To truly get a taste of Thailand, you’ll need to go a little off-the-beaten-track. Though just a short boat ride away from Phuket, Koh Yao Noi is a far cry from the bustle of its island neighbour. In a sleepy fishing village, hidden amongst mangrove trees and stilt houses, you’ll only find Ta Ton Do Seafood if you know where to look. The family-run restaurant serves straight-out-of-the-water seafood which fisherman Pradit Martruksa catches that morning, with organic vegetables and freshly-pressed coconut milk prepared daily by his wife, Kanchana Maikaew.
Pradit Martruksa and his wife Kanchana Maikaew, owners of Ta Ton Do Seafood
Island life on Koh Yao Noi revolves around its waters, making its seafood a central part of local culture. Modern-day castaways can immerse themselves in the relaxed rhythm of long-tail boats, tropical forests, and rice field farms while staying at Cape Kudu Hotel – a beachfront boutique which offers an array of authentic activities, including cooking with Ta Ton Do Seafood. From learning how to paint simple Batik with artisan villagers and building nest boxes for local hornbills, to picking your own coconuts from a palm garden, Cape Kudu guests are made to feel at home with this charming island community.
A Pool Villa at Cape Kudu Hotel
Tell us about the seafood of Koh Yao Noi, and what makes it special?
The seafood of Koh Yao Noi is as fresh as you can find, especially the squid, shrimp, fish, and crab. The fishermen and people of Koh Yao Noi will catch fresh seafood from the sea every day to cook and sell without delay which makes the taste of the food here different from anywhere else.
What are the must-try local Thai dishes?
- Sour soup
- Stir-fried squid in black ink
- Stir-fried shrimp and Sator beans with shrimp paste
- Thai Southern-style chili shrimp paste sauce
Which local markets would you recommend?
The only market in Koh Yao Noi is “Wik Market”.
What are the must-see places by boat when island-hopping?
Koh Hong, Koh Roi, Koh Lao La Ding, Koh Pak Bia and Koh Nok are all beautiful, and off the tourist trail.
What is your favourite ‘catch of the day’ and can you share the recipe?
Stir-fried squid in black ink recipe
- Squid, cleaned and cut into rings
- Keep the squid ink sacs
- Sliced lemongrass, garlic, red chilli
- Soy Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
Heat up oil and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add the squid, red chilli and lemongrass, then crush the ink sacs to let the black ink run out. Mix well and stir fry until the squid is cooked through. Season with oyster sauce, sugar and soy sauce. When the squid is done and the liquid is reduced, turn off the heat and it is ready to serve.