at Chaweng Beach
1st _ 28th FEBRUARY 2014
Sareeraya Villas & Suites Call + 66 (0) 77 914 333 www.sareeraya.com
LOVE IS IN
Around St. Valentine’s Day, everything’s that much more romantic.
There are no age limits. Whether you’re 18 and have just seen someone who’s made your heart flutter at The Green Mango, 25 and thinking about getting engaged to your current lover, or 75 years-old and here with your partner celebrating your golden wedding anniversary – there’s nowhere quite as romantic as Samui. Especially at this time of the year, around St. Valentine’s Day, when love is definitely in the air.
Blissful strolls, hand-in-hand, along the island’s white sandy beaches. Couple’s ‘pampering packages’ in Samui’s world-class spas. Shared moments of discovery as you explore a myriad of holiday adventures together. And, right at the top of the list, romantic candlelit dinners in top restaurants. There’s just nothing else that compares to sharing a fine-dining experience with the one you love.
Excellent food, great wine, super service, soft music, discreet lighting and beautiful locations are, perhaps, the best aphrodisiacs on the planet. And Samui has a wealth of restaurants offering exactly these things. Yes, Samui’s a great place to be in February, and all year round, too!
Graeme Malley Editor
Wunvilai Punnern (Meow) Graphic Designer
Ugrit Komlue (Grit) Photographer
Seksak Kerdkanno (Klauy) Webmaster
Rob De Wet Feature Writer
Rosanne Turner Feature Writer
Colleen Setchell Feature Writer
Catch of t he Eyes down for the toothsome crocodile! What to say? Well, first of all, anything that moves can be cooked and eaten. It might not sit so easily with Western thinking, but in Thailand and many parts of Asia, grubs and beetles are considered a delicacy. As a food-writer, it’s not easy to admit that I have certain issues with the idea of eating, shall we say, snails. But this makes my point - it’s all in the mind-set. Mine says slimy isn’t nice. But then, philosophically, small wriggly-wiggly things don’t belong in the mouth either, particularly not in my one. And yet fried silkworm grubs are delicious. Grasshoppers are a bit crunchy, though. Where was I? Pushing to one side the post-apocalyptic potential of rats and dogs, there are many odd animals that, if not readily found in the frozen meats section of Tesco Lotus, are considered a gourmet delicacy. Emu, for instance. And kangaroo. There’s even a famous restaurant in Australia which specialises in road kill, and has such flattened offerings as Snake ’n Bake, fried possum, Collie Hit by a Trolley, Splat of Cat, raccoon
and skunk. They’ve even got a cook-at-home recipe for crushed cockatoo. On one level, it’s Green. It’s conservationist. All you do is scoop it, bag it, and drop it off. But, whacked onto a griddle with onions, peppers and mushrooms, it’s not quite fine dining. Nor is it something you’ll readily find on Samui. Ignoring for a moment that this also applies to crocodile soufflé, the main thing is that long scaly things with rows of teeth have been eaten by mankind for millennia. (Or the other way round.) And so, in this month’s ‘Catch of the Day’, we’re taking a look at crocodiles, and what to do with them once they have stopped thrashing about. Plus the general things to look out for when you’re wondering what the difference is between a ’croc, a ’gator and a caiman. The first thing to say is that there’s not a huge difference between the three. Well, not to look at, anyway. There’s far more variety in, say, birds or dogs. Two big differences spring to mind; though – crocodiles are found in
stagnant water or even saltwater environments, whereas alligators go for fresh water. Visually, the main difference is in the snout, with crocodiles having a nasty narrow nose that’s evolved for gripping and biting. The croc is much more aggressive than its cousins and, even with its mouth closed, the teeth are still visible, unlike the other varieties. The alligator’s head is altogether broader, with a wide jaw that’s just perfect for crunching turtle shells, arms, legs and so on. And ’crocs are lighter in colour too, an olive or a brown colouring, whereas ’gators are much darker, veering towards almost black. And the caiman? This is where we get to the technical bit. All three are Crocodilians and are in the order ‘Crocodylia’. This order has three families: Alligatoridae, Crocodylidae, and Gavialidae. Alligators and caimans are in the alligator family; crocodiles are in the crocodile family. Alligators are found in North America and the caiman is found in Central and South America. But crocodiles are additionally found in Africa, Australia,
throughout Asia and Indonesia, Jamaica and Central America, and both crocodiles and alligators are found side-by-side in the semi-tropical southern regions of North America. Surprisingly, the order of Crocodylia has now become almost extinct. Of the 39 sub-families of the species, today a total of only 11 still remain, with four of these being officially declared an endangered species. So what’s the best way to eat them then, I hear you ask. Avoiding the Groucho-style reply, “with caution”, I’ll move quickly on to say that there’s actually not a great deal of prime meat on a crocodile. The flavour has been compared to that of chicken (hasn’t everything!) but in fact crocodile, in the same way as turkey, has red and white meat that varies in flavour and texture. The white meat is mild and more tender, but there’s less of it. Out of a croc weighing 100 lbs, 50 of these will be the skin, and of the remainder only 10 lbs will be prime white meat. Unlike other alternative meats such as elk or bison (which have to be cooked with a fattier meat
Peter James Feature Writer
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Noodle Specialties from all over ASIA
The restaurant where every evening becomes a memorable occasion. For reservations please contact: Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa, Koh Samui Tel: +66 (0) 77 428 300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: bophutsamui 2 www.siamwininganddining.com
at Akyra Chura Resort open noon - 22.00h reservation 077 915 100 www.theakyra.com www.facebook.com/Theakra
e Day included, otherwise they fall apart or dry out) ’croc or ’gator, can be seasoned and marinated and cooked slowly without impairing the texture.
fillet of ’croc, you’ll have to scout around a bit if you want to get your teeth into one of these!
Rob De Wet
Over the last few years, there has been a universal move away from supporting the energy-guzzling beef industry, not only in America but all over the world. Alternatives are being actively explored, not simply because of ecological considerations, but for health reasons too. And crocodile has proven itself to be something of a minor star, with the USA alone consuming 1.5 million pounds of it in 2013. It has less calories than lean beef and has virtually no saturated fat – there’s just one gram of fat in a 4-ounce ’croc steak, compared to four times this amount in beef. But this is the paradise island of Samui, not somewhere in the Everglades. It’s not so easy to find gumbo and grits with a hunk of barbecued ’gator on the side. Emu, yes, there’s a few places doing this. Kangaroo? Who knows! Elk? Hard to get outside of Wyoming. But for some of the healthier and more tender alternatives, such as
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 and Choeng Mon. For reservation please call 0 7723 1500 www.siamwininganddining.com
Tropical Pick February’s Fruit of the Month – The Strawberry.
There’s no mention of them in The Bible. The ancient Romans had no use for them – although Virgil warned us to avoid wild ones, because of snakes in the grass. But one of Napoleon’s mistresses, Madame Talien, liked them well enough. She regularly bathed in strawberry juice – and it took 22 pounds of crushed berries to do the trick. Yes, they’ve been around for a long time, but in a wild and weedy way, and it’s only comparatively recently that they’ve started to put on some muscle. The skinny little wild strawberry was cultivated, although they were small and annoyingly prone to die-off in winter. So, to prevent this, they were wrapped up in bales of straw. Then they were harvested, still attached to the straw and sold at market as ‘straws of berries’ – hence the name. But it wasn’t until 1712 that the big, juicy strawberry that we know today appeared. A French engineer called Amédée-François Frézier, whilst working in Chile, came across
some exceptionally large strawberries. He brought several of these plants back to France, and, over the next 250 years of interbreeding, these gave rise to the fruit that we know and love today. Which brings us neatly to Thailand, the ‘Golden Triangle’, opium and the King of Thailand. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is probably one of the most respected and best-loved of all the Thai monarchs. And he’s devoted many years of untiring energy to improve the lives of those in the impoverished northern areas of the Kingdom. In the mid-20th century, northern Thailand had become the number-one exporter of opium, worldwide. Many of the impoverished hill-tribe peoples, for whom subsistence living and slash-and-burn agriculture was the norm, found that opium was such a profitable cash crop that it was worth the risks to grow and sell it. To
combat the growing drug trade, The King established a project, where he encouraged the hill-tribes to cultivate certain fruits and vegetables, with a guaranteed purchase, in exchange for giving up opium production. Everyone thus had a living wage, the Mafia-style hold of the drug lords was eliminated, and Thailand got rid of a huge international problem. He effectively replaced the ‘traditional’ crops of opium poppies with cost-effective alternative products, such as coffee, lettuce, grapes and ... strawberries!
hybrids, strawberries took-off from the starting line like a rocket.
Now Thailand certainly isn’t a country you associate with grapes and strawberries. But Thai wine is now exported all over the world. And the climate in the Northern and Northwest regions of the Kingdom is perfect for growing strawberries – you may be surprised to know that it’s a ‘sweater and gloves’ area for parts of the year. And, unlike grapes, which needed a long cross-breeding program to develop new
And then you’ve got the fruit juices and alcoholic fruit drinks, fruit wine, flavoured yoghurts, dried fruits and fruit teas, to mention just a few. Although fresh strawberries (as in ‘frozen’) are only so far exported to Japan, the exports that incorporate Thai strawberries are vast – including all the products above. And, in addition to all these, there’s a whole range of beauty and spa products that contain
As a nation, Thailand has a very sweet tooth. The Thais just love their ‘kanom’ – that’s the word for sweets and snacks, ranging from sugared-toast and pastries, through to bags of chips and packets of dried and sweetened fruit. And that includes strawberries. And, if you pop into any 7-11 and check out the ‘nibbles’, you’ll see packets of dried strawberry snacks amongst the others.
strawberries, too. How about ‘sweet strawberry and green tea soap’? Or ‘strawberry glycerine soap with loofa’? Then there are aromatherapy products, lip balms, potpourri and incense. And most of these are enthusiastically exported, mainly to the huge US market. There are no official figures available for exports that are strawberry-related, but you can bet they all add up to a lot! Thai strawberries might not exactly be the best-known of fruits, but they come in handy in more ways than one. And more Thai strawberries equals less Thai opium, which, in turn, means less heroin. And that, my friends, is most assuredly a very good thing indeed.
Rob De Wet
furnished and dominated by an impressive teak-wood vaulted ceiling and bold artwork on the walls. Traditionally, Thais dine at low tables with cushions on the floor as seating. Now most Westerners wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting this way for the length of a meal, so the seating has been cleverly designed to give one the effect of low seating, by way of raised platforms and triangle cushions, and ‘cut outs’ for the tables, so you can still sit with legs down, not folded under you. The artwork isn’t confined to the walls, and each plate of food is an artistic creation in itself. From the crockery used, such as beautiful coconut wood bowls for the soups and curries, to the intricate vegetable carvings on the plates, you’ll be impressed from the moment the waiter arrives with your meal. As much as you’re tempted to tuck right in, you’ll no doubt want to snap a picture of these impressive looking dishes to show off back home. But of course, the food needs to taste as good as it looks, and you’ll not be disappointed with the selection, or the authenticity, of the dishes here. The menu is conveniently divided into appetisers and salads, soups and curries, typical Thai dishes, general fare and desserts. If you’re unsure what to try, there’s the option of ordering one of the Thai set menus for two, and if you’re a party of four, why not try both set menus for a great selection! You can share the spread and try a bit of this and a bit of that, which is the real Thai way of enjoying a meal.
Barge Right In If you’re looking for delicious traditional Thai cuisine in a beautiful setting, visit the Rice Barge & Terrace at Nora Buri Resort.
Samui has an endless variety of restaurants, both Thai and International, and sometimes the decision on which one to visit can be hit and miss. This is where we come in, as Samui Wining & Dining represents some of the best dining experiences that the island has to offer. Now while it can be great fun visiting an authentic Thai roadside vendor or little café, sometimes, you fancy a little more sophistication. And the addition of an attractive setting, comfortable seating, air-conditioning and well-trained serving staff by no means makes the experience any less authentic. Cue the Rice Barge & Terrace, located at the very popular Nora Buri Resort, midway between Chaweng and Choeng Mon. So you won’t have far to drive if you’re staying around the popular tourist areas of the island, and there’s ample parking and easy access to the Rice Barge & Terrace, without having to go through the resort itself.
Everything on the menu is written as its Thai name, but with a full explanation of the dish below, as well as a ‘chilli indicator’ showing the heat of the dish. Of course, this can be adapted to your liking, just relay your request to the serving staff, who all have a good level of English. The curries and soups are particularly good at the Rice Barge. The tom yum goong is rich and flavoursome and full of prawns, and the tom kha gai is creamy, fragrant with herbs, and packed with tender chicken. Other highlights of the menu include the ‘yam ped yang’, or spicy roast duck salad with Thai herbs, as well as the ‘som tam Thai goong sod gai tord’, or spicy green papaya salad with fresh shrimps and deep fried chicken, from the appetiser menu. And for something a little different, try the ‘hor mok ta-lay’, a steamed seafood curry mousse with coconut milk, set in a coconut shell. The Rice Barge & Terrace is open in the evenings, from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm, just be sure to book in advance, particularly if you want a specific table – indoor air-conditioned or outdoor with a view, as it would be a shame to miss out on what could be one of your great Samui experiences.
Rosanne Turner For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 3555. www.noraburiresort.com
The Barge is an impressive building, with its imposing angular roof looking like, as the name suggests, a barge ready to sail into the sea. The restaurant is spread on three floors – on the first floor you’ll find the fine-dining restaurant and beachside dining, sprawled across the terrace overlooking the ocean, flowing onto the beach and around the pool. And this is where the themed evenings are held. On Mondays, there’s Cowboy Steak Barbecue night, it’s Hawaiian Seafood on Wednesdays, and Thai Barbecue on Thursday evenings. The second floor is reserved for special events and private functions, and the top floor, the Rice Barge & Terrace serves authentic Thai cuisine, and is what we’re focussing on here. At the Rice Barge, diners have the option of a covered terrace overlooking the ocean and cooled by the sea breeze and ceiling fans, or an air-conditioned room, beautifully
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We highlight some of the more curious events of the month of February. 1st – Rubber cheese? Certainly not! However, the American government fed it to the troops during World War 2. And this was the day, back in 1953, its creator, James Lewis Kraft, passed away. 2nd – Yes, it’s really true! Today is Groundhog Day. This festival has been running since 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. 3rd – How much to spend a penny? Well, it was actually two pence to enter London’s first public convenience when it opened in Fleet Street, in 1882. And that equals £2.60 in today’s money!
‘Lionel the Lobster’ exploded. Discovered inside an unexploded bomb off the coast of Swanage, England, humane experts tried in vain to extricate him, before pressing the button and atomising both Lionel and the wartime menace. 9th – Michael Monday was arrested on this day, in 2010, in Waco, Texas. He was assaulting people on the street, and barking and growling fiercely. His family later apologised and put it down to the fact that he had earlier eaten a dog . . . the 4-legged sort and not the usual hot ones!
14th – Next to Christmas and Easter, today is one of the most famous dates of all, as the feast of St. Valentine is celebrated by lovers everywhere. Curiously, there are altogether five different registered St. Valentines – and not one of them is connected with romance in any way!
shortages. This was the day, in 1855, that riots broke out in Liverpool over a shortage of bread. The previous autumn had been excessively frosty leading to a poor harvest and high unemployment, and the starving populace took to the streets in protest.
15th – It’s one of those little ideas that everyone takes for granted, but when Margaret E. Knight patented her flat bottomed paper bag on this day, in 1838, thus eliminating rolling groceries for ever, she didn’t realise that she’d go on to bag so much loot from the concept!
20th – Chef Gets Egg on Face. This was the day, in 2011, that top chef Heston Blumenthal found himself forced to personally apologise to 529 of his diners. They’d all fallen ill after eating at his Michelin starred restaurant, ‘The Fat Duck’.
10 – This was the day, in 2004, that Larry Guidy, ex-mayor of Hawthorne, California, was arrested for stealing an industrial-grade food mixer. He told police that this was the only thing that could possibly cope with making all the pie dough needed for his upcoming party.
16th – Next time you brush your teeth spare a thought for Wallace Caruthers. He was the one who eventually developed nylon, in his search for a better toothbrush alternative to hog bristles, and announced his patent on this day, in 1937.
11 – Bucharest, 2008, and this was the day when the world’s longest line of pizzas was set out for the National Food Festival. More than 2,000 of them were laid end to end, stretching 1,500 feet into the distance.
17 – Thanks to Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Casino for creating the world’s biggest cup of coffee, on this day, in 2011. It was eight feet in height and eight feet in diameter and held 2,010 gallons of coffee, the equivalent of 32,160 cups!
12th – Gone forever, on this day, in 1976! This was when red M&Ms were banned by America’s FDA, on the grounds they might possibly, maybe, contain an ingredient which could eventually stimulate cancer, sort of, perhaps.
18th – Dog Scoffs Dinosaur. So might the headlines have read on this day, in 2008, when Daisy the dachshund came across a 2 million year-old bone on the beach in Dunwich, England. Later identification revealed that this was once a part of a woolly mammoth – not seen in those parts for quite a while!
4th – Researchers in a London hospital began a new treatment for stroke victims, in 2011, using the saliva from vampire bats. It seems that being nibbled on by one of these thins the blood and helps prevent clots from reaching the brain. 5 – This was the day, back in 1985, that France’s very conservative Perrier Company introduced its ‘Twist of Lemon’ bottled water. It was the first addition to the Perrier range for 124 years! th
6th – How much for new dentures? Well, the old ones that once belonged to Winston Churchill, and were specially designed to correct his lisp, fetched $23,770 at auction, on this day in 2008, being gobbled up by an American collector. 7th – Lobster 1. This was the day, in 1977, that the biggest one ever was caught off the coast of Nova Scotia, weighing in at 44 pounds and six ounces. 8th – Lobster 2. This was the day, in 2006, that
13th – Tuneful chews – on this day, in 1967, The Beatles released ‘Strawberry Fields’ and on the same date, but four years later, The Osmonds topped the US charts with ‘One Bad Apple’.
21 – An outbreak of ‘food terrorism by mice’ erupted in Derby, Pennsylvania, on this day, in 2011. Four pizza parlours were visited by the same mysterious stranger, after which the local health department received anonymous phone calls. In all cases, a significant number of domesticated pet shop mice were removed and re-housed! st
19th – In the 18th and 19th centuries there were no fewer than 19 riots in Europe over food
22nd – Keep your eye closely on your plate today and steer clear of any unidentifiable crunchy bits – today is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. 23rd – This was the day, just one year ago, that America’s ‘ Jones Soda Company’ added a new product to their line. In addition to the existing fizzy pop ham, turkey and green pea sodas, now there is an invigorating bacon cola. “Bacon is the eighth wonder of the world,” declared director Mike Spear. 24th – This was the day, in 1955, that Steve Jobs,
founder and CEO of Apple Inc., was born. He was one of the very few ‘computer people’ that were actually born in ‘Silicone Valley’, previously known as ‘Apricot Orchard Valley’. 25th – Boise, Idaho, and this was the day, in 2009, when a gas station robbery went wrong. The felon was rendered unconscious by prison guard, Ron Winegar who had just popped out for some beer, but proved that a 6-pack can affect the head in more ways than the obvious! 26th – Bigger and bigger . . . the ‘Super Scooby Burger’ staggered onto the tables on this day, in 2010. Selling solely at The Jolly Friar Pub in Bristol, England, it stood eight inches high and weighed three pounds and four ounces – as much as an average roast chicken. 27th – This was the day, in 2011, when an Ohio woman was cleared of two charges of assault – with breast milk. She managed to spray the two officers who forced her out of her car whilst feeding her baby, and was promptly arrested! 28th – Along the same curious lines, just a year ago, the English sausage makers, Mattesons, had their radio advert banned by the BBC. The closing line of their sausage advert was “Where do you like to stick it?” Answers on a postcard, from over-18s only please, to ...
Rob De Wet
H Bistro at Hansar Samui in Fisherman’s Village is known as one of the best fine-dining establishments on the island. The signature dish (we’ll get to what it is shortly) is superb. And that’s what you’d expect from one who’s been private chef to His Majesty, the King of Jordan. Executive Chef, Stephen Jean Dion is Canadian, and aside from this acclaimed position, he also worked in Canada and throughout Asia before joining Hansar Samui at its opening on Samui, in June 2010, to head up H Bistro. So diners arriving for an evening of culinary indulgence expect to dine like royalty – and that’s a lot of pressure to put on a chef, but Stephen takes it in his stride.
lamb was indeed tender and juicy as promised, and two succulent and well-sized cutlets arrived balancing on the plate amid an artistic display of accompaniments.
We visited H Bistro on a gloriously breezy day to chat to Chef Stephen about his latest signature dish. The restaurant, positioned to take advantage of the breeze as well as the views, has a contemporary ‘Africa meets Asia’ feel, like the rest of the resort, with black slate, wood, steel window frames, warm wood chairs with comfortable stone cushions and a high ceiling with slowly oscillating ceiling fans, creating a modern colonial look. The comfortable seating and unrushed atmosphere invite you to linger longer, and take in the glorious view of boats bobbing in Bophut Bay, and further out to Koh Phangan.
Balancing on a twirl of cannellini bean mousse was a fat pasta pocket, packed with a delicious filling made from slow-braised lamb shanks cooked in red wine at 60°C. Once cooked, the shanks are shredded and combined with the Robiola cheese, creating a super tasty pasta pocket, with a creamy, rich texture, yet not too heavy.
The signature dish arrived for our tasting, and Chef Stephen enthusiastically described it, detailing each component – and here you have it: Stephen Dion’s signature dish at H Bistro is ‘Murray grain-fed lamb cutlets with lamb shank filled past pockets, Rabiola foam, and a pommery mustard jus scented with spear mint’ (1,150 baht++). The name is a mouthful, but so is this full-flavoured dish. Chef Stephen explained that the lamb is from Victoria, Southern Australia, free range and 30 days grain-fed to provide tenderness and juiciness. And this is not just a theory, as the
Drizzled down the cutlets was a frothy ‘Robiola foam’. Robiola is an Italian soft-ripened cheese of the Stracchino family. It’s from the Langhe region and made with varying proportions of cow, goat and sheep’s milk. This fine cheese is used for the foam, as well as in the pasta pockets.
The two cutlets rest on a jus of pommery mustard and spearmint, scented with rosemary and cumin. Says Chef, “It’s basically a lamb jus, and then we incorporate spearmint, Edmond Fallots pommery mustard, and add a hint of rosemary and cumin. This ready-to-eat sauce complements the lamb and pasta pocket, yet isn’t overpowering.” An unusual addition to the dish is black garlic from Tibet. Black garlic is ‘sweet meets savoury’, a perfect mix of molasses-like richness and tangy garlic undertones. It has a tender, almost jelly-like texture with a melt-in-the-mouth consistency similar to a soft dried fruit. It’s as delicious as it is unique. “As garlic is always well associated with lamb, I put a somewhat different twist on it”, says Stephen.
Well there you have it. Tempted yet? There aren’t too many places on the island that serve lamb this well. An impressive wine list is on hand with a well-chosen selection of wines from the world, and the knowledgeable staff will assist with a choice to best go with your meal. And of course, the creative dishes don’t stop with the lamb, and there’s an equally inventive selection to suit all tastes, including a menu of Thai favourites. Stephen doesn’t rest on his laurels, and understands that even the best chefs needs to keep learning and stay motivated. As he proclaims, “I have never stopped innovating and learning, and continue to do so regularly with the Hansar family, creating competitive menus, using the highest quality of ingredients from around the world while ensuring great value and instilling the Hansar philosophy in everything we do.” After sampling the fare at H Bistro, it’s no wonder the establishment has made the list of ‘Thailand’s Best Restaurants’ for both 2011 and 2012. So if you’re after a truly special fine-dining experience, be sure to visit.
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7724 5511. www.hansarsamui.com
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.
(Fisherman’s Village) 16/16 Moo 1, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320 Tel: 077 430 030, 077 245 035 Free Parking!! Opposite the restaurant
Seafood from ‘The Sea’ They might not be in the middle of Chaweng, but they sure know how to make up for it. Bang Por isn’t the most bustling tourist hot spot on Samui. The coast here has a chance to breathe, with plenty wide open spaces between resorts, long stay bungalows and spas. You can walk for many miles along the beach without any thumping music or beach parties, and you can swim happily without having to watch for too many jet skis. It is also home to The Sea Koh Samui, a luxury beachfront hideaway. A small, but perfectly formed, resort set in beautiful gardens filled with flowers and orchids, they have 24 villas and suites in varying degrees of luxury from pool villas to one bedroom studios. Most of the spacious bathrooms feature outside Jacuzzi bathtubs and/or walk-in rain showers. You’ll find fine linen in all the bedrooms and rich teakwood floors throughout. And the light and airy tones and furnishings used will ensure you feel relaxed the minute you put your luggage down. All rooms have LED televisions with a large selection of both local and international channels, but also have DVD players if you prefer your own movies. All villas and suites have a fully equipped kitchen with an adjoining dining area, so each day you can choose to cook a meal yourself, enjoy room-service or treat yourself to a private chef. If you’re staying longer, you can make use of the washing machine and drier installed for your convenience. A complimentary high speed wireless internet service is available as well as the standard fittings such as telephones and personal safes. Everything is designed with easy living in mind, and to make you feel like you’re in a home away from home, rather than in a hotel.
Sea Wrap ...living by the sea...
If you can, drag yourself out of the beautiful rooms and head to the restaurant, Cafe LeBay. Don’t let the word ‘cafe’ put you off, this is far cry from a corner cafe serving coffee, tea and a few pastries. This is a modern style air-conditioned restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. They are open all day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is just as well, you‘ll need as many meal times as possible to try all their tempting dishes. Up until recently, if you were relaxing in the pool area at the beachfront and wanted to eat, they would bring the food from the restaurant at the front of the resort. Sadly this meant that sometimes food was cold or ice cream was more cream than ice. So, with customer satisfaction in mind, they’ve decided to change things. Opening in February, Cafe LeBay will boast an additional kitchen situated beside the pool. The concept will be a ‘Seafood Experience’ and will take full advantage of the delicious and easily accessible seafood found around the island. After all, they’re not called ‘The Sea’ for nothing … A greater emphasis will be put on sourcing local ingredients, such as vegetables and herbs, thereby supporting the local community. The seafood is already sourced from within 50 kilometres of the resort. The food will remain simple but what will win you over are the presentation and the flavours. For instance, you can easily enjoy a taste from back home and enjoy local seafood by trying their ‘Fish and Chips’ and splash out (and I use the phrase loosely as it costs less than 500 baht) on their signature dish ‘Surf and Turf’. And before you think that they’ve already forgotten
about the ‘sourcing locally’ promise, the beef does come from the island. The seafood barbecue is extremely popular and can be offered in one of three ways. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, and in full holiday mode, allow the chef to prepare a private seafood barbecue for you in your villa for the ultimate in holiday luxury. Or if you prefer to be on the beach, they can prepare a secluded area for you and your guests to enjoy the barbecue there. And finally, if you prefer to just do things yourself but without the hassle of the preparation and washing up, then go for the ‘DIY Barbecue’ (you have a choice between seafood and mixed meats). Everything will be prepared - the meat or seafood will be on skewers, the dipping sauces and salad will be ready, the fish will be wrapped, the grill stations will all be set up, all you have to do is arrive, relax, cook, chat, drink and enjoy. And staff will always be close at hand, just in case you need something. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it’s time for dessert. You again have options - do you go for the traditional Thai desserts or would you rather satisfy your craving for Häagen Dazs ice cream in a selection of flavours that will make your legs go weak. That does sound tempting, don’t you think?
Colleen Setchell For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7796 0567. www.theseasamui.com
Le Jaroen “A Secret World”
Ease yourself to the sound of gently lapping waves and enjoy the breath-taking sea views. Savor Mediterranean bistro culinary delights & modern Thai specialties, for a unique beachfront dining experience.
Peace Resort 178, Moo 1, Bophut Beach, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320 Thailand Tel: +66 77 425357 | Fax: +66 77 425343 www.peaceresort.com email@example.com
Probably the most enchanting restaurant on the island for an unforgettable romantic evening. Induldge your senses with an exquisite 5 course Chef’s Signature Menu or 4 course Thai Degustation Menu.
Tel +66 (0)77 962 198 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thescenthotel.com The Scent Hotel 58/1 Moo 4 Bangrak Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand
Open House Galanga must be one of the most delightful restaurants you’ll find on the island. What is it that defines the ‘WOW’ factor? Great cooking, that’s for sure. Maybe even an awardwinning chef. The location needs to be right. The décor is important too, not too fussy or chintzy or over-the top. And, to go with the décor and the surroundings, there’s that hard-to-define factor – ambiance. I think that just about covers it. Except for the fact that if it was that easy, there’d be a lot more top-notch eateries that there are! But one that’s managed to put all of this together, and carry it off with panache and flair, is right smack-bang in the middle of Chaweng. And its name is Galanga. It would be hard to find a better location. It’s right on Chaweng Beach Road, just a hundred metres or so south of the central landmark of Soi Green Mango. But it’s also set back from the street, too, keeping the hustle and bustle at arm’s length. It’s impossible to miss. But what’ll cause you to stop and stare is the design. It’s unique in that it appears at first glance to be a two-storey house in the modern Thai style, with massive wood pillars supporting an elaborate timber roof. But it’s also completely open across the whole frontage, from top to bottom. It’s quite dramatic. There’s a sort of open courtyard at the front, with tables and chairs set around a big tree, and a small show-kitchen on the left, next to a display of fresh fish and seafood. But it becomes far more
of a ‘WOW’ when you then notice the tree inside! There’s a full-size tree growing right up through the middle of the ‘house’, with the balconied upper floor forming an open atrium through which the tree is growing. And it’s all combined into one glowing harmony of warm lighting, rich natural woods, simple, sturdy furnishing and subtly integrated décor, with artefacts, paintings and artworks scattered about here and there. Indeed the full title is ‘Galanga Restaurant & Art Gallery’, and the upper floor is a showplace of work for sale, with different small items of craftwork used as decoration on the tables. But, by the time you’ve noticed all of this, the initial first impressions will have faded. You’ll realise that the whole restaurant runs further back than you thought, with a full-length bar at the back and enough room to spaciously seat 48 on this level. And, as well as the tables inside and the open-air terrace at street level, upstairs there’s dining for another 52, plus a separate (and observable) children’s playroom, complete with an entertainment centre and lots of toys. The menus are just perfect – this is the way to itemise the cuisine! Firstly, they are big, clear and logically divided into different sections such as appetisers, salads, soups, three sections of zmains
(chicken/duck, beef/lamb, fish/seafood) and desserts. This is not just traditional Thai cuisine, nor is it tempted towards some sort of ‘fusion’ concept. It’s certainly Thai-based but, for a start, all the beef and lamb is imported from Australia or New Zealand. Then there are more than a few items that draw on Japanese or Korean elements. And a number of Thai selections appear with a more interesting twist – adding different sauces or non-traditional vegetables such as sweet corn or asparagus, for example. For the want of a handy label I’d describe it as ‘contemporary Thai-Asian’ cuisine. But best of all is that a nice clear photo accompanies every item on the menu so you can immediately see exactly what each dish comprises. I’m not going to highlight any of the usual suspects – most diners will already be acquainted with traditional Thai food. But for something more subtle, what about an appetiser such as ‘crispy asparagus wraps’ or ‘tempura calamari with wasabi sauce’? Or a main dish that reads, ‘whole fish, pan fried, served with spicy tom yam sauce’? How about the delicious ‘roasted duck with pineapple and vegetables in red curry sauce’? Speaking of which, there are quite a number of duck dishes here, indicating a stronger Chinese influence than you’ll usually come across.
Iconic Beachfront Restaurant Daily Modern European Asian Cuisine. Oyster Sunday Brunch from noon - 4 pm.
With breathtaking views and an unrivalled ambiance, RockPool is an unmissable Samui dining attraction. Resting on the rocks just a few metres above the ocean, the RockPool terrace oﬀers an exquisite beach-side dining experience. Chef Christopher's menu is an a la carte journey embracing an exotic tapestry of the freshest ingredients, delicately prepared to enhance each individual ﬂavour. RockPool is the perfect location for all celebrations, and is equally delightful for a casual, gourmet lunch or a romantic dinner. Sunday Brunch is a long, lazy aﬀair. RockPool is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
RESERVATIONS: 077 234 500
Email: email@example.com www.kandaresidences.com
Located Between Chaweng And Choeng Mon. Location In Thai: 10 www.siamwininganddining.com
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Complimentary one way transfer to or from your resort .
But the most popular section of the menu I’ve left until last – the ‘set menus’. Here there are no fewer than seven combinations of seafood or meat, presented in a set of three or four items together, such as the first on the list, ‘one snapper fish, one squid, one clam’, which comes in at only 440 baht, and with the top selection being the table-straining ‘BBQ seafood for two’. All of this comes with a free run of the included salad bar and, of course, you can add anything from the à la carte menu too. As Galanga opens at 10:00 am, there’s also a big (all day) breakfast menu that’s utterly lacking in stodge or grease! But you’ll find plenty of baguettes, croissants, bruschetta, sandwiches, wraps, omelettes plus several vegetarian offerings also. The drinks selection is extensive, ranging from soft drinks and shakes through to beers and spirits, and there’s a wall-sized chiller cabinet with a huge range of wines that start at 850 baht, and with 18 bottles on offer at less than 1,000 baht. There’s a similar variety in the cocktails that are featured and you’ll find that, like the prices here throughout, they’re all ever so reasonably priced, with the average cost of these being only around 220 baht.
along the beach road and stop somewhere that catches your eye; there are dozens of pretty places to eat. But the best way by far is that you head directly to one of the best places. Many of these are hidden away somewhere. But not Galanga – it’s the intriguing house with the totally open front. And this is one place that’s managed to get everything just right and has the ‘WOW’ factor running throughout. Not to mention that, in more ways than one, at Galanga they have an ‘open house’ every day of the week!
Rob De Wet For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7796 3213. www.galangasamui.com
There’s only really two ways to go about dining in Chaweng. One is that you go adventuring
Events @ the beach front Bistro Monday, Wednesday and Saturday: Live music. Tuesday: Thai night with live Thai music and dancing Thursday: Lobster night Friday: Rustichella pasta night Saturday: All day tapas Sunday: International BBQ night with a live cabaret show.
Probably the most beautiful Restaurant on the island. Dine outside in the lush gardens by the pool or inside the open air ‘dining room’. The exceptional Aziz and his team present a modern take on Classical French Cuisine.
Wrap It Up! Sea Wrap Restaurant at Peace Resort offers perfect beachside dining with their new menu.
Sometimes change is good – sometimes, not so good. Usually the best approach to change is to constantly evolve, keeping what makes customers happy, but always finding new ways to improve the product or service. That is just the case with Peace Resort and its Sea Wrap restaurant. Peace Bungalow, as it was formerly known, was established in 1977, on a then deserted Bophut Beach, by the Pupaiboon family, when Samui was little more than a backpackers’ haven. They own several resorts on the island, and have managed to keep up with the times, and have a feel for what the tourists want. Peace Bungalow developed over the years, and the latest renovation in 2007 transformed the bungalows into ‘Peace Resort’. Now, over 120 rooms and bungalows of various types are offered, and the resort’s new style is described by the owners as ‘contemporary Thai, with architecture that reflects local traditions and craftsmanship’. A focal point of this expansive property, with its meandering gardens and many facilities, is Sea Wrap restaurant, located alongside the swimming pool. The seating area extends onto the beach by way of fall-in beanbags, making it the perfect relaxed beach dining setting. But should you prefer more conventional seating, there’s the newly renovated breezy
dining room, with lovely views across to Koh Phangan. The menu has had a revamp since the appointment, in January 2014, of Executive Chef, Aziz Awang, well-known on the island for his flair for inventive dishes. Previously, the menu was predominantly Thai, with only a few Western dishes. Now, there’s a strong Mediterranean influence, particularly French and Italian cuisine, but some Thai favourites remain. Here are a few highlights from the Western menu to tempt your taste buds.
choices on the Thai menu. Again, here are but a few of the highlights.
it’s best to book early as Chef Aziz has come up with a fantastic menu for the most romantic day of the year:
‘Phed thod - crispy fried duck leg confit, baby bok choy and black bean sauce, and mandarin orange’ is a different take on crispy duck. And seafood lovers will enjoy either the ‘goong makham – stir-fried tiger prawns with tamarind sauce and asparagus’ or the ‘poo nim kratiem prik Thai – stir-fried soft-shell crab in garlic and peppercorn sauce’.
Amuse Bouche Fin de Claire oyster in Parmesan and tom yam broth, ginger powder.
For something unusual try the ‘Squid ink ravioli with river prawn stuffing, lobster bisque reduction, beetroot chips, quail egg and braised cabbage’. Or perhaps the ‘Sautéed Hokkaido scallops with goat’s cheese and thyme ravioli, caramelized apple, and a white wine sauce’ is more to your liking. And the dishes get more interesting…
Tempted yet? Well, if you prefer to try a bit of this and a bit of that rather than order from a menu, then Sea Wrap offers two themed evenings with reasonably-priced buffet options. Sunday night plays host to the Thai buffet, with a wide selection of dishes for 890 baht ++ per person, and featuring Thai music and dance. An international barbecue is presented every Wednesday evening, with an assortment of grilled meat and seafood at 990 baht ++ per person, and cabaret entertainment.
How about ‘Crispy skin of Norwegian salmon, potato mousseline, asparagus, baby carrots, snow peas and sauce Nantua’. Or for the carnivores, the ‘150 days grain-fed Australian tenderloin with vegetable glacier, potato gratin and Port wine reduction’ sounds like a mouth-watering option. If you’d prefer to go Thai-style, Aziz has some jazzed-up
Should romance be on the cards, Sea Wrap offers private dining in a beautifully decorated sala on the beach. Choose from a six-course menu, or an Asian barbecue option. And if you’re looking for something special to do on Valentine’s Day,
The First Element Trilogy of Hokkaido Scallops (Truffle, hazelnut butter and cauliflower puree, ceviche with Piment d Espelette, terrine with leek and red wine vinaigrette). The Second Element Poêlé of Moulard duck foie gras, strawberry and Granny Smith apple, wilted leeks, miso and vanilla broth. The Main Element For Her: Poached New Zealand lemon sole fillet with goat cheese gratin, pommes bouchon, carrot and Avruga caviar infused natural jus. For Him: Fillet of Australian rib eye, parsnip puree, glazed baby carrots, baby spinach and roasted beetroot, Madeira sauce.
BAR & RESTAURANT
Open from 10:00 am - 01:00 am (main kitchen), with pizzas being served until 1:00 am. For reservations and further information, telephone 077 961 648 www.spagosamui.com
Grill & BBQ Fish and Seafood Open from 12:00 am - 01:00 am
For reservations and further information, telephone 077 963 213
The Last Sin Lemon and chocolate mille feuille with raspberry sabayon and crème anglaise. This delicious menu is only 1,500 baht ++ per person, excluding drinks. If you’re strolling along Bophut Beach, pop up to the Talay Beach Bar for a cocktail or two and watch the sun set across the bay. And anyone wanting to know how to prepare their favourite Thai dish can sign up for cooking lessons at the Peace Culinary School, where professional chefs reveal the secrets to preparing the cuisine that’s become so popular worldwide. So if you’ve not yet experienced Peace Resort, do make your way down to Bophut Beach and enjoy the new menu at Sea Wrap, or even just a sundowner while lazing on the beachfront beanbags.
Rosanne Turner For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 5357. www.peaceresort.com
All You Need Is Love… At Bandara Resort and Spa, Samui, brides and grooms need to bring only their love. All else is here – inspiring seaside setting on a peaceful stretch of idyllic island coastline, dedicated team of wedding professionals giving meticulous attention to every detail, and the genuine warmth of Thai hospitality to ensure one of life’s most important occasions is truly memorable.
Pure Asian Experience
Where love grows - all newlyweds plant a ‘Love Tree’ in the resort’s garden and are invited to return on their honeymoon to relive fond memories and see how their own unfolding love has graced where the bond began.
178/2 Moo 1, Tambol Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani Thailand 84320 Tel: +66 (0) 7724 5795 Fax: +66 (0) 7742 7340 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bandarasamui.com www.siamwininganddining.com 13
Feast and Fast
How to whittle away that extra weight gained over the festive season.
It’s just like credit cards. It’s one of the most irritating curses of our modern world. With credit cards, it goes like this: whatever you charge to your card takes ten minutes to get but 1,000 times longer to pay back. And in a weird way, the same thing happens to millions of people every Christmas. But this time it goes: “. . .what the heck! It’s once a year. There’s no way to avoid it so I might as well just go ahead and make the most of it. I’ll go on a diet when it’s all finished.” But, of course, it isn’t just Christmas; there’s no point in dieting until after all those parties and alcohol of the New Year. And so it is that those few days of seasonal indulgence can often take until Easter to get balanced out again. If you’re still wondering how Christmas binging has anything at all to do with credit cards, consider this. Just one portion of Christmas pudding with a dash of cream amounts to 450 calories. Ninety minutes of non-stop energetic exercise uses up 450 calories. See the connection now? (Interestingly, when asleep, a body uses only 45 calories per hour per 100 pounds of body weight. Which means that a person weighing 140 pounds burns up only about 500 calories in an eight-hour sleep.) But no matter how you go
about it, eyes closed or wide open, there is only one rule to weight loss. You have to take in fewer calories each day than your body is using. That’s it! Each of us has a basic metabolic rate (BMR) and this varies according to our age, height, weight, gender and occupation. Plus a few other odd variables, like state of health or genetic disposition. Looking at two extremes, that of a young female secretary and a male lumberjack, this can run between 1,700 and 4,000+ calories a day that are being burned up by our daily activities. (If you look around on websites, you’ll quickly find tables and charts to find out what your particular requirements are.) Age is an important factor here, as a younger body has a faster metabolism. But as we get older excess calories become stored as fat, becoming harder to break down and shed. Which is the main reason that women find it increasingly more difficult to lose weight as they age. And it’s another reason that men and women have a Mars and Venus outlook when it comes to diets and weight loss! Most European women I’ve ever known or met are experts on dieting. Some have even told me
that they have tried every diet there is. Whereas males seem to march to a different drum, usually being far less bothered about the whole business, particularly as they get older. But, along with this, males display two extremes that I’ve never noticed with women. Regardless of age, they either consider diet and dieting simply as a (non-fanatical) part of a healthy lifestyle, and so stick to a moderated and non-binge approach to life, festive season or not. Or else they’re content to remain cheerfully rounded and couldn’t give a flying fig whatever. Take my uncle Doug, for example. His approach used to be to binge to excess and starve himself for a week or so afterwards. But then he married again, to a trim beauty named Joan, and she ran a very tight ship. She made it her mission to deny him the luxury of binging on the rich cream-and-fat-heavy helpings he so used to love. With the result being that he was never able to enjoy the associated punishment of feeling haunted and hollow when dieting afterwards. Having had his cycle broken in this way, Doug then discovered that his urge towards binging had diminished by a similar proportion. The basic psychology of crime and punishment seems to
run throughout all of this dieting business somehow, but, then, what do I know – I’m only a man. Although I’m reminded of the criminals’ adage; ‘if you can’t stand the ‘time’, don’t do the crime’. But I have to say that in Doug’s case it was reverse psychology. He needed to feel punished in some way to make up for his gluttony; the two things went hand-in-hand. Reducing either of these things caused the other one to die naturally. I’ve just realised that about 50% of my reading audience have already been skipping ahead to see if I’m going to come up with any new hints, tips or news on dieting that they don’t already know about. The answer’s yes, and this is also useful for men to be aware of. Eat some avocado with each meal. One thing about eating a lot is that your stomach adjusts to this and so you always feel hungry if you then start to eat less. (Just try fasting for a week and then see how filled-up you are by only one tomato.) Thus, when trying to diet, there’s a constant desire to snack and nibble. A lot of this is additionally due to a suddenly reduced blood sugar level. But it’s recently been discovered that eating an avocado moderates calorie and carbohydrate intake, but
without affecting blood sugar levels. And, while you’re at it, also reduce your calorific intake to less than your specific BMR by cutting out all sugar, alcohol, dairy products and fats, eat lots of fruit to keep satiated, and burn extra calories by exercising as much as you can. But if you’re reading this you’re not going to do these things, are you? Either because you’ve already done it, or/and because you’re on holiday! So take a tip from the Thais. Like all Asians, (apart from that handful of moneyed city slickers who are addicted to skinny fries and western-style fast food), Thais generally eat a balanced and low-calorie diet. The cuisine here is excellent; everything cooked in unsaturated vegetable oil, lots of lean meat, fish and seafood, fresh vegetables and loads of low calorie fruit for dessert or between-meals nibbling. So binge yourself on Thai food, and that way you’ll enjoy feasting while on Samui, without all the fasting that usually comes afterwards!
Rob De Wet
Pavilion presents the best in Samui Boutique Resort dining. The Patio Restaurant serves authentic Italian and Thai delicacies. Experience a romantic meal with outstanding sea views. The Look-Out Bar is the ideal place to unwind with a drink by our beach side pool.
Romantic Dinner on the Beach
Enjoy an elegant and romantic meal at sunset on the soft sandy beach. (Includes a bottle of our best Prosecco) Please make a reservation one day in advance.
Wednesday Night Pasta Night Dinner Buffet
Sunday Night Steak Night
From 07.00 PM - 10.30 PM
From 07.00 PM - 10.30 PM
Huge variety of homemade pasta and a selection of pasta sauces.
N.Z. Sirloin, N.Z. Tenderloin & N.Z. T-Bone. Choice of pepper sauce, mushroom sauce, bĂŠarnaise sauce, red wine sauce, herb sauce.
Cold cuts, cold appetisers, meat, seafood, vegetable, fresh fruits and desserts.
Served with - baked potato, mash potato, French fries, sautĂŠed potato, creamy spinach.
(A la carte menu also available) Includes one glass of house wine.
Monday Night Thai Night
Saturday Night Seafood & Barbecue Night
From 7.30PM - 10.30 PM An outstanding Thai buffet dinner plus classical Thai dancing performance.
Try our seafood & barbecue with a selection of lobster, rock lobster, jumbo prawn, squid, blue crab and sea bass as well as chicken, pork, beef or mixed kebabs. Be amazed by our salad bar for vegetarians.
(A la carte menu also available)
(A la carte menu also available)
Wedding on The Beach Experience the most special day of your life in romantic tropical surroundings at Pavillon Samui Boutique Resort. Select from our Western, Thai and Chinese wedding options. Let us tailor make a celebration for you or choose one of our wedding packages.
Lamai Beach, Koh Samui Tel: 0 7742 4420, 0 7742 4030 Fax: 0 7742 4029 email@example.com www.pavilionsamui.com
THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE The history of Thai cuisine and its influences.
Until 1939, the country we call Thailand was known as Siam. It was the only Southeast Asian country never colonised by the West, which helped it to maintain its own special cuisine. But that’s not to say that Thailand hadn’t already been influenced by its Asian neighbours. The Thai people migrated to their present homeland from southern China about 2,000 years ago, bringing with them the cooking of their native Yunnan province, as well as its dietary staple, rice. Other Chinese influences on Thai cooking included the use of noodles, dumplings, soy sauce, and other soy products. It’s from their Chinese heritage that the Thais based their recipes on blending five basic flavours: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and hot. From nearby India came not only Buddhism, but also fragrant seasonings such as cumin, cardamom, and coriander, as well as curry dishes. The Malays, to the south, further imparted their knowledge of spices, as well as their love of coconuts and the satay (small kebabs of meat, slowly grilled). The impact of foreign trade through the ‘Silk Road’ and various sea spice routes on Thai food was substantial, as these trade routes linked Asia with Europe and vice versa. Ultimately many
European nations, including the British and French had a major economic and military presence in Asia as a direct result of the spice trade. Thailand was the exception to European rule. Traditional Thai cooking methods were stewing, baking, or grilling, however, Chinese influences saw the introduction of stir-frying and deep-frying. Culinary influences from the 17th century onwards included Portuguese, Dutch, French and Japanese. Chillies, now a major part of Thai cooking, were introduced to Thailand during the late 1600s by Portuguese missionaries, who had acquired a taste for them while serving in South America. Thais were good at making these foreign cooking styles and ingredients their own, as well as substituting local products where necessary. The ghee used in Indian cooking was replaced by coconut oil, and coconut milk was a perfect alternative for other dairy products. Overpowering pure spices were toned down and enhanced by fresh herbs such as lemon grass and galangal. Over time, fewer spices were used in Thai curries, while more fresh herbs were used instead. It’s generally agreed that Thai curries burn intensely, but briefly, while other curries with strong spices burn for longer periods.
Thai food has several variations, depending on the region. These regions include the north, northeast, south and central. Each region’s cuisine was influenced by its neighbours, settlers and visitors, yet has continued to adapt through time. The north-eastern part of Thailand was heavily influenced by the Khmer, who were from the area now known as Cambodia. The Burmese influence northern Thailand, as do the Chinese to a lesser extent. In the southern region, the Malay people had a major impact on the food. Central Thailand was influenced by the ‘Royal Cuisine’ of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The area of north-eastern Thailand to this day has a heavy Khmer and Lao influence. In fact, many Thais in this area, which is also known as ‘Issan’, often speak Khmer as well as Thai. Families also have relatives that live in Cambodia and Laos and travel across the border is relatively easy. When travelling in Issan, you’ll find many historical sites which attest to the heavy Khmer influence. The food is similar as well, both as far as preparation is concerned as well as the use of almost everything to make a meal. Issan is one of the poorest regions in Thailand, explaining why everything that is edible is used – insects, lizards, snakes, and all parts of the pig. Chicken feet soup, which is
A Unique Koh Samui Experience at The Farmer
literally what it says, with the addition of a variety of herbs and spices, is a popular dish. People from Issan have migrated to other parts of the country for better work opportunities, so their food is found everywhere in Thailand, and especially in Bangkok where many people have moved to work in the various industrial estates, and even here on Samui where vendors offering traditional Issan food always have a steady flow of customers. The southern provinces of Thailand to this day have a heavy influence from Malaysia. In this part of Thailand you find a majority of Thailand’s Muslim population. As a result, the food found in this part of Thailand is very similar to the food found in Malaysia, however with a unique Thai taste, due to the combination of herbs and spices. The ties to Persian and other Middle-Eastern foods are evident as well. The food from the central provinces, which is traced back to the Royal Cuisine of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, is a more refined version of the Thai food found in other provinces, and is the closest style to Thai food found in the West. It’s also what’s on the menu in most four and five star restaurants in Thailand, and it’s not likely that you’ll find any chicken feet or pig’s
intestine soup in any of these restaurants! With Thailand’s growth as a tourist and expat hotspot, more and more international restaurants are being introduced as well as Western products being available in the supermarkets. It’s not only farang (Westerners) eating this foreign food, but Thais are indulging in it too. Restaurants are using Thai chefs to assist in preparation of Western food, meaning that the styles of cooking and introduction to the ingredients are being passed on to the locals. Just as Thai food was influenced in the past, it’s still continuing to evolve – hopefully not with a negative impact. It would be a shame if Thai food were toned down to the extent that it is in Thai restaurants abroad to satisfy the Western palate. Thai food lovers can only hope is that real Thai food will never lose its unique sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy taste in an effort to appeal to the masses.
Exclusive Lunch Promotion at The Farmer from 12:00 to 15:00 every day
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 and seafood dishes.
Khantoke (for 2 people)
Crispy fried duck served with 5 colour rice, herbal sauce, gourd soup and fresh tropical fruit. 290 Baht ++
Chicken satay, spring rolls, tom yam goong, laap (minced chicken salad with Thai herbs), choice of curry (either green, red, massaman or paneang), stir fried vegetables. Served with 5 colour rice. 990 Baht ++
The Farmer Restaurant & Bar 1/26 Moo 4, Maenam, Koh Samui Tel: 077 447 222, 077 247 979, 083 092 2632 www.thefarmerrestaurantsamui.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Join us for “3 Days of Music, Fashion & Magic” from 14-16 February 16 www.siamwininganddining.com
TOP TEN 2011 www.tripadvisor.com
Clubbing Together for Great Service The staff at Buri Rasa’s Beach Club ensure great value for money. “The staff were always friendly and sweet.” “Service was excellent and consistently friendly.” “... found the team outstanding.” “...the team here are the best we have ever seen.” “Ice takes the time out of her very busy day to check all guests are having a great time and remembers everyone’s name.” “The staff were all amazing.” “I have to make a special mention about the staff. They go above and beyond to make your stay as good as it can possibly be.”
When you hear the word ‘club’, what do you think of? If you're on Samui, your mind will probably conjure up images of beach clubs with their white Ibiza-themed decor, music to match and a small space to squeeze onto your sun lounger and get your daily dose of sun worshipping, with a loud, party atmosphere complete with bikinis and cocktails. Or perhaps your mind creates a nightclub with glitzy outfits, a DJ and buckets of drinks? But maybe you prefer a quieter experience; maybe your definition of a club is ‘an association dedicated to a particular interest or activity’ like relaxing, for instance. Or maybe a club is ‘an organisation offering members social amenities, meals, and temporary residence’ like swimming, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner? A club can also be classed as ‘a group of people or nations having something in common.’ And that is exactly what Buri Rasa Beach Club is. People travel from all over the world to relax and spend their precious
vacation time here because they know they're in good hands. Described as a ‘Garden of Eden’, Buri Rasa is indeed a tranquil oasis and exactly what people are looking for when they plan to get away from it all. Their beach front and poolside ‘Beach Club’ was given its name long before today’s trendy definition was formed, and what makes this all different is their approach to customer service and value for money. Most of Buri Rasa’s staff are long serving, and at least 50% of them have been there longer than three years and some have even been there over seven years. Their training is completely customer focussed and all staff have authority to deal with complaints directly, not that it happens often if TripAdvisor and Booking.com are anything to go by:
Perhaps it’s the ‘Employee of the Month’ and ‘Employee of the Year’ awards that spur them on. The incentives are certainly worth working towards – the employee of the year not only receives a gold necklace, but also a 3-night stay in a resort in Thailand with 5,000 baht spending money. Out of the last five employees to win the monthly title, two have been from the food and beverage team. Perhaps it’s just that they have a system that works and keeps customers coming back year after year. They have many repeat guests, and while we were talking to General Manager, Bernd Schillig, a group greeted him that apparently comes twice a year. That speaks volumes.
one free’ on almost everything except wine, some beers and champagne. Another deal making yet more customers happy. The management at Buri Rasa are well aware of the ever-increasing prices of travel and holidays, so are always looking for ways to give their customers better value for money. At 3:30 pm you’ll notice some hustle and bustle as ‘Afternoon Tea’ is prepared. A table with a coffee machine, hot water urn and various mini sandwiches and cookies is laid out as a complimentary treat for guests. Maybe an afternoon cappuccino or English breakfast tea is just what you need. You can drink and eat as much as you want until 5:00 pm and, of course, the staff are on hand to help. If you spend a lot of time out by the pool or on the beach, you’ll probably know Khun Arm, the Beach Supervisor. He has an unlimited capacity for remembering not only people’s names and room numbers, but also what their orders are.
He’s been known to remember this information for guests who returned to the resort over a year later. If that’s not great customer service, I don’t know what is. Khun Arm has been with Buri Rasa for eight years now and is one of the longest serving staff members. He clearly loves his job and keeping guests happy. Starting from next year, the non-alcoholic drinks in the rooms’ minibars will be free of charge too. Another attempt to make sure that the guests have not only a great experience but also feel they are getting excellent value for money. Complimentary afternoon tea, buy one get one free drinks and no charge for soft drinks in the minibars. That all sounds like great value to me.
Colleen Setchell For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 0222. www.samui.burirasa.com
The Beach Club restaurant is open from 7:00 am and the 12 staff that are available to serve you from breakfast to dinner are managed by Khun Chart, who has been with Buri Rasa for five years and knows his guests well. Throwing down a challenge, we point to a customer enjoying his book by the pool. “Room 22, from Australia,” he answers. Berndt checks and confirms he’s correct. I’m speechless. If the staff can remember such details, it’s no wonder they remember exactly what to do to please their customers time and time again. If you’ve had enough of lounging around the pool or on the beach, the beach bar is staffed from 11:00 am - 11:00 pm and happy hour is from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm. There is a ‘Buy one, get
Enjoy your lunch or spectacular sunset dinner at the open air Pavilion restaurant overlooking the sea and the intimate atmosphere of a small luxury villa resort. Authentic Thai and international cuisine and wines. Join us for a relaxed and unforgetable dining experience!
Open daily from 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. (ask for free pick-up service) Santi Beach – Lipanoi Tel: 077-420008 – Fax: 077-420009 e-mail: email@example.com www.siamresidence.com
Going Native Joining the locals at Zaab Samui.
Samui is largely an island of immigrants. Traditionally the native population outnumbered any newly-arriving group whether they were Chinese in the 18th century who married local women, or foreigners arriving in the latter half of the 20th looking for beaches. In their wake, seeking business opportunitvies, came Thais from the central or southern regions, and workers from the northeast of Thailand. The northeast, or Isaan as it’s also called, borders Laos and is the most agricultural and poorest part of the country. But out of its hardscrabble soil and paddy fields, it has conjured up a delightful cuisine that embraces extremes - the fiery and pungent flavours are tempered by the brightest green herbs like dill, basil and mint. With the addition of toasted rice, salty seasonings and grilled meats, you can almost taste the land itself on every plate.
Many of these ‘migrants’ from Isaan have made a permanent life on Samui, and created successful businesses. Many have seen their children educated here. Zaab Samui restaurant is testament to that process. Owner and manager, Khun Pai, grew up under her mum’s apron in an Isaan kitchen on the island. She graduated high school here, and went on to study business administration in Australia. In her twenties, she quit her job as restaurant manager in Sydney and came back to set up a bright new and spacious restaurant. “I want it to offer something for everyone, and make it affordable, too,” she says. We can be grateful for her vision! ‘Zaab’ or ‘sep’ is the word in Isaan dialect for delicious (Thais say ‘arroy’), and the food here is authentic, clean and lives up to the name. As each dish is prepared fresh, the cooks can modulate the spiciness to please the most red-blooded north easterner, or the newly arrived tourist. Even more fabulous, the kitchen can prepare anything without the pernicious MSG powder so loved by many Isaan establishments. We order sticky rice off the bat, and this simple steamed glutinous staple is served hot and moist in a small woven basket. It’s perfectly cooked at Zaab Samui fresh, soft and malleable and an ideal
accompaniment to the som tam we’ve ordered. We eat it with our hands by moulding a ball of the sticky rice to pinch at the salad and mop up the juices. Literally meaning ‘sour-pounded’, som tam salad is made by smashing a variety of fresh ingredients including small tomatoes, dried shrimp (for the Thai version), garlic, lime, chilli, coconut sugar, fish sauce, and peanuts with strips of raw grated green papaya in a mortar and pestle.
similar in this cuisine, but with different accents.
We also ordered a ‘soup nommai’ a vegetable dish made of fresh bamboo shoots, steamed and shredded, before being combined with chilli, fresh onion, lime, herbs and fermented fish sauce. All in all the meal is delightful, and served with a healthy complimentary plate of fresh beans, cucumber and cabbage for crunch and freshness.
The som tam we try is with pork, more exactly pork neck, which is fatty and succulent, and when soaked in the lime and green papaya salad juices, turns almost white as in a ceviche. Overall the salad is crispy, fresh, and nutty with the pork more of a background flavour.
It’s fun being able to watch the cooks at work in the open kitchen, and the ambiance at Zaab Samui is spacious and cheerful, with black tables and orange chairs arranged in tiers. The venue would be perfect for a party - seating up to 120 people.
With som tam you need to decide upfront how many chilli peppers you want to spice up your salad: the chilli factor is determined at the onset of the pounding process. The range is generally one to ten tiny chillies, but if you are extremely heat-shy, you may be happy with none, as the residual chilli flavour in the pestle may be enough of a homeopathic dose for you.
The menu is not that extensive yet, but there is definitely something for everyone. Besides the ‘tams’, ‘yams’ and ‘laabs’, there are a variety of soups such as tom yam with fish, chicken, shrimp and seafood, and tom ‘sep’ which is more deliciously spicy.
Variations to this salad abound, and others are made with cucumbers and long beans, green mango, or if no fresh papaya can be found, with carrots. At Zaab Samui there is a range of ‘som tam’, made Thai-style with shrimp, or Korat-style including the authentic ‘pla ra’ or fermented fish sauce. We also order a ‘yam’ - another kind of pounded salad, and here the pork is perfectly roasted - succulent but also crisp and satisfyingly meaty when combined with the fresh onion, spring onions, tomato, carrot, cucumber, fresh chilli and lime juice. Other yams include seafood, glass noodle with sausage, spicy cockle salad and ‘mu manao’ or pork in lime. There is also a Thai grilled beef salad. Another perennial favourite is laab, and Zaab Samui offers beef, chicken and roasted pork neck. We opt for a chicken version of this minced salad with mint and other herby accompaniments. Actually a lot of the herbs and spices are
Since the restaurant extends its egalitarian vision to include International dishes, you can order green salad, potato salad, Caesar salad and even tomato and mozzarella salad. There are also sandwiches, hamburgers, cordon bleu, steak and salmon for the Western palate. Zaab Samui is to be found about halfway down the road that links Chaweng Beach Road and the traffic lights on the ring road near Tesco Lotus Chaweng. There are not many handy landmarks, but it’s on the north side of the road east of the PTT station opposite a car wash establishment. There is a large cement mortar and pestle on the front lawn. (Note: it’s not to be confused with the enclosed restaurant immediately next to the PTT station.) Open from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm, with live music every Friday night, Zaab Samui is friendly, cheap and cheerful. And ‘zaab’ for sure!
Weddings, Celebrations, Parties & Honeymoons River Prawn Tom Yum
Sunset Dining in Spectacular Surrounds Enjoy breathtaking sunsets while discovering our culinary delights at The Terrace, one of Koh Samui’s best beachfront dining destinations. A holiday or a visit to The Passage would not be complete without sampling the food at The Terrace. Nestled on the beach, this majestic open-air restaurant affords diners a perfect view of the spectacular sunset over Laem Yai Bay and the distant islands. 18 www.siamwininganddining.com
Sea Food Taco
Phuket Lobster Thermidor
This epicurean dining nirvana serves up the finest catches from the sea so our guests can feast like kings. Pay homage to our specialty – the royal triumvirate of lobster, tiger prawn and oysters. Engage your senses as Executive Chef Moo takes you on a culinary journey, and discover the flavours that resonate in Thai-European fusion cuisine.
The Passage is not just a resort. It’s also a great location for weddings and honeymoons. The resort offers specially designed packages to suit your personal style and budget. So come and experience the wedding of a lifetime at The Passage Koh Samui.
The Passage Samui Villas & Resort Laem Yai Beach Reservations 077 421 721 www.thepassagesamui.com
Extremely Palatable There’s something for everyone at The Palate.
Palate - A person's appreciation of taste and flavour. What better name for a restaurant that offers food full of taste and flavour with decor that looks like it’s had fun with a colour palette. Yes, The Palate is a recent addition to the restaurant scene in Lamai, having been open less than a year. Situated opposite The Pavilion Resort, The Palate always seems to be a hive of bustling activity. Whether it’s the welcoming ‘openness’ of the restaurant itself, the varied menu or the fresh seafood on display, the customers keep returning. The restaurant has three dining areas - an indoor air-conditioned dining room (available for private functions), a courtyard which provides a great view of the show kitchen and an upper deck where you can people-watch on the street below. The wooden tables in the courtyard are all painted in happy, bright colours and are paired with equally bright, happy wooden chairs. Some hanging plants provide a screen on one side, and pretty white hanging lanterns and table lamps add a warm ambiance. They have a great menu featuring Thai, Italian and European dishes. The restaurant opens at 3:00 pm and the menu is
ideal for a late lunch, dinner or even late supper. Start with a choice of ten different appetisers ranging from a nice, simple dish of deep fried sun dried pork, or spring rolls with shrimp, ham and pork sausage, to a more adventurous dish of spicy glass noodles with minced pork and prawn salad, or how about the rather tempting sweet and sour chicken wings with whiskey.
through Bangkok, for roughly 365 kilometres and finally out into the Gulf of Thailand. The meat of this fish is reputedly the best in Thailand, and owner Khun Virach is very proud of the fact that he flies it in especially for his customers. You won’t find it anywhere else on Samui, and now perhaps you'll understand why it's one of their recommended dishes.
Being so close to the sea, The Palate has made full use of what nature so willingly provides on the shores of Samui. Seafood features strongly on the menu, and there is a whole section dedicated to prawns and fish, cooked and served with a whole manner of different ingredients. Fried, steamed, sautéed or deep fried, with black pepper, mango salad, sweet and sour, yellow curry powder, garlic butter, salt and chilli, noodles and herbs, or tamarind sauce. Is your mouth watering yet?
However there are plenty of dishes without seafood to keep everyone happy too. There are many to choose from, but a few caught our eye fried chicken with ginger, chicken with cashew nuts, chicken in coconut milk soup, fried boar with dry red curry, fried pork with chilli and basil, sautéed kale with oyster sauce, Caesar salad, duck curry or southern style beef or chicken curry. Some noodle dishes and fried rice dishes (including the ever-popular fried rice served in a pineapple) finish off the Thai menu before the Italian cuisine takes over.
In the 'curries' section, there is something particularly special called 'Gaeng khiew warn plakry'. Sound like a mouthful? Well, it will be a particularly tasty mouthful because this is a green curry dish made with a very special fish. The fish, called ‘plakry’, is found only in Thailand's largest river, the Chao Phraya, which begins its journey in Northern Thailand and heads south,
Delicious pasta cooked with all its perfect accompaniments - cream, mushrooms, garlic, tomato sauce or basil. Go for the old time favourites such as Bolognese, alfredo and arrabiata, but don't be afraid to taste some of the more unusual ones such as Spaghetti Black Ink (made with squid ink), Fettuccine Salmon, White
Fettuccine (made with zucchini and porcini mushrooms), Spaghetti Phad Khee Mao (fried spaghetti with seafood) or perhaps their deliciously different Spinach Fettuccine Cream (spinach Fettuccine with prawns, mushroom and cream sauce). Besides the normal pizza offerings, they have a very interesting one called Pizza Vocano - a folded calzone-style pizza with spicy salami, mozzarella, cheese, tomatoes, chillies and bell peppers. If you have a craving for more European food, you can order the grilled pork chop, the New Zealand beef tenderloin, or the grilled duck breast and mashed potato. You see? We promised there'd be something for everyone. And last but not least, dinner wouldn't be complete without dessert, and Italian food wouldn't be complete without some sumptuous Italian desserts. Yes, here you can find diet-busting tiramisus, smooth crème brûlées, creamy, decadent chocolate mousses and of course The Palate's outrageously delicious signature dessert, hot chocolate soufflé (an absolute must - diet or no diet!!)
the staff will make sure that you're well looked after during your visit. If you're feeling peckish before The Palate opens, nip next door to a new venture by Khun Virach, called Coffee Way. It opens from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm and is a great little spot to enjoy a hot drink during the day or ice cold beer at night. Fresh Danish pastries, croissants, muffins and cakes are available daily, and after 2:00 pm they serve the same desserts that are offered at The Palate. The first floor location of this little coffee bar means you get a cool, breezy seat overlooking the street and can lazily watch life passing by. If you’re after something a little more substantial and you’re in Lamai, head to the beach road and look out for the stripes of colour opposite The Pavilion Resort and enjoy what The Palate has to offer.
Colleen Setchell For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 4420.
All in all, The Palate has a varied enough menu to cater for a whole host of different tastes and
Samui’s phone-for-food website finally gets the exposure it deserves! If you’re old enough to remember the classic 1965 Bob Dylan album of the same name as the title, then you’re certainly of an age to be resident on Samui. Maybe I should give this story a different heading. Because what I’m about to tell you isn’t just for pensioners or ex-hippies. Not in the least. This service has been around for exactly one year now. But, for one reason or another, it’s been troubled with making enough of a dent to get its presence felt. It’s not an original idea but it’s a splendid one. Scenario 1. It’s a Saturday night, boys will be boys, and you’ve popped out to catch the football at your local sports pub. Euro footie tends to broadcast late over here. You caught a bite to eat earlier but now it’s midnight and you’re hungry again. All the local eateries have long-since shut, so you’re faced with a snack at 7-11 or . . . . Scenario 1a – same as #1, but you’ve planned to watch the soccer at home. You’ve laid in the essentials – beer –and you’re now pondering on what nibbles to get to go with this. Scene 2. Not wanting to be accused of sexism, let’s cut to a warm and balmy tropical evening and a couple of friends have dropped-by unexpectedly. You’ve had a few drinks and now you’ve all got the nibbles. Peanuts and crisps? No
– everybody wants real food – but you’re all settled and comfy and don’t want to get up and go out. And scene 2a is the same plot but one person is gagging for pizza, another would kill for a jumbo burger with fries, and the very thought of a mixed grill is making everyone dribble. Then there are also scenes 3, 4, 5, 6 (etc) – all of them with the same thing in common. You’re at home and you’re hungry and you want real food, not a snack. This isn’t the sort of outline where you’re up for a party and have had weeks to plan it all with DJs and outside catering. This is a ‘gimme now!’ theme. If you were in London or Amsterdam then you’d probably be able to go online with a credit card and summon up anything you like. But this is Samui, a little island of ten thousand day-trippers and not enough residents to even make a daily newspaper sustainable. There’s a lot to be said for an unspoiled island paradise. But dial-a-meal is not one of them. Wrong. What if you could pick up a phone and order anything from one of eight or nine different quality restaurants? An award-winning mega burger made from fresh-ground Aussie beef. Anything from the menu of one of the best Italian restaurants on the island? Anything at all from a
number of top restaurants? Well – you can. The system has been in place for a long time now. And you can check it out online by keying www.samui-delivery.com. To be honest, it never fully got off the ground, and very few people have even heard about it. And that was always the problem. It’s a financial tight-rope between making a profit and how much it costs to tell people you’re here. “We tried sending out fliers and putting up posters,” explained the company’s overseer, Jo Altmayer. “But it’s a vicious circle. It was costing us more each month to advertise than we were making in profit. Word-of-mouth is great. But how can you get to the point where so many people are taking about you that the orders are flooding in every night? We struggled, but we survived. I ran one of the first restaurants to sign up with the scheme. It’s a simple idea. We get a good cross-section of quality restaurants to join. Then we offer their menus to the public. They give us a discount, and that’s our profit. Then you order from us on our extensive website menu and we deliver it to you.” Simple, isn’t it! The idea exists successfully in Bangkok under the name of ‘food by phone’. You can phone for food in the same way in Pattaya. But on Samui the idea is trying to get off the
ground like the early days of flying machines – ever see those old clips of 20 pairs of legs running underneath an aeroplane, trying to lift it into the air? Samui just doesn’t have the customer base of other big cities. But, then again, it wasn’t so long ago that, on Samui, there was only one – just one – 7-11, and the only international ATM cash machine on the island was in Nathon. It’s only a matter of time before this scheme really takes off. What happens is this. Browse their website and decide what you want. Call the food-delivery phone number and tell them your order. They then get in touch with the appropriate restaurant(s) and go to the front of their customer queue. Ten minutes later a biker-boy picks up your order and sets off to deliver it to your house. Most orders take about 45 minutes to deliver. If you’re in the area of Chaweng you can cut this time in half. But there has to be a limit. “Ninety-five percent of the orders come in at night,” continued Jo. “It’s a bad road to Lamai, so we won’t deliver there – sorry. But we’ll go west as far as Maenam Soi 5. If you only want a bag of fries, then, please, try somewhere else! But if you have a multiple order then we’ll fit you in, even if you’re a bit further away.” But one word of advice. This is a guy, in the dark, on a motorbike
with your order. Stay alert. Keep close to your phone and be prepared to guide him in, if necessary. And the best bit? The last orders are at 5:00 am. But you better make it worthwhile as, at this time of night, it will be only from one eatery, the Green Burger restaurant in Chaweng, and it’ll be Jo himself who sets off on his motorbike, so don’t be mean with the tip. Like most things, if you’re after ‘bringing it all back home’, you’ll need to give a little, so that you can take a little. Just ask Bob Dylan! Participating restaurants include such established names as Bondi, Noori India, Captain Kirk, Spagó, Cafe Uno and Piri-Piri, amongst others.
Rob De Wet To order visit www.samui-delivery.com.
Authentic Thai Cuisine California Cuisine Succulent BBQ Seafood 20 www.siamwininganddining.com
What’s in a
Name? When it comes to The Coffee Club, there’s a great deal the name doesn’t say!
It took a while, but coffee has now really taken off in Thailand. Of course (and even thankfully, perhaps) it hasn’t created a cult of its own, as it’s done in America – capas, flats, machiattos and ristrettos aren’t words you’ll hear shouted across Chaweng Beach Road. But good, strong, ground coffee is now being sipped and slurped all over. It’s a joy to be able to sit in a little Thai bus station somewhere and get your early-morning fix of the dark stuff. Local coffee shops are everywhere and they do their coffees at 30 baht a cup. But there are also the big American chains that many people swear by. And they even have pastries and snacks, along with the coffee. Then you’ll find there’s a whole other arena of coffee shops combined with a restaurant. This is a logical extension of the ‘snacks’ idea – not the same thing at all as a restaurant which does coffee! This is quality coffee, often created with a signature blend of beans, and with highly trained and award-winning baristas to create it. There’s
probably a whole range of fruit juices and frappes, smoothies, fruit and herbal teas, and chocolate, too. Not to mention a huge alternative range of iced offerings – this is a tropical country after all. And these top-end ‘coff-eateries’ usually have an equally excellent menu, and some even serve alcoholic beverages to complement it all. In fact, now I think of it, this is quite a good summary of ‘The Coffee Club’! This establishment has quite a history, beginning 20 years ago, one night in the centre of Brisbane. Two friends, Emmanuel Kokoris and Emmanuel Drivas, were on their way home after a show and decided to stop off for a coffee. There were vending machines, yes, but nowhere to sit down, relax, enjoy a leisurely coffee and a chat, and even have a sandwich or a pastry, too. So, after many months of thinking and planning, they opened up a coffee shop of their own. It was
hugely successful and they expanded. They were eventually approached by the Minor International group, one of Thailand’s leading hotel and restaurant operators, and The Coffee Club was able to spread into Asia and the Middle East. In 2008, they opened their first Thai branch in Phuket, and very shortly afterwards, a second one on Samui. This is really easy to find, as it’s right in the centre and on the beach road just a little way north of Soi Green Mango. It’s a cool and modern building on two floors, with a street-watching terrace right at the front, and it’s spacious and airy due to a big wall of glass. It’s all super-comfy and extremely relaxed, which is one of the prime aims of the founders. “As well as being relaxed,” explained the group’s Thailand Manager, Michael Chick, “one of the buzz phrases we have been using recently is ‘lifestyle dining’. When people visit one of our branches there are no restrictions as to what you can eat or when. We have all day breakfasts and we offer alcohol. If people want to eat pad Thai for breakfast they can. My philosophy is that the easier you make the environment for the consumer the more they are going to want to come back. We have a large choice on our menu; coffees and cakes, pastries, chicken dishes, seafood dishes, pasta and Thai food. When you talk about restaurant-coffee concepts, I guess we are the most modern, and I feel our quality of food is the best. Our focus is a lot more on
Western food than Thai food. But, that said, we do take our Thai food very seriously; the Thai food has been designed by Thai chefs, and it’s all Thai chefs working in the kitchen.” The Coffee Club is hitting the high notes on two fronts. Firstly their coffee is arguably the best you’ll find anywhere at the moment. The ‘Coffee Club Signature Blend’ deploys a combination of Robusta and Arabica beans, produced at a lower roasting temperature, and for a longer time than normal. This gives their espresso a mellow feel that maximises the flavour without stepping-up the acidity. And their baristas are trained and trialled – and then trained again. Baristas elsewhere win prizes by drawing pictures in coffee froth. But a Coffee Club barista has to be able to taste the difference between the heavier body of an Indonesian coffee compared to one from Columbia. Or to know immediately if the coffee has begun to ‘burn’. And then they can go on to compete – such as the barista from the Chiang Mai branch who went to Australia in 2010 and won first place in the international ‘The Coffee Club International Barista of the Year Championship’. And there’s the food. It’s super. There are four basic all-day breakfasts that you can combine together with another entire page of options. There’s even one that reads, ‘Turkish bread with avocado, ham and poached eggs’! How about
‘eggs Benedict with shaved ham, smoked salmon or spinach, and mushrooms’? There’s a full menu of starters, mains, pasta, salads, gourmet sandwiches and wraps, together with an extensive kiddie’s menu. “And we also run a chalkboard of added specials,” manager of the Samui branch, Khun Nuu (Jiraporn Lamphun), told me. “Every few weeks we upgrade and add these to the menu. We have a whole showcase of pastries. The cold drinks are great – try the iced marshmallow frappe! Then there are the special cocktails. Many people seem to like the Mango Daiquiri or the Espresso Martini, with Baileys and vodka. But not normally with their breakfast,” she added with a grin. The Coffee Club recently they opened their 13th Thai outlet in Hua Hin. And, in a month or so, when Samui’s Central Festival department store opens, they’ve already staked their place in this prestigious development. The name outside will say ‘The Coffee Club’. But now you know exactly what this name really means!
Rob De Wet For further information, telephone 0 7741 4616. Facebook - The Coffee Club Thailand
Italian wine remains as relevant today as ever.
Colonizing Greeks named Italy ‘Oenotria’ - the land of wine. Coming from the civilization that invented wine, it’s a potent reminder that there is little of Italy, geographically speaking, that is not at least marginally wine country. Today, her annual production is easily the biggest in the world, and Italy cannot fail to produce good wine in great variety. If hill slopes, sunshine and temperate climates are the essentials - then Italy has more than any other country in Europe. Her peculiar physique, that of a long spine of mountains, reaching south from the Alps almost to North Africa, means that there can hardly be a desirable combination of altitude with latitude and exposure that is absent. Many of her soils are volcanic, much is limestone and there is plenty of gravelly clay. And with the long history and traditions of winemaking prowess, which is now combined with modern technological advances, it’s Oenotria more than ever. In 2011, more Italian than French wine was exported and sold to the USA. Over one billion bottles, which accounts for roughly 10% of the world’s biggest market. And Italy is on course to be the number one wine exporter to the USA, and many of the other major wine consuming nations, for the foreseeable future. Over the last
decade, while most of the wine world has been pre-occupied with fads and innovations from the New World, Italy has flown-under-the-radar and mounted a serious challenge for the top spot. And they have done it “old school,” by making and branding their wines traditionally. One of the reasons for their recent success is the swing towards more traditional style wines by the increasingly savvy, younger generation of wine drinkers. To the non-Italian consumer however, Italian wine has one serious drawback, an impossible confusion of names. Because wine is omnipresent, so much a part of everyday Italian life, every conceivable sort of name is used, in an attempt to mark originality. Thus a bottle may carry on it, not only the official (DOC) name, but the name of the producer, the name of the property (or part of it), or anything else that takes the producers fancy. Often, matters are made much worse by omitting the name of the region. The name of an obscure town is the only geographical reference on the label. (Surely I’m not alone in finding it necessary to know both the region and grapes, to have any idea as to whether a bottle will meet my preferences?)
To be fair, the Italian government has made some monumental efforts to tidy up its wine categories. And what they were brave enough to do in 1992, unlike the French with their AOC system, was revise the antiquated DOC & DOCG classifications. In moment of clarity, there was a realisation that what these regulations actually do is fossilize the practices of winemakers in each region, regardless of whether it leads to the best results or not. In fact, (France please note) it penalizes progressive winemakers. The result has been the proliferation of ‘vini da tavola’ wine that previously would have been of the lowest official standing, which frequently excels the DOC wines in both quality and price. A number are brilliant. For the wine lover, one very important aspect of Italian wine to keep in mind is that they are made for Italian food. The two go hand in hand, and like a good marriage, both are typically enhanced by each other. The table wines, which are generally less expensive, are made to be drunk in the easy-going atmosphere of an Italian-style family dinner. They are often sold in larger jug-like bottles, and are a mainstay of an Italian dining table. Table wines are often fruit-forward wines that can lean a touch on the sweeter side, some are sparkling, and most are light to medium
bodied. And they are very compatible for first time wine drinkers. Lambrusco is likely a table wine that comes to mind (for better or for worse). It’s a dry red wine with a touch of 'frizzante' (an Italian term for slightly sparkling). And has a reputation for focusing on quantity with a lackadaisical eye placed on quality. However, many producers are upping their quality standards, making this an ideal time to give Lambrusco another try. Beyond table wines, the sky is the limit. High-end Italian wines range from the very good to downright superior. Most wine enthusiasts would agree that many of the finest Italian wines are from Tuscany. Comprised of mostly Sangiovese, blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah grapes, these wines are usually on the upper end of the price spectrum. The other truly great Italian wines are, of course, Barolo and Barbaresco. Derived from the noble Nebbioli grape, these dynamic red wines are typically reserved for Sunday dinners or special celebrations, with prices that reflect that. Another wine worth mentioning is Amarone, which usually comes from the iconic Valpolicella area, in Italy's northeast corner. They are typically
considered one of Italy's big, bold red wines. Amarone has powerful fruity flavours of cherry, raisins, plums and spice. They are made from grapes that have been partially dried, and historically have had higher alcohol contents. As for better quality Italian white wines, Pinot Grigio comes to mind. It has enjoyed much popularity in recent years. And for good reason, it’s a deeply aromatic, vivid white wine with flavour and presence. It’s the perfect wine accompaniment for oily fish and salads on a hot summer’s day. And although I’ve never actually done it, for me, a fragrant Pinot Grigio sums up images of an al fresco lunch, enjoyed together with beautifully slender women, their long hair gently blowing in the breeze, whilst sat round a large wooden table on classic Italian terrace, which overlooks speckled sunlit, grape vine covered hills rolling into the distance. Funny how wine can make a middle-aged man daydream!
Serving an exciting variety of Thai, Italian and seafood from our open, show kitchen with genuine pizza oven. Choose from open air seating on the first floor with ocean view or air-conditioned seating on the ground floor. Live music every night.
Open daily from 5 pm till 11 pm Located on Lamai Beach Road opposite Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort Reservation: 077 424 420 www.siamwininganddining.com 23
Monday - Cowboy Steak Night Assorted BBQ Meat Buffet Entertainment: Cabaret Show and The Barge Band Tuesday, Friday and Saturday Lobster Basket Set: 3,300 for 2 persons Seafood Basket Set: 2,300 for 2 persons Inclusive of Salad, Soup and Side dishes Entertainment: Duo Band Wednesday - Hawaiian Seafood Night Variety of Fresh Seafood & BBQ Meat Buffet Entertainment: Polynesian Dance and The Barge Band Thursday - Local Thai Night Variety Thai Food Buffet, Demonstration & Barbecue Complimentary Management Cocktail Party 6-7pm Entertainment: Thai Classical Dance or Pong-lang Dance Sunday Chef Creation Set Dinner and A La Carte Menu
No visit to Samui is complete until you have dined at The Barge
Rice Barge Authentic Thai Cuisine
Fine Beach & Hillside Dining at Samui's Newest Venue Quality Thai, Seafood & International Dishes The Ultimate Samui Dining Experience!
The Barge Nora Buri's Signature Restaurant Chaweng North For Reservation Tel: 0 7791 3555 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.noraburiresort.com
Chaweng Beach Road Chaweng North
Itâ€™s all happening at Nora Beach Resort & Spa Tuesday Night - Local Samui buffet with complimentary management cocktails and snacks from 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm. Enjoy fresh barbecued seafood plus a variety of special dishes created by our culinary team. Price THB 990 net per person. Saturday Night - East meets West with cabaret show. Enjoy the finest East meets West buffet. Price THB 1,200 net per person. Or THB 1,550 net per person including half bottle of wine. Daily Cooking Class & Fruit Carving Class Learn to cook 3 Thai dishes Fruit Carving Course Inclusive of chef hat, apron and certificate Advance reservation required Daily Happy Hour Beverage Special Offer 50% off (Except wine & liquor by the bottle) At Pool Bar 1-2 pm., Lobby Lounge 6-7 pm. & 9-11 pm. Private Romantic Dinner Only you and your loved one dining on the beach with private chef and waiter/waitress Available daily. Advance reservation required
For further information please telephone 0 7742 9400 E-mail: email@example.com www.norabeachresort.com