E-mail: bssweet2010@hotmail.com

Latitude: N 07° 00' 15.6" (N 07° 00.260')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 13.8" (E 100° 28.229')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: As I mentioned above, Hat Yai was hit with a massive coffee shop craze a few years ago. There were only a couple of Western style bakery and coffee shops when I arrived at the end of 2003, but now the town is saturated with such places.

This is one of the better ones. B's Sweet is on the ground floor of a new building that has been designed in a Chinese style. It is located very centrally, only a short distance from the railway station and Lee Gardens Plaza.

They serve the usual varieties of coffee and other hot and cold drinks, lots of combinations of different fruit smoothies, and cakes and ice cream. I can personally recommend their apple crumble, which tastes great with a portion of vanilla ice cream. The restaurant also offers a good selection of standard Thai rice and noodle dishes, which are tasty and very reasonably priced.

It is spotlessly clean (including the toilet), very tastefully decorated, and free Wi-Fi is available. B's Sweet is open every day but closes for one day a month on the third Tuesday of the month.

Diner Comments:

  • Yah I try & do agreed that it is not the best but can say it d best find in Hatyai. (June 2013)
  • Dropped by this place and had the chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream. Not the best I've had, but probably the best in Hatyai. Will be visiting again end of this month. :) (October 2011)

To add your comments, send an e-mail to phil@phil.uk.net, or use the following form. Comments will be added anonymously.

Important - Please read the following carefully before sending me your comments: Do not use this form for availability or rate enquiries. I am not a travel agent, and neither am I affiliated with any hotels or guest houses in Hat Yai. Contact the establishment directly using the information given above. Use this form only if you have stayed at this particular establishment and wish to give some feedback.

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Baan Khun Bpu

Baan Khun Bpu restaurant, Hat Yai - Click for larger image

Address: 27 Prachatiphat Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110
Directions: Walking along Suphasarnrangsarn Road away from Kim Yong market, turn right into Prachatiphat 1 Road and the restaurant is just a few yards from the junction on the left-hand side.
Map: Map 2
Telephone: +66 (0)74 351422

Latitude: N 07° 00' 29.6" (N 07° 00.494')

Longitude: E 100° 28' 27.9" (E 100° 28.466')

Google Maps: Street Map or Satellite View

Comments: This restaurant specialises in cuisine from the Isaan region of Thailand in the north-east of the country. Isaan food is very popular throughout Thailand and although individual dishes are commonly sold by street vendors this is the only restaurant I am aware of in Hat Yai that bases its entire menu on food from that region.

Regular Thai food can make Western food seem a bit bland but Isaan style dishes almost make Thai food seem bland. It's spicy and excites the taste buds like almost nothing else. The woman who appears to be in charge speaks some English and there are English descriptions of the food in the menu. It is therefore quite easy for foreigners to order food while speaking no Thai.

Typical dishes are 'Gai Yaang' (barbecued chicken with a spicy sauce), 'Laap' (a kind of spicy salad with chopped chicken 'Laap Gai' or pork 'Laap Mu'), 'Yum Wuun Sen' (almost transparent glass noodles) and of course, the most famous dish of all, 'Som Tum' (spicy shredded papaya salad with a pulverised crab in it).

Sticky rice (kaaw niaow) is normally eaten with Isaan food (it is rolled into small balls and eaten with the fingers) but I am not a big fan and prefer steamed rice (kaaw sawai).

As is usually the case with these simple Thai restaurants the prices are so low as to be almost insignificant. Last time I ate there we stuffed ourselves with delicious food and the bill came to Bt62 each.

Diner Comments:

  • At last i found the above outlet but, i didn't eat there; having noticed their 3 cages full of birds in cooking area. (December 2012)

To add your comments, send an e-mail to phil@phil.uk.net, or use the following form. Comments will be added anonymously.

Important - Please read the following carefully before sending me your comments: Do not use this form for availability or rate enquiries. I am not a travel agent, and neither am I affiliated with any hotels or guest houses in Hat Yai. Contact the establishment directly using the information given above. Use this form only if you have stayed at this particular establishment and wish to give some feedback.

Name (required): 

E-mail (required): 

Mth/Yr of visit (required): 

Comments (required): 

Tick if this isn't spam: 

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Food Page 2

Baan Lalit to Chill Chill

Food Page 3

Ching Sin to The Donya

Food Page 4

Dynasty to Jae Lek

Food Page 5

Jaelin to Long Oey

Food Page 6

Maison De Monet to Pairin

Food Page 7

Palm Court to Samila Sea Sport

Food Page 8

Saneha to Sor Hueng

Food Page 9

Steak Cafe to Yor Island

Get The Best Deal On Your Hat Yai Hotel Room

Listed opposite are some of my personal recommendations for hotels in Hat Yai based on budget. I have lived permanently in Hat Yai since 2003 and my recommendations are based on a lot of local knowledge.

Each link will take you to the relevant page on the Agoda website where you can see photos, read reviews, and book on-line. I use Agoda to book all of my own hotels in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region. Every time I research hotel prices the Agoda price is always the lowest and I have received good customer service, therefore I am happy to recommend the company to other people.

If you don't wish to pay for your hotel at the time of booking, Booking.com normally allows you to pay when you check in at the hotel. Some people prefer this method, but I have always found Booking.com to be more expensive than Agoda.

If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined. However, you will normally find that Agoda is the cheapest and therefore you can save yourself time and money by just booking through Agoda in the first place.

Images of Thailand

Images of Thailand

 

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