Karon Beach is not the top-of-mind destination for travellers to Phuket. Which is a shame, because the beach is so much cleaner and prettier as compared to your usual Patong Beach and Kata Beach.
It is relatively untouched by tourism – as compared to Patong Beach - and perhaps this is why food recommendations for the area is scarce too. Our first time to Karon beach had us struggling to find good eats, and most places look like tourists’ traps – which we loathe and always avoid. We’ve had several horrible meals at Karon Beach, got ripped off, and we were always grumpy after meal times.
But this was not until we found Mama Jin – an unassuming eatery that sits on the beachfront at the north of Karon Beach near to the lake. Yes, it looks like any other tourists’ trap along that stretch, but trust us on this: Mama Jin is your best bet at Karon Beach. We had an unforgettable Thai meal that was authentic, inexpensive and very satisfying.
The menu is pretty huge. We’d say skip the American-style food entirely, and head straight for the Thai options. Spicy Thai soups, chilli salads, noodles and fried rice… you will be spoilt for choice.
We had the Shrimp Toast (THB95) and hey, what do you know? It was the best version we’ve ever had! The squares of crispy goodness sure took us by surprise – generous chunks of shrimps atop white bread, topped with lots of white sesame and deep fried to a beautiful golden brown. Oh, what we’d pay to have it again now.
Need your tomyum? Tomyum Koong (prawns) or Tomyum Talay (seafood) are both THB120 each. More spiciness in the form of a salad calls for the classic Spicy Papaya Chilli Salad (THB80), or otherwise known as somtam.
We also had a serving of pad Thai (THB95), but if you need your grains, there are many fried rice options to pick from too – nothing above THB100. You have to order the Thai-style omelette too. Fluffy, oily, sweet; so sinful, but so very awesome, especially if you dip it in to the Thai sweet chilli sauce. The Green Curry Chicken (THB120) was pretty decent, and there are other curry choices like red and yellow ones.
Honestly, this is a no-frills place. But that is precisely what we appreciate about an authentic Thai joint; just delicious home-style cooking that is prepared upon order. And the cherry on top for diners of Mama Jin? You get to enjoy a complimentary fruit platter at the end of the meal!
If you cannot find Mama Jin on the map, search for Karon Park. It is tucked along a stretch of beachfront eateries near to the lake.
381/14 Karon Beach, Phuket