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Eat Phuket at the 12th Annual Old Phuket Festival

Phuket Old Town Festival 2011

Last night I had a great experience traveling back to my old Phuket lifestyle with the first day of the 12th Annual Phuket Old Town Festival. We started the evening around 8pm. The first visit was to the Blue Elephant Restaurant and Cooking School. I had a chance to visit a cooking class at the restaurant which is located at the West end of the festival on Krabi Road. A block further down that road we crossed Yaowarat to get to Thalang Road where the festival takes place every year. The buildings on both sides are in the Sino-Portuguese style that was built in the 19th century.

Thalang Road, Old Phuket Festival 2011

We walked on Thalang Road where the street was full of activities related to foods and crafts that reflect the Phuket Paranakan Culture. We listened to live music. We found the Kopitiem Restaurant which has an entire menu of old Phuket foods. My niece and I ordered three dishes to share. Salad Kaek is a salad with peanut dressing with Phuket-Muslim cooking flavors. Phad Bee Htun is stir-fried rice noodles with Choy Sum and egg that looks and tastes like Singaporean Noodles. Another noodle dish that we had is Phad Mee Sua (stir-fried thin wheat noodle with seafood).

Kopitiem~Restaurant on Thalang Street, Phuket

The evening was complete when I savored the taste of home and a taste of culture. I took in the whole experience and felt my old sense of connection to our heritage. I was lost between places and tastes like a time traveler. One moment I was eating on the streets in Singapore and a few minutes later in Penang, Malaysia. But it all makes sense. Please see an excerpt below from the Thai Paranagan Association

“Baba-Paranakan culture is beautiful in both spirit and expression. It deeply blends several customs and traditions from Thai, Chinese, Malay and Western into Phuket culture, throughout many civilizations for hundreds years.”

Stir-fried Thin Rice Noodle with Choy Sum, Phad Bee Htun Phuket

Phad Bee Htun was my favorite noodle dish when I was growing up. I am proud to share this recipe with you. I hope that you can taste the flavor of Southeast Asia and the culture in that region of Paranakan.

Stir-fried Thin Rice Vermicelli with Pork and Choy Sum

Phad Bee Htun

Servings: 4 to 6

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

½ package Thai Kitchen thin rice noodles or any thin rice noodle
4 tablespoons cooking oil, or more as needed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ pound pork chop, sliced
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 cups Choy Sum or Chinese kale
A dash dark soy sauce, optional
4 green onions, sliced diagonally, about ½ cup
4 lime wedges, to garnish

Soak noodles in hot water until softened, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a wok. Beat two eggs in a bowl and then pour them into the wok. Tilt the wok so the egg will spread to make a thin omelet. Cook for one minute and flip once. Place on the cutting board and shred; set aside.

Heat wok on high heat and add 2 tablespoons canola oil and garlic. When garlic is yellow, stir in pork, light soy sauce, and fish sauce and cook until the pork is cooked. Stir in Choy Sum, cook for 30 seconds, and then stir in noodles. If desired, add a few drops of dark soy or molasses to get a tan color and a little sweet flavor. When the noodles are cooked, stir in green onion and shredded omelet; remove and serve with lime wedges and condiment below.

Condiment:

½ cup rice vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced

Place rice vinegar, sugar and jalapeno pepper in a small bowl, stir.

© 2011  Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

I Love Thai cooking Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com

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