At age 33, owner Irenegee Thongpinyochai is third generation Thai-Chinese, and her family’s restaurant has been open for about eight years, serving traditional Phuket breakfasts in an outdoor setting.
But three weeks ago the restaurant was re-branded as the Phuket Tea Station, expanding the menu to include all day food options inside a plush new air-conditioned building.
“It’s modern, but traditional,” Irenegee says.
“We want a new generation to come and visit us and learn about historic Phuket dishes.”
Irenegee’s family also run the Keng Tin bakery, Phuket’s oldest bakery founded in 1942.
The bakery is particularly known for its Phuket snacks, and makes popular red turtle cakes in honour of the Por Tor Festival (also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival).
Phuket Tea Station stocks many of the bakery’s snacks, but also offers an extensive range of 52 different main dishes.
Included on the menu is eww peung, a traditional Phuket dish of sticky rice mixed with pork pieces and small shrimps. Phuket Tea Station’s version is served with chicken legs and a hard boiled egg on the side, for B125.
The restaurant also serves rice with braised pork, served with southern chilli paste (B125); and pung piah, with sweet potato or an egg inside, served with crab meat curry (B135).
Phuket Tea Station also serves Phuket sausage (B115); traditional egg sausage soup (B125) and curry and rice plus pork ball soup (B155).
“My family have been in Phuket for around 70 years, since my grandad, Gaow Chua, moved here from China. Many of these recipes have been in my family since then, with my grandad passing them down to my father, Surat,” Irenegee says.
Both men have sinced passed away, but their legacy lives on in many of the dishes, including Mr Gaow’s home-made salad dressing with cashew nut, one of Irenegee’s favourites.
But not to be overlooked is the impressive dessert menu, thought it is comprised mostly of traditional Western not Phuket dishes such as hot fudge brownie (B169) and apple strudel (B169).
The “honey toast” desserts take the top prize – large baked bread served with ice-cream, cream and other sweet toppings such as Oreo cookies and banoffee (banana and caramel sauce) – priced at B189.
Phuket Tea Station, 30/14 Maeluan Road, Phuket Town, 081 893 5251; facebook.com/PhuketTeaStation. Open daily 7am to 5.30pm, closed Sundays.