One of Hong Kong’s most popular seafood venues, the village of Lei Yue Mun has over a dozen seafood restaurants and seafood stalls lining a winding road overlooking the typhoon shelter. Once you’ve settled down in a restaurant, go outside and pick your dinner from one of the stalls with live seafood tanks, making sure you know how much you’re paying and for what.
Located in the heart of the Sim Sim stilt village, this 'restaurant' is more of a dockside fishery, where the daily catch is unloaded and sorted and prepared for the immediate consumption of travellers like you (and a lot of locals).
Unless you come with a group your only option is the one set meal (tǎocān) : all nine dishes of it, which includes in-season seafood, soup, vegetables and fruit. The restaurant is a little tricky to get to. First head down the side road to the right of the distillery (towards Fuxing Village, aka Niujiao Village).
The idea may sound gimmicky in theory – a boat-shaped restaurant where guests fish from the aquarium below – but in practice, Zauo is a riot for any age. Toss the line in from your table and wait for a tug; when you catch a critter you're met with praise from the waitstaff in the form a chant-y cheer and a clap.
The floating seafood restaurants at Hóng Shǎo Mǎ Tóu won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it you enjoy a rustic, loud, convivial atmosphere when you eat then take bus 17 (¥1) from Yuya Lu in Dàdōnghǎi to the last stop. Around the corner you’ll find a row of wooden junks ready to take you out to the floating restaurant base just a few hundred metres offshore.
Lying 18km east of Phetburi, Hat Chao Samran is one of Thailand’s oldest beach resorts, dating back to the reign of Rama VI (King Vajiravudh; r 1910–25). While the Thailand of today certainly has more appealing beaches, it’s a pleasant enough place to laze your way through a day or two, punctuating your naps with cheap seafood binges.
Business is so good here that the owner has to rent extra space nearby to seat his customers. Still, come sundown, there’ll be tables on the sidewalks and SUVs abandoned in the middle of the road by diners eager for the mouth-watering sautéed razor clams in black-bean sauce, the steamed scallops or the fried squid with salt and pepper. There’s no menu.
Renowned for its seafood, Beach Wadiya has attracted a popular following for decades, including various celebrities. The location is a tropical dream: cross the train tracks at the seashore and enter a walled enclave. Waiters describe what’s fresh – there’s always crab, prawns and lobster – then enjoy something cold while your fish is cooked.
Madam Ong Kim Hoi famously started out with an unnamed hawker stall (hence 'No Signboard'), but the popularity of her seafood made her a rich woman, with five restaurants and counting. Principally famous for its white-pepper crab, No Signboard also dishes up delightful lobster, abalone and less familiar dishes such as bullfrog and deer.
Up on the 2nd floor of the fish market are half a dozen traditional-style restaurants, selling the freshest fish and seafood. They specialise in raw fish, but also serve spicy soups with octopus, blue crab or fish plus steamed crab, grilled prawns or clams, or jeonbokjuk (abalone rice porridge).
Crabs are a major income earner for Sri Lanka’s fishing industry but most are exported and you don’t often see crab on menus. This high-profile restaurant (two owners are former captains of the Sri Lanka cricket team) rectifies this loss in a major way by celebrating the crustaceans in variations ranging from Singaporean chilli crab to locally spiced crab curry.
An attraction that rivals the beach, Hua Hin’s night market tops locals’ lists of favourite spots to eat. Ice-packed displays of spiny lobsters and king prawns appeal to the big-spenders but the simple stir-fry stalls are just as tasty. Try pàt pŏng gà·rèe Ъoo (crab curry), gûng tôrt (fried shrimp) and hŏy tôrt (fried mussel omelette).
A recent revelation in Kuta dining, founded by the long-time executive chef at the Novotel who delivers tropical seafood tastes at an affordable price. We like the tempura starter and his Tahitian take on ceviche. The grilled mahi is good, and so is the lobster Tom yam soup. He has other creative concoctions like a Sasak chicken wrap and an angel hair pasta with chilli crab.
The chef here demonstrates his love for the sea through thoughtfully prepared seasonal seafood dishes; some are seasoned with shōyu (soy sauce), others with rosemary. Everything on the menu is caught in nearby Sagami Bay. It’s a boisterous place that fills up fast on the weekend; call ahead for a table.
Come here for the freshest seafood prepared with care by a chef who's not afraid to close the restaurant if the shellfish doesn't meet his finicky standards. Try the hotate-no-sashimi (scallop sashimi; ¥900) or the kaki-no-sakemushi (oysters steamed in sake; ¥1100). Prices vary depending on the quality and the season.