Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hat Yai and Songkhla - Different, yet the Same - Part 1

At the end of last month, me and my friend went to Hat Yai for the first time for both of us. It was a 2D/1N trip and I'll begin the recount of our trip here, pieces by pieces, in no chronological order. Let's begin with the dinner we had!

Dinner and supper at Hat Yai

It took a lot of effort to reach here and that is quite an understatement, to be frank. But, all in all, totally worth all the troubles it caused.

We just came back from our quick exploration in Songkhla and it was definitely an eye-opening of sort, at least for me. We began our exploration with the Samila beach as the point of origin and off we went, here and there. At one point, we have no idea where were we in term of the name of the places. Oh, the fun, but more on that later. Back to the dinner.

This Hat Yai trip was initially supposed to be a food trail but when the itinerary was planned, it was definitely not a gastronomical trip. However, we did have a fantastic dinner and an unnecessary, yet satisfactory supper on the first day of Hat Yai. Read on for more juicy info.
Our dinner was at the Ruean Mai Punnakan, a Thai restaurant I stumbled on while doing my researches about Hat Yai before embarking on the trip.This retro-Thai building is in some good distances away from the town and not as well known as we thought, something we observed when a dozen of tuk-tuks refused to take us there, either not worth the money or really have no idea where it is. We even pointed the place on the map for them to tell them where it is, but to no avail. Luckily, thanks to the friendly passersby that we approached for help only then we managed to have the opportunity to enjoy the meal. They even held a motor taxi for us to ride on and when we reached the restaurant, the motorcyclist was willing to wait for us there while we had our meals. The people of Thais are truly friendly.

It's simply not polite to eat and have him looking at us doing so. Thus, we asked him to join us for the meals, on our treats. What we had ordered:

Tom Yam Koong (Tom yam with prawn)

Deep fried fish with mango salad

Asparagus with shrimp

Going to Thailand without tasting their tom yam is a sin of grand proportion. The tom yam we had definitely lived up to our expectation. More to sour than spicy, the soup is the highlight of the three dishes. Even the Thai driver ranked it first among the dishes. The prawns are succulent and tender, a perfect compliment to the mildly spicy soup. You can have the tom yam more spicy if you want. The fish itself is also quite good. The mango salad dressing is a good match to the deep fried fish, cut to pieces without much bones intact. Asparagus with shrimp, nothing unusual about it, yet, taste good.

Overall, a great place to have lunch or dinner and the pricing itself is relatively cheap. The three dishes plus the drinks and plain rices we had, in total, only 650 Baht (around RM65). The portion is big, enough for four persons to dig in.

Ruan Mai Punnakan

So, if you're interested to try it, here's the address: 45/50 Punnakan Road, Tambon Kho Hong, Amphoe Hat Yai, Songkhla 90110. It's better if you go in a large group or through tours because I think the tuk-tuks are more willing to take a huge group. Arm yourself with either Hokkien or Mandarin for a smoother order. English would do, I supposed.

By this time, we were already bloated to the extreme case. We went back to the town area (thanks to our great friend) and went for a walk in the shopping district to help up with the digestion. As we walked, we saw a lot of mouth watering street foods, tempting us to have a bite at it. And we did, after we headed back to the hotel for a shower before coming back out for more.

Thai style Bo Bo Cha Cha

Some samples of street delicacies

Huge prawns that almost border to being lobsters, gigantic crabs, whole chicken drumsticks, squids, et cetera, you named it, you can almost find it in those hawker stalls. As we had almost reached our limitations, we controlled ourselves and just ordered a bit of this and that. We had the Thai style bo bo cha cha, a unique mixture of sweetness and sourness with every color imaginable can be seen in the dessert, a drumstick, and mango rice. Oh, sweet Jesus mango rice, how I miss you. The unbelievably sweet and juicy of the mango blended with the glutinous rice with a splash of coconut milk. Just writing it down makes my stomach grumbles in protest. In fact, it was so good that we had it as lunch/tea break the following day.


Sharing is caring. A word of advice and a piece of information.

Mango rice are aplenty and it makes no sense not trying it for it is that good. Simple as it may be, it is no doubt one of my favorite from the trip. Most of the mangoes used for this cuisine would be the ripe one with a slight tinge of greenish in it. Hence, the mangoes would be sweet without losing the firmness of the fleshes.


  1. less than RM300 lo for the 2D/1N trip...

  2. oh really very cheap...hotel clean? cos last time i went is so dirty..make me phobia!

  3. i want to try the mango rice....

  4. Nice! Maybe I should head to Thailand for a weekend break. Did you fly there?

  5. natasha: hotel, well, you get what you paid...

    travel_food89: yup, super favourite...

    ck2u: nop, I took a travel van from Penang to Hat Yai...the return ride cost me only RM60...