Pattaya has an amazing selection of fresh shell fish and sea fish at great value, you can be assured to find it everywhere.
You can find seafood at Thai style open-air markets to the major supermarkets, from all types of restaurants across the city as well as being sold on the beach. Overall, if you buy the food anywhere outside of the restaurants you will find that it is relatively cheap especially if you go to the seafood market which can be found at the northern end of Naklua Road. It’s hard to miss as the car park is always full and you will see many Thais buying up the local catch.
Head to the seafood market as it really captures your sense of smell, and look in wonder at some of the strange and unusual sea and shell fish that you probably did not know even existed. The Naklua seafood market appears small from the outside but is large on the inside very much like the Tardis. All of the food is caught fresh with many items still alive and kicking, ready for you to take home. The shrimps come in all sizes, the crabs and lobsters are also freely available and in comparison to the west, very good value based on price per kilo.
There are other smaller markets that are dotted around the city where again you can purchase fresh seafood, although maybe not quite as fresh as at the Naklua market. Even if seafood doesn’t really float your boat – pun intended, then these markets are well worth taking in if only for the experience. If the smell and the sights of the markets are not to your liking, then we recommend trying the fish counters at any of the major supermarkets, from Big C to Foodland to Makro.
There is little doubting that Thais love their seafood. You’ll find that when friends or relatives visit, seafood will be on the menu whether it be cooked at home, in the yard or garden, or in a simple Thai restaurant or somewhere more fancy.
When Thais travel back to their home cities across the country, most head back with literally kilos of fresh seafood all tightly packed in ice boxes for family and friends back home. It has become something of a ritual and is often expected.
The fresh seafood is again another of the fantastically attractive qualities of Pattaya and something that often gets overlooked, especially by foreigners living here and in other parts of the country. We should eat more seafood.
Some restaurants do border on charging exorbitant prices for what they have purchased that morning from the seafood market, however there are plenty of places where you can get a good shell fish meal at a fair price. A firm favourite with many diners in Thailand is the grilled seafood that is generally cooked to order. You get the opportunity to pick and choose what you like and it is taken from the tanks and cooked especially for you to your liking.
The fine dining establishments such as Linda’s on Thappraya Road in Jomtien always have an excellent seafood selection and they take great care to prepare a superb meal using the finest ingredients. The Norwegian style shrimp sandwich they offer simply tastes great and is available from their daily lunch menu.
There are other places too that offer shrimps, crabs and lobsters as part of their menu such as the popular tourist venue, King Seafood on Walking Street, which has an extensive seafood menu consisting of international and Thai dishes.
If you prefer visiting local Thai restaurants you can almost guarantee that you will find seafood freely available. The dishes on offer are usually Thai themed using local herbs and spices, most commonly in soups such as Tom Yum Goong (Shrimp) or in stir-fry dishes which often contain local shellfish, squid, octopus or a seafood mix of white fish, shrimp, squid, and crab. These dishes do tend to cater towards Thai taste buds so you might ask for something ‘not too spicy’.
Basically, if you love seafood, then Pattaya is the ideal location for you. From the Seafood Market at Naklua to the small Thai Restaurants, to the restaurants with a la carte menus, you can be confident that you will be served up with a culinary delight. It is maybe something that should be recognised more by people outside of Pattaya but perhaps this is one of the reasons why it is so appealing!