Food Experiences In Hua Hin
Hua Hin has a diverse food scene with a broad selection of Thai and international cuisine. Due to the large number of foreigner visitors, there are plenty of international restaurants in the downtown area and beyond. As in most popular tourist towns, there are many decent restaurants and if you enjoy Thai food then you really are spoilt for choice. The restaurants in Hua Hin don’t match the diversity in Bangkok and other large towns, but there is certainly a respectable choice. Tourist venues are usually busiest in the evening and closed by midnight, however it’s always possible to find small local establishments that open later into the night.
Where To Eat
The majority of tourist-oriented restaurants are located in the town centre and typically serve both international and Thai food, though many specialize in non-Thai cuisine. It’s certainly worth exploring the small streets and alleys for a hidden gem but it’s worth remembering that the busier restaurants may have a justifiably better reputation. In the low tourist season, some restaurants have few customers and some even close for several months.
There is an assorted concentration of small restaurants on Naresdamri Road which runs down past the Hilton Hotel and another popular cluster on Poonsuk Road near to the bars. Many places have a staggering choice of dishes – you may be familiar with the experience of being given an unbelievably large menu while the staff wait expectantly for your order to be placed almost immediately!
Excellent Thai food can be found everywhere in Hua Hin, and street vendors are never too far away selling fresh fruit, spicy papaya salad (som tam), skewered meat, fried noodles and rolled barbecued squid (which has quite an odor). Many of the street sellers are popular mainly with the Thais, so as a foreigner you may receive a few surprised looks when eating a fiery hot papaya salad from a polystyrene container in the street or at a bar.
Local Thai restaurants (not aimed solely at tourists) are located all over town, sometimes squeezed onto the corner of a busy intersection or tucked away down a small alleyway. These places typically offer great food and can be packed with local customers though the seats are invariably tiny plastic chairs that can be a challenge for the rear end of a westerner.
On Hua Hin beach there are many sheltered restaurants (each one is a haphazard collection of beach chairs, tables and umbrellas) that mainly serve Thai dishes and limited western food (such as french fries and burgers), but they can be expensive – check before you sit down as some charge nearly double the price of others. When the tide approaches you’ll be moved in closer to the shore but there is occasionally somebody asleep who might find the sea lapping at their ankles. For beach-side snacks and drinks, the obligatory beach vendors wander around but they charge slightly more than you’d pay elsewhere, and on the beach access road (Damnoen Kasam) many stalls have grilled squid and various other snacks.
Almost all the guesthouses have a small restaurant with both Thai and western menus, which can be convenient and the food (especially the Thai) is often good. It can be a challenge however to find a good cup of coffee in such places.
The local shopping malls (Market Village in particular) contain all kinds of restaurants and at the night market fresh seafood is a must-try (see our related articles on these topics). And the road that runs parallel to the train station (Liap Thang Rotfai Road) has quite a few outdoor-style Thai restaurants where the noisy trains passing by add to the ambience.
Hua Hin has some excellent places to eat both centrally and further away from the town centre. Recommended and popular restaurants themselves are listed elsewhere on our website.
What To Eat – International Food
As well as the major hotels and resorts in Hua Hin, there is a selection of international and reasonable quality restaurants in the downtown area that cater mainly to tourists, and additional seated restaurants distributed around the small sois. Restaurants here offer a wide variety of international food (especially European) including American, French, German, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, and of course Thai. The diversity could be attributed to the fact that many expatriates in Hua Hin have setup their own restaurants.
Prices tend to be relatively high due to the number of tourists in Hua Hin, particularly at the restaurants near the town centre. Imported foods (such as meats and wine) are costly and sometimes the local equivalent is an acceptable alternative.
There are dozens of coffee shops, several bakeries, and many western-style food shops scattered around and it’s simple enough to find decent international food in Hua Hin. For those that wish to succumb to temptation, there are even several well-known fast food chains that open 24 hours a day.
What To Eat – Thai Food
Thai restaurants in Hua Hin range from upmarket venues aimed mainly at tourists, to authentic Thai establishments with tempting menus and affordable prices. Thai is usually cheaper than international food regardless of where you eat. Most cooks will adjust the ingredients and spiciness as requested but if you can tolerate and enjoy spicy food it’s worth mentioning, though it can sometimes be hard to convince them that you really do want those extra five chili peppers.
Hua Hin has several restaurants that may surprise visitors with a uniquely Thai experience. One restaurant near the Canal Road gives the opportunity to fish for quite large prawns – rods can be rented hourly and anything caught is cooked in the style you desire. A standard menu is also available.
Another Thai favourite is the all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet, a popular method of cooking using a charcoal barbecue which slots into the table top and you cook the meat and vegetables on a metal dish placed on top. There is normally a fixed price per person of less than 150 baht but any leftovers incur an extra charge. There is one located on the main Petchakasem Road near Soi 47.
There is of course good locally-caught seafood in and around Hua Hin and several large open air seafood restaurants on Naresdamri Road near the beach, but the prices there are quite high compared with nearby Cha Am which is renowned for it’s excellent and cheap seafood.
Hua Hin certainly provides a fulfilling Thai food experience for the majority of visitors with a combination of restaurants, street food, snack vendors, and prices to suit every budget.