I thought that this restaurant deserved its own blog post, since as you may have already read in my blog post about Koh Lanta, it was one of the best restaurants I ate in during my recent two week trip to Thailand.
Now, I’m a bit spoilt when it comes to Thai food. In Bournemouth there is a stunning Thai restaurant called Koh Thai (I’ve reviewed it here), which offers a delicious menu of Thai and Thai fusion meals. I eat there pretty frequently, so my expectations of Thai food are pretty high. I expect it delicious, consistently.
For this reason when I was in Thailand I was a little bit shocked by the inconsistency of food. Thai food, when it’s good, is easily the tastiest food of all, but when it’s bad, it’s inedible.
When you’re cooking curries and using strong ingredients, getting the balance of flavours right is paramount. Throw into the mix the quality (or lack of in some cases) of meat is a huge dealbreaker for me. I’d rather go for the veggie option if meat is over-fatty, tough or gristly.
Thankfully with every dish we tried at the Moo Uan, this was not a worry.
The menu had the perfect menu for our taste; with western food if you want a break from curries and Thai food, or some of the most flavoursome, high quality Thai food if you want to embrace the spirit of things. Which, when you’re in Thailand and the food is as good as this, you probably should.
The restaurant itself is situated in a brilliant location, right on the harbourside, so you could quite easily go straight there with your suitcases the minute you get off the ferry. At least, that’s what we did.
We were starving hungry, and there are a load of restaurants along the strip to the right when you arrive off the boat, and we had no reason in particular to pick out the Moo Uan as our choice, bar the amusing sign outside ‘WARM BEER, CRAP FOOD’ which contrasts with the hundreds proclaimations of ‘best food’ or ‘great taste’ which you’ve probably seen a hundred times before outside other restaurants in Thailand.
This tongue in cheek statement was enough to seal the deal with us, but when we were escorted through the front of the restaurant into the stunning mezzanine veranda to the rear, we knew we’d made the right choice, even if just for the view.
When the food arrived we were genuinely delighted, it looked so appetising and fresh, a million miles from the grey-toned street food we’d sampled in Khao San Road, Bangkok. The colours of the food were vibrant, and there wasn’t a hint of the greasy, congealed texture that we’d seen in the restaurant on Railay beachfront.
This is the Thai food that you hear people raving about.
The flavours were stong, but tasty and moreish, and nothing that would overwhelm the tastebuds. Meat was tender and cooked well, and curries were perfectly balanced – not too sweet/sour/salty – and my penang had quite a sassy kick to it.
When we saw how delicious the food was, we went for some extra dishes – the satay and some crispy chilli pork. Two of my absolute favourite dishes to order from my beloved Koh Thai, but I wanted to give the ‘real deal’ a go. I wasn’t disappointed, the meat was really good quality, and cooked to perfection. I wasn’t a huge fan of the spicy sauce that accompanied the beef, but thankfully I stole some of the sweet chilli sauce that had accompanied the BF’s main, and that was gorgeous.
The weakest dish that I ordered, in my opinion, was the chicken satay. The meat was well marinated and tasted wonderful, but the peanut sauce itself lacked the texture and flavour that I love in a satay sauce. I love them to be really think and with chunks of peanut, whereas this was more watery and mild in flavour. I know satay sauce varies massively regionally, but this wasn’t my favourite. The best satay we tried probably goes Bundhaya Resort, Koh Lipe, where they nailed the chunky sauce style that I love.
On my second trip to the restaurant I ordered the garlic pepper pork dish (Pad Gratiam Prik Thai Moo), the sauce of which was looked seriously weird looking, but was beyond delicious. The sauce is really strongly flavoured with garlic, and it’s topped with crispy fried garlic (vampires probably want to avoid this dish), and I cleared my plate.
Not only was the food at Moo Uan on point, the drinks were also delicious. I’m confident that we tried all of the fruit shake (all wonderful, large portions, fresh and flavoursome), and sampled their Mojitos which were world class. I’m struggling to think of anywhere that I’ve had a better one.
Some people will probably judge me for going back to the same restaurant multiple times, and hey, I probably could have sampled a lot more of the restaurants that Koh Lanta had to offer, but unfortunately whenever we tried to go elsewhere we ended up disappointed, and wishing we’d just gone to Moo Uan. In the end I think we decided to play it safe and keep returning, trying all the different dishes on their menu. I for one am so glad that we did, as I’m quite a fussy eater and it was one of the only places I visited where I felt I was trying Thai food that was truly tastier than what I can get back home. I also really missed it when we went on to our next island, Koh Lipe, which we found to be particularly lacking in great restaurants.
Where have you eaten your best Thai food? I’d love to hear any recommendations for my next time in Thailand!