Kin Dee has been an amazing discovery while we’ve been at Mai Khao staying in the Phuket Sandbox.
As much as the resort food in Mai Khao is good, just around the corner at Kin Dee is a great selection of excellent dishes at a fraction of the price, plus a warm welcome and a nice, lush and green setting.
Dominated by upscale resorts and in the wake of the ongoing Covid pandemic, there isn’t a wide selection of local restaurants in Mai Khao.
Tucked just off the main road away from the resorts, Kin Dee – not to be confused with the bistro of the same name in Bang Tao – is the best choice we’ve found and we’ve been back several times during our stay.
If you are in Phuket but not Mai Khao, I’d still recommend a drive up to Kin Dee for a memorable meal or two.
The restaurant itself is a mainly open-walled and pleasantly airy space surrounded by plants and greenery, with a mix of modern and traditional touches.
As the menu runs heavy on seafood, it’s not surprising to see buckets of live crabs and shellfish swimming about by the main entrance.
A couple of times we’ve visited and been the only guests, but as Phuket gradually opens up to foreign and domestic tourists it has been getting busier with both locals and tourists dropping in.
We’ve had a great welcome every time from the lady who seems to run the place and from the young lads who are surely either brothers or twins and who do most of the serving.
Their English is great but they’ve also indulged us in speaking and practising Thai with them which was fun.
But as much as service and setting helps a restaurant, it means diddly if the food is crap. Thankfully at Kin Dee the food is great.
There are lots of dishes both familiar and novel on the menu for seafood lovers and loathers alike.
From the appetisers, we loved the pepper leaf prawns – plump butterflied prawns on a large leaf, somehow deep-fried to crisp perfection in a turmeric-laced batter. Deep-fried leaves are the future.
Equally good are the calamari, crisp and covered in gooey garlicky stuff of the best kind.
The best bits at Kin Dee are to be found on the extensive list of mains, in a menu peppered with little comments about how much the chef loves this or that dish. We found that the chef has good taste.
The fried fish speciality of Kin Dee is a play on the classic Miang Kham, the fish taken off the bone and perfectly fried before sprinkling with a selection of shallots, ginger, chillis, nuts and various fried scraps and a side of leaves for making a happy little wrapped parcel of flavour.
The fish was served as all fish should be, in a fish-shaped dish. Say fish again. Pools of tangy tamarind sauce gathered at the bottom, sticky and sweet and ideal for dipping.
My own favourite was the soft shell crab with curry powder – the classic Thai seafood dish. This was possibly the best I’ve had – crispy crab and a thick, delicious sauce heavy on the curry powder, with the standard silky egg mix running through.
It’s one of those dishes that sounds awful on paper but tastes delicious, and no more so than at Kin Dee.
You are also free to choose things which are not fried, but where’s the fun in that.
Lastly, a classic Southern crab curry was the right balance of creamy and spicy with a generous portion of crab and nests of khanom jeen noodles.
We got through a lot more of the menu on a few trips to Kin Dee, even ordering extras like fried rice and chicken cashew nut to take home and have the next day for lunches back at our hotel – twice as nice for half the price.
On the subject of price – our bills for a hefty feed were always under 400 baht a head all in, and seemed a fair bit less than the menu prices on some seafood dishes.
Kin Dee is the kind of place I picture when I imagine great restaurants in Thailand – not fussy, not expensive, just excellent food and friendly service in a nice, casual setting.
When we head back to Phuket in future Kin Dee will certainly be on our list to visit, and it should be on yours too!
Info: Kin Dee restaurant, Mai Khao, Phuket
076 328 293 – location
Open daily 10.30 – 22.00, maybe a little earlier closing at the moment so would advise to get there before 20.00.