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FOOD & TRAVEL

Catch of the day

Deep-fried black-banded trevally.

Deep-fried black-banded trevally.

Papaya salad with flower crab.

Papaya salad with flower crab.

Khao Tao Beach

Khao Tao Beach

The seafood at Rosthip Restaurant is so fresh you almost expect it to swim off your plate

Some two years have passed since I last sat down for a delicious dinner at Rosthip restaurant in Hua Hin but it's a meal I've never forgotten.

The eatery was recommended to me by Tim, an English friend who divides his time between London and this A-list beach resort. I remember protesting at the time that 20 kilometres seemed a long way to drive just for lunch, especially given downtown Hua Hin's considerable culinary charms, but Tim was quick to convince me that it was well worth the effort.

"I always come here for lunch whenever I return to Hua Hin," said Tim, adding that he'd fallen in love with the old, slightly shabby seaside restaurant located in a quiet community. I would soon understand why.

Tucked away on Khao Tao Beach, 20 minutes drive from downtown Hua Hin, Rosthip remains a jealously guarded secret among local gourmets.

While many stylish restaurants in Hua Hin pride themselves on their beautiful fusion food and cool design that play to Instagram and Facebook photos, Rosthip relishes in the past with round tables under a mushroom-like canopy.

The beach itself, a long strip of clean golden sand, is wonderfully peaceful. It's devoid of any tourists and merely serves as a playground for a few happy dogs to chase each other in the afternoon sun. The sea breeze dries the sweat from your face and blows away the headache brought on by an over-indulgent Saturday night.

"Regulars always ask for the catch of the day," grins Mai, Rosthip's friendly cook. "They want to know what we have in the kitchen."

Mai doesn't have to travel far to buy his fish - the local fishing village is a stone's throw away. He usually snaps up the squirming white snapper, grouper and king mackerel? You decide how would you like your fish to be cooked.

Two years ago we had deep-fried fish cake, fried egg with crabmeat and spicy seafood soup - a sensational medley of cuttle fish, crab, fish and prawn.

This time, we order deep-fried black-banded trevally and som tam, Thailand's ubiquitous papaya salad. The fat fish is gone in 30 minutes leaving only the head and tail for the resident cat.

My girlfriend loves her papaya salad but is disappointed there's no sticky rice. For Rosthip to serve papaya salad without sticky rice, she declares, is just downright cruel.

My papaya salad with flower crab is sensational and juicy, and I'm sure it will keep me drooling until the next visit.

If you go

_ Rosthip Restaurant, Hua Hin Soi 101, Hua Hin district, Prachuab Khiri Khan province; (081) 858 0496. It's open from Wednesday to Monday from 10am to 9pm. A meal for two with three large Singha Beer costs around Bt1,000.














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