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The restaurant is popular with locals and less well known by others

Phuketwan Restaurant of the Year 2008 Award

Monday, January 5, 2009
THE Phuketwan Restaurant of the Year 2008 is Kan Eang 2, in Chalong. With so many good restaurants on the island now, it was no easy task to pick a winner.

If price were no object, there would be other contenders. But the main criteria for judging this award is good food and good value, so Kan Eang it is, this time around.

Of the Kan Eang twins in Chalong, Kan Eang 2 is the one preferred by us, and by many locals. Kan Eang@Pier is better-known, and in a more easily found location.

But we rather like the secret twin, the one that doesn't try so hard to please everybody, the one where you can actually step from your chair onto the sand.

To be perfectly frank, the difference between the two restaurants seems quite marked when it comes to both value and service.

At the Pier, we have often fallen victim to a peculiar Phuket problem: there are so many wait staff waiting that they never seem quite sure who should do the work.

This has never seemed to be the case at Kan Eang 2, where our needs have been met swiftly, even when the place has been pulsing with three or four wedding parties.

As for value, we went at the weekend for one last check on our decision, had a big lunch for three, and came away with change from 1000 baht.

The spread included some excellent local seafood, pork and chicken dishes.

This year's Phuketwan prizewinner is nothing special to look at, except for the view out over Chalong Bay. But development does appear to be underway.

It would be a shame if Kan Eang 2 headed the in the same westerly direction as its more showy sister. The beauty of this restaurant is that it remains a truly Phuket eastern beach product.

On the other hand, the Pier version, with its air-con if you want it, piped music and somewhat flashy bars simply displays the island's misplaced desire to go all ''international.''

Dibuk Restaurant in Phuket City won this award last year. Both winners are, in our experience, extremely consistent.

Earlier this year we went to one well-known northern beach restaurant between lunch and dinner and as a result, found it a flawed experience.

The staff seemed a bit miffed that we'd chosen to eat when we were hungry.

To his credit, after the review appeared, the owner emailed to say that we had come at an awkward time. We should try the great food at regular hours.

Awkward for whom? We were hungry and wanted to eat. We had money.

To be frank, as diners, we expect proper care and attention any time, and every time. If the restaurant staff struggle, then they fail the test.

So for that matter does any island restaurant that cannot produce a fresh young coconut each and every time one is ordered.

For any restaurant to run short of fresh young coconuts is a breach of the code for dineries on tropical holiday islands. Bob Marley may be on the way out, but the fresh young coconut? Oh no.

While fine dining can be found more easily these days (but at a fine dining prices) on Phuket, one of the big problems for many restaurants is that a good lunch or dinner depends on the mood of the chef/owner.

Not long ago, one well-known Italian chef/proprietor suggested we try what turned out to be the over-cooked remnants of a roast he was clearly, in retrospect, keen to get rid of.

Easy for him, but sad for us. We will never go back.

Still, we don't have too many complaints. It was great fun trying to find a great island restaurant experience without wrecking our wallets.

We readily admit to a leaning towards southern restaurants, simply because they tend to be closer.

In 2009 we will try to correct that bias. And as always, we are happy to argue over a good meal.

Phuketwan readers have suggested a number of worthy-sounding candidates that we plan to pursue this year.

We also hope to expand the awards with sponsorship and perhaps a broader range of categories.

Did we get it right? Tell us in the Comment box below


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In your next round of restaurants, check out Rum Jungle in Rawai/Nai Harn area. Just 150 metres down Baan Sai Yuan from Don's Cafe (across from Ayuthya bank). Italo-Australian Tony serves up fantastic fresh fish, seafood and steaks. Prices are reasonable for a neighborhood spot.

Posted by D.E.D. on July 15, 2009 15:28


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