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UNESCO City of Gastronomy – Phuket Town
Written by Putri Gustilingga

UNESCO City of Gastronomy – Phuket Town

Phuket Town is known for many things: historical architecture, spectacular beaches and vibrant nightlife. But one thing that keeps visitors coming back for more is the food; with an amazing array of local delicacies, there’s something here to satisfy every taste. It is the history and heritage of Phuket that underpins its reputation for food. The many visitors and recipes that have reached its shores have shaped this UNESCO City of Gastronomy, resulting in a melting pot of cultures and cuisines.



Phuket was once a quiet coastal town. It’s strategic location and agreeable climate soon helped it become a trade centre for people all over the world, and it soon found itself as the central hub on a network of international trade for merchants from China, Portugal and India. These countries’ influences converged and blended together, transforming Phuket into an international waypoint and its kitchens into a seed bank for the old world’s recipes.

Phuket was once a quiet coastal town. It’s strategic location and agreeable climate soon helped it become a trade centre for people all over the world, and it soon found itself as the central hub on a network of international trade for merchants from China, Portugal and India. These countries’ influences converged and blended together, transforming Phuket into an international waypoint and its kitchens into a seed bank for the old world’s recipes.



Nowhere is this culinary meeting of the waters more apparent than on the streets of Old Phuket Town. Among the many local delicacies is a wide selection of tea snacks – perfect for enjoying some refreshment on a hot day of winding exploration in the village and its many colourful streets. A local staple is the ubiquitous Pang Pia, which is one of the oldest and most iconic snacks to be found in Phuket: a teatime treat that’s the toast of the town.

Nowhere is this culinary meeting of the waters more apparent than on the streets of Old Phuket Town. Among the many local delicacies is a wide selection of tea snacks – perfect for enjoying some refreshment on a hot day of winding exploration in the village and its many colourful streets. A local staple is the ubiquitous Pang Pia, which is one of the oldest and most iconic snacks to be found in Phuket: a teatime treat that’s the toast of the town.



The Portuguese also left their mark on the kitchens, stalls, cafes and bazaars of Phuket Town, through the Sino-Portuguese shop houses. Up until around 20 years ago, these shop houses had long since given up the fight against salty sea breezes and the tropical sun, falling into disrepair and slowly crumbling away. However, the last two decades have brought a new lease of life for these spectacular relics, and after some renovation, they now exhibit colourful new shop fronts, housing trendy cafes and art galleries.

The Portuguese also left their mark on the kitchens, stalls, cafes and bazaars of Phuket Town, through the Sino-Portuguese shop houses. Up until around 20 years ago, these shop houses had long since given up the fight against salty sea breezes and the tropical sun, falling into disrepair and slowly crumbling away. However, the last two decades have brought a new lease of life for these spectacular relics, and after some renovation, they now exhibit colourful new shop fronts, housing trendy cafes and art galleries.



These quirky buildings can also be found in the Malaysian trading hubs of Malacca and Georgetown in Penang – the Pearl of the Orient – threading together trading hubs throughout Southeast Asia on the spice routes of old. Today, the empires, kingdoms and rajas that built Phuket are long gone. But they’ve left behind a colourful landscape – and an even more vibrant array of dishes – to remind today’s visitors why Phuket was once the culinary heart of Asia.

These quirky buildings can also be found in the Malaysian trading hubs of Malacca and Georgetown in Penang – the Pearl of the Orient – threading together trading hubs throughout Southeast Asia on the spice routes of old. Today, the empires, kingdoms and rajas that built Phuket are long gone. But they’ve left behind a colourful landscape – and an even more vibrant array of dishes – to remind today’s visitors why Phuket was once the culinary heart of Asia.