This August, I visited my family in Hua Hin, Thailand. While I was there, they took me on a journey through the land, from beaches to vineyards. I managed to enjoy all that Thai cuisine had to offer without triggering any of my numerous allergies (to chili, black pepper, coriander, etc.). Below is an outline of some of my favorite places.

Commercial but delicious: Greyhound Café at Blúport Mall 

We started off our food journey by gently testing the waters to see if my overly-sensitive stomach could handle the "Thai way." Our family took us to Greyhound Café, a restaurant at the buzzing Blúport Mall that serves authentic Thai food in a way that is palatable to the many foreigners that go through Hua Hin each season.

pasta, sauce, chicken, vegetable, pad thai
Marie Chantal Marauta

Being my first day in Thailand, I had to try their Pad Thai, and it was beautiful. Unlike in Thai restaurants I've been to abroad, Greyhound doesn't overwhelm you with noodles, and the balance of flavors makes it an interesting dish, despite the lack of spice. (Since I'm intolerant to chili, I had to ask them to not put any in — a request that was met with a chuckle.) 

Overall, the restaurant had a great ambience, and served as a transition from the Western world into Thai authenticity. 

Lunch by the Ocean: Putahracsa 

Next, my aunt took us to Putahracsa, a quaint boutique hotel right on Hua Hin’s shore. Putahracsa’s outdoor restaurant, Oceanside, serves incredible Thai food while giving you access to the saltwater scent and ocean breeze.

meat, vegetable, sauce, pork, salad
Marie Chantal Marauta

Amongst other things, we enjoyed their Tom Yum soup and their spicy papaya salad with softshell crab (pictured above), and were given the option to either lounge on the pristine white sofas under the sun or sit at a table in the cool shade.

After the hustle and bustle of being a tourist, enjoying a quiet meal by the ocean was exactly what we needed. The hotel’s small size ensured that the ambience was peaceful and relaxing. 

Historical Tea Time: Centara Grand

As a history buff, I decided that seeing the colonial Railway Hotel was a must. The Centara’s old-style café serves a scrumptious high tea, consisting of aromatic tea and sweet treats served on pristine china.

bread, coffee, tea
Marie Chantal Marauta

Of course, I enjoyed the refined and mellow ambience, but what got me most excited were the range of historical artifacts (a mailbox, a switchboard, and a record player, amongst other things) that covered the walls and floor space.

The plush sofas and white coffee tables under the canopy had a view of the ocean on one side and a view of the well-kept exotic garden on the other, making the whole experience unique. 

Adventurous Food Stalls: Cicada Market 

The Cicada Market is one of Hua Hin’s main attractions, as it houses stall after stall of creative artwork, eccentric trinkets and hand-made garments. The food section, however, is what my aunt was most excited for us to see.

chicken, salad
Marie Chantal Marauta

Once again, my food intolerance problems impeded me from enjoying the full throttle of Thai spices. However, the cooks behind one of the stalls I visited were very obliging, and made me a simple dish of flavorful grilled chicken served with vegetables.

My family savored fresh fish spring rolls with chili and vinegar, and later ate a crushed ice dessert with beans, jelly and lychee. Judging by their happy faces, it was all delicious. The glittering fairy lights set the midsummer night mood, and I felt like I was in a movie

Day of Wine-ing and Dining: Monsoon Valley Vineyard 

Before this trip, I’d never associated Thailand with wine and vineyards. Hua Hin’s sole vineyard, however, changed the way I viewed the country’s landscape.

meat, tomato, cheese, lettuce, salad, vegetable
Marie Chantal Marauta

My aunt had called in advance to make sure we had a great seat on the restaurant’s balcony, and as we ate our light dishes (fresh salmon and tuna salads) and enjoyed cool glasses of their house wine, we had a breathtaking view of acres and acres of land.

Their mango-sticky rice dessert honestly made my day, and was the perfect cool-down in the scorching heat. For those who would like a little bit of adventure post-meal, you can ride an elephant around the vineyard grounds – just make sure to book upon arrival. 

Relaxing Sunset Snack: Banyan Golf Club 

I’m a sucker for sunsets, and so my aunt took us to the best spot in all of Hua Hin to watch the sun slowly go down. The Banyan Golf Club is about a 30-minute drive from Hua Hin, and literally in the middle of nowhere.

lettuce, salad, cheese, vegetable
Marie Chantal Marauta

While sitting on the restaurant porch, we enjoyed a view of endless green, all while relishing in the peace and quiet of the club that had by that time been vacated by the golfers.

The tuna tartar, pictured above, was fresh and flavorful, and was perfectly paired with a cold glass of soda. After a long, hot day under the Sun, Banyan provided the ideal place to unwind. 

Breezy Drink by the Beach: Brassiere Cozy Beach 

This isolated boutique hotel with a Greek-inspired interior design is situated on the empty shores of Pranburi Beach, which is a 40-minute drive from Hua Hin.

alcohol, strawberry, ice, smoothie, watermelon, cocktail, juice
Marie Chantal Marauta

Seeing as it was low tourist season, we literally had the villa and beachfront tables all to ourselves. So while we sipped our drinks – frozen margaritas and freshly-made watermelon juice – we took in the vast, empty beach and gentle lapping of the low tide.

Brassiere serves food too, from ice cream to soups to pasta dishes to Thai plates, however, having come from a heavy lunch, we preferred to enjoy our drinks then go for a walk on the beach. If you’re the kind of person that likes holidaying in remote places without being disturbed, Brassiere is your ideal go-to.

Of course, Hua Hin – and the areas surrounding it – have far more food places that one couldn’t possibly cover in a week. The seven above, however, are must-tries for first-timers. I hope that if you plan on visiting Hua Hin anytime soon, my mini-guide can serve as a good starting point for your culinary itinerary.