WHERE TO EAT
A road diner that's rapture in RanongSomboon Photchana serves a catfish curry to perk up the weariest traveller
“Somboon Photchana” can be your tongue-smacking adventure in Ranong
Hot and spicy is the way it’s done in the South – food that bites back. But the rewards justify the selfabuse.
My latest tongue-smacking adventure took place in the sleepy little town of Ranong – the gateway to the South – where a roadside restaurant waited at the end of a long, wet ride from Bangkok.
The sign said “Somboon Photchana”, and the leaping fish, shells and prawns on display assured us it was a seafood paradise.
With Chinese management, Thai cooks and Burmese waiters, Somboon Photchana has an interesting team catering to a mixed bag of hungry locals and passingthrough road warriors.
We started with little deepfried fish called sand whiting, delicate morsels cheerful in their coats of yellow turmeric and so good that we finished two plates before the waitress appeared with our second order.
This was catfish curry – kaengsom pladuk – with the spicy mushroom salad called yam hed khlon, fastboiled cockles known as hoi kraeng luak and fried eggs with young liang leaves.
Savoury and spicy, the catfish curry won the prize for Best Performance. More of the salty deepfried whiting and the greasy fried egg did well in supporting roles, balancing the burn of the curry.
Between the cold beer, gossip and loads of laughter, I ate more than my share, and my travelling companion was soon patting his belly and making a cooing sound.
“What are we going to do in this little town if we can’t get a boat to Koh Phayam?” he wondered, since Cyclone Nargis was raking the coast.
“We’ll come back to Somboon Photchana,” I said, “and finish off the rest of menu!”
See food? Eat lots
Somboon Photchana is on Phetchkasem Road opposite the Jansom Beach Resort. Call (077) 822 722 or (077) 833300.