Although already popular in the Western world, these culinary vehicles represent a fairly recent phenomenon in Phuket. The island (and indeed Thailand) has long had a vibrant street food scene but the arrival of these food trucks has upped the ante with regards to mobile culinary choices. It’s always been easy to buy your favourite Thai dish at street stalls, whether it be noodle soup, phad thai or papaya salad, however nowadays – because of these newcomers you can find such Western delights as juicy cheeseburgers, thin-crust pizzas, Chicago-style hot dogs with loads of mustard and relish, sushi and Korean fried chicken as well as carefully thought out exotic cocktails and local fruit smoothies.
The food trucks scattered across the island are convenient and serve their fare up quickly ideal for those who are super hungry or workers who have limited time to dash out for a lunch break. They’re also on the scene late in the evening which quite literally makes for a great midnight snack.
You’ll come across them simply by driving along the west coast of the island. In both beach neighborhoods of Kata and Karon, there are vintage Volkswagen campers that have been converted into trendy cocktail trucks which also serve fresh fruit, healthy smoothies, and simple snacks.
Patong plays host to a very hip burger truck with a modern feel to it and you’ll find it parked on Bangla Road until the wee hours of the morning. The staff members are young and friendly, serving a variety of beef and chicken burgers with French fries and onion rings. Take our advice and try to get there as soon as they open as there always seems to be a queue and the wait for a burger can be up to 20 minutes.
In the heart of Phuket Town, there’s a unique food truck that serves up Korean fried chicken in a tiny courtyard that houses a full-on restaurant of the same nature behind it. The chicken is crispy and delicious, and well worth a try.
Further south, Chalong has a very popular sushi truck that’s hard to miss as it’s decorated with Japanese samurai flags and almost always has a crowd around it. Most nights, the sushi truck is parked on Chaofa East Road just north of Chalong Circle.
Then there’s a food truck that parks on Soi Saiyuan on the way to Nai Harn Beach every afternoon until late evening. Serving cakes, cookies, strong coffee, fruit smoothies and cocktails, the girls that run the show are extremely friendly and lots of fun. They love meeting new customers, and always have a big smile for returning ones. One fantastic fact about this food truck is that the girls are open to suggestions as to what to serve, food-wise. If the facilities in the truck allow them to make any requested or suggested dish, these girls will certainly try.
Another great place to experience these new food trucks in Phuket are at the wide variety of hip, new markets popping up all over the island. The Sunday walking street on Thalang Road is home to an adorable little food cart that serves grilled pork and sticky rice in upscale packaging as well as burgers and sliders. The cart also has a sister companion selling trendy cocktails and Italian sodas.
There’s also a Thai-style pizza truck in Samkong most nights of the week serving up miniature versions of thin crust pizza with a variety of fresh, delicious toppings. The seafood pizza is a favourite here, and the owner of the truck is a super friendly fellow who’s eager to please.
A few food trucks in Phuket are open for special occasions and local festivals only, but are also available for hire to cater for such events as birthday parties and weddings with Western-style cuisine. The owners of these ambulant kitchens may sometimes treat them as a hobby, but the food is nevertheless second to none.
As the already popular street food scene in Phuket continues to change and evolve, there’ll be a growing market on the island for these food trucks. Without a doubt, they’re a fantastic addition to our gastronomic island.
Local noodle soup food-trucks have also become popular, and are a staple at many of Phuket’s markets.