There are 3 chicken rice shops in and near Hatyai city that serves up chicken rice that can match up to my pretentiously high standards. One is Mui Kee, the other is the famous one in Thunglung on the way from Malaysia to Hatyai and the last ultimate one I don’t want to tell you. There are many hidden gems in Thailand that are thankfully shielded from the hordes of tourists and food bloggers by the language barrier and their locations being out of the tourist radar.
Miu Kee has been selling chicken rice in Hatyai for more than 30 years. My dad ate in its old shop for lunch almost everyday when he first came to Thailand in the late 70s. He says it still does taste the same. That is one of the most endearing things about Hatyai. Times may have changed but the standard of the food does not. I remember my mom bought a pack of Mui Kee chicken rice and brought it over on the then still running Thai Airways flight to Singapore for me to eat while I was in Primary School. That was the best dabao ever.
The chicken is nice and moist while the skin is sinfully smooth. The boss would debone the chicken completely and slice it up into perfect thin slices. This is so that the thin slices can soak up as much of the wonderful homemade sauce they have in the shop as possible. You have to ask specifically for it, its called the special sauce with lemon or Nam Jim Manaaw. Do not think that you can concoct a second epic sauce yourself with the range of condiments that they have on the table like ground ginger, fermented bean sauce, chilli bits and dark soy sauce. Because I have tried. And I have failed. For 20 years.
The boss speaks chinese, english and hainanese fluently so ordering is a breeze.
8:00AM to 2:30PM
GPS Coordinates: 7.006075, 100.473683
How this Yong Tau Foo tastes like twenty years ago and how it tastes like today is exactly the same. The house I grew up in when I was young is a stone’s throw away from the shop and I can vouch for the authenticity of the homemade Yong Tau Foo.
We all are tired of those factory manufactured fish balls and tofu that we have in big city noodle chains where they are geometrically congruent and makes you wonder if they cloned them in a dingy back alley workshop with recycled cardboard and borax powder. We want the homemade good stuff that our parents enjoyed when they were young and this shop is that shit for you Mon-Thur-Fri-Ker and every other day. The clientele here are people who cannot let go of real food handmade and cooked the real way. And that is why the same people keep coming back, because there aren’t many places like this around anymore.
The soup is cooked from pork ribs and there is no MSG added over here.
I usually get the bee hoon dry and it comes with a bowl of yong tau foo.
People in Hatyai would understand if you just say Mee Hoon when you are ordering but the people in Bangkok would give you a puzzled look. The proper term would be Sen Mee Khaaw. You can find out more about ordering different types of noodles in Thai here: Thai Noodles Guide.
The boss is the guy who prepares the drinks like Cha Rawn in the picture and side dishes like soft boiled eggs. The soft boiled eggs tastes better than it looks. He would heat up the glass first with hot water before serving the soft boiled eggs so that it remains hot. I personally come here for the soft boiled eggs more than the Yong Tau Foo. You have to try it to believe it.
6:30AM to 12:30PM daily
They are next to Aunt Ek’s Fresh Milk shop.
GPS Coordinates: 7.003795, 100.472414
Many tourists as well as Bangkok folks who claim to know Hatyai well will tell you that the best Dim Sum in Hatyai is Chok Dii Dim Sum. They will even prove it to you by showing you the large crowds of locals and tourists waiting outside Chok Dii and shoving their way through the crowd for a table while braving the grueling heat from the steaming stoves.
This is the best Dim Sum in Hatyai.
It has no name and the boss does not give a hoot about customer service. You would be lucky if he even nods to acknowledge your orders. He may behave like an asshole but he really is a kind old man who makes food with love.
The most important part of good food is not about how much umami you can create in the food(Yes, I know you are googling umami now). It is love, that is why your mom’s home cooked food always taste the best to you. It is the kind of food that does not wow you on the first mouthful but the kind that makes you keep coming back day after day after day.
One of my favorite things about Thailand is that the street food are always served in mini portions. It seems to make the food more delectable and more satisfying to finish.
You can be sure the dim sum would be served to you piping hot. For some reason, the dim sum here tastes good while it’s hot but not when it’s cold.
The Kway Tiao Luah is something special in the shop. The bamboo shoots are wrapped in the kway tiao with some pork and mushrooms. The reason why you don’t find many places serving bamboo shoots is because bamboo shoots are incredibly hard to prepare and have a very short shelf life. Its fibers stores a substantial amount of water for its size and cooked bamboo shoots left overnight will develop a bad taste. The Kway Tiao Luah here tastes really good due to the difference in the texture from the smooth and soft kway tiao, the crunchy bamboo shoots and the tender meat all releasing each of their distinctive taste in one mouthful.
6:30AM to 11:00AM
Sometimes they stop for 1-2 weeks every 3 months for holidays.
GPS Coordinates: 7.012901, 100.472461