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Eat and meet


For the small provincial capital that it is, Satun has a pretty handy supply of eating options.

Across from the school on Phuminarot Road, E-san Nua is the place to go for northeastern Thai specialties like barbecue beef, sticky rice and spicy papaya salad. There's no English sign or menu, so take a look at what others are eating if you need some help ordering. If you're more comfortable with an English menu, swing by Galay Restaurant which is run by some friendly Muslim women who serve big plates of rice with meat and veggies for only 30 baht.

For a more upmarket spread, Time Restaurant is one of the nicest eateries in Satun, boasting air-con, attentive staff, and some very Thai decor. Take a few minutes to flip through the encyclopaedic menu which covers everything from roasted duck to banana blossom salad. Try a curry and a spicy salad, then cool off with a mocha float. Dishes start at 40 baht, and they serve beer -- not all that common in these parts.

Next door to Time, you'll find Phrik Thai Steak & Food which is another tasty option with a more Western menu. Salmon, chicken or beef steaks are served with french fries, and there's also spaghetti. For a uniquely southern Thai appetiser, order the roti with green curry. Phrik Thai gets bonus points for outdoor tables and some excellent bathrooms. No pork or alcohol. Dishes start at 45 baht.

If you're suffering from rice overload, stop by On's the Living Room for their extensive and high quality Western menu. They offer yummy toastie sandwiches for lunch, and while pricey the fish and chips was the real deal -- a big hunk of white fish breaded and fried to perfection and served with fries, coleslaw and tartare sauce. There are pizza, pasta and steak options as well. While you're there, flip through their copy of the Bangkok Post or chat up the staff and expats for local information.

Market wise, near the canal you'll find Satun's Central Market -- the place to buy fresh meat, vegetables and dried chillies by the kilo. Stalls sell snacks like roasted cashews, small cakes and cold drinks. It's worth a look around, but is mostly shut down by 16:00.

Come the evening, Satun night market is filled with vendors selling fried chicken, Thai curries, mango with sticky rice, meat-on-sticks, and pastel-coloured sweets for take away. Look for the guy firing up sweet sticky rice covered banana and pineapple, wrapped in banana leaf -- delicious, especially when still hot. The market gets going around 17:00.

Because of the large Muslim population, many restaurants in Satun do not serve alcohol. There are a couple of open-air bars at the northern end of Satun Thanee Road, plus a cluster of lively karaoke bars near the Pinnacle Hotel.

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