Preface: major apologies for no photos on this one!!!!
We spent close to two weeks in Koh Tao. During this time we visited many different restaurants, mostly throughout meahead. We really enjoyed all of the places where we ate and would recommend all of them, as well as maybe a few that we did not get a chance to try.
One of the first places we ate was actually on the pier and it was at a food cart that is run by an older woman. There are couple of food carts that can be found on the pier, but this one is one not to be missed. The special thing about this food cart is the incredible and tasty fried chicken that is made fresh right in front of your eyes. When you walk up to the cart, you can choose exactly which pieces you wish to take home with you after they have just been taken out of the hot oil right next to the cart. We decided to grab one breast, one wing, a drumstick and a really hefty piece of fried chicken liver. For those of you who know myself and Stephen, we are both very fond of one of the best fried chicken restaurant in New York called Poultry Mart. We have never really found somewhere that can take the place of Poultry Mart. However, I think this woman may have taken the cake. We could not believe how juicy and well seasoned this fried chicken was as we devoured it in our hotel that evening. In addition to the fried chicken we also grabbed two bags of sticky rice. Sticky rice was a fantastic side dish for the juicy fried chicken. If you are lucky enough to find the fried chicken lady while you are on Koh Tao, you should definitely give it a try. If you are unable to find her, sometimes she is there earlier in the mornings or in the afternoon rather than the evening time. We think that she sets up shop generally around the timing of the arrival of the ferries or during the times that the locals have lunch or dinner.
One of the other places that we had dinner was Bro & Sis Place. We decided to get take away here because we met some of our friends at one of the local bars. We got the pad see eiw and an order of pad Thai. The pad see eiw was cooked with chicken and the pad Thai was a veggie pad Thai with eggs. The noodle dishes were both very good and stood up to our standards and expectations for Thailand. We definitely recommend bro and sis for a quick, easy and great experience for dinner. They have plenty of seats that looked out onto the ocean from the restaurant. They also have live music almost every night which is generally pretty good. They have a great bar area as well and have drink specials in the evenings. This is a great place for noodle dishes and some Thai food.
One of the best places that we ate for true traditional Thai food was called Yangs. This is a little bit further from master divers and the main pier, but it is definitely worth the trek. Yangs is an open air restaurant with large tables all around. There is no air conditioning so make sure you pick a spot under one of the many fans. Also expect to wait. The food is all prepared to order and is made fresh every single day. My go to dish is the chicken or vegetable Maximun curry. It definitely has some kick but it is so good and the flavors are perfect. You can either eat it as a soup as it is described on the menu for you can order some white rice and eat it as a traditional curry dish. Steven really enjoyed the morning glory with crispy pork as well as the fried rice. One of the greatest things to order for drinks is a fruit shake or a lassie, yogurt shake. Another dish that is highly recommended is the chicken burger. It is basically a piece of fried chicken that is placed on a hamburger bun with lettuce and some other toppings. The best thing about the burger though are the fries that are served with it. They are freshly cut and fried to a perfect crispiness. With a little salt they are truly some of the best fries we have had during our trip. We had quite a few meals at Yangs and really kind and say this was one of our favorite places to eat.
Another place that we enjoyed many meals was at the Coconut Monkey, because of convenience and awesome fresh local food! Every morning when we had class at Master Divers, we ordered our breakfast and some fantastic coffee straight up to the classroom and were able to enjoy the food as we learned about our open water and advanced open water courses. The coffee alone coconut monkey is worth the visit. They improve their coffee from Chang Rai and it is brewed and served fantastically. We enjoyed the ice lattes most of the days but there were some times that we had hot mocha lattes or even ice mocha latte’s. The mocha that is used as raw chocolate so sometimes it means and little bit of sugar. The regular latte is definitely do not need sugar because the coffee is so good and it is flavored enough with the milk. Since we were here for a very long time we were able to basically try almost everything on the menu.
For breakfast we generally had the loaded divers wrap which had some sautéed potatoes, sweet potatoes tomatoes, eggs and either a choice of bacon or Apple chicken sausage. We tried both and I think the apple chicken sausage was definitely a better choice than the bacon. The sausage is so tasty and is a great addition to the wrap. If you are looking for something a little lighter for breakfast, you can go with the spinach and egg wrap that also has a little bit of cheese. All of these wraps as well as the sandwich or lunch wraps are served on homemade tortillas. The kitchen staff stays late in the restaurant making fresh tortillas every night. They generally make somewhere between 200 to 300 tortillas every night to be able to serve throughout the entire day. The tortillas are so delicious. They also make homemade bread that they serve with eggs and other breakfast items in the morning. The homemade bread is also very good so you cannot go wrong either way during breakfast.
One great item that is served throughout the entire day is the yogurt bowl. You have a choice to either add fruit or granola or both. A special hint, thanks to Rafa, is to ask for some local honey on the side, which really get the full some great extra sweetness. The only thing about the coconut monkey is that they only serve food from 8 AM until 5 PM. This means that they do not have a dinner menu, however, we were talking with the manager and we think they are trying to start arranging some sort of plan for dinner. We really hope that by the time we got back to Koh Tao that the coconut monkey will have dinner and we will be able to enjoy some new menu items at that point.
We had lunch quite a few times at the coconut monkey as well. One thing we had for lunch was the yogurt bowl. We found that this was a great option before heading out on the boat for diving in the afternoon. Our first day we kind of made a mistake and ordered way too much food. Even though it was absolutely fantastic and super yummy we felt that we were too full for diving. I actually almost threw up in my regulator. We had enjoyed the falafel platter with fresh tahini and hummus and a homemade tortilla. The falafel was not dry at all and had good flavor. The hummus was a nice thicker consistency and clearly home made. We also has the the chili wrap, which was loaded with beef and bean chili as well as rice. I ordered mine with some lettuce to add crunch and veggies. We also shared the chicken satay served with the house made peanut sauce that I could actually drink, it is that good! All of these menu items were delish and we definitely recommend having each one of these. (Maybe not before you dive though.)
One afternoon I had the grilled veggie wrap. This was define it had freshly grilled root vegetables dressed with the most delectable sauce made with avocado and mango. All of this was wrapped up in one of their home made wraps. We also had the chicken wrap, dressed with the same incredible sauce, one day for lunch. As I said earlier, if you can’t make it to the coconut monkey for a meal, at least go there for some coffee. Another smaller menu item to try are the “amaze balls”. These are homemade balls filled with various ingredients that make for the perfect snack. Some of our favorite were the power balls, filled with nuts and grains for a little energy during the day (take them on the boat with you for after your dives!), and the chocolate peanut balls, with fresh peanut butter covered with raw chocolate. Finally, they make a few different kinds of granola bars as well as lemon or salted caramel cheesecake. The coconut monkey strives to use local and fresh ingredients. It is definitely our number one recommendation for food on Koh Tao.
A few other places that would recommend trying out are Enjoy (Thai food), Hippo Burger (huge burgers), Sawadee (Thai Food) and Da’s Sandwich Cart (unbelievable chicken sandwiches). We had a great time eating our way through Koh Tao and hope you will too!
Follow your tummy…
-Jess and Steven
May 16-20, 2016 and May 22-25, 2016