A Place Near Home

It was last year’s Visaka Bucha Day that I first met Phi Joom. She rolled herself out of a crammed van and handed me a big bag of fresh chilled prawns. “Take this, neighbour” she nudged. “Fresh from my farm.”

A Surat Thani native, Phi Joom said she just got back from a trip to Poi Pet where she played her heart out at the casino at the Cambodia-Thai border, on that very religious holiday of Visaka Bucha!! It was such a horrible joke that kept me laughing for weeks whenever I thought about her. This prawn-farm owner made a trip all the way from her hometown to enjoy the big holiday and she chose to go to Poi Pet for a casino day!! A year later, however, I saw Phi Joom again and this time she converted her two detached houses into a home restaurant, serving arrays of Thai Southern style dishes made from the super fresh prawns from her farm.

So Gung Jaidee (Kind Prawns) has become our staple whenever we are too busy to go anywhere further. We can just stroll from our place and be there in no time and given the fact that this place is truly delicious, we think this place is ‘worth a detour’ if i am to apply Michelin Guide’s terminology.

Phi Joom’s food reminds me of a good local seaside restaurant in the South. No frills, straightforward and full of spices, herbs and homemade ingredients. When they first opened, they tried the market with just a handful of dishes, but now they have expanded the menu further with more Southern dishes such as gang tai pla gung sab (spicy sauce of minced prawns), sator gung (spicy sator nuts with prawns), gang leung pla krapong (spicy yellow soup with perch) and much much more.

But despite the length of their menu, we always go there for the same few things. A bowl of mixed seafood tom yum (Bt100), spicy prawns basil over rice (Bt60), a spicy prawns with sator over rice (Bt60) and a prawn omelette (Bt60). Sometimes when too lazy, I’d just call them to deliver a few dishes. Their rice soup with fish (Bt60) is also marvelous. I just like the way the Southern people cook, they are very straightforward and do not use too much irrelavent condiments. Eating here is like going to the South and enjoy a seafood meal prepared by local cook.

Gung Jaidee’s coffees and mocktail drinks are good too.. The place has a beautiful garden that is cool and nice in the evening. Although we always opt for their air-con room for safety. Gung Jaidee is in Noble Geo’s compound in Watcharapol Ramindra area. Open daily from 11am-10pm, T: 02-948-2712.

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