But just because you want a break from the hectic pace of street life in Patong doesn’t mean you have to go without some delicious Thai street food.
Every Monday night, the Grand Mercure’s poolside restaurant Bubbles puts on a street food buffet of epic proportions, where you can sample Thai street food staples that have been taken to the next level by Executive Chef Anurak Kanittharat and his team.
Chef Anurak sources most of his ingredients from the Banzaan fresh market in Patong where he bargains alongside local street vendors for the freshest local produce.
He also prides himself on his tried and tested recipes for local dishes such as mee hoon gaeng poo (crab in yellow curry with thin rice noodles).
This rich crab curry has an incredible complexity and depth of flavour when made from scratch by Chef Anurak and earns its place among the most famous local dishes from Phuket.
The relaxed buffet style of dining works perfectly for the street food theme, letting you sample a little bit here and a little bit there, enabling you to try some of the most popular Thai dishes all in one sitting. In addition to local specialities there are plenty of choices from across all regions of Thailand.
Naturally, popular Isan-style (Northeast Thailand) dishes such as som tum (spicy green papaya salad) can be made to order with more or less chilli to suit your taste.
Another Isan favourite, larb moo (minced pork and onion salad) is served beside some more unusual salads, including a spicy pomelo salad and beef salad with fresh tomatoes and onions.
There are also many popular curries and stir-fried dishes you can help yourself to. From the warmed serving dishes, my personal favourite was the stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts, pineapple and vegetables in a sweet sauce.
The pungent chicken massaman curry was also a triumph, bursting with flavour from the handfuls of fresh spices used to make it, and full of tender chicken, potatoes and peanuts.
The seafood selection is where the Grand Mercure takes it up yet another notch, as authentic as the rest of the dishes are, I have yet to see a street vendor serving up juicy barbecued king prawns and blue swimmer crabs in these proportions!
A team of chefs work the grill, flipping dozens of prawns and crabs at a time, before dishing them up with a selection of delicious dipping sauces. If that wasn’t enough, there are also squid skewers, sushi and sashimi, fresh whole fish and spicy seafood salads to choose from.
Next up is the noodle bar, where you can order yourself a custom bowl of noodles with all your favourite ingredients.
If your not sure what you want, pad Thai is always a safe and tasty choice, or for something even simpler you can try pad siew moo (thick rice noodles stir-fried with pork and soy sauce).
Noodle soup is also a popular choice, pick either a tom yum or simple pork broth as a base, then just choose your type of noodles and start adding ingredients such as prawns, meat, fish or pork balls and fresh vegetables.
No Thai street food experience would be complete with trying some of the scores of unique desserts or sweet snacks (khanom) that can be found on almost every street corner in the nation.
The Grand Mercure has a team of four dedicated dessert maestros, making for an extremely wide selection of sweet treats.
There is the classic mango and sticky rice, yellow steamed cakes, crispy coconut pancakes and various cubes of pudding-like sweets made from glutinous rice and flavoured with pandan leaf.
For something a bit more Western, there is also rich blueberry cheesecake and velvety iced chocolate cake.
In short, the Grand Mercure puts on one of the best Thai food buffets I’ve ever seen. There are plenty more dishes to choose from that I haven’t even mentioned here, lest the article run to encyclopedic lengths.
Even better, it is all-you-can-eat and costs just B799 per person. I recommend coming early and pacing yourself because every dish is exquisitely authentic and made with fresh ingredients that really make the flavours pop.
Bubble’s ‘Phuket Night Market’ at the Grand Mercure Phuket Patong is held every Monday evening from 6-10pm. For more information and booking visit: grandmercurephuketpatong.com or call 076 231 999.