Travel: Finding the hidden gem – MaMa Jin, Karon, Phuket

MaMa Jin is all the rage right now in Karon’s restaurants pages of Tripadvisor, and it is THE place to go for authentic, cheap and cheerful Thai food on the shores of Karon beach.

It’s not easy to find – especially when you’re starving after a gruelling all-day snorkelling boat trip – and reviewers don’t seem too forthcoming with directions, so here I come to the rescue.

But first, the food.

Simple, unpretentious good Thai food. Nothing fancy, just amazingly cheerful service which left us grinning until our cheeks hurt. The flavours are a bit milder than the Thai food I’m used to, and I’m guessing it’s because Mama Jin is the most authentic Thai place I’ve been to so far. Anywho, it was a refreshing change to the palate.

Seafood fried rice and chicken skewers. Loved the bright purple tablecloth, it looks surprisingly good with the food!

Grilled squid, while admittedly a bit on the bland side, was fresh and tender. And the sweet and sour sauce is there for a reason!

Amazing Pad Thai with prawns.

And finally, the coup de grace. I don’t eat sticky rice, but my friends swear on their lives that Mama Jin’s mango and sticky rice is the best that they’ve ever had. I can’t vouch for the sticky rice, but the mango was yummmmy!

The views were also amazing. Try get a table right by the entrance, and you can easily watch dusk descend upon Karon Beach. The beach is literally a 15-second walk from Mama Jin, on the other side of the parking lot.

Now, how to get to Mama Jin.

Navigation 101 in Karon: It’s easy. Face the sea. To your right is the north, to your left is the south. MaMa Jin is at the northern end of Karon beach, on a little dirt track sandwiched between the beach and the big road.

Directions to Mama Jin if you’re coming from the north: You know where the big lake is? Walk around it towards the white pavilion. MaMa Jin is right next to it, facing the parking lot. Do not confuse Mama Jin with Mama Restaurant, whose front entrance is on the big road. Walk straight past its terrace at the back which actually overlooks the lake. It has terrible reviews, so don’t go there.

These photos are for reference, taken with Karon Beach on the right.

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Directions to Mama Jin if you’re coming from the south: Go past the big roundabout with the statues and walk straight up north for about 5 minutes. There’s a big gateway area, follow the path off the main road, and it leads towards the pavilion. Just keep walking past the pavilion and you’ll see MaMa Jin on your right!

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Lastly, go early or book a table, there were people waiting for tables by 7pm. Hopefully this post was helpful, now go get that amazing Thai food!

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