Chowlay Seafood, on the pier in Bangbao, is one of the oldest restaurants on the island, a longstanding favourite of weekending Thais. It is also one of those places that you’ll either love or hate. As it can be a bit inconsistent, depending mainly on how busy it is. The restaurant is popular with large groups and if you have the misfortune of ordering just before a party of 30 arrive, chances are your dishes might be a bit rushed. Avoid weekends and Thai holidays.
But if you visit mid afternoon on a weekday, then you’ll probably have a very good meal. The restaurant will be quiet and the chefs sweating away in the open kitchen with take time to ensure your dish is prepared correctly.
It’s a spacious, simple restaurant with a slightly rundown feel about it. But don’t let looks deceive you. It’s just taken for granted amongst many visitors, especially Thai & Chinese, that a visit to Chowlay Seafood should me on the itinerary if they want to eat seafood in a fishing village on Koh Chang.
Freshness is guaranteed. On the left, when you enter the restaurant, you’ll see your meal swimming around in the tanks. You can choose which of the many different fish, prawns, crabs, lobster, shellfish etc you’d like to have killed. Or the staff will do it for you. And you won’t have to think about how it got from tank to table as you’re enjoying your meal.
Food here is made ‘Thai style’ so don’t expect any subtle flavours. It’ll be spicy and, at times possibly too over seasoned. My favourite dish here is the ‘Miang Pla’. Miang Kham is a northern Thai specialty. It’s basically made up of a mix of spicy, sour, sweet and salty ingredients such as peanuts, ginger, chillies, dried shrimp, shallots, green mango, lime and more, all wrapped up in a big green leaf. The Miang Pla comes with a bit of fish – as Pla is the Thai word for fish. ( See the photo below )
You add some sauce, roll up the leaf, trying not to spill everything in your lap and stuff it all in your mouth. The result will get your taste buds tingling as you try to identify the different flavours. Worth trying. :-)
Prices are a bit on the high side for some dishes – the fish in particular. Figure on 10% more than many similar restaurants. But the food is, usually, excellent.
Price: $$ – $$$
Location: Half way along Bangbao pier, on the right hand side.
These restaurant reviews are just my thoughts on a place at the time I visited. I’ll mention if I know the owner well or get any freebies. But for the most of the time I am happy to play tourist and don’t mention this site at all. Obviously it isn’t possible to sample every dish on the menu and the type of food you have for lunch will differ to evening. In addition, owners and more importantly chefs, can change and your experience may differ from mine. If it does, post a comment below.