Where to Eat in Phitsanulok

Where to Eat in Phitsanulok

From old school food institutions to local favourites

 

Phitsanulok is a province and city in Thailand’s lower north. For a period, it also served as the country’s capital and is known to all Thai people. The only question I get asked when I tell people I live here, is why.

 

Phitsanulok Street Life train stationThe Phitsanulok Train Station

 

Phitsanulok is definitely off the beaten path. Travellers that find themselves here generally use the city as a stopover on their way to Chiang Mai (further north) or Sukhothai, famed for its UNESCO heritage ruins. If you’re a foodie and you happen to find yourself in Phitsanulok, then you are in for a treat. My husband works with many locals who are based in Bangkok and they rave about the food here, some even saying it’s some of the best Thai fare in the Kingdom and we’ve been lucky enough to have been try and test some of these with them.

Tourists aren’t a rare sight but they definitely stand out. I see them in groups at the train night market – awestruck at the intriguing pots bubbling, staring at the piles of freshly fried fish, and trying to discern the ingredients protruding from trays of thick curries and stir-fries. Travellers also seem to delight at rickshaw rides around the city centre, you will see them in convoys, safety reflectors alight and tail flags flapping vigorously. The tourists smile with delight as their ‘rider’ (often elderly) literally pedals them through town showing them all the ‘sights’. The most common sighting however, is backpackers around the train station, maps or smart phones in hand clearly wondering where to go and what to do.

If you are visiting for a night or two, there is a fair amount to do. There are some fantastic restaurants and eateries well within walking distance from the Phitsanulok train station, but if you have access to a car, there are some other excellent options about 20 minutes or so outside of town. English is not widely spoken which can make your experience limiting so do download a dictionary or get your hands on a phrase book. Please note that many of these fantastic eateries do not have online presences, and where they do, they are not always regularly updated. Please be patient with changes to trading hours, bear in mind public holidays, and expect many search results to be in the Thai language. Where I could not get a confirmation on exact addresses or trading hours I have left them out.

JC xx

 

Note: Most of the best food in Phitsanulok is in places without a known address. Please bear with me while I endeavour to get longitude and latitude co-ordinates, so you can add them to your food itinerary. In the meantime, if you need any assistance on your visit, feel free to email me: info@decisivecravings.com.au and I will be happy to help!

 

 

Phitsanulok Street Life Chinese doughnutsThe Chinese Doughnut stall to add to your list when visiting the Phitsanulok Train Market

 

Phitsanulok Train Market

Open 4 – 8pm, seven days.

South of Phitsanulok Train Station.

If you are visiting Phitsanulok for just one night then a visit to the Food Night Market is mandatory. The night market operates every evening and you will be spoiled with the delights on offer. Think som tam salad made to order, grilled pork salad, roasted pork with rice, crab curry stir- fry, Chinese doughnuts, grilled chicken skewers, and crepes with your choice of filling all make an indulgent, flavourful walking feast.

Note: The market is built for take away food only.

 

Where to Eat in Phitsanulok Hoikha RimnanOne of my favourite noodle spots in town

Where to Eat in Phitsanulok Tom Yum NoodlesThe delicious noodle soup on offer at Hoikha Rimnan

 

Hoikha Rimnan

Open 9am – 4pm, seven days.

5/4 Phaya Suea Road, Phitsanulok

Trip Advisor rates Hoikha Rimnan as the second best restaurant in Phitsanulok. It may not be the second best but it is definitely one of my favourites. Located by the riverside and a minute’s walk from Phra Si Ratana Temple (Wat Yai) the restaurant is a local institution. Fans of Thai boat noodle soup will be in for a treat at about 35 baht per bowl.

Choose from wet (with broth) or dry soups (without broth). Broth based soups feature a tom yum style soup – very sweet and mild, or the darker, richer blood based broth (the broth is a dark brown not red!), with a combination of roasted sliced pork, minced pork and/or pork meatballs. Servings are small so you can sample or share a few with friends to decide which flavours you love best. My personal preference is the broth based soups – try both the tom yum style or the blood based broth. If you enjoy rich flavours, the blood based broth will be a pleasant surprise! Pad Thai is also available, and do ask what desserts are available on the day. During mango season they make a delicious mango sticky rice with coconut ice cream. Most of the year Hoikha Rimnan also serve a delicious steamed coconut dessert called Khanom Tuay, set and served in small ceramic dishes. This is a delicious treat and a must try!

 

Made for Mouth Café

Open Mondays 8am – 8pm and Tuesday – Sunday 8am – 11:30pm

Various locations including 17/2 Singhawat Road, Phitsanulok

Made for Mouth has popped up at a few locations around town but their ‘container’ located at the Shell service station on the way to Central Plaza Phitsanulok is more full service in terms of food offerings.

The fit out is roomy and modern, and the menu is even more impressive. Expect interesting modern dishes like smoked salmon wrapped in tortilla, a range of Western style burgers and sandwiches, pastas, Asian rice dishes, and in-house made pastries, as well as a selection of ice-cream. There is a bit of everything here but it is well executed and there is something for everyone.

 

 

Phitsanulok Street Life Roti Man portraitRoti being folded before being grilled on the hot plate at Fakerah

 

Fakerah

Open 6am – 12pm, and 5 – 9pm

Phra Ong Dam Road, Phitsanulok

This is yet another of Phitsanulok’s well-loved foodie meccas. Nestled near the town’s Pakistani Mosque, Fakerah is the place to try home made roti (plain, sweet or filled) grilled on a hot plate before your eyes. They are delicious on their own or used to sweep up Fakerah’s homemade curries (the vegetable curry is my favourite followed by the chicken curry). If you have access to a fridge at your accommodation I also suggest you grab a tub of their house made plain yoghurt (in the fridge on the left behind the counter), it is delicious.

 

Phitsanulok Ox Bar and GrillClean, minimalist style at Ox Bar and Grill

Phitsanulok Ox Bar and Grill ribsThe pork ribs at Ox Bar and Grill

 

NEW – Ox Bar and Grill

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm -11pm

8/4 Phayarithai Road, Phitsanulok

Ox Bar and Grill was a welcome opening in Phitsanulok. A combined operation by Pista Cafe and Veggie Cafe this meat lovers restaurant reflects their modern tastes – both on the plate and decor wise. A small restaurant, the space seats 13 – 15 people maximum. There are two counter areas so you can eat and watch the going ons in the kitchen, or alternatively and best suited for groups, is their communal table at the back of the restaurant. Various cuts of dry aged Thai beef are on offer, as well as pork (the ribs are a must). Less enthused eaters of meat will be pleased to know that all mains are served with a generous assortment of grilled vegetables and even the odd fruit (passionfruit or pineapple). Ox Bar and Grill is a great spot for dining in pairs or small groups, and beyond its doors you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a busier, trendier part of Thailand like Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

 

Host Late Night

Open Mondays 5 – 10pm and Tuesday – Sunday 12pm – 10pm

107 Phayarithai Road, Phitsanulok

Host Late Night is probably one of my favourite Western style restaurants in Phitsanulok. A short walk from the Train Market it is the perfect place to eat if you are craving non-Thai food. It is a small space with capacity for just under 20 people at a push, so I recommend making a reservation via their Facebook page. The chef has worked in Australia and brings a mix of cuisines and styles to the table. Though they have an impressive menu with countless pizzas, pastas, meat, seafood and even Asian options, I highly recommend the Pide and the Grilled BBQ set. The BBQ set in particular, is what we come back for time and time again.

 

Cafe Veggie tableGorgeous details at Cafe Veggie

 

Cafe Veggie – (re-opened May 2017)

Open 11:30am – 9pm, seven days a week.

93/2 Phayarithai Road, Phitsanulok

Recently re-opened after a month’s hiatus for renovations, Cafe Veggie is back, and better than ever. Like Pista Cafe, and together, their joint counterpart Ox Bar and Grill, Cafe Veggie is a trendy, on point Bangkok-style cafe. But don’t let the washed concrete floors and minimalist deck out fool you, the food offerings are just as impressive. Pulled pork burgers, shrimp rolls, delicious smoothies, large healthy salads and more await you (and of course in a very Instagram-shot worthy environment).

 

Where to Eat in Phitsanulok Pista CafeCoconut cake and an espresso at Pista Cafe

 

Pista Cafe

Open seven days from 10am – 5pm (please note: Pista close the 1st, 2nd, 16th and 17th of every month).

17 Phayarithai Road, Phitsanulok

Pista is the kind of cafe’ that you would expect to find in the more hip Chiang Mai or even Bangkok. Jane and Film, have done a fabulous job at creating a small space with a wonderful atmosphere and peaceful vibe. Their main offerings are coffee crafted by Film. He uses local beans and always has a special collection of imported coffee on offer if you are after a particular favour profile or bean roast. Jane, his partner is a talented cake baker and always has an extensive selection of her cakes displayed in the front cabinet. If you are hungry, Pista  also serve pizza, pasta, basic Thai stir-fries and snacks and sides. If you are looking for somewhere to connect to wifi or just read and relax with a good coffee, Pista Cafe is a great choice and one of the best coffee offerings in town.

 

Kasnaree Bakery and Restaurant

Open 10:30am – 10:30pm, seven days.

This huge restaurant lends itself to Chinese-Thai style cuisine, and has set the standard really high. Service is good, the restaurant itself is incredibly impressive, two storeys that include a bakery (downstairs) and an extensive outdoor seating area fitted with two large ponds.

If you are after a special occasion meal Kasnaree is it. They have recently reprinted their menus in English and Thai which is a Godsend because before this we were pointing at pictures and rattling off dishes we knew hoping they would serve them. The menu is extensive, sectioned by starters, signature dishes, deep-fried, stir-fried dishes, salad and more. Everything we’ve tried at Kasnaree has been fantastic but I would highly recommend the following for a shared meal without disappointment: Coconut Tom Yam with prawns, chicken with cashew nut, traditional som tam salad or som tam salad with grilled pork, and curried crab or a whole steamed fish. Also make sure to order a fresh coconut with your meal, it makes the whole experience.

Note: the large ponds attract the mosquitos (even inside), so insect repellent is highly recommended.