The name of the stall is Fish Porridge but you really should have the Fried Rice with diced shrimp here. Ah Jie’s late husband used to be a hero in Hatyai, his shop was on the main road when I was a small kid. People would crowd around his wok waiting for their food while he works his magic. If he is still around, I am sure his shop would still deservedly be the most crowded shop in Hatyai at dinnertime. According to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ah Jie inherited The Force from him making her one of the last remaining Jedi Masters in Hatyai.
Each grain of the fried rice is adequately fried almost to the point of being burnt yet maintaining its moisture. In every mouthful, you would know that the rice is drenched in essence of the eggs. The taste of the shrimps is faint yet present due to the juices of the duly diced up shrimps spread out evenly over the fried rice. The occasional crunch of the celery gives your mouth a relief from the rich and full bodied fried rice.
The other dish you should order to go with the fried rice is the Tom Yam Naam Saai Nuer Plaa or Clear Tom Yam with Sliced Fish meat. You would have to order specifically as it is. The Naam Saai part means that it is the clear soup version of Tom Yum without the red chilli sauce. The Nuer Plaa part specifies that it has to be sliced fish meat as Ah Jie’s sliced fish meat is usually fresher than her fish head meat.
This shop is in a remote dark alley about 150m off the main road from Wat Chuechang; it is off the tourist trail. Be warned that dining at Ah Jie’s is not cheap. A meal for two can easily costs upwards of 500 baht. I can only guess it is Ah Jie’s way of earning her keep while keeping the sane away.
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.
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.
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.
There are many milk cafes sprouting up all over Hatyai, most of them serving in hipster style cafes. Milk drinking in cafes seems to be unique in Hatyai and I have not seen this trending in other parts of Thailand. It is healthy and offers a cheap and breezy place to chill out with friends and family after dinner. The original idea came from this no frills shop which started it all. It still serves up the best glass of hot fresh milk among these cafes.
I usually order the fresh hot milk without sugar as sweet milk tastes weird to me.
I heard from an auntie who asked the milk deliveryman where the milk came from. He told her it came from a farm in Phatthalung and they supply to most of the milk cafes in Hatyai. If this is true, the milk should taste the same in Hatyai unless some cafes dilute the milk to save on costs. Probably why I feel that the milk tastes different in each cafe.
They have all kinds of the usual kopitiam beverages: hot/iced milk, hot/iced milo, hot/iced cocoa, hot/iced coffee, iced green tea milk, iced milk tea etc.
You just write down what you want on the chit of paper on your table and pass it to the attendants. Obviously if you are reading this, you have no idea how to write Thai so you can either google translate and hope that milk does not translate into boobs or you can ask the owners kindly if they can take your orders in sign language. Don’t you just hate it when they serve fresh boobs to your table and not fresh milk.
They have other kinds of food in the shop which are good as well like charcoal grilled fish-ball skewers and sausage skewers.
You can order toast too. Something special here is the toast with chilli and pork floss and the toast with sweetened milk and milo powder.
You can also try the steamed bread cubes which you can dip into the kaya jam mixed with sweetened milk.
You know the feeling at 2am when you are hungry and weak after a night of heavy drinking and all you want is some comfort goodness that can give you a rush of energy? Besides injecting heroin with a syringe into your veins, there is a shop in Hatyai that fires up a plate of Char Kway Tiao with so much Wok Hei that can bring you into rehab. A brave chap from Singapore with a Greek King’s name claimed that this is “the best Char Kway Tiao in the world”. King Ulysses resisted the seduction of the Sirens but he cannot resist the Char Kway Tiao of a sweaty uncle in Hatyai.
This is their best dish in my opinion if you are looking for Wok Hei. Order “Phat Kway Tiao Mee Heng” which means in Thai that I am a loser who did not managed to pick up anyone in the club just now and I would like a plate of Fried Kway Tiao Mee Dry please so I can eat and go back to my room and cry in the shower later.
They have other dishes which are pretty good too.
Their “Kway Tiao Raat Naa” is similar to Wah Tan Hor Fan but the portion is just right which means it is not too big and starchy. Some places fry up Hor Fan in too big a portion and this loses some of the flavors that the heat of the flames can bring out. You can eat 2 or 3 plates here easily…especially if you have a belly so obvious that your friends nickname you the Michelin Man.
Suki Heng is a plate of Fried Tang Hoon with eggs, prawns, squid and kangkong.
Suki Nam is the soup version of Suki Heng.
Stir Fried Prawns and Squid With Long Beans in Chilli Paste over Steamed Rice
They have other dishes like Fried Rice etc so you can keep going back to try.
6:30PM to 2:30AM
Closed when they feel like so, maybe 2 to 3 days a month.