We stopped at Phuket for a quick break to catch up with ourselves. We were so busy trying to make the most of our time on the relatively expensive islands that we had a number of errands accumulating. We stayed in Phuket town, which was the first proper town we had seen for a few weeks, complete with bitumen roads, traffic lights and camera stores! We hit up the local markets for something to eat and ended up spending 114 baht, approximately 4 aussie dollars, for a satisfying meal of four dishes and two drinks. I decided the traffic wasn't too bad here, so we rented a motorbike to get around. We went to some of the bigger shopping centres, trying to recover my losses; to find an adapter ring for my camera's Lee filter set, and to find some good quality sunglasses. It seemed that the no-one in Southeast Asia stocked the adapter ring I needed, and none of the sunglasses suited me. Disappointed with shopping, we rode down past Rawai to Laem Promthep at the southern end of Phuket to join another crowd gathered for sunset. Riding back, my strategy for a romantic Valentine's day dinner was this; find a place with lots of motorbikes parked on the front, and eat there.
Lucky for me it turned out to be superb - an open air do-it-yourself, all-you-can-eat restaurant with a twist.
They put on your table a clay pot of hot, fiery charcoal topped with a cooking implement that works as a barbeque in the middle, surrounded by a moat-like bowl that you fill with soup. You then pick what you want from a bunch of ingredients (meat, vegetables, noodles, seafood etc.) and cook away, choosing to either barbeque or poach (steamboat-style) your chosen ingredients.
They give you a nice square of pork fat to oil your barbeque, and the soup comes in a handy teapot so you can keep your soup levels topped up.
We certainly had fun enjoying this delicious meal, and rode back to town more than satisfied.