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You can find food stalls and small restaurants in Thailand on nearly every corner and several mobile food stalls scattered about. They travel around selling food, and this can be anything from local Thai fruit, grilled or deep-fried treats, to tiny completely functioning kitchens selling noodle soups and stir-fries. There is hardly a Thai dish that is not sold anywhere in Thailand by a street seller or at a festival. Some concentrate on only one or two foods, others offer a full menu rivalling that of restaurants. Many only offer pre-cooked items, some produce food to order. Night food markets pop up in parking lots, along busy highways, and at temple fairs and local festivals in the evenings, in the shape of a series of street stalls and mobile sellers, when the temperatures are more comfortable and people have finished work.
There are several various Thai restaurants to choose from, even though Koh Tao is a tiny island.
Located right by the Lomprayah pier on the waterfront at Mae Haad, this is a wonderful place not only to eat thai food but to see the world come and go. The prices are marginally higher than some other local Thai locations with its prime position as a great boat/people-watching spot but the consistency and portion sizes support this. The menu provides plenty of choices, including whole fresh seafood, as well as daily starters, curries, rice and fried dishes.
If you don't hold your eyes open, Tukta can be slightly troublesome to locate for tourists for the first time as it's quick to drive by! Moving towards Chalok from Mae Haad, it's right on the left side of the corner until you go down the hill to the T-junction. It is another firm favourite of Koh Tao locals, with plenty of parking, seating and a wide menu of generous portion size to chose from.
Only a minute's walk from Master Divers, this unnamed food stop is managed by P Nut, who serves delicious flavours and fresh food with a smile every day. It's a popular lunch spot for many workers, quickly recognized by the pink stripe above the entrance, which provides both eat-in and take-away.
This simple wooden restaurant situated on the main road on the way out of Mae Haad going towards Chalok is a hot spot for both locals and visitors. The standard of the food here offers outstanding value for money, renowned for its low rates, good portions and flavourful dishes.
This understated restaurant in Sairee specialises in duck dishes with noodles and rice and tastes wonderful for a cheap Thai lunch. The preferred dish is the easy and tasty duck and egg noodles, a perfect spot to get lunch after a morning diving session.
Serving delicious Thai dishes Su Chilli is Sairee's most famous Thai food restaurant, conveniently positioned on the main road next to the crossroads. At peak hours, you might find it gets busy, so make sure to get there early. The workers are really polite and will often ask how spicy you like your meal.
Next to Crystal Dive, a cosy family-owned Thai restaurant in Mae Haad, a decent spot to get your typical Thai dishes like massaman curry and pad thai. Relaxed environment and cheap prices make this a fun location whether you are going on the dive boat to catch an early dinner or a short snack.
At 7-Eleven, between Mae Haad and Sairee Shore, you'll notice a tiny evening market on the main lane. There are several stalls with fruit, chicken or other Thai delicacies every evening.
There are also several restaurants and food stalls across the market where you can eat reasonably cheaply. It's probably worth looking if you are heading by the market.