Ko Vee's Curry Shop

Every now and again, for one reason or another, I find myself in a restaurant I never intended to visit, today was one of those days. It was raining, I was hungry,I wanted a parking space, I wanted a cheap meal and it was a special religious day 'Wan Ork Pansa' วันออกพรรษา or the Final Day of the Vassa which meant some businesses were closed. It was then I spotted a row of curry pots ......

I've been in loads of curry shops like this so I chose a couple of different curries and had them over rice, took a table inside but things were different from the curry shops I've been to before......

I suddenly felt I was in a family home, Ko Vee, the owner (I found out his name later) came over to see if I was able to eat the spicy curry (no problems there), people were coming and going, customers were clearing their own tables, Ko Vee gave them a cloth! He was chatting to them like they were family and for that matter maybe they were. Having finished my food I called him over to take the money, and seeing how friendly and chatty he was I asked him about the place.

Ko Vee told me that the house was built the year before he was born, 66 years ago in 1948 and he has lived there all his life, the restaurant is basically a roof extension of the building. Being interested in the history of Phuket, especially architecture, I love places like this. Ko Vee pointed out the post in the middle of the restaurant explaining how it had been made by hand using an axe and was of a wood that termites don't like, it was clear to see the marks made by the axe unlike modern day wood that is perfectly smooth. 

The field opposite (see top photo) was once a row of brothels that continued along Poonpon Road (which has always been famed for 'Soi 11' it's red light district), then, what must be about 30 years ago because I don't think they were there when I arrived in 1987, a fire destroyed them, since then the land has been used as a fruit market and now an area for bird singing contests. Further along the road near the traffic lights was once an abattoir (slaughterhouse) and the crossroads is locally known as 'See Yaek Rong Ka Sat' literally 'Slaughterhouse Crossroads'. The abattoir is long gone now and in its place stands the Jee Teng Complex that houses Vachira Clinic, a branch of the Vachira Government Hospital. 
(Whoops getting a bit off the subject there!)

Ko Vee sells curry and local sweets in a traditional coffee shop setting that probably hasn't changed since the tin mining days, he tries to attract Kon Poon Teh คนปุ๊นเต่ the 'old style' native Chinese community of Phuket which is what makes for the family atmosphere. Places like this are one of the reasons I love Phuket. 

It was a pleasure to meet such a friendly man that made me feel like I had known him for years and I'll be returning to chat to him again for sure!