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Eat and meet


Thanks to the city's multicultural community, Trang's dining scene offers a mix of Thai, Chinese and Malay Muslim flavours. The most famous local speciality is kopi, locally grown, wood-fire brewed coffee that is served in hole-in-the-wall cafes all over town. It's often taken with Chinese snacks, like dim sum and steamed buns, or with tasty moo yang (grilled pork). Another dish to look out for is khanom jeen, cold rice noodles topped with curry or a fish sauce. It's eaten with heaps of fresh and crunchy green herbs and vegetables. Lastly, look out for Trang's local cake -- a spongy delicacy that comes in coffee, orange and durian flavours.

One of the best places to eat in Trang is the town's night market, which sets up every evening behind city hall. It's the best place in town to find khanom jeen, and you can also try barbecued chicken, Muslim curries, fried fish dumplings and nahm prik (spicy chilli paste) with vegetables.

Located almost next door to the train station, Sino-cha is a modern update on the local kopi shop. While their view of the parking lot isn't exactly enticing, they make up for it with clean modern decor and an inviting open-air atmosphere. In addition to the delicious local brew, they serve generous pots of a local favourite Chinese jasmine tea along with cake, pastries and Chinese steamed buns. If you're feeling hungrier than that, you can also order sandwiches or small Thai rice meals that are very tasty and often very spicy. Come early for their Western and Thai breakfasts, including rice porridge soup, pancakes and muesli with fruit.

For a more rustic kopi experience, head to Yue Chiang Cafe at the corner of Rama VI Road and Soi 1, on the left as you walk away from the train station. There's no sign in English but the cafe is hard to miss -- it occupies an aged wooden building with faded turquoise walls and weathered wooden tables and chairs. The owner speak a little English, and he was very enthusastic in telling us the cafe has been in his family for more than 100 years. The kopi, moo yang, and pat jang rice cakes are all among the best Trang has to offer.

With tables arranged under a thatched roof and surrounded by tropical plants, Ban Tanai is one of the most inviting coffee shops in town. They have an English menu, though it is a little confusing -- one item was listed simply as 'steam'. Instead it may be better to wait for them to bring the tray of dim sum around, and pick a few plates that look tempting. Most drinks and dim sum cost around 20 baht, making it a cheap spot for a snack or a light meal. Their sign doesn't show their name in English, but they're not hard to find -- they're on Rama VI Rd, across from City Hall, and directly opposite a bizarre statue of two children frolicking with a dugong.

If you're craving Western fare, head to Sea Breeze on Satthani Road next to the train station. They offer burgers, salads and pizzas, along with a host of Thai dishes in a lively setting. It's something of an institution among travellers and locals and a decent place to get a beer in the evening.

While Sea Breeze can be hopping on any night, the general area around the train station comes to life on weekend evenings with a sizable market, and often a live band playing in the train station itself. If you're there on the weekend, it's a great opportunity to get a feel for the lively charm and unique food of Trang.

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