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Romantic Dining

SAMUI

at Chaweng Beach

www.siamwininganddining.com

1st _ 31st MARCH 2013

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Sareeraya Villas & Suites Call + 66 (0) 77 914 333 www.sareeraya.com

And the Year

Marches on…

Is there anything worth celebrating in March? Well of course!

The Christmas tree is packed away. New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten. And the Valentine’s roses have wilted. March brings little in the way of celebrations on an island where Easter is not widely recognised. But there’s nothing stopping you from organising your own Easter egg hunt on the 31st of March, with local delicacies in lieu of chocolate eggs, or heading to one of Samui’s fine eateries to indulge in some chocolate-rich dessert. And besides, isn’t every day on a tropical island worthy of celebration? Whether your idea of rejoicing life is in the lap of luxury, or if you prefer the simpler things, Samui won’t disappoint. With eateries and bars ranging from

world-class international establishments to tiny beachside bars, your options are endless. So stop saving the good crystal for a ‘special occasion’. The fact that you’re here, enjoying the (hopefully) perfect March weather on an island in the Gulf of Thailand is a special occasion. It’s not how much you weighed on holiday that you’ll remember in years to come, but that favourite little spot on ‘your’ beach, where you sipped a mojito at sunset. So explore, enjoy and make new memories.


Catch of the Day - Langoustines

SAMUI

Graeme Malley Editor

We find out more about this lesser - known crustacean.

Angkanang Somwang (Peung) Graphic Designer

Ugrit Komlue (Grit) Photographer

Seksak Kerdkanno (Klauy) Webmaster & Photography

Rob De Wet Feature Writer

Rosanne Turner Feature Writer

Kathy Ross Feature Writer

Peter James Feature Writer

Nipawan Chuaysagul (Ning) Sales & Marketing Director ning@siammap.com Tel: 0 898 783 891

Henrik Bjørk Managing Director

Siam Map Company Ltd. 52/6, Samui Ring Road, Moo 3, Bo Phut, Samui, 84320 Thailand Tel: (66) 0 7742 2201 Fax: (66) 0 7741 3523 email: info@siammap.com www.siammap.com All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or pictorial content in any manner is prohibited without written permission from Siam Map Company Ltd. Whilst every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Siam Map Company Ltd. assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. c Siam Map Company Ltd. 2013

Distribution at Bangkok Airport courtesy of Bangkok Airways. Reservation Center: 1771 Samui Chaweng Office: 0 7760 1300 www.bangkokair.com

Please recycle or pass on to a friend.

Discover authentic

Indian Cuisine Samui Noori India Restaurant - Chaweng Centerr Chaweng Beach Road, opp. Chaweng Buri Noori India Restaurant - Chaweng South at Chaweng Cove Resort outh Noori India Cooking Center - Chaweng South Soi Colibri, opp. Centara Grand Beach Resort ort For reservations (English) - 0 867 407 873 or 0 7741 3108 For reservations (Thai) - 0 813 960 283 E-mail: nooriindia_samui@yahoo.com www.nooriindiasamui.com

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Most people would be able to identify a lobster if asked, and most would also know a prawn – although they might call it a shrimp depending on where they are from. But a langoustine? Well it’s smaller than a lobster and bigger than a prawn. Take a prawn and quadruple it in size. Add claws. There you have your langoustine. And as if they don’t have enough of an identity crisis already, what with being confused with lobsters and prawns, they’re also known as Norway lobsters, scampi and Dublin Bay prawns. Originally found off the coast of Norway, langoustines are a member of the lobster family. These days they’re caught along the Atlantic coast, including Scotland, as well as the western Mediterranean and the Adriatic, though overfishing has caused numbers to drop, so their rareness makes them even more of a delicacy. Langoustines don't change colour when they are cooked unlike their big cousin, the lobster. They have pink, narrow smooth-shelled bodies, with long knobbly claws, and are not very meaty. The shell, head and thorax (the upper torso) can't be eaten, but the tail and the meat in the claws can. As they spoil very quickly, most langoustines are cooked and frozen at sea, so it's quite hard to find live ones. They are usually pinky-red in colour but can also

be quite pale. They’re solitary predators, feeding on smaller sea creatures. Trawling is the most common form of fishing, when the langoustines are caught as they emerge from their burrows in the seabed. Unfortunately, this method of capture also kills the undersized and berried (pregnant) ones and produces a large dead by-catch as well. Enjoying your time in Thailand? Well, here’s an interesting fact. Chances are, the langoustines you enjoy back in Europe have made the 27,000km round-trip to Thailand too. Every summer many holidaymakers head for the Mediterranean with one goal in mind – as soon as they’ve checked in to their hotel, they’ll wander down to a seaside restaurant and start the holiday over a large plate of langoustines, some crusty bread and a chilled white wine or two. Few will realize that the highlights of their delicious seafood lunch, caught in European waters, have been frozen and sent to Thailand for hand-peeling, before being sent all the way back to Europe again to find their way to the restaurants. It’s cheaper to have the langoustines transported to and from Thailand for hand-peeling than to process them by machine in a European factory. Hand-peeling apparently also makes for a better piece of scampi when they makes their return journey to be breaded

Langoustines are usually sold frozen and ready-prepared, with the shell removed. If you’re lucky enough to be able to buy live langoustines (not likely here on Samui), make sure they’re still moving. Larger ones are better value, as they'll have more flesh, and that’s the part you’re after. Avoid those whose tails have started to turn black - they're dead. And generally speaking, the colder the waters in which the langoustines were fished, the better their flavour, which is why Scottish langoustines are considered to be the best.

other, or pop into well-salted boiling water and boil rapidly for two to three minutes. Overcooking is sacrilege – so look at the meat under the tail, which can be seen through the thin shell that covers it. It should have turned from pale, translucent pink to a definite white. Let the langoustines cool as quickly as possible in one layer on a tray, but don’t even think of putting them in cold water, as is often suggested, as they will suck up water and the flesh will turn mushy. They’re best served simply with mayonnaise. It’s quite a mission to get the flesh out, even with lobster crackers and picks, but this is all part of the build-up before being rewarded with the succulent meat. Perhaps sending them to the other side of the world for peeling makes more sense now…

To prepare pre-cooked langoustines, first thaw if frozen - then they’re ready to eat. Live crustaceans should be cooked as soon as possible after buying them. If you’re squeamish about popping a live creature into boiling water, the most humane method is to rinse them, then put them in the freezer or in a dish and cover with crushed ice for a couple of hours, which basically knocks them unconscious. And then cook them whole as follows: either grill for a minute on the first side, then 30 seconds on the

And considering they’ve done their trek to Thailand, it seems fitting that frozen, peeled langoustines be used in a fusion dish, incorporating some of the flavours of their travels. You’ll often see langoustines in fusion versions of Thai green or red curries, and they can be used in most dishes where prawns, crabmeat or lobster are called for. The flavour is distinctly different to both prawn and lobster, but still works well in such dishes. Fresh langoustines are delicious cooked as above and

and fried. Environmentalists are opposed to these well-travelled langoustines on the grounds that the trans-shipment of 120,000 tonnes per year leaves a substantial carbon ‘claw’ print.

served with just a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of mayonnaise, garlic butter or aioli, but can also be added to curry, pasta and paella. They’re also enjoyed deep-fried in batter or bread crumbs, or peel and poach them and make traditional scampi Provençal. Pre-boiled langoustines should be reheated gently; as if they’re recooked, they'll toughen. Alternatively, eat pre-boiled langoustines cold in a salad with vinaigrette. While you’re staying on Samui, it’s probably best to go local when it comes to seafood, so try the prawns harvested right here in the Gulf of Thailand, or if you want something a little fancier, lobster from the Andaman coast. But when in Europe, while enjoying your plate of langoustines, perhaps it’ll remind you of your visit to Thailand, knowing that they probably made that same journey before ending up as your dinner.

Rosanne Turner

Romantic views, soothing sounds and classic Italian fare with a modern approach combine to please the most discerning diner. Olivio - a must for visitors and locals alike. Olivio ~ beachfront at Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort Chaweng Beach. Free round trip transfer from Chaweng, Bophut, Choeng Mon, Mae Nam. For reservation please call 0 7723 1500 www.siamwininganddining.com

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SA SAMUI DINING GUIDE D RE RECOMMENDED RRESTAURANTS E

Samui Dining Guide is a compilation of reviews of the island's most highly-recommended fine-dining restaurants, and is available free-of-charge at all the finest hotels, restaurants and spas. It can also be found at Bangkok Airways' departure lounge in Bangkok Airport.

9Gems G Asian Fusion Cuisine Absolutely stunning hilltop restaurant that’s one of Samui’s top few. Unbeatable views across Chaweng Bay paired with world-class fusion cuisine in the island’s most stylish contemporary setting. 9Gems is open from 4:00 pm until 12:00 am Mon-Thurs and 4:00 pm until 2:00 am Fri-Sun (kitchen closes 11:00 pm). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7725 6125.

Chaweng

Yes! When it comes to what’s good for you, broccoli is hard to beat!

Ad Hoc Beach Café Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine A charming beach restaurant set on expansive decking with panoramic views, serving quality cuisine. It’s a great stopping off spot for lunch, too. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 5380.

Bophut, between Fisherman’s Village and Big Buddha

Amala Restaurant Vegetarian Cuisine In an exceptional location at the western end of Big Buddha Beach, Amala Restaurant serves vegetarian cuisine ‘fine-dining’ style. If you‘ve never gone ‘meat-less’ before, this is the place to start a whole new culinary adventure. The restaurant is open from 7:00 am, with the kitchen closing at 9:45 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7724 6362.

Bangrak

Up for a sharp snap of vitamin C? Then buzz for the broccoli. Potassium poor? Partner-up with broccoli. Is your fibre furtive? Fix it – broccoli-wise. Need a quick boost of iron? Fill your pockets with horse-shoes. No – that was just to keep you reading! But, to be serious, overall, broccoli is a bit of a star.

broccoli to excess. Eventually turning his back on all other food, he gorged himself on nothing but broccoli for an entire month. It was only when his urine turned bright green (and quite possibly his entire body too, but that’s not recorded) that his father called a halt and reprimanded him severely for “living precariously”.

Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family and is most closely related to cauliflower. But this is somewhat misleading, as the closest relatives are the diminutive Brussels sprouts and also kale, which is essentially a leafy vegetable. However, one thing that they all share is a ramped-up nourishment scale – they’re all very good for you. But let’s leave the serious stuff for a moment because, out of all the family, broccoli is a bit of a joker.

Broccoli seems to have landed in Europe in the 16th century when Catherine de Medici introduced it to France in 1533. And it’s recorded as having crossed the Channel to England not long after, when Miller’s Garden Dictionary of 1724 referred to it as the “flower sprout of the colli flower”. However, it became much more amusing after it had arrived in America, particularly much later, in the repertoire of President George W Bush. Probably the most genial of all that nation’s presidents, and undoubtedly the most amusing, in 1990 he stated that “. . . I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. I’m now President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!” However, so enraged were American broccoli farmers that, within a week, ten tons of broccoli had been dumped outside The White House in protest. Chew on that George (it’s really good for you!).

Well, not actually broccoli itself; you won’t catch it with its own show on prime-time TV. But more in the fables, legends and tales which it’s attracted. It’s been around for quite a while. A thousand years before the birth of Christ we know that the Rasenna people of Asia Minor (now called Turkey) began cultivating cabbages, the forefathers of broccoli. These cruciferous vegetables were also grown along the Eastern Mediterranean. And, during the 8th century BC, the Rasenna began their migration to Italy, trading with (and spreading their broccoli to) the Greeks, Phoenicians, Sicilians, Corsicans, and Sardinians as they went, before eventually reaching Rome. This was where this unassuming little vegetable firmly took root and became a big hit almost immediately. Tales still exist about the Roman Emperor Tiberius, whose son, Drusius, took his love of

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In a similar and possibly semi-presidential vein, another American folk hero, Homer Simpson, in an episode screened in 2000 and entitled ‘Treehouse of Horror XI’, suddenly died after eating broccoli. Of course, in the true and satirical spirit of the program, nothing could be further from the real world. But the inheritance of George W lingers on as the dialogue runs: Doctor: “Another broccoli-related death.” Marge: “But I thought broccoli was . . .” Doctor: “It’s one of the

deadliest plants on earth. It tries to warn you itself with its terrible taste.” Which of course is cheerful nonsense, but it’s all good, clean fun. And just to show how far from the truth that Homeresque cameo actually was, chew on this. Broccoli is actually one the superheroes of the vegetable kingdom, with its rich vitamin A content – note the dark green colour, indicating the high level of carotene. Though somewhat bitter, the leaves are also edible and contain generous amounts of vitamin A. Folic acid is also abundant, and there’s a great deal of calcium, too. A cup of broccoli gives you 10% of your daily iron requirement, and the vitamin C content helps the body to absorb the iron. One cup actually fulfils your daily vitamin C requirement. Plus there’s only 44 calories per cup. Though this exceptional vegetable is not a powerhouse of protein, it does contain four grams a cup and additionally four grams of fibre. So much for nourishment. But the medicinal benefits are also outstanding. Though definitive proof has yet to be published, the USA National Cancer Institute has suggested that broccoli, along with its family members, may be instrumental in the prevention of several types of cancer. Because of its impressive nutritional profile, broccoli and its kin could be responsible for boosting certain enzymes that help to detoxify the body. These enzymes help to prevent cancer (including leukaemia) diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Broccoli (along with onions, carrots, and cabbage) may also help to lower blood cholesterol. At the US Department of Agriculture’s regional research center in Philadelphia, two researchers (Dr. Peter Hoagland and Dr. Philip

Pfeffer) have discovered that these vegetables contain a certain pectin fibre, calcium pectate, that binds to bile acids, holding more cholesterol in the liver and releasing less into the bloodstream. They actually proved broccoli to be equally as effective as several of the (costly) proprietary branded cholesterol-lowering drugs. And broccoli’s wealth of the trace mineral chromium may be effective in preventing adult-onset diabetes. Trials have found that found chromium boosts the ability of insulin to perform, in people with slight glucose intolerance. You’re in Thailand. And, overall, Thai cuisine is one of the healthiest diets that you’ll come across anywhere. It contains virtually zero animal fats, only fresh ingredients (with nothing frozen or out of a tin) and is high in protein, fibre and most of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. But you’ll find that the local Thai restaurants and street stalls aren’t big on ‘exotic’ vegetables. Items like broccoli need the colder climes found in Thailand’s northern regions, and so are expensive to ship to Samui. But just try a Thai vegetable dish in one of the better restaurants, or in your resort. You’ll be delighted with the results as, done properly, there’s little to beat a fully-flavoured Thai vegetable curry or sweet and sour dish. And if it’s not crammed with baby corn, petite pois, asparagus tips – and broccoli – ask for them the next time. After all, there’s no point in missing-out on one of nature’s little marvels, is there?

Rob De Wet


SAMUI DINING GUIDE E RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

Coffee Culture Refreshing beverages made by your own fair hands; Barista courses at Boncafe.

Au Café des Arts French, International & Thai Cuisine Chaweng’s finest beachside French restaurant. Relaxed atmosphere capturing a tropical bistro feel, amidst some beautiful pieces of art. The restaurant is open from 6:00 am until late (kitchen closes at 10:30 pm). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7723 1169.

Chaweng Beach (North)

Beach Republic Mediterranean Cuisine Samui’s premier ocean club. The weekly Sunday Sessions BBQ and Brunch is an island institution.

Everybody enjoys a refreshing beverage at some point during their day. This can be in the form of hot, cold, alcoholic, stewed, strained or drained. Nowadays whatever tickles your taste buds in the beverage stakes is available; there are fruit beers and ciders, innumerable different flavours of wine, cocktails & mocktails, espressos & ristrettos, green and jasmine tea. All of these can be enjoyed alone or sometimes mixed together, to create a whole new blend of beverage.

Maenam, about one-kilometre from the traffic lights in Bophut, on the left-hand side after the gasoline station. Inside you’ll find a small but well stocked shop, with excellent customer service being offered, to ensure that all your requirements are met. The Boncafe name has been in operation for over 21 years and they’re due to celebrate their 22nd anniversary on the 22nd of November this year, while on Samui they have been open for over six years now.

Have you ever dreamt about having the knowledge and skills to create that perfect tasting concoction, either in your own home or in your place of business? Well look no further, all of the answers to producing that sumptuously delicious delight in a glass are now available here on Samui.

These days, the traditional black or white coffee is not sufficient to entice the customer through the door, there needs to be some charm and sophistication added to the cup. This is where Boncafe can help, by teaching those that signup to the workshop the tricks of the trade. They can give you the inside knowledge of how to create that special swirl, froth or artistic design that can complete that exceptional cuppa for your customers. The free workshop is held quarterly throughout the year, with the next one planned for the middle of March. It is hoped that this workshop will become increasingly popular, so they can be held more frequently in the future. Within this workshop you’ll be given the opportunity to learn and understand the dynamics to creating diverse coffee recipes, including making a captivating cappuccino and how to design and produce the appealing artwork on a

Boncafe is a leading Thai-Swiss manufacturer of coffees, teas, flavoured syrups, sauces and toppings. They also provide the most up-to-date state of the art machines and tools to enable you to achieve that taste sensation yourself. Along with all that, they now offer you the opportunity to attend a one day workshop or full barista course at the Coffee Academy. On Samui, the Boncafe shop can be found on the main ring-road when travelling from Chaweng to

latte. It’ll also offer you their in-depth knowledge and experience about how to open your own successful coffee shop, detailing the wants and needs of customers. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, but perhaps your requirements are a little more detailed, then you might want to consider signing up for one of the barista courses. The barista courses run for one, two or three-days. The obvious difference is that the more days you dedicate to learning, the more in-depth the information you can receive. The barista courses will give a comprehensive guide to all the different styles of coffee, how to select the appropriate beans for each separate taste and how to create the various designs for each one. The course also advises about popular styles of tea, flavours of soda and toppings for desserts, to ensure that the expertise they pass onto every student is well-rounded and complete. At Boncafe they provide all the necessary equipment, tools and ingredients to create that perfect beverage. The coffee machines are of the highest calibre, and full training is given with every purchase. The new Boncafe Pegaso machine is of a particularly high standard, adapted from criteria provided from all the Boncafe stores around Thailand. By amalgamating

information from all the stores, they have ensured that the machine has been created from the advice and overall requirements from all of their customers. There’s also an immense amount of different types of coffee beans on sale, along with all the different brands of tea, countless different flavours of syrup and dessert toppings. All the branches offer a one-stop service for all beverage solutions, meaning that they not only sell a machine, they want to guarantee that every customer is capable of effectively using it. Their focus is on customer satisfaction, ensuring that all have positive and productive contact after the original sale is complete. This promise can leave you content with your purchase and may leave you wondering why you hadn’t acquired a machine before!

Kathy Ross For further information, telephone 0 7742 7486 or 0 7742 7487. www.boncafe.co.th

The restaurant is open from 7:00 am for breakfast; 11:30 am for lunch; and from 6:00 pm for dinner (last orders at 10:30 pm). For reservations, free transfer service (for lunch, dinner or spa) and further information, telephone 0 7745 8100.

Lamai (off ring-road)

Captain Kirk Thai, Seafood & Intl. Cuisine First floor restaurant in a central location. Huge portions and reasonable prices make it a very popular choice. The restaurant is open from 5:00 pm until late. For further information, telephone 0 812 705 376.

Chaweng Beach Road

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SA SAMUI DINING GUIDE D RE RECOMMENDED RRESTAURANTS RE

Emeril Lagasse Mr. Bean

Happy Birthday

Eric Clapton

Daniel Craig

Chom Dao Thai-Seafood and Fusion Cuisine Lovely village-style, beachside restaurant serving some of the finest Thai-seafood and fusion cuisine on Samui. Live entertainment most nights.

We highlight some of the more curious events of the month of March.

Chom Dao is open for dinner from 6:30 pm till late (kitchen closes at 10:30 pm). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7724 5795.

Bophut Beach

3 Coco Rock Thai & International Cuisine Exceptionally lovely restaurant just north of Chaweng that’s part of the stunning Coral Bay Resort. Superb food in a location you’ll never forget. The restaurant is open from 11:00 am till late (kitchen closes at 11:00 pm). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7723 4555.

Chaweng Beach (North)

1st – Pip this! This was the day, in 1989, that Lee Wheels mightily spat a single watermelon seed a distance of 68 feet and nine inches, at the World Watermelon Spitting Championships held at Luling, Texas. Sadly, judges later ruled he was using illegal custom seeds! nd

2 – Divorce by cake. This was the uncomfortable plight of Chinaman, Cheng Yu, who filed for divorce on this day, in 2010, on the grounds that he was forced by his wife to eat cake for every meal. “I now feel sick if someone even mentions the word,” he told reporters.

Dining on the h Rocks k Modern Interpretive Cuisine The ultimate Samui dining experience! Breathtaking 270 degree seaview location, absolutely amazing cuisine. Truly memorable! Dining on the Rocks is open from 6:00 pm and closes when the last guest leaves. For reservations (recommended) and further information Telephone: 0 7724 5678.

Samrong Bay, North-east Coast

3rd – Made to last – as Denver’s Joann Brusco realised when she came across the year-old remains of a ‘Happy Meal’, on this day, in 2009. The bread and fries had gone hard, everything had shrunk a little and it had taken on “a kind of acrylic sheen.” 4th – Despite long-running requests from loony English comedy character, Mr. Bean, Michael Jackson consistently refused to appear in a public ‘dance out’ with him. As a result, Rowan Atkinson made an animated 3D cartoon to depict the event on this day, in 2007, which can still be seen on YouTube! 5th – This was the day, in 2010, on which scientists at Scotland’s University of Strathclyde patented an ‘intelligent’ indicator for pre-packed food. The built-in tab detected bacteria levels and changed colour when the contents were getting ‘ripe’.

Dr Frogs Italian & Traditional Thai Cuisine This award-winning restaurant sits on the cliff overlooking Chaweng Bay. And its dedication to excellence makes it a firm favourite with the locals.

6th – This was the day, just one year ago, when Florida authorities reported that 27-year-old Latreasa L. Goodman phoned 911 to report that her local McDonald’s was out of McNuggets. It seems she had paid at the counter but was then informed the restaurant had run out, and was refused a refund, as “all sales were final”! th

The restaurant is open from 11:00 am to 2:00 am (kitchen closes at 11:00 pm). For reservations and further details, telephone 0 7744 8505.

Ring-road, Chaweng Noi

7 – Celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse, sent Cleveland’s 70 year-old Ellen Basinski a whole new set of his signature cookware, on this day, in 2010. It seems he had heard that the plucky senior had lost one of his trademark pans, taken away by the police as evidence, after she reported bashing an intruder with it in her home!

CAFE BAR RESTAURANT

Good Food + Great Service + Excellent Coffee + Good Food + Great Service + Excellent

8th – This was the day, in 2006, on which Arizona animal rights activists were out in force. It seems that the Il Vinaio restaurant in Phoenix was selling

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lion burgers along with spicy homemade chips and corn on the cob, for $21 – but it wasn’t the price they were protesting about! 9th – New Bedford barber, William Camacho, is still arguing his innocence and claiming that his religious freedoms have been violated, after Massachusetts authorities shut his barbershop, on this day, in 2011. This occurred after evidence of animal sacrifices had been discovered. 10th – This was the day, in 2008, that a pig with only two front legs made the headlines in China. It had learned to walk balanced ‘on handstand’. Her owner has since been offered ‘a substantial amount’ for her by a national circus, but he’s not selling! 11th – Going back a bit, to 1878, this was the day when Scotsman Findlay McGregor took first prize in the Loch Garry ‘Bake for Pennies’ competition. His ‘Sprat, Potato and Gorse Pie’ (gorse!) seemed the perfect economy food. 12th – This was the day, in 1915, when Will Rolandson of the Brooklyn Dodgers made a splash. As a publicity stunt he attempted to catch a baseball dropped from one of ‘them noo-fangled airy-planes’. Sadly for him some joker in the plane decided to drop a grapefruit instead, resulting in the smug superstar being splattered from head to toe with pulp! 13th – Put a pie in your tank? This was the day, in 2011, when English scientists at the eco-friendly fuel firm, Greenergy, announced plans to power cars using discarded scraps of pasties and pies. The greasy refuse was being converted into bio-diesel fuel! 14th – The evidence was destroyed in a North Carolina robbery, after 17-year-old John Szwalla ate his ‘gun’, on this day, in 2009. He demanded money by pointing a concealed banana in his pocket, which he immediately scoffed when the police arrived. 15th – This was the day, in 2009, when police removed a three foot-long pet alligator from Alpine Wine and Liquors in New York. They issued tickets for ‘possession of an illegal animal’ and told the owners to get rid of it – and make it snappy! 16th – This was the day, in 1891, that Joseph

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18th – Does the name ‘Bunny Hale and the Palace Theatre Orchestra’ ring any bells? This was the day, back in 1925, that ‘Tea For Two’ was first released. 19th – The New York Burger Co called in a catholic priest, a rabbi and a buddhist monk to exorcise their new franchise on West 23rd Street, just a year ago today. It seems that over the previous four years, no fewer than seven restaurants had opened there and rapidly failed. “We hope to get rid of the bad spirits and have a good vibe here,” said the new owner, Brice Moldovon. 20th – It’s the official First Day of Spring today, in England. And, not to be left out, the Americans have made it National Ravioli Day. Their National Days are getting ‘pasta’ joke.

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25thh – This was the day, in 2008, that Herb Peterson, the originator of McDonald’s Egg Peterson away. Yes McMuffin Breakfast Sandwich, Sandwich passed away folks, they actually have people to invent these things! 26th – Robots appeared serving food at Dalu Robot Restaurant in Jinan, China, when they opened on this day, in 2010. There are six robot waitresses on duty, although – thank God! – the kitchen has real live people in it! 27th – This was the memorable day, in 1995, on which New Yorker, John Leonard, began legal action against PepsiCo. They had run a competition which offered ‘prizes for points’ and, just for fun, they included a Harrier Jump Jet for the unimaginable total of ten million points. Mr. Leonard actually collected this many points, and was not happy when Pepsi told him they were just kidding. 28th – If you like tom yam gung, freeze it first or this won’t work. Today is ‘National Something on a Stick Day’ in America (where else?)! 29th – The movie Hudson Hawk wins worst film at the 12th Golden Raspberry Awards, on this day, in 1992.

21st – This was the day, in 2010, that workers from the New Zealand Arctic Heritage Trust began drilling through the ice to try to locate a case of Scotch whisky, which was recorded as lost by Shackleton’s unsuccessful 1909 expedition.

30th – This was the day, in 1945, that Eric Clapton was born. One of the great rock legends, he first came to the public’s attention in the late ’60s fronting the supergroup, ‘Cream’.

22nd – It was on this day, in 2010, that the city of Portland, Oregon, flushed away eight million gallons of city drinking water because a 21 year-old man had been caught urinating in the local reservoir. This moment of relief cost the local taxpayers $8,000.

31st – Today is ‘Clams on the Half Shell Day’ in America, ‘Potato Day’ in Benton, Kentucky, and also ‘World Bunsen Burner Day’. If you get it just right, you could put the spud on the half shell with the clam and cook it over the Bunsen burner. But then, that’s a bit silly, isn’t it?

23rd – The first-ever glass milk bottle appeared on this day, in 1880, made by The Express Dairy Company of Finchley, England. It came with a glass stopper that fell out if you turned the bottle upside down!

Rob De Wet

24th – Today is Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) in Sweden. It’s also ‘Titchborne Dole Day’ in Alresford, England. While the Swedes go waffling on, the descendents of Lady Mabella Titchborne still continue to dole out free cups of flour to the local peasants.

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17th – To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a note of possible humour. An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman each order a Guinness and find a fly in their beer. Repulsed, the Englishman sends his drink back. The Scotsman flicks the fly out of his mug and begins drinking. The Irishman lifts his up by its wings and yells, “Spit it out! Spit it out!”

Open from 8am for great value All Day Breakfast, Pastas, Gourmet Sandwiches, Salads, Grills, Thai favourites, and of course delicious cakes and excellent coffee.

The Coffee Club Koh Samui

Mon

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GOOD FOOD GREAT SERVICE EXCELLENT COFFEE

Chaweng Beach Road, (near Burger King) Bophut

2013 March

Sun


SAMUI DINING GUIDE E RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

Drink Gallery International Cuisine Spacious and stylish restaurant/bar serving top-notch innovative cuisine and super cocktails/drinks which is located in the perfect spot for people-watching along the busy Chaweng Beach Road. Drink Gallery is open from 11:00 am until 1:00 am (kitchen closes at 12:15 am), with the brunch menu being available from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 2299.

Chaweng Beach Road

Eat Sense Seafood, Thai & Intl. Cuisine Magnificent, spacious beachside restaurant in central Chaweng. Great attention has been taken in its design, and the food’s terrific too. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7741 4242.

Chaweng Beach

Bandara Means Chom Dao One of the most enticing things about Bandara Resort is its super restaurant, Chom Dao.

‘Chom Dao’ is the signature beachside restaurant of Bandara Resort & Spa Samui. This elegantly opulent resort fills an extensive chunk of real estate that runs between the ring-road and the sea. The grounds are lush and sumptuous, and there are huge swathes of lawn everywhere, cunningly terraced to break up the sheer size of the plot. The long stroll to the beach takes you past two big swimming pools, by tinkling streams, over wooden bridges and between layered lotus ponds. And, as you emerge in sight of the sea, there, over to the right and on the edge of the sand you’ll come across Chom Dao. In the West we’ve become used to assuming that a restaurant is a series of rooms inside a building. But in Thailand the climate demands something different. Here you are more likely to find yourself in a shady roofed-over space, with one side being a solid wall behind which is the kitchen. The other three sides are open, with the roof supported by columns. Chom Dao is no exception and, additionally, the dining space spreads out onto decked terraces overlooking the sand. The main area has a terracotta floor and a Thai-style roof, with low wooden beams and bamboo textures above. And, pleasantly, all of this is shaded by a variety of huge, mature fruiting trees in addition to the inescapable coconut palms. If you check out the resort’s actual location, you’ll realise that it’s only just a few minute’s walk along the beach from the popular venue of Fisherman’s

Village in Bophut. But there’s an odd phenomenon at work in this respect. Many people feel awkward about walking through the front entrance of a resort in order to discover what the restaurant has to offer – there’s an inbuilt feeling that somehow it’s private. But they’ll have no hesitation in walking along the beach and dropping in on impulse for a beer or a snack. And this feeling of intrusion is something that Khun Frost is keen to dispel. Assistant Food and Beverage Managers, Khun Frost (Khun Jetsadaporn Maneesang) and Khun Ith (Khun Jaran Sonsem), together with Executive Chef, Khun Mac (Khun Pamon Phengnoo), have been working hard to publicise the affordability and accessibility of Chom Dao. “The restaurant is open to the public from 11:00 am each day,” he explained, “and as well as our guests we have quite a few visitors from the passing trade. One thing that’s unusual here is that we have no separate lunch and evening dinner menu – the same comprehensive menu runs all day, and if you fancy a lobster thermidor at mid-day then it’s here for you. Our motto is ‘Amazing Food – Amazing Prices’, and not only do we offer the very best of cuisine at extremely realistic prices, but all the costs are ‘net’. There is no VAT to add to the bill or inbuilt service charge.” Khun Mac is both a capable and experienced chef, having served his time at the 5-star Six Senses Samui and also Radisson Blu Phuket Resort. He’s put together a menu that’s both

varied and exotic, that provides snacks and salads as well as the more alluring aspects of fine tropical dining. His signature Thai-fusion offering, the sushi-style ‘Tuna Marinated with Herbs, Chilli and Lime, with Shallots and Cashew Nuts’ is wonderfully tangy, hovers tantalisingly on the very edge of sour and is a pleasant contrast of textures, due to the added cashew nuts. There’s no shortage of fresh seafood offerings either, one of the most-memorable being the whole sea bass that’s available with a choice of different sauces – sweet and sour, chilli and lime, garlic pepper or turmeric. This is splendidly prepared and cooked, being carefully filleted and removed from the bone before marinating and deep-frying, then re-assembled and combined with Thai vegetables and salad. Or for something even more enticing, how about the Banana Blossom with Chicken? The banana flower is huge, but with a succulent heart, and this, spiced and combined with tender pieces of chicken breast, forms one of the more unusual dishes in Khun Mac’s repertoire. There are also several truly southern Thai dishes on offer, which you’d be hard-pushed to find elsewhere.

whole sea bass is only 380 baht, and a portion of Australian Angus tenderloin with Béarnaise sauce, served with potatoes and buttered vegetables will set you back a mere 850 baht. And, not counting the whole Phuket lobster, that’s the most expensive item! The team at Bandara have been working hard for a long time now, improving and extending the features of their menu, which is the reason why they still boast one of the best restaurants that you’ll find on this coast. All are welcome, day or night. And it doesn’t matter whether you come in off the beach or walk in through the imposing frontage, there’s always a welcome waiting at Chom Dao!

Rob De Wet For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7724 5795. www.bandarasamui.com

There’s a full and satisfying range of international offerings too, including some very palatable pizzas, a number of Tex-Mex dishes and, of course, an excellent selection of imported lamb from New Zealand and Australian beef. And just to give you an idea of the unparalleled pricing that’s in place, the average Thai curry is not much more than 200 baht, the

Located in the beautiful Fisherman’s Village on Bophut Beach, our experienced chefs proudly present authentic Thai cuisine and Southern Thai dishes. Fresh seafood is a must with great quality at reasonable prices. Enjoy the tranquility of the beach, the twinkling stars and the whispering waves along with the beautiful music. A superb dining experience and great memories.

H Bistro French/Mediterranean & Thai Cuisine This stunning restaurant is part of the new Hansar Samui resort in Bophut, which opened its doors in July 2010 and has been attracting the island’s gastronomes ever since. The restaurant is open from 6:30 - 10:30 am for breakfast, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm for lunch, and from 6:00 – 10:30 pm (kitchen) for dinner. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7724 5511.

Bophut Beach

Jahn ahn Contemporary Thai Cuisine Sophisticated and stylish restaurant high up on a cliffside offering terrific panoramic views across the sea to the neighbouring islands and beyond. An innovative contemporary interpretation of traditional Thai dishes has been created here by two chefs with Michelin star-studded backgrounds. Jahn is open from 6:00 pm with last orders at 10:00 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7791 5888.

Baan Taling Ngam

(Fisherman’s Village) 16/16 Moo 1, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320 Tel: 077 430 030, 077 245 035 Free Parking!! Opposite the restaurant

www.siamwininganddining.com

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High Octane

SA SAMUI DINING GUIDE D RE RECOMMENDED RRESTAURANTS E

La Taverna Italian Cuisine It’s in the heart of Chaweng’s vibrant nightlife scene and is one of Samui’s few traditional Italian restaurants, but surely the best! The restaurant is open from midday till the last guest leaves. For further details and reservations, please telephone 0 7741 3006.

Off Chaweng Beach Road

Le Jaroen Provence/Tuscany Cuisine To visit this chic restaurant at The Scent Hotel is to fall in love. Outrageously tasty food in an exquisite Oriental colonial setting. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, and for dinner from 6:00 pm till late (kitchen closes at 10:00 pm). For further details and reservations, please telephone 0 7796 2198.

Bangrak

When it comes to filling up, are you using the correct grade of fuel? Namu N Japanese Cuisine Samui’s leading Japanese restaurant has a breathtaking beachfront location where Executive Chef Robert Conte personally prepares an exciting menu of ‘Asia’s tomorrow – today’. Namu is open from 6:30 pm with last orders at 10:30 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 7524.

Maenam Beach

Noorii IIndia N di Indian Cuisine Every conceivable Indian dish is on offer here – and they are all delicious! Conveniently located in Central Chaweng. The restaurant is open from 11:00 am – 11:30 pm. For further information, reservations, and take-away orders (free delivery in Chaweng area), telephone 0 7741 3315.

Chaweng Beach Road

At one time it used to be a fact. People in poorer countries generally ate better than their first world counterparts. Strange, but true. Even today, the average Ovambo tribesman, living in a thatched hut on the plains of Southern Africa is healthier, fitter, stronger and better nourished than most burgermeisters in Bavaria or fishermen in France. And back in 1997, every day in the USA, around 200,000 people became ill due to food-based diseases – of which 900 had to be hospitalised – and of these, 14 died. Of course, we’re now over a decade further on from these times, and public awareness is changing. It’s been estimated that in 1995 there were fewer than 300 ‘gyms’ in England – and most of these were related directly to a specific sport, like boxing or gymnastics. Today, every city harbours dozens of gyms and health clubs, and the current estimate has risen to a staggering 250,000. And that’s not counting all the private gyms that are provided by employers for their workforce. We’ve become more health-conscious. We’re aware of additives and preservatives in our food. We know what a heavy intake of saturated fats can do to us. We’ve stopped smoking, and started drinking ‘lite’ beers. We’re now buying anything with the label ‘diet’ on it, from microwave meals to mayonnaise, and from soft drinks to sauces. It’s almost got to the point that, if a product doesn’t have one of the four magic words stamped on it – sugar-free; low fat; diet; or natural – then it’s doomed to stay on the shelf. But is all of this making us any healthier? On the face of it, it has to. How could it not be? Well,

looking through some statistics from the 1960s and doing some comparisons makes for interesting reading. 50 years ago, there was a significantly higher incidence of bronchial and circulatory illness, including lung and heart diseases due to smoking and obesity. But there were around half the cases of both MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and intestinal cancers – and afflictions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Creutzfeldt-Jakob (or Mad Cow) Disease, Interdialytic Weight Gain (IWG) and Systemic Lupus were unheard of. And today, when you look further, a much higher percentage of city-dwellers become ill in comparison with their country cousins. We are what we eat. That old cliché still holds true – even more so today, as there is a far wider range of foodstuffs for us to be seduced by. But let’s get down to basics – what our needs are – and try for a moment to forget the food-industry’s push for packaging our well-being in a box of frozen food. We need an intake of six basic ‘building blocks’ to function healthily (and that’s assuming we take regular exercise too) – carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, plus, of course, water. And, given this fact, a diet that includes fish, meat, eggs, rice or whole grains, plus fresh fruit and vegetables will do the job very nicely. And this is where the ‘lifestyle-factor’ enters the picture. Because if you’re leading a hectic life, rushing between trains and offices, keeping to deadlines and having high-powered meetings, then the chances are that you just won’t have the time to shop for fresh food, and prepare and cook

The Bistro Samui beach restaurant is located on Chaweng Noi Beach, one of Koh Samui’s most beautiful beaches. The restaurant combines breathtaking scenery with great gre Thai Cuisine and BBQ delicacies. cacies.

Buco Restaurant & Bar Restaur The T Sarann

Impiana Samui Resort & Spa

Samui Ring Road

Bistro Samui Restaurant: Chaweng Noi Tel: +66 77 448 569-71 E-mail: info@lemurraya.com 8 www.siamwininganddining.com

it yourself. So you’ll get home at night and put together something that’s been tinned or frozen – and undoubtedly it’ll have either ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’ or ‘sugar free’ on the packet! Talking of ‘sugar free’, take care, here. The sweetener aspartame is widely used as a substitute for sugar. Perhaps its most prominent use is in a world-leading brand of diet cola. In the Gulf War, container-loads of this cola were shipped out to the troops, some of whom drank more than 30 cans a day. Within weeks, there were reports of painful, swollen joints, abdominal swellings and lumps, migraine headaches, crippling backaches, fainting spells, excessive fatigue, and blurred vision. At the time, this was passed over as the expected results of a battle situation. But further research has shown that aspartame is a neurotoxin, and breaks down into formic acid. Yet another reason to take a good look at your eating habits! You see, the real secret of healthy living is – balance. Fresh food is more nourishing than the frozen or tinned equivalent, so try to get through as much fresh meat, fish and vegetables as you can. Switch to whole-grain bread for the fibre that your digestive system needs. Boil or bake your potatoes to vary your fat intake. Drink milk (vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, potassium) as well as water. And make sure you eat fresh fruit as often as possible. There’s no problem with bread or French fries, but in moderation. And remember the basic law – if you take in more calories than you use each day, then your body will convert them to unwanted fat.

But you’re reading this in Thailand, so make the most of it! Consider a typical Thai meal. There’ll be half a dozen dishes on the table and everyone will take a bit of each. There’s probably a meat curry – protein and fats. Usually eggs or omelettes – protein and vitamins. Often a fish dish – protein and vitamins again. There’s always a plate of fresh vegetables – vitamins and essential minerals. The carbohydrates that our bodies need are in the rice, plus essential fibre too. And then the dessert, usually fruit or ‘kanom’ (sugary sweet things) will also provide vitamins, sugars and carbohydrates. Altogether, a very healthy balance, even if you’re eating ice cream and burgers in-between. Think of your body like a machine – a car for example. It’s designed to run on petrol, which it converts to energy. The harder you run it, the more energy it needs and the more fuel it uses. But put low-grade petrol in and it splutters and misfires. And if you keep running it like this, things will wear-out and break. Your car needs a high-octane fuel to work properly and so does your body. And one thing’s for sure – we’re not yet in the age where you can trade-in your body for a new one!

Rob De Wet


SAMUI DINING GUIDE E RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

Ocean 11 Mediterranean & Thai Cuisine Perhaps Samui’s most acclaimed restaurant in the foreign media, Ocean 11 has an idyllic beachfront location and serves fabulous food in comfortable but classy surroundings. A favourite for residents and visiting celebrities.

Italian-Thai beachside dining, at Punnpreeda HIP Resort in Bangrak.

Ocean 11 is open from 2:00 pm until 10:30 pm (kitchen). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7724 5134.

Bangrak ngrak

Ochos h Modern Mediterranean Cuisine With a truly innovative range of modern tapas available in a atmospheric romantic setting, Ochos is raising the bar yet again for Samui’s fine dining restaurants.

Get HIP!

Ochos is open from 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm (kitchen). For reservations (recommended) and further information, telephone 0 7791 4700.

Off the Chaweng to Choeng Mon road

Orgasmic By Chef Wally International, Seafood & Thai Cuisine

Punnpreeda is a ‘boutique’ resort. This word is used a lot nowadays, but it essentially means that you’re dealing with a small and friendly venue which is privately or family-owned. Punnpreeda HIP Resort is both small and friendly. And it really does qualify for that label of ‘boutique’, as it’s all really pretty throughout. There are acres of designer-poured concrete, offset by bubbling water features and antique wooden beams and ceilings, with dramatic splashes of colour here and there. The design is thoughtful, subtle and spacious, having been carefully laid-out to create a sense of freedom and space around the 25 villas and rooms. The central path, bordered by lush tropical greenery, runs down to the edge of the compact infinity pool that’s just a few paces from the beach. And right next to it, open-sided, fresh and cool, is the resort’s signature restaurant, Chill@Hip Restaurant & Beach Bar. This is an Italian and Thai restaurant which has quite a pedigree. The layout and menu – on the Italian side of things – was designed by masterchef Luigi Fadda. Luigi’s been one of the island’s personalities for quite a while now, and has earned the reputation of being ‘the Italians’ Italian chef’. He’s the guy that many of the returning Italian visitors seek out each year, both

at Chill@Hip and also in Luigi’s other Italian restaurant, ‘il Salotto’, that’s located in the very popular Fisherman’s Village, in nearby Bophut. He’s been working at top hotels all over Asia for more than 25 years and is also a member of the prestigious Chain De Rotisserie, an elite group of fine wine and food connoisseurs. (And if you want to enjoy some of the finest outdoor Italian cooking around, take a look at il Salotto on a Friday, when it’s the spectacle of ‘Walking Street’ and Chef Luigi, larger than life, is out on the street in front of the restaurant putting on a live display!) If you’ve been on the scene for as long as Luigi has, then there are two ways you can view things. You either become firmly set in your ways, convinced that everything’s working just fine, like it always did. Or you can be restless, and constantly looking for new ways to expand and improve. Luigi is in the latter category. About a year ago he completely re-vamped Chill@Hip, pulled out all the sliding glass windows and doors from round the edges and painted it all white – walls, tables, chairs, the lot. The result was a light, bright, fresh restaurant which extended out of the original dining space and onto the beach terrace outside, and now can seat up to 30 diners.

At the same time he revised and expanded what was already an excellent southern Italian menu. It’s neatly sectioned into soups, salads, pasta dishes, fish, meat and desserts, with an substantial range of no fewer than 23 pasta and sauce combinations. The pricing here has always been realistic, as exemplified by, for example, the ‘Rack of NZ Lamb with Garlic, Rosemary, Fresh Vegetables and Salad’, which will set you back just 550 baht. There’s a whole page of special ‘Chef’s Recommendations’, too, and the ‘Beef Lasagne’ (at only 250 baht) is of the melt-in-your-mouth variety. But Luigi has his eye firmly on the passing trade on the street outside, as well as his in-house guests. “We have to be competitive,” he told me. “People (our guests included) want to get out and explore and eat locally – fair enough. But when our guests are going into the little Thai restaurant right next door instead of enjoying the quality and service in Chill@Hip, plus the great beach location, we had to do something. So now, every day we are running two specials. There’s a special Thai menu of ten of the most popular Thai dishes, including the typically southern Thai delicacy of ‘Duck in Red Curry Sauce with Fruit and Coconut Cream’. Each of these items is just 100 baht, and that includes the rice. And there’s also a menu of eight selected Italian dishes, mainly pasta-based,

at only 130 baht each. That’s exceptional value for money and has proved very popular.” He’s shrewd, is Luigi. Because he’s tagged-on a happy ‘hour’ in addition to all this, where a selected range of cocktails plus all beers are two-for-one between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. This is absolutely perfect for sitting and catching up with your e-mails via the free Wi-Fi, enjoying the breathtaking sunset and then dining in service-oriented comfort. And, if you truly enjoy a drink or two, then you can spread things out until 9:30 pm, when there’s another happy hour! Finally, just a word about the ‘HIP’ part of things. Khun Nuttamon Songkijworakul – usually known as Khun Mon, the very-approachable owner and Executive Director – explained to me that Punnpreeda has a ‘Highly Individual Personality’. And so it does, in both the ethos of the entire resort and also in its super Italian/Thai restaurant – and there’s no way you can argue with that!

Rob De Wet For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7724 6222. www.punnpreeda.com

Idyllic unspoilt beach location reminiscent of the ‘old’ Samui in times gone by, and fabulous organic and ‘orgasmic’ cooking from super chef Walter Andreini combine to make this restaurant a very special one. Open from 6:00 pm until late (kitchen closes at 11:00 pm). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 862 769 101.

Bophut, between Fisherman’s Village and Big Buddha

Poppies International & Thai Cuisine Samui’s most renowned restaurant. Beachfront location, superb food and excellent service are the reasons why! For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 2419.

Chaweng Beach (South)

Pure Asian Experience

Monday Beach Barbeque Held in front of Chom Dao beach restaurant, the buffet comprises a wonderful selection of fresh seafood such as prawns, fish and squid, as well as grilled and roasted meat including New Zealand Lamb and Australian Beef, plus sushi, salads, main dishes and delicious desserts. Only 1,100 THB per person. Children under 12 half price. Children under 6 free.

178/2 Moo 1, Tambon Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani, Thailand, 84320 Tel: +66 (0) 7724 5795 www.bandarasamui.com E-mail: stay@bandarasamui.com Hotline reservation 089-653-6199, 084-357-9597

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Taste Conrad Koh Samui’s Jahn restaurant offers contemporary Thai cuisine in an unrivalled setting.

It feels as though you couldn’t get much closer to the moon. Conrad Koh Samui’s Jahn restaurant is perched atop a hill, almost clinging to the cliff, suspended high above Phang Ka Bay on Samui’s southwest coast. As the sun sets, the view is spectacular with the Five Islands in the backdrop, and long tail boats coming home for the evening. But it’s as the moon rises that you see how the restaurant acquired its name – Jahn means moon in Thai. A large yellow orb fills the floor-to-ceiling windows of this intimate 28-seater restaurant, and mirrors on the water below. Although the restaurant opens at 6:00 pm, it’s best to arrive a little early and take advantage of the sunset location, that is arguably the best on the island. Located just outside Jahn you’ll find the Aura Lounge, an outdoor seating area complete with fire pit and fairy lights in the trees. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails or a glass of bubbly while watching not only the sunset, but also the moon rise, transforming the bay below. And if you choose to go on a Monday or Thursday, all the better, as there’s happy hour, well happy two hours actually, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, which work on a ‘buy one get one free’ basis for local beers and signature cocktails.

Right, so moving from the Aura Lounge to your table inside Jahn, the first thing that’s noticeable is the décor which could best be described as ‘stylishly opulent’. Think plush dark velvet armchairs, midnight blue tablecloths, polished silver and white napkins, real lotus flowers on each table, and a giant lotus flower shaped chandelier above the entrance. There are candles on the table, gold brocade detail on the black pillars and sections of black tiled wall that glisten as if infused with tiny diamonds. Windows are floor to ceiling, letting in the moonlight, and it feels as though all that is holding up the structure is the fishpond surrounding the restaurant. Conrad’s Executive Chef, Konrad Inghelram, has created a remarkable menu paired with some of the finest wines by the resort’s award-winning sommelier, Khun Charuk Chochan (Khun Cha), to create the ‘Tasting of Jahn’ set menu. Jahn’s cuisine is contemporary Thai, so those looking for traditional Thai dishes may be caught off guard – in a good way. However, if you’re after Thai flavours with a modern twist, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what this tasting menu has to offer. There’s the option of enjoying the tasting menu with wines paired by Khun Cha, or on its own without the wines.

For reservation please call: 077 246 222 Bang Rak Beach, Koh Samui www.punnpreeda.com info@punnpreeda.com

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e the Moon

The menu starts with an amuse bouche of Thai beef salad to get the taste buds going. Thereafter, guests are presented with ‘octopus in Thai spices’, which consists of marinated octopus, coriander, chilli, Thai shallots and kaffir lime cream. Khun Cha’s choice of wine for this course is a 2010 Salomon Undhof Wieden Gruner Veltliner, Krems from Austria. Next you’ll move on to ‘tom kha gai’, a favourite Thai coconut based soup, with corn-fed chicken breast, morel mushrooms, lemongrass and galangal. The wine paired with this dish is a 2009 Catena Zapata Alamos Chardonnay from Argentina. A lemongrass sorbet cleanses the palate before the main course, which is a choice of two dishes. The first option will appeal to meat lovers. It’s a ‘massaman of Wagyu beef’. But it’s a little different to the traditional massaman. Here, a thick chunk of fillet takes centre stage on the plate. It’s surrounded by mushrooms, cashew nuts, new potatoes, pearl onions and red onions, and accompanied by a jug of thick, creamy and flavoursome massaman sauce. Instead of white rice, this dish is served with green lemongrass

rice, deliciously fresh and a perfect flavour combination. It’s paired with a 2008 Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. Seafood lovers will prefer the second option, which is the ‘Gulf of Thailand red snapper’. It’s served with seared scallops, sweet corn, mango, asparagus and a tamarind glaze and goes perfectly with Khun Cha’s choice of a 2009 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir from New Zealand. As if dessert is not enough, with the Jahn tasting menu there’s also pre-dessert, which is macadamia ice-cream. This just gets the sweet tooth going, before dessert arrives – and it should be accompanied by a drum roll here… as it’s that good. Be sure to save space for the ‘local ginger parfait’, served with white chocolate, passion fruit and carrot ice-cream. Perfectly complementing dessert is a 2003 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlerner Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Gold Cap from Germany.

person excluding service and government tax, or with wine pairing, 4,900 baht per person. If you’re worried about going for the pairing option and having to drive after a few glasses of wine, help is at hand. Conrad Koh Samui offers a free transfer service to and from anywhere on the island. Which is great, as you’ll be far happier enjoying those pre-dinner cocktails and delicious wines knowing you don’t have to negotiate a long drive home afterwards.

Rosanne Turner For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 5888. E-mail: conrad_koh_samui@conradhotels.com

But don’t fill up just yet, as petit fours end the meal with an assortment of macaroons, fruit jellies, marshmallows and chocolate truffles. The tasting menu is a very reasonable 2,900 baht per

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A Unique Koh Samui Experience at The Farmer The Farmer Restaurant & Bar is the only restaurant on Samui offering a unique natural ambience, set amid paddy fields and green meadows. It is perfect for a relaxed lunch, or dinner under the twinkling stars. Visit The Farmer and experience the real meaning of “Back to Nature” whilst enjoying the best of local Thai, Western seafood dishes.

Farmer’s Duck

Exclusive Lunch Promotion at The Farmer

Pizza Margherita

Crispy fried duck served with herb sauce, rice, gourd soup, fresh tropical fruit, 1 bottle of water. 299 Baht

12:00-15:00 daily

1 scoop ice cream, 1 bottle of water. 250 Baht

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The Farmer Restaurant & Bar 1/26 Moo 4, Maenam, Koh Samui Tel: 077 447 222, 077 247 979 www.thefarmerrestaurantsamui.com email: info@thefarmerrestaurantsamui.com Free transfer for dinner guests Nathon - Maenam - Bophut. Other areas 300 Baht return. Для гостей из районов Nathon - Maenam - Bophut - трансфер бесплатный. Гостям из других районов острова мы возвращаем 300 батт от стоимости такси.

12 www.siamwininganddining.com

TOP TEN 2011 www.tripadvisor.com


SAMUI DINING GUIDE E

Signature Dish

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

Roasted Duck Breast stuffed with Seafood Terrine, at Prasuthon Restaurant, Nora Beach Resort & Spa.

Prego Italian Cuisine Stylish, classy and fun Italian restaurant with attention paid to every detail, combined with superb food. The main kitchen is open from 11:00 am till midnight, with pizzas and drinks available until 2:00 am. For reservations and further information telephone 0 7742 2015.

Chaweng Beach Road (North)

Red Snapper Restaurant & Bar Mediterranean Cuisine Smart establishment in the heart of Chaweng with live jazz entertainment complementing the excellent dining experience. Red Snapper is open from 5:00 pm - 1:00 am (kitchen closes at 10:30 pm) For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 2008.

Chaweng Beach Road

A picturesque view, relaxing ambience, exquisite food and superb service are usually the top requests for visitors on Samui. Nora Beach Resort & Spa has it all; set high on the rocks at the north end of Chaweng Beach, the view is unbelievable and must be seen to be fully appreciated. The view of the sea is already visible as you walk down to towards the beachside restaurant, Prasuthon, through a tunnel of trees and villas. Your table can be situated by the pool, on the beach or on the covered terrace beside the beach. Whichever you select you can guarantee an enjoyable experience in this light airy open space. The menu has a selection of many tantalising treats, with an incredible selection of both Thai and International cuisine. And their signature dish is a combination of both these culinary styles, fused together by Executive Chef, Khun Sitthichai Saephu. And the name of this dish is ‘Roasted Duck stuffed with Seafood Terrine’. The presentation is as picturesque as the sea view; the plate is awash with colours akin to a rainbow and

the aroma is indescribable. The creation of prawn and calamari in a curry paste stuffed inside succulent crispy roasted duck and doused in fruits of the season, makes it a must try during your stay on Samui. This dish is served with an herbal rice salad, that’s contained in a mangosteen shell, stuffed full with a combination of rice, tuna, pomelo, lemongrass and a dash of red chilli, all of this is accompanied by crispy rice noodles and then drizzled with a tom yam fruit sauce, which offers a tingly, but not burning spicy sensation to the whole dish. The combination is like a firework explosion in your mouth, there’s so much variety on the plate, and all the flavours compliment each other so well, you’ll want to pile a piece of everything on your fork, then as you look around you remember you’re in public and that shovelling your food in this manner is not appropriate dining decorum! The restaurant, pool and beach area are also

home to many exceptional events, both public and private, with weddings being the most popular and well organised, as it’s the perfect location for that big knees up! Operations Manager, Matus Valent is the chief organiser of all these events, as well ashaving the responsibility of fulfilling the exceptional service and effective running of the whole resort. He joined the team at Nora six months ago, and oversees the 156 staff, along with the maintenance and upkeep of all the 113 rooms. He originates from Slovakia, but has been living on Samui for the past three years. He has worked in the hotel and hospitality trade nearly all of his life, and he’s been fortunate enough to travel around the world discovering a variety of methods to care for his customers requirements on a personal level. With his charm and sophistication he adds a certain professional finishing touch to this establishment. And, as a single man he’s able to dedicate most of his time to the resort.

He’s also currently studying towards achieving an on-line hospitality management qualification at Cornell University in America, so it’s obvious that this working environment is where he can be his most passionate and creative. This is all evident when you take the time out to stroll from your room to the beachfront on Chaweng, to participate in all that’s on offer at Nora Beach Resort & Spa, and in particular the wonderful signature dish at Prasuthon.

Kathy Ross For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 9400. www.norabeachresort.com

Rice Contemporary Italian Cuisine Opened in October 2005, Rice offers the lot. It’s fun and trendy, plus it has the perfect central location. Laid-back atmosphere, glass floors, crystal elevators and excellent cuisine all combine to make Rice a very special restaurant. Rice is open from noon till 2:00 am, with the kitchen stopping serving main meals at 11:30 pm (snacks available till 2:00 am). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7723 1934.

Chaweng Beach Road

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SA SAMUI DINING GUIDE D RE RECOMMENDED RRESTAURANTS E

RockPool R kP l Tapas and European Cuisine Outstanding contemporary restaurant in a unique location high above the rocks with a 360 degree view serving oysters and tapas alongside an innovative European menu. And it’s got the best cocktail list on Samui. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7723 4500 ext. 71.

Off the Chaweng to Choeng Mon road

Was that a Mythtake?

Saffron S ff Contemporary Thai Cuisine It has the lot! Idyllic location, intimate seating, unrivalled Thai cuisine, a complete wine and drinks list, and exceptionally friendly and professional service. Saffron is open from 6:00 pm with the kitchen closing at 10:30 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7791 5333.

Laem Nan

A light-hearted look at some urban myths about food.

I assume that you’re a grown up? Therefore you’re either here and gainfully employed, or you’re here and on holiday. Either way you’re not a kid. You’re an adult. And what I’m getting at is that therefore you are likely to use the internet for a purpose - for research, communications or business. In the same way you don’t sit there endlessly tweeting the world that you are eating eggs for breakfast or have just taken two minutes to cross a busy road, so you don’t fritter away your hours making yourself feel important on mindless forums or in chat rooms. On the other hand . . . many people do.

SALA Samui Intl., Seafood & Thai Cuisine Beautiful beach restaurant that’s become a Samui favourite. Outstanding cuisine in a trendy environment. The kitchen’s open from 6:30 am - 11:00 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7724 5888.

Choeng Mon Beach, North-east Coast

One of the main offenders here is ‘Yahoo Answers’. It’s something that I’ve been occasionally tempted to use when researching a topic, but that I’ve now learned to avoid. The first thing is that anyone is free to answer the question being posed – with 85% of answers beginning, “Well, I don’t know, but . . .”. The second thing is that 90% of the contributors appear to be living in America. And the third is that 95% of the responses are from school kids. Here’s a real-world sample: Question – “Where can I get French fries braided into my hair?” And the answer? The first reply goes, quoted exactly – “My house bcuz Im wearing them now my mom did them. They r great when Im hungary.”

Spagó S ó Mediterranean and Thai Cuisine This restaurant offers excellent cuisine, friendly service, comfortable seating set over two floors, live entertainment, a vibrant location and terrific value-for-money. Great!

In case I’ve unintentionally wounded any of our transatlantic cousins, let me clarify my thrust. There are very, many rumours and myths circulating in our worldwide society, on all sorts of things, from crocodiles in the sewers to fingertips found in fast-food. Nearly all of these are planted and propagated by very young people, for whom the forum, the blog and the tweet have all become an integral part of their lives. Indeed, in many cases, I’m convinced

Spagó is open from 10:00 am – midnight (main kitchen), with pizzas being served until 1:00 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7796 1648.

Chaweng Beach Road

(judging by the vacuity and overall lack of information) that it’s the only thing these kids have in their lives which makes them feel that they are functioning and alive, albeit seemingly delightfully brain-dead to a mature onlooker. The vast majority of these infantile cyberspacers are also, co-incidentally, resident in the USA.

Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) were prompted to analyse 157 American beers and 57 Asian brews, and found that USA brands contained 0.10 to 0.61 milligrams of formaldehyde on average per litre, compared with 0.10 to 0.56 milligrams for all Asian products. So there.

Thus, when it comes to ‘urban legends – food’, a few moments Googling this topic reveals a language that is foreign to many of us. Pop Tarts, Popsicles, Weenies, Twinkies, Tater Tots, collards, grits, succotash. Then there’s AQSIQ, FDA, FFSI, FSA, FDF (all of them American government bodies). And then the more-familiar Coke, Pepsi, KFC, McDonald’s. The vast bulk of urban food legends, for the adolescent reasons already put forward, seem to have some of these words in them. It can get confusing in a country where their crisps are chips and our chips are their fries . . .

Another source of concern – you can use a cell phone to cook eggs. This one was documented in an experiment that went round the world in 2006, conducted by Russian scientists, Vladimir Lagovski and Andrei Moiseynko. It was upheld, and therefore sanctioned, in several notable scientific journals, too. The experiment placed a fresh egg between two cell phones that were in an active conversation. After two minutes the egg was warm, and after 40 minutes it became soft-boiled enough to eat. But it was nonsense! The science journals never bothered to check, and Vladimir Lagovski later told reporters, “At the time there was a lot of fuss about people’s brains getting fried by phones and, being from a radio-electronics background, I found it all rather silly. So I thought I’d add to the silliness, just to make a point.”

So let’s keep it universal. In a cosmopolitan spirit of telling-it-like-it-is, let’s pose a few popular points and check their veracity – or not! Firstly, is it dangerous to eat potatoes with green patches on them? Answer: yes it is. The green pigment comes about either by exposure to sunlight while growing, or by aging afterwards. It’s caused by a chemical called solanine which, if ingested, can cause symptoms ranging from nausea to death in extreme cases! Next up: some Thai beers contain formaldehyde. Answer: yes they do. Formaldehyde is produced naturally in all brewing processes, but no such chemical is artificially added to any Thai beers. Indeed, there was a worldwide fuss about this in 2008, relating to a Chinese brewery. The

How about ‘fat is bad for you’? Well, yes and no. It’s true for the artery-hardening saturated fats, like animal lard. But our body actually needs ‘good fats’ like polyunsaturated fats from sunflower, soya, sesame and corn oils, monounsaturated fats such as olive and rapeseed oils, and omega 3 fats from oily fish. All these are crucial for our normal functioning, and we’ll become sick without them. (And note: almost all Thai food is cooked in soy or corn oil.) And then there are our worries about microwaves. (This has also actually carried-over

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to bottles of drinking water being kept at a high temperature – such as in the back of a hot car.) The concern is that ‘dioxins’ from the plastic leech out of microwave trays into the food. These toxic chemicals are produced by burning plastics – so when rubbish is incinerated, dioxins are produced. However, the dioxins in the plastics we microwave are utterly harmless because, quite simply, they don't exist in plastic itself, but are a by-product of the combustion process when incinerated. Finally – chocolate is bad for you and makes you fat. Well, only if you can’t resist stuffing yourself full of it every day! Research has proved that chocolate has numerous beneficial effects on health: it has antibiotic properties, boosts memory, increases the brain’s levels of serotonin (the ‘feel good’ hormone) and improves blood circulation, with the effect of preventing heart disease, brain aging, and erectile dysfunction. And that’s it. Time to munch on a Hershey bar and, suitably aroused, glug a Thai beer, cut out the green patches on my spuds and add them to a nuked-up nourishing dioxin-free polyunsaturated ready-meal in the microwave, prior to penning my next story. It’s a hard life on an island in paradise!

Rob De Wet


SAMUI DINING GUIDE E

Kitchen King

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

Spirit House Thai Cuisine Unique restaurant that, although being in the very heart of Chaweng, is set within its own ‘ruined’ city walls, complete with small lake and rice paddy. It offers a totally authentic Thai dining experience and is already becoming one of Samui’s ‘must-visit’ restaurants. For reservations, free transport and further information, telephone 0 7741 4101.

Off Chaweng Beach Road

Tamarind Pacific-rim, Asian-influenced Cuisine Just minutes away from the hustle-bustle of Chaweng, this restaurant caters for gourmets who appreciate the best. The kitchen is open from 6:00 – 10:30 pm. For further information, transport and reservations (which are advisable), telephone 0 7742 2011.

Chaweng Noi Beach

The Beach Club

We chat to Chef Ton, Executive Chef at Buri Rasa’s The Beach Club. When you first meet Chef Ton (Khun Chaiyakorn), the first thing that you notice is his genuine smile and gentle demeanour. As you chat to him, it becomes obvious that he loves his job – and it hardly seems right to call it a job if it’s what you love to do. Buri Rasa is an oasis from the often chaotic Chaweng. Once you walk inside it’s as though you’ve entered a world of yesteryear, with its colonial charm. It’s these pleasant surroundings and tranquillity that drew Chef Ton to Buri Rasa, and in particular the charming beachside restaurant, The Beach Club. Chef Ton started his career at the very bottom of the kitchen hierarchy as a kitchen assistant at Samui Paradise Resort in 2001, where he worked for three years, slowly learning the basics under various international chefs. His next port of call was the Santiburi Resort and Spa, where he moved up a rung on the ladder, and worked as commis chef for five years. He fondly remembers learning skills from Chef Dan and Chef Hunter, who taught him Western styles of cooking, as well as barbeque techniques. Five years is a long time in one establishment for a chef, so he moved on to Six Senses Samui, adding

another top-notch resort to his résumé. Here, he worked for three years at both of the resort’s restaurants, Dining on the Hill and Dining on the Rocks, starting first as demi chef, and later being promoted to sous chef. Deciding to broaden his horizons, Chef Ton moved to Phuket to the Radisson Blu Hotel, a 211-room establishment, where he worked for a year as Executive Sous Chef. But he missed Samui, so when the opportunity arose to move back he jumped at the chance. For about four months, Chef Ton worked at The Sea, helping to set up a new menu and train the staff, until he found his niche at The Beach Club, where he’s been since October 2012 – and hopes to stay a while. Other than the obviously beautiful surroundings of Buri Rasa and Chaweng Beach, Chef Ton particularly enjoys the support he receives from General Manager, Bernd Schillig. He loves creating fusion food as well as contemporary Thai cuisine. But he’s learnt a lot from the chefs who’ve trained him over the past 12 years, and The Beach Club’s new menu reflects his range of capabilities. The Beach Club’s lunch menu consists of casual favourites with an assortment of salads,

sandwiches, gourmet sandwiches and wraps. Chef’s take on fish and chips is white snapper fillets in beer batter with chips, malt vinegar and tatare sauce. Pasta lovers will enjoy the range available with a selection of pastas and sauces to mix and match. The menu has a global feel with choices ranging from Mexican nachos to Australian steak sandwiches. And of course there are Thai food options too. The dinner menu offers a wider selection, with a distinct Mediterranean feel, as well as the Thai food menu and barbecue seafood selections too. Worthy of a mention is that The Beach Club doesn’t add service charge or VAT to the bill, so what you see is what you pay, no hidden surprises. Chefs tend to have little free time, but when he’s on holiday, Chef Ton likes to explore Krabi and Chiang Mai, where he tries out restaurants, always on the lookout for new ideas. He’s also doing a computer course at the Samui Computer and Technology Center, and loves researching new cooking techniques on the internet, as well as browsing through cookery books between shifts. If he comes up with an idea, on the specials board it goes - which is where a chef appreciates support from the general manager. Any chef who

doesn’t have the freedom to try new ideas would simply be called a cook. The part that draws most chefs to the industry is their creative streak, so they require a certain amount of freedom to explore new culinary ideas, and try these ideas out on diners. As Chef Ton says his goodbyes, he speaks of a new dish he eagerly wants to get back to the kitchen to try. It involves Lyonnaise potatoes, a rocket salad and grilled salmon. He’s busy working out the final touches before adding it to the specials board. Anyone for lunch?

Rosanne Turner For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 0222 www.burirasa.com

International, Seafood and Thai Cuisine One of Samui’s fine dining institutions has a fabulous beachside location within Buri Rasa resort, and offers food at terrific value-for-money. The restaurant is open for dinner from 6:00 pm till midnight, with last food orders at 10:30 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7723 0222.

Chaweng Beach

The Cliff Th Mediterranean Cuisine Popular grill and bar overlooking a scenic bay. Great place to spend a lazy afternoon and an up-beat evening. The Cliff Bar & Grill is open from midday – 1.00 am with the kitchen closing at 9.45 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7744 8508.

Ring-road between Chaweng and Lamai

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SA SAMUI DINING GUIDE D RE RECOMMENDED RRESTAURANTS E

The Dining Room French-Mediterranean Cuisine Reputably Samui’s most beautiful restaurant, with every justification. And the food’s excellent too, courtesy of Executive Chef - Aziz Awang, and is complemented by some superb wines. The restaurant is open from 7:00 am until late (kitchen closes at 10:30 pm). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7741 8367.

South Lamai (off Ring-road)

The Farmer Thai & International Cuisine One of few Samui restaurants with that elusive ‘Wow!’ factor. The chef serves some of the world’s finest Thai cuisine in a unique rice-field setting making The Farmer a totally memorable dining experience. The Farmer is open from midday until 10:00 pm (kitchen). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7744 7222.

Ring-road, Ban Tai

The Five Islands Restaurant Seafood, Thai & Fusion Cuisine Idyllic south-west coast restaurant looking out across the islands. Natural beauty, great sunsets and the freshest-of-fresh seafood make it an excellent dining venue. The Five Islands Restaurant is open from 12:00 noon until late. For reservations, transport and further information, telephone: 0 7741 5359 or 0 814 775 371.

Five Islands Beach, West Coast

The H Th Height i ht International & Thai Cuisine Set on an idyllic hillside overlooking a private bay and with superb food, this restaurant has become one of the most popular on the island. The Height restaurant is open from 7:00 am, with dinner from 6:00 pm (kitchen closes at 10:30 pm). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7796 0555.

Laem Nan, Lamai

What Makes it Unique? Unique

A look at the evolution of Portuguese cuisine.

Unless you’re in the know, it’s tempting to simply lump all the Mediterranean countries together. After all, what more can you add to lots and lots of seafood? Well, every country has its fads and fancies, its own traditions and culture, and its own particular approach to using fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, milk and cheeses. And a close look at Portugal’s history reveals something unique. It all began to happen around the beginning of the 15th century, when mankind found out for a certainty that you didn’t drop off the edge of the world as you sailed over the horizon. For this we have to thank the Portuguese sailor and explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, who became the first person to sail around the world. His expedition of 1519 (returning in 1522!) paved the way for a new breed of explorers. These were men sponsored by their nations and driven to seek wealth in far-flung places – particularly as far as the spice trade was concerned. In those days such items as cinnamon, pepper, saffron, cloves and nutmeg were worth a king’s ransom. And to this you could also add fabrics like silk, as well as rare gems and precious metals. Four European nations flung themselves onto the new seas of discovery but, other than the English and the Dutch, it was only Spain and neighbouring Portugal who were connected to the Mediterranean region. Most such adventuring nations had, however, a secondary agenda. With the Dutch it was straightforward – their sailors were backed by wealthy merchants seeking even greater riches, as were the English. The Spanish were driven by the wealth and righteousness of the Catholic Church – their first aim was to gain more converts; the riches and plunder that

accompanied this were secondary. But the Portuguese had a different approach. It was Prince Henry ‘The Navigator’, the third son of King John of Portugal, who was their driving force. He quickly realised that such travels were the source of infinite riches – not from plunder, but by trading. His instructions to his captains were simple: seek out all exotic spices, herbs, fruits, nuts and plants. And so spices, tomatoes, potatoes, pineapples, avocados, chilli peppers, coffee, tea, cashews and other nuts, began to arrive in Europe. It was the Portuguese, in fact, who first introduced chillies and other spices to an otherwise flavourless Thailand in 1511! And, within a generation, Portuguese cuisine began to change. It’s true to say that there wasn’t a sudden increase in the manner, style and variety of dishes, but at least now food became flavoured with a variety of new seasonings. Previously a ‘nation of peasants with nearly all of its cuisine coming out of a single pot over an open fire’, now things became somewhat more diverse. Today the cuisine varies notably from region to region, but with fresh fish and seafood being common to all. Quaintly, the Portuguese national dish remains a throwback to those seafaring days of discovery from yesteryear. It’s known as ‘bacalhau’ and it’s simply dried, salted cod. It was originally an essential source of nourishment, caught on the move and dried on deck, but this has now evolved into a national icon, and it is said that there are 365 different ways of preparing it, one for every day of the year. Another of the things which hasn’t changed much

over the centuries are the street ‘snacks’. Certainly every coastal town has its many vendors, crouched over a portable charcoal brazier and poking away at a selection of grilling sardines and mackerel. And, if your only experience of sardines is the little ones you find in tins, you might be surprised to realise that in the wild they commonly grow up to six to eight inches long. Another national dish that’s found everywhere is cozido à portuguesa, a thick stew of vegetables with various kinds of meat. The favourite is pork, cooked and served in a variety of ways. Roast suckling pig (leitão assado) is popular in the north of the country, as are pork sausages known as chouriço or linguiça. But, going back to regional variations, there’s one favourite item from the Porto area that stems directly from the days of Henry the Navigator. It’s said that he sent a vessel to conquer Ceuta, in Morocco, and the people of Porto, who were short of food at the time, slaughtered all their livestock to provision the crew, keeping just the intestines for themselves. Ever since then the people of the city have been known as tripeiros or ‘tripe eaters’. And their regional speciality is simply tripe (intestines) cooked with haricot beans. Although, today, it is said that some of the young people prefer one of the 365 ways to eat salted, dried cod instead!

most common of which is caldo verde, with potato, shredded cabbage and chunks of sausage – but no dried cod. Of course, today, even the smallest of the coastal towns has its fair share of visitors and holiday-makers, and the whole process of eating has gone upmarket, with indoor and open-air restaurants everywhere. Many of these feature artistic outside displays of seafood and crustaceans, and the menu lists all manner of fish, lobsters, shrimp, oysters, crabs and even eels. The thing to ask for here is arroz de marisco; a rich mix of seafood with rice, herbs and vegetables. And to end with (both the meal and the story) there’s the desserts. There are said to be over 200 different kinds of sweets and desserts native to Portugal, this fascination having originated during the Moorish occupation of Portugal when the first sugar cane was planted. Many of the names stem from this period, and what more whimsical way to end a meal than to ask for a portion of ‘heaven’s lard’ or ‘nun’s belly’. About the only thing they haven’t got around to is slapping chocolate sauce all over their dried cod. For that you’ll have to go to Japan – but that’s another story!

Rob De Wet

And, staying with tradition, breakfast is usually just coffee and a bread roll, but lunch is a big affair, often lasting up to two hours. It is served between noon and 3:00 pm, and dinner is generally served late, after 8 o’clock. There are usually three courses, often including soup, the

Authentic Thai Cuisine California Cuisine Succulent BBQ Seafood 16 www.siamwininganddining.com


SAMUI DINING GUIDE E RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

The Page Thai & International Cuisine Part of the amazing minimalist resort – The Library, this restaurant has an extensive beachfront location and is refreshingly different, in a great way!

A Winning Formula ‘Customer Delight’. These words, printed next to a picture of a steaming cup of coffee with a smiley face in the milk froth, are what Black Canyon’s website proclaims as their company goal. Well, goal achieved, one would think, by the scores of customers pouring in and out of Samui’s four branches of this popular Thai coffee house. The success of a franchise is one that keeps not only its franchisees happy, but more obviously the end user. That’s us. The coffee drinkers, in this case. But if we had to be critical, there are several places to get a good cup of coffee on the island, including a few international brands. So why make Black Canyon your coffee house of choice as so many others seem to do? Well, there’s more to a winning-formula coffee house than just a good cuppa – a good selection for one thing. Gone are the days of a waitress asking, “Would you like tea or coffee?” Nowadays, there’s an endless selection when it comes to your choice of caffeine fix, and few venues have as vast a selection as Black Canyon. In fact, the choice is so great that you’ll have to check out the menu yourself, and it’s a pretty menu at that. Throughout the glossy ‘catalogue’ as it should possibly be called, there are little anecdotes and stories about the page’s offerings. Read about ‘the benefits of coffee’ or ‘the origin of chocolate’. There’s a ‘tea story’ or a ‘coffee legend’ too, in case you want some reading material while you sip your steaming (or iced) cup of goodness. No matter your taste, Black Canyon has a drink for you – from the European style cappuccinos, espressos and lattes, to classic hot teas and plain old black coffee. And there’s a lot to be said for black coffee. “The best coffee is black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel and sweet as love.” Well they borrowed the saying from a 19th century French statesman, Talleyrand. But if you fancy swaying from your regular brew, try something with an Asian twist. Now while the ‘red bean cha Thai frappe’ or the ‘red bean green tea frappe’ may not be to everyone’s liking, most people enjoy the unique flavour of Thai iced tea, with or without milk – it’s quite a bit stronger than English tea, so works well with milk for iced tea. Those avoiding caffeine might try the ‘green tea frappe’, or ‘iced green tea latte’. There’s also a wide selection of chocolate-based drinks, both hot and cold, as well as fresh fruit juices, fruit shakes and smoothies made with fruit and yoghurt. Try the honey-lime frappe for a refreshing wake-up drink. Now what separates Black Canyon from the other coffee houses is the brand’s great selection of not only beverages, but also reasonably priced meals. Too often coffee shops only offer a few croissants, cakes and muffins to go with your favourite coffee. But Black Canyon has a full

menu ranging from breakfasts through to lunches, of both the Asian and Western variety – and a few fusion options thrown in the mix, for example, spaghetti with green curry sauce, fusilli noodles in tom yum soup and spaghetti with red panang shrimp sauce. There are soups and salads, and fresh fish dishes too. On a hot day, often the last thing you feel like is a steaming plate of food, and something light and cool is what you’d rather have – such as Black Canyon’s Caesar salad, grilled black pepper salmon salad or apple salad with crispy prawn. Right, so we know that Black Canyon has good beverages in the way of coffees, teas, juices and frappes, and they have a great selection of dishes, but what else feeds the constant flow of traffic through their doors? Well, there’s air-conditioning. And while few like to admit that the heat and sun that brought them to a tropical island in the first place can sometimes get a bit much, it’s a welcome relief after a few days in the sun. And whether you need to hook up to the internet for work purposes, or update your travel blog for family back home to catch up on your adventures, free Wi-Fi is always a bonus. Add to that comfy seats in a modern, pleasant surroundings and you have a typical Black Canyon store. And last but not least, all this comes at a price of course, but in this case, a nice price. Black Canyon serves up great food and drinks at very competitive prices, which is why you’ll not only see tourists spending their euros, but locals enjoying their offerings too. Black Canyon is a popular brand throughout Thailand, largely due to the fact that you know what you are getting when you go there. Each franchise is strictly regulated in order to standardise quality, both from décor, menu and food preparation as well as a service perspective. While different can be good at times, sometimes you just want what is familiar, and that’s what you’ll get no matter which branch you visit. Now that you have an urge for a java, where can you find a Black Canyon on Samui? Well there’s a branch in each of the main Tesco Lotus shopping centres in Chaweng, Lamai and Nathon, all along the ring-road. And there’s a fourth in Chaweng Beach Road, in the Xin City hotel complex, so no matter what part of the island you’re on, you aren’t far from a Black Canyon.

Rosanne Turner

That’s how Black Canyon keeps its customers happy at its four branches on Samui.

The restaurant is open from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm (kitchen closes at 10:30 pm), with the dinner menu being available from 7:00 pm. To book a reservation, telephone: 0 7742 2767-8.

Chaweng Beach

The Patio Restaurant Italian, Seafood, European & Thai Cuisine Unquestionably Lamai Town’s finest restaurant. Beach frontage, water features, delicious food and live entertainment are just some of the reasons why. The restaurant’s open from 6:30 till late, with the kitchen closing at 10:30 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 4420, ext. 916.

Lamai Beach

The Terrace Thai & International Cuisine The perfect place to spend an afternoon before watching the sunset and enjoying a fabulous meal at terrific value-for-money prices. The Terrace is open for lunch from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm and for dinner from 5:00 pm (kitchen closes at 10:30 pm). For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 1721, ext. 7.

Laem aem Yai, West Coast

Tree Tops International Cuisine One of the most unique dining experiences you’ll ever have as dinner is served in individual ‘tree houses’ high up amongst the tree tops looking out across fine views. The food is excellent too, and that’s courtesy of German Executive Chef, Matthias Mittnacht. The restaurant is open from 6:00 pm with the kitchen closing at 11:00 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7791 3900.

North Chaweng

For further information visit www.blackcanyoncoffee.com

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SA SAMUI DINING GUIDE D RE RECOMMENDED RRESTAURANTS E

People’s Republic Wine?

Zazen Restaurant International & Royal Thai Cuisine Exceptionally stylish beachside restaurant, part of a unique boutique resort. Very talented international chef. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 5085.

Bophut Beach

Le Salon de Ti International Cuisine This fabulous first floor Le Salon de Ti transforms every evening into the exclusive 12-seater Chef's Table offering both 5-course degustation and 7-course tea-inspired menus. The restaurant is open for tea from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, and for dinner (not Mondays) from 7:00 pm (last orders at 9:00 pm). For reservations (highly recommended) and further information, telephone 0 7742 5085, or 0 872 817 276 (F&B Manager).

Bophut Beach

Zico’s Brazilian Barbecue Cuisine Totally unique Brazilian barbecue and huge salad bar complemented with exotic samba dancers and lively Latin music. The restaurant is open from 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm (bar closes at 1:00 am). For further details and reservations, please telephone 0 7723 1560.

Chaweng Beach Road (South)

Don’t scoff - China is not so far away from becoming a world competitor. Chinese wines do not exactly spring to mind when you consider top non-mainstream wines, but how about a spicy, aromatic and fruity red wine from the edge of the Gobi Desert? Mirroring the phenomenal progress in so many of its other industries, China is now the world's fifth biggest wine producer, producing more wine than Chile. In the old communist days, vines were for producing grape juice in China, and dodgy local tipples ruled. But it’s worth remembering the Chinese do have quite a heritage in wine - archaeological digs have uncovered evidence that they were making wine in 212 BC. Unfortunately, over the latter centuries this heritage was lost, and today, there is still a lot of poor wine out there. But over the last few years, some serious hard work, and imported expertise, is starting to pay off. In Beijing last year, Chinese red wines, mostly Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends, took the top four places in a China versus Bordeaux blind-tasting competition. (Poor old Bordeaux are fast becoming the Liverpool Football Club of the wine world. Past glories are not enough to save them from the indignities of being beaten by, previously disregarded, enological up-starts.) Among the country's top wines are the playfully named Chairman’s Reserve, from the Grace Vineyards, Silver Heights' The Summit and He Lan Qing Xue's 2009 Cabernet blend, which recently won at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Somewhat surprisingly, all these acclaimed wines come from the Gobi Desert.

Admittedly, growing wine grapes in a desert isn’t normally a formula for wine excellence. But in the mountainous, impoverished region of Ningxia, some 800 kilometres west of Beijing, the local government has reclaimed desert like expanses and irrigated them profusely. The big advantage Ningxia has over many other Chinese wine regions is that the government owned land can be leased in large tracts, which can be farmed exactly as the producer wishes. By planting vineyards, mainly full of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the obvious (and ambitious) aim of the growers is to transform this area from a rugged backwater into China’s answer to Bordeaux. And it’s working. The region is now engaged in a joint venture with LVMH to produce its first Chinese sparkling wine. The resulting wine will be sold under the auspicious brand name Chandon, the international name for sister sparkling wines to Moët champagne. And LVMH is not the first French drinks giant to have committed itself to Ningxia. In 2008, Pernod Ricard took out a lease on a substantial proportion of one of the first big vineyards to be reclaimed, and sells under the Helan Mountain label. Numerous other wineries, some with cut-and-paste French chateau architecture, operate in Ningxia. With a clear focus on the future, and designed as tourist magnets, these wineries include not just an array of savvy private investors, but also big Chinese wine producers: Changyu, already in partnership with

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Chateaux Lafite in China’s first wine region, Shandong, in the north-east. Cofco, that makes Great Wall wines. And Dynasty, that has been making the Imperial Horse brand in Ningxia for many years. Moët may be betting on sparkling white (rosé doesn’t sell in China), but the great majority of what is currently produced in Ningxia are red wine blends, as is the Chinese way. The wines have an attractive frankness of fruit, rarely more than 13% alcohol, nicely balanced by natural acidity and, oxidation apart, are generally both clean and expressive. Although summer days are warm and generally dry, temperatures reliably fall at night at this altitude (over 1,000 metres) so that the growing season is not too short. But winters are almost as severe, and early, as they are in China’s westernmost province Xinjiang, so that here too, vines have to be buried every autumn to save them from freezing to death. For the moment, the Ningxia government can provide relatively cheap labour, having moved so much of the population from the inhospitable mountains in the south to specially built settlements around the capital Yinchuan. But the danger is the continued trend towards urbanization in China, which could start to make wine production in Ningxia much more expensive. Just like selling Californian wine in the 1960s, or selling wine under a screw-cap in the 1990s, Chinese wine has to become a viable possibility before it can find enduring success in export markets. Initially, Chinese wine looks like

following the path that Chilean took, producing large volumes of inexpensive wines to introduce consumers to an unfamiliar appellation. Followed by moving up the value chain to mid-priced varietals that are represented by larger, consumer-friendly brands. I believe it’s inevitable that China will become a global wine competitor, with its modest cost of production and ever-improving growing quality. And like everything else when it comes to China, due to the sheer scale of the place, it will impact the wine market like no other country before. The challenges will be China's emerging water crisis, and international consumer confidence in the integrity of Chinese agricultural produce. Ultimately, China's main market will be at home. Whereas, a wine-producing nation like Chile needs to export due to lack of domestic demand, Chinese consumption levels are rising incredibly quickly. Often, there is no export necessity. For example, Grace Vineyard could already sell two bottles for every one they produce, due to raw demand. In the meantime, a wine-trip to the Gobi Desert sounds like an exotic prospect to me. I would love to sample as many of their premium bottles as I can, before the local neo wine aficionados snap it all up!

Peter James

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Fine Beach & Hillside Dining at Samui's Newest Venue Quality Thai, Seafood & International Dishes The Ultimate Samui Dining Experience!

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It’s all happening at Nora Beach Resort & Spa Happy Hour - 5.00 pm - 7.00 pm 30% off all drinks (except liquors ,soft drinks & wine by the bottle) Monday ‘Sawasdee Asia’ - from 7.00 pm onward A taste of South East Asia with a selection of famous of Asian dishes prepared by our Chef. Entertainment - ‘Jimmy Acrobatic Show’ THB 650 net/person Wednesday ‘Soul of Samui’ - from 6.00 pm onward Fresh seafood from the fisherman’s village and buffet BBQ selection. Entertainment - ‘Samui Classical Show’ THB 980 net/person Saturday ‘Nora Delight’ - from 7.00 pm onward Enjoy our Chef’s special international buffet creations. Entertainment - ‘Moo Moo Cabaret Show’ THB 980 net/person including 1 signature cocktail

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March 2013  

Samui Wining & Dining. March 2013. Food and drink related articles about Samui's exciting wining and dining scene, for those wanting the ver...

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