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Romantic Dining

SAMUI

at Chaweng Beach

www.samuiholiday.com

1st _ 30th April 2014

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The Big Splash

April sees Thailand celebrate its New Year in watery style. It’s Songkran! And for you visitors who aren’t familiar with the word, it means just one thing – getting absolutely drenched. What began many years ago as a gentle cleansing ceremony to celebrate the incoming of a fresh new year has now become a massive water-throwing party, in which the entire nation joins in.

CLIENT: CONRAD KOH SAMUI

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Technically, it’s on the 13th. But today’s fun-loving youth has extended that in various parts of the country to up to one week. On Samui, a few of the younger local kids and over-exuberant male tourists can’t wait for the big day and will start soaking people the day before, so be warned. But, usually it’s all over and done with on the day.

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It’s great fun, but if you are going to join in (and it’s impossible not to, unless you stay indoors all day), do try to be a bit gentle, especially if you are splashing motorcyclists. A small drop of water at 10 kilometres an hour can feel like a stone. Even the police will take part, whilst being careful to keep their guns protected in plastic bags.

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And, as with any country celebrating their new year, there are lots of festivities going on with much wining and dining, and a great time being had by all. So, get out there, get wet, enjoy the occasion, and have a very Happy Thai New Year.

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


SAMUI

Graeme Malley Editor

Preeda Tuajob (Puy) Graphic Designer

Catchof the Day

Akaphon Phongninlaarphon (Don) Photographer

Seksak Kerdkanno (Klauy) Webmaster

Rob De Wet Feature Writer

Rosanne Turner Feature Writer

Colleen Setchell Feature Writer

Peter James Feature Writer

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

Henrik Bjørk Managing Director

Siam Map Company Ltd. 52/6, Samui Ring Road, Moo 3, Bo Phut, Samui, 84320 Thailand Tel: (66) 0 7742 2201 Fax: (66) 0 7741 3523 email: info@siammap.com www.siammap.com All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or pictorial content in any manner is prohibited without written permission from Siam Map Company Ltd. Whilst every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Siam Map Company Ltd. assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. c Siam Map Company Ltd. 2014

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

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A drink from Paradise...available on Earth

New branch now open at Central Festival! Located at Tesco Lotus Chaweng, Tesco Lotus Lamai and Central Festival

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Did you know you could eat starfish? Well before we even discuss whether these beautiful sea creatures are edible, did you know that they are no longer called starfish? No. They are now officially called ‘sea stars’. If you think about it, it’s a much more apt name, as starfish… correction… sea stars, are not actually fish at all. Sea stars are actually echinoderms, which are closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. The sea star’s cousin, the sea urchin, is gaining popularity among chefs and food lovers around the world. But the starfish (let’s stick to the old name for now… old habits die hard) remains an animal that is not considered food in the Western world. Most of us have fond memories of beachcombing as a child, finding starfish in rock pools, or finding a dry, dead one washed up on the beach which, became a treasured possession. Few of us ever looked at these mysterious five-armed creatures and said… YUM! As a Westerner, it’s just hard to think of them as food. That thought is not shared in the Chinese and Japanese cultures however, where starfish are regularly consumed and are even available as street food, and fresh starfish is a delicacy in Hong Kong and China. To say that the echinoderm phylum of marine animals (that’s starfish to the non-marine biologists) is not prized for its value as food would be an understatement. Almost no recipes exist in any major cookbooks calling for starfish as an ingredient. However, as they are considered a nuisance animal by harvesters of oysters and mussels, it would be beneficial if there was a way to make use of them. Google ‘starfish recipes’ and not much comes up, except for a few

starfish-shaped cookies and a few things under search terms such as ‘weird seafood’, or ‘easy Asian recipes’. But if you do decide you’d like to try eating a starfish and want to prepare it yourself, here’s what to do; it’s actually a fairly easy process. Fill a large pot three quarters of the way with water. Place the water on the stove, turn on the burner and bring the water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water, roughly one teaspoon per four cups of water. This measurement doesn’t have to be exact; the water should just smack of the sea. Place the starfish in the boiling water. It’s best to use live starfish, (gasps of horror from the starfish fan brigade) but if you have a starfish that’s been dead for less than a day, you can also use that. A starfish that’s been dead for more than 24 hours will be too tough to eat, and nobody wants to mess with seafood that’s not fresh, anyway. Boil the starfish for three to four minutes, and then remove them from the boiling water and immediately place in a bowl of cold water for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove the starfish from cold water and dry them off. To eat the creatures, use a lobster cracker or pair of pliers to crack the hard outer shell. The inside part of the starfish will look grey… and that’s the part you can eat. With sharp armour on one side and tube feet on the other, you don't want to eat the outsides. All the ‘good stuff’ is safely tucked away inside the legs. The easiest way to eat the starfish is first to break off one leg (again, gasps of horror), then use your fingers to pry open the leg via the fissure in the middle of the tube feet. It’s a messy business.

You’ll see an olive-green mush inside the leg, and that’s your food. This is not ‘first date’ food, as it’s not too glamorous, but the thing to do now is to hold that leg open and use your tongue to dig out that succulent (matter of opinion) starfish meat. If you’ve ever eaten river crabs in Asia, you'll find that the starfish tastes just like the brain area of the crab. It also tastes very similar to sea urchin, not surprising, as they’re from the same family. If you've never had the pleasure of eating river crab or sea urchin, the closest way to describe the taste of starfish, is that it tastes the way a beach smells at low tide. Still tempted to try it? The texture is soft, moist, and mushy, and it’s probably not sounding too appetising right now. But that's how it is. It’s no coincidence that sea urchin (which, again, tastes very similar) is considered an acquired taste. And it’s probably not going to be a favourite for everybody. For the seafood lovers out there, though, it's worth a try. Starfish is a bit more expensive than a lot of street food – if you can even find it – and it will depend on where in Asia you are. It’s not one of those foods that the locals will eat on a daily basis, but more of a unique local treat, and one of those things that tourists dare each other to try – much like deep-fried scorpions and cockroaches. Are you prepared to break through that tough outer shell to an olive-green mushy middle, or will you rather, like me, prefer to admire them crawling about in rock pools?

Rosanne Turner

Romantic views, soothing sounds and classic Italian fare with a modern approach combine to please the most discerning diner. Olivio - a must for visitors and locals alike.

Olivio ~ beachfront at Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort Chaweng Beach. Free round trip transfer from Chaweng, Bophut and Choeng Mon. For reservation please call 0 7723 1500 www.siamwininganddining.com

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Relax on the Patio! The Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort offers exceptional dining at its beachside restaurant, The Patio.

The name conjures images of relaxation and kicking your feet up with a mug of coffee in the morning or a chilled bottle of wine in the evening. Every home should have a patio where you can unwind and watch the world go by. Well at the Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort, there’s just such a place, and it offers a fabulous view of Lamai Beach. The Patio is the main restaurant at the resort, working as the breakfast room for resort guests and opening for dinner from 6:00 pm for both hotel residents and outside guests. The restaurant is located in an impressive structure – a tiled-roof pavilion with high vaulted ceilings and intricate woodwork. The building is open at the sides, allowing the sea breeze in, and tables spill over to the outside deck area, beside the pool and overlooking the beach.Although the tables are clad in crisp table cloths, the cutlery and glassware are of a high standard and the service is impeccable, it still offers a relaxed dining atmosphere. The Pavilion is a long-standing project by local Samui entrepreneur, Khun Virach Pongchababnapa. After graduating university, he worked for a fertiliser

company for a while, before the island of his birth beckoned him home. He noticed the island’s tourism was developing, and using one rai of land, which was part of his inheritance, he started his empire as a small bungalow resort. He slowly bought up the surrounding land over the next few decades, until he had six rai where the Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort now lies along central Lamai Beach. The Pavilion is built and furnished in contemporary Thai style. It’s elegant and tasteful, and Khun Virach is very much involved when it comes to the design and styling of his projects. The Patio, as with the rest of the resort, is testament to his good taste. And speaking of taste… the food at The Patio is outstanding. The menu offers both traditional Thai cuisine as well European favourites, with Italian dishes being a speciality. A meal with Khun Virach revealed his personal favourite dishes – each as delicious as promised. A recommended start to dinner is the house favourite, ‘potato cream soup’ scented with Prosecco and caviar. The tom yum goong

(sour and spicy clear prawn soup flavoured with Thai herbs) is particularly good at The Patio – piled full of fresh prawns, just the right amount of spice and highly aromatic. There’s a fusion version of this popular Thai dish too. It’s a tom yum goong on Italian spaghetti. This dish offers all the intensity of a traditional tom yum goong, and you’ll find plenty of fresh prawns towering on the spaghetti, which is coated in the rich tom yum flavours. When it comes to dessert, one dish that stands out is the ‘chocolate soufflé’, which is just heaven-on-a-plate for chocoholics. The delectable soft centre of the soufflé oozes onto the plate when broken open, releasing its sweet, rich aroma. Vanilla ice-cream resting in a chocolate nest is the perfect partner to the hot soufflé – so be sure to leave room at the end of your meal for this delight, or at least share a portion. The menu is vast and offers something for all tastes, with a great selection of soups, salads and appetisers to start. Highlights of the seafood menu include jumbo prawns pan-fried and

served with a spicy bell-pepper sauce and a sweet pea risotto, or the Akami tuna served with a radish salad and boiled vegetables; a healthy option. Meat-lovers will be spoilt for choice with a selection of top quality steaks, such as sirloin, tenderloin, T-bone as well as beef goulash, pork milannaise, saltimbocca and grilled lamb chops. A page is dedicated to pastas, including several vegetarian options. A new addition to the Pavilion portfolio is a quirky little coffee shop called the ‘Coffee Way’, directly opposite the hotel, and next to Khun Virach’s other restaurant, The Palate. Here at the coffee shop, you can enjoy perfectly brewed speciality coffees, including one not readily found on the island, and Khun Virach’s favourite – the flat white. Sitting in the coffee shop, you’ll be tempted to try the delicious breads and pastries on display, and if you look through the glass behind the seating, you’ll see the hotel’s new in-house bakery located in what was once the cooking school. Khun Virach felt that the space could be better used to supply his own

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.

hotel with the freshest of baked goods, and the bakery also supplies other establishments on the island. So when it comes to bread at the dinner table or the freshest pastries, muffins and rolls at the breakfast table, you can’t go wrong at The Patio, with their trendy new bakery literally across the road. Well there you have it – several good reasons to head to Lamai Beach for an evening meal. Dinner on The Patio, anyone?

Rosanne Turner For reservations or further information, telephone 07742 4030. www.pavilionsamui.com

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

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Elvis Presley

William Shakespeare

Happy Birthday

Fine Young Cannibals

James McAvoy

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2014 April

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Here are some events that have made it into April foodie history.

1st -Happy April Fools’ Day! 2nd – In 742, Charlemagne was born. During his reign, peacock was served in Europe for the first time. 3rd – 1956. Elvis Presley sang ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ on the Milton Berle Show. An estimated 25% of the American population tuned in to hear him. Strictly speaking, not a food fact, although most housewives found him rather tasty. 4th – 1828. Casparus van Wooden of Amsterdam patented chocolate milk powder. Children’s bedtimes have never been the same since. 5th – 1764. The Sugar Act was passed in Britain, placing new restrictions on the export of molasses to America. 6th – This is Chakri Day in Thailand; a public holiday that celebrates the current Royal Dynasty. As with any Thai holiday, there'll be feasting galore. 7th – This marks World Health Day, and also the anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which was established in 1948. 8th – 1861. Elisha Graves Otis died. Otis invented the first safe elevator and opened the door (literally) to rooftop restaurants and sky-bars. 9th – On this day, in 1965, the entire cast of the comic strip ‘Peanuts’ was featured on the cover of TIME

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magazine, showing just how influential the cartoon was. 10th – 1633. Bananas were supposedly displayed in the shop window of merchant Thomas Johnson. This was the first time the banana had ever been seen in Great Britain, and it would be more than 200 years before they were regularly imported. However, in 1999, remains of a banana were found at a Tudor archaeological site on the banks of the Thames River. This would seem to date it 150 years earlier than Thomas Johnson’s banana. A classic food mystery! 11th – The largest barracuda caught with rod and reel was caught on this day, in 1992. A great barracuda that weighed in at 38.5kg. It was caught off Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. 12th – 1989. The USSR issued ration cards for sugar due to a shortage. And this day marks the Corn Festival, held by the Cochumatan Indians in Guatemala. 13th – Happy Thai New Year! Today is Songkran. It’s arguably the best time to visit, as the country hosts the world’s biggest water fight. Although not strictly speaking a ‘food date’, it most certainly involves water - and lots of it. 14th – 1989. ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ by Fine Young Cannibals hits number one on the charts.

15th – This marks the start of ‘National Gardening Week’ in the UK. So go on, plant your own veggies and enjoy them fresh from the garden. 16th – The Feast of St Drogo, patron of coffee house owners and keepers, takes place on this day. So be sure to try a delicious iced coffee in celebration. 17 – As it’s Global Child Nutrition Month, perhaps take this day to remind your children about the benefits of a healthy diet. Oh, and it’s also Alcohol Awareness Month, so lay off the hard tack, at least for today. th

18th – It’s Good Friday, so if you’re Catholic, today’s the day to eat fish. And you’ll find plenty of great seafood restaurants on Samui. 19th – 1933. Jayne Mansfield, American beauty contest winner, and stage and screen actress was born. Supposedly the only title she ever turned down was ‘Miss Roquefort Cheese,’ because she believed it “just didn't sound right.” 20 – Easter Sunday is today. You’ll not find many Easter eggs on Samui, so plan ahead and order from Fabulous Things in Bophut, or make your own! th

21st – 1962. The Top of the Needle restaurant in the Seattle Washington Space Needle was officially opened. It was the second revolving

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restaurant in the USA. It seats 260 and rotates completely once every hour. 22nd – On this day, in 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated. Is our environment better or worse today, and can our Earth sustain our food resources? 23rd – William Shakespeare was born in 1564, and died on the same day 52 years later in 1616. You’ll find many references to food in Shakespeare's works. “Let the sky rain potatoes.” (The Merry Wives of Windsor) “Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers.” (Romeo and Juliet). 24th – 1949. Chocolate rationing ends in Britain, thank goodness! 25th – Anders Celsius died on this day, in 1744. This Swedish astronomer developed the temperature scale, which bears his name (Celsius). 26th – On a sombre note, on this day, in 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine exploded, making it the worst nuclear disaster in history. In addition to the human toll, agriculture and livestock was contaminated by radiation in large areas of Europe for years to come. 27th – Ruth Handler died this day, in 2002. She was the creator of the Barbie Doll and co-founder

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of the Mattel Company. Her creation played in a big part in warping young girls’ ideas of what they should look like, and no doubt led to some cases of anorexia. 28th – On this day, in 1789, the most famous mutiny in history took place on the English ship, ‘Bounty’, against Captain William Bligh. The ship was sailing to Tahiti to bring back breadfruit trees. 29th – In 1913, the zipper was patented by Gideon Sundback. However, most checked chefs’ pants still have buttons. 30th – We end the month on a sweet note. On this day, in 1891, Abram Lyle. A Scottish shipbuilder and sugar refiner, he was famed for the pale treacle, ‘Lyle's Golden Syrup’ (treacle is made from the syrup that remains after sugar is refined).

Rosanne Turner


Into the Setting Sun If the hot beaches and bright lights are getting to you – head towards The Sunset Beach Resort. It all depends on what you want. Some folks come here simply for the sun. Some are party people, up all night and flat out in the day. Others enjoy the contrast: the easy choice of a starlit evening or the bustle of noisy neon. It’s one of the great things about Samui, that all these things abound, and none too far from the other. But there comes a point when it’s time to get out. To head towards the quieter life. To explore the gentler parts of the island. Like that huge area of land in the south-west of Samui that the ring-road ignores completely. It’s unspoiled over there. It’s calming. And locally it’s known as the ‘Virgin Coast’. It comes a something of a surprise when you move away from the ring road (road 4169) and head onto the 4170 in the region of Lipa Noi. In fact, this road actually continues the coastal circuit (more or less!) that the ring-road manages so well around the rest of the island. But the difference will hit you right away. Whereas the ring-road is fringed on either side with shops and houses for most of its run, here there is . . . nothing. Now and then, there’s a food stall under the trees. A tin shack fixing motorbikes. Here and there, you’ll notice a nice modern house set well back from the road. You’re heading towards the area of Ban Taling Ngam, and you won’t see

much apart from the road and its unspoiled surroundings until you come to the Elephant Gate. This is a huge decorative arch spanning a side road. And that’s where you’ll see the first signs for The Sunset Beach Resort & Spa. Follow the signs, go up the hill past the smiling gate man at the InterContinental, and you’ll end up outside one of the most serene resorts on the island. It’s common practice for a resort to try to maximise its accommodation, but here there’s just so much space. The resort is built into a picturesque hillside that endows the reception and upper restaurant area with a picture postcard panorama, and allows a similar vista as you descend towards the beach. There are 11 lofty Sunset Villas up high around the lobby area, six Garden Pool Villas a little lower, and four magnificent Beachside Pool Villas, too. There are a total of 21 suites and villas – and you’d be forgiven for thinking there were hardly any at all, so subtly has their layout been architected. Although the main restaurant, L’Ananas, is located above, a great many diners opt to sit a little lower, in the very informal area around the resort’s pool. Here you’ll find another restaurant and bar, Lilavadee, which very effectively replicates the excellent International and Thai cuisine of the restaurant above.

The unique element here is that the philosophy at Sunset Beach is to orchestrate everything to reflect aspects of local culture, as the resort’s Quality Manager, Oliver Mosching, explained. “I suspect that many visitors to Thailand touch upon the Thai culture but without really experiencing or understanding it fully. So we’ve worked hard at providing our guests with something that’s a bit more than a beach lifestyle. We have a Thai ‘Temple Fair’ beach BBQ evening with games and stalls and sideshows, we offer classes in Thai cooking and in Thai massage, plus other aspects too, such as soap carving. And, particularly when it comes to food, we’ve put our menus together with this aspect very much in the forefront.” Alexis Strauss is the resort’s cheerful Executive Chef, and he’s the one putting this into practice. “I’ve made a menu that’s very much a union of Western dishes and Thai elements,” he expanded, “such as a New Zealand lamb dish flavoured with Thai basil syrup, or a Thai-style chutney. But this isn’t a passive presentation; I’m out of the kitchen and sitting with the guests as much as I can, explaining various aspects of the cuisine. And with the Thai food this is more important, as not many visitors understand the differences between all the regional cuisines. But,” he added with a smile, “we’re aware that the idea of ‘spicy’

is a relative thing, so I’ve added a note next to each dish as to how ‘hot’ it is!” Considering Sunset Beach’s location, there are two ways you can enjoy an excursion. Firstly, it’s an excellent afternoon out – a sort of mini day trip, if you like. Come for (or after) lunch and enjoy their facilities - the beach, the spa or the fitness centre. And, most important of all, catch the sunset. This part of the west coast is where the sun drops right into the sea in front of you. And sample some of the really good one-off cocktails. Or . . . come for the sunset, sample a cocktail or two, and then stay for dinner. The resort actually runs a limited shuttle service to and from Lamai, so you’ll be able to make your way there easily enough – but please phone first to check and confirm. Although, having said this, there are two other temptations to consider. One is that every week there is a special beach buffet, usually on a Friday. This alternates between the Thai Temple fair, complete with all the attractions already mentioned. And the second is the BBQ Night where there’s a full range of all-you-can-eat Thai and International dishes on offer, together with an acrobatic and skilful fire show. These alternate from week to week, so do ring to check first. Plus, of course,

one or more of you or your group can opt to choose from the à la carte menu if you don’t want to keep nibbling all night. But I’ve saved the best for last. This really is the sunset coast. And to celebrate this, the aptly named Sunset Beach Resort runs a very special romantic dinner-for-two on the beach. There is the usual format of tables and chairs and candlelight, with a private butler serving a BBQ of seafood and meat. Or you can choose to go Thai-style, a low table with cushions around. And finally, if you want an effortless Thai treat, ask for the Thai Khantoke option, with a selection of dishes in little bowls. It’s a veritable line-up of gastronomic treats at The Sunset Beach Resort & Spa – and all you need to do is to follow your nose into the setting sun!

Rob De Wet For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 8200. www.thesunsetbeachresort.com

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Do they really eat that?

Weird foods from around the world. You might look at the title of this article and turn your nose up, thinking to yourself that you don't eat anything strange. But you'll find that most nations eat 'strange' things, but because they've been brought up eating those things, they don't find them strange at all. Let's start in England. A country not exactly known for weird food but believe it or not, they eat pig's blood, and cow's stomach. Don't believe me? Haven't you heard of black pudding or tripe? Can you see where I'm going with this? What about ox tongue? When my aunt announced we were eating it for lunch a few years ago, I thought she'd had too much wine. I was traumatised when I saw the whole tongue and had to leave the room when it was being prepared. But, after it was cooked, I found it tasted just like corned beef. Nothing strange about that. The Scots will happily eat haggis which according to Wikipedia is 'a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours.' So animal guts cooked in an animal's stomach. And if you think it doesn't get any weirder than that, read on... Let's hop across the channel from our friends in the UK and visit France. The French know how to cook weird foods and make them taste

wonderful. But then again with enough French wine, anything would taste wonderful, like pig's intestine. One year in France, I ordered what was translated as mashed potato and sausage, topped with scallops. It sounded delicious but when it arrived, it smelt absolutely disgusting. I soldiered on because the scallops were delicious but when I was eventually brave enough to ask the waiter what the sausage was, I was a little shocked to discover it was pig's intestine. He was quick to point out that it would give me strength. He must have meant 'strength of character'. I understand there is another 'delicacy' in France that I missed - cow muzzle in vinaigrette sauce which is available in Paris. I think I'll stick to snails and frog's legs because they aren’t weird, right? Before we head across to Asia which seems to be the 'weird food capital' of the world, let's quickly pop up to Sweden and have a quick meal of 'head cheese' which is lunch meat made from boiled animal heads. Or how about a drink of Kvass in Russia (a beer-like drink made by fermenting old bread during Winter and then selling it in Summer) or a dish of sheep's eyeballs in Israel? And so, onto Asia. Where shall we start? Let's make our way from West to East starting in Cambodia... Hate spiders? Me too. So get your revenge by crunching on a deep fried tarantula served with lime and black pepper. And we're not talking

street food here; a top restaurant serves over 200 a week. On to Thailand where you can feast on chicken feet soup (one of my personal favourites), deep fried bugs, grasshoppers and scorpions; spicy tadpole curry or raw buffalo meat served in buffalo blood. Or a weird dish called 'birds nest soup'. The birds make their nests with saliva. I'm not sure why this isn't called 'birds spit soup'… Would that make it any weirder? Anyone for a cup of coffee? Feed a load of coffee beans to some Thai elephants, and then pluck them from their droppings. Apparently it makes a very smooth coffee and recently became the world's most expensive coffee at $1,000 per kilogram. Not yet available in Starbucks. The Philippines are rather fond of eggs. Not fried, boiled or scrambled but rather fertilised. Yes, a fertilised duck egg boiled in the shell is their specialty. On the subject of eggs, you can try ‘tong zi dan’ in China which translates to 'virgin boy eggs'. In the city of Dongyang, every year in Spring, eggs are boiled in the urine of young schoolboys. No doubt there's a superpower to be gained by eating these. In Japan you can eat raw horse and in Korea live octopus is the dish of the day. Sannakji is octopus cut into small pieces and served while the tentacles are still squirming. (Be careful how

you eat this for obvious reasons.) In Vietnam, they have found a way to keep the stray dog population down, no need to expand on that. If you thought the elephant dung coffee was strange, in Korea and Japan they indulge in coffee made from cat poo. Well not an ordinary cat but an Asian palm civet that lives in the trees. It eats coffee plant berries, which pass through its digestive system and eventually the animal, wait for it, passes out an enriched coffee bean which is then harvested from the animal's faeces. A cup can go for as much as $80 because of the long process involved. Snake wine is popular all over South East Asia. Believed to have excellent restorative properties, it is made by steeping a snake in rice wine, or by mixing snake blood in with the wine.

So let's end on a high note with bunny chow in South Africa. Before you get all worked up and shocked at the thought of eating Fluffy (although some countries do), absolutely no bunnies are harmed during the making of this dish. It is merely a quarter loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with curry (beef or chicken, before you ask). It was created by the Indian population in Natal, a province in South Africa and is served with a small portion of chopped chillies, onions and tomatoes and eaten with the fingers. You see? No Bunnies. So you see, sometimes ‘weird’ isn’t ‘weird’, it’s just ‘different’!

Colleen Setchell

Let's stop there and head across to the Americas where we can sit back and enjoy a meal of deep-fried bull testicles (known as Rocky Mountain oysters), or a bit of alpaca, or deep-fried guinea pig in Peru. Our last stop is in Africa and we head straight down to Zimbabwe and the beautiful Victoria Falls. Here you can taste a plate of Mopani worms. These worms are relatively short and stocky, a bit like a fat silkworm. You hold the head and squeeze the green mushy insides out and then fry them - lovely.

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: info@kandaresidences.com www.kandaresidences.com

Located Between Chaweng And Choeng Mon. Location In Thai: 8 www.siamwininganddining.com

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Complimentary one way transfer to or from your resort .


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You Ordered a What?!

The language barrier can often pose a problem when ordering in restaurants. Ordering in a restaurant in Thailand can sometimes be hit and miss. And while staff in tourist areas will have some knowledge of English, there are still often errors due to miscommunication. Before we get into how you can avoid some of these common pitfalls when ordering, let’s look at a few examples of what we mean. Of course we’ve had many of our own experiences and have learnt by trial and error, but to get a broader spectrum, we posed the question of ‘what went wrong’ to several expats on the island. One mistake that kept popping up is asking for a glass of white wine, and being brought the Wi-Fi password. Go on, say it out loud. See? It’s an easy mistake to make. Sometimes the reverse happens too and you’ll end up having a few drinks when all you wanted to do was answer your emails, as you feel too bad to send back that glass of wine. One local lady ordered a glass of Bailey’s liqueur and got brought a bay leaf on a plate – wonder what the waiter thought she wanted that for? Another drinks related episode – one of our visitors asked for a single espresso, and was given a Singha beer instead. And as one expat described, “I ordered a Cuba Libre in one bar, and got told ‘no have’, so I ordered a rum and

coke instead – and got one.” Right, so here’s the first tip: Unless the establishment has the quirky name of the drink on their menu, where you can literally point and order, stick to calling it what it actually is, as the case above points out. So rather than ordering a ‘Screwdriver’, order a vodka and orange juice, or you may just find the barman running down to the maintenance room. And in much the same way, it’s probably best not to ask for your scotch ‘on the rocks’, but rather with ice. Sometimes, you have to wonder what the poor waiter must think of you, when you discover the miscommunication. Another expat recalls asking a bartender if he could make ‘Jaegerbombs’, and he promptly came back with the phone number of the local drug dealer. Oh dear. Yet another embarrassing story is that of regular visitors to the island. They asked at a local café where they could try a Thai barbecue… only to be told that the temple was ‘burning a monk’ the next day, so they should go down there. Not quite what they had in mind. Menus themselves are often cause for confusion. Some are obvious spelling errors, easy enough to decipher, and you’ll commonly see ‘snakes’

instead of shakes, and ‘French fried’ instead of fries. And then there’s the tongue in cheek faux pas, ‘orgasmic’ vegetables instead of, you guessed it, organic. Don’t be alarmed if you read ‘horse shit crap’ on the menu. It’s meant to read as ‘horse shoe crab’. And fried crap in curry sauce is more delicious than it sounds. But other times, you just have to wonder what on earth is meant with menu items such as ‘Fried pork with pour the page’, or ‘Fried pork with the cotton that stops’. Evidently, Google translate has missed the mark with these. Another tip would be to learn the names of your favourite dishes or ingredients. Just as important would be the names of items that you’re allergic to or can’t eat, such as peanuts or seafood. For the vegetarians, say ‘gin jae’ and you’ll be fine. Many restaurants now put pictures next to the menu items, which help a lot. And to avoid mispronunciation, it’s often better to point at the menu when ordering. Sometimes, the item is written in Thai underneath, making it easier for the waiter to get it right. When placing your order, a couple of things will help to actually get what you ordered. Remembering

the barman with the screwdriver and rocks, the same applies to food. Don’t use idioms such as ‘sunny side up’ or ‘easy over’ when talking about eggs, or ‘blue’ when you want your steak only seared. Remember too that the waiter is dealing with customers of many nationalities, so your ‘ketchup’ may be another’s ‘tomato sauce’, or ‘chips’ may be ‘French fries’.

‘no worries’, while at the same time, accepting the situation for what it is.

When placing your order, speak slowly and clearly. Focus on clearly enunciating and slowing down, but without sounding like a stretched tape. Speak naturally, but without connecting your words, even if you’re pressured for time. Don’t rush through your communication, as doing so often takes more time, as misunderstandings can result and you’ll ultimately have to invest additional time in clearing up the confusion – or just accepting what got delivered to your table. Point to the item listed on the menu, to back up what you’re saying.

So take note of the tips above, but if the wrong dish arrives, sometimes it’s better to just accept it. You never know, you may have just accidentally discovered your new favourite dish! The universe works in mysterious ways…

Another important point – be careful not to sound patronising – not understanding another language does not mean the person is of lower intelligence. And speaking louder is no solution, yet common to witness.

Rosanne Turner

Be patient. Cross-cultural communication takes more time and you can’t expect it to occur with the same speed and ease as with someone from your own country. Relax, enjoy the view, and remember to say, ‘mai pen rai’, when things go wrong. For those not in the know, this is a common Thai phrase that basically translates to

Weddings, Celebrations, Parties & Honeymoons River Prawn Tom Yum

Rock Lobster

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. 10 www.siamwininganddining.com

Sea Food Taco

Lamb Chop

Beef Lasagna

Phuket Lobster Thermidor

Carbonara Pizza

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


S ignature Dis h Executive Chef, Konrad Inghelram, has been inspired by the remarkable view at Conrad Koh Samui. Even the most avid foodie would be impressed with the selection of restaurants at Conrad Koh Samui. The resort, which is part of the prestigious Hilton Hotels group, is located in a tranquil part of the island, right at the south-western tip – offering some of the best sunset views imaginable. Now while the resort may not be in a main tourist hub, once guests check in, there’s little want or reason to leave, as everything they desire is right here, from a world-class spa for pampering, to in-house bars and restaurants offering culinary delights by Executive Chef, Konrad Inghelram. Our featured signature dish is from the Mediterranean-inspired Zest restaurant – but before we get to that, let’s look at what other venues are on offer at Conrad. The Cellar offers an intimate dining setting in the heart of the resort’s working cellar, with only one table, seating eight guests. For a truly memorable evening, try the ‘Immerse Yourself in Truffles’ menu, available with a wine-pairing option. Jahn – which translates to ‘moon’ in Thai – is the flagship restaurant of the resort, serving the finest Thai and pan-Asian cuisine with amazing views over the bay (this is an evening-only venue). Just outside of Jahn is the open-air Aura

Lounge, the perfect place to enjoy sun-downers, with open pit-fires, chic furniture and a stunning view. The Azure Bar & Grill offers more casual dining and is located alongside the resort’s main infinity pool. Of course, for those lucky enough to be staying at Conrad, there’s also the option of in-room dining, as well as destination dining for special occasions, such as packed picnics or intimate beach dining for couples wanting a romantic interlude.

goes on further to explain, “On Samui, we have the luxury of having splendid weather most of the year, and so we can enjoy this healthier and lighter style of food more often. An ideal alfresco good-weather dish for day or evening is a seafood platter, and here we have the option of a ‘cold seafood tower for two’, in a small or large version. Of course, perfect with this is a chilled bottle of Rosé or Sancerre wine, or a refreshing local Singha beer.”

But let’s get back to Zest and the signature dish for the restaurant. Zest is positioned to make the most of the views. And spectacular views they are, all the way across to the Five Islands, with local fishing boats passing and postcard-perfect sunsets that almost distract from the delicious food.

Right, so what can you expect on your seafood tower to share? Well, there’s little difference between the small and large versions, other than you get more of the delicious seafood on the bigger option, so it all depends on how hungry you are. Taking centre stage on the tower is a Canadian lobster, the king of seafood, and some perfectly chilled Australian wild rock oysters.

Chef Konrad reminisces about his time in London, when the first beams of sunlight arrived after extreme winters, and summers that seemed to never start! Everyone changed their eating habits with the onset of summer and started eating greens and seafood platters. Gone were the heavy stews, pies and roasts, and lighter spirits brought on lighter summer meals. And he

Adding some colour and representing the local seafood, is a blue swimmer crab. And keeping it company are prawns and calamari from the Gulf of Thailand. For shellfish lovers, clams and New Zealand green-shell mussels complete this chilled seafood tower. Bread for the table as well as fresh lemons, shallot vinaigrette, home-made garlic mayonnaise and spicy

Tabasco sauce enhance the flavour of the seafood. Forget the cutlery and get stuck in here. Fresh ingredients are important to Chef Konrad, and when it comes to the herbs, fruits and vegetables used in his kitchen, you can’t get fresher. He’s recently started his own ‘farm’ in the garden below Zest. It’s in its infancy at the moment, yet the fast-growing herbs are already being used in the kitchen. Pips and seeds that are discarded from the breakfast fruit have been tenderly cultivated by Konrad, and he has saplings of jackfruit, orange, and dragon fruit trees growing. He’s passionate about his hobby, and gets quite animated when showing off his crops. His passion for the raw ingredients extends into the kitchen, and he believes in using top quality ingredients and preparing them well – and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak – in this case, the chilled seafood tower.

island. Which is a good thing, as you’ll be far happier enjoying those pre-dinner cocktails and delicious wines knowing you don’t have to negotiate a long drive home afterwards. Fresh seafood perfectly prepared, topped off with a bottle of crisp wine and enjoyed in the fresh air while gazing across at spectacular views … what more could you ask for? Island life is tough!

Rosanne Turner For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 5888 www.conradkohsamuiresort.com

The smaller tower (yet still substantial) is offered at 2,500 baht ++ and the larger is very reasonable at 3,800 baht ++ for two people. If you’re worried about having to drive after a few glasses of wine, there’s no need. The resort offers a free transfer service to and from anywhere on the

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11


A Great Menu and

Dining on the rocks at Rocky’s Resort There’s something really quite special about The Dining Room at Rocky’s Resort, as you enter the restaurant and take in the beautifully crafted furniture from Chiang Mai and the soft, intimate lighting. And then the stylish table decorations, the warm dark wood, the red and neutral colour scheme, the hanging lanterns, fresh flowers, the candles and finally the gently splashing waterfall. It all creates a wonderfully magical atmosphere. Before we get on to the good stuff, let’s make sure you know where Rocky’s is. It’s situated a few hundred metres past the turnoff for Hin Ta Hin Yai (the famous grandfather and grandmother rocks) and the resort is called Rocky’s for a reason. With their own private stretch of sandy beach and rocky formations, The Dining Room’s outside eating area and bar sit on a large, rock that is roughly a metre above the sea at most. Large granite rock formations are a common sight along the Lamai coast, but Rocky’s has made the most of this natural feature and set up a few tables directly on the rock itself. This really is dining on the rocks, sitting on beautiful wooden furniture directly on a granite rock, sea breeze in your hair, waves lapping gently beneath you. Sitting outside is very popular, so popular that there is talk of extending the area by means of a wooden deck to give more guests the chance to dine outside.

Rocky’s celebrate their 11th anniversary this year so they’ve very obviously got something that works and this something is made up of friendly staff, a great location, a great menu and outstanding food. Even though the menu has a strong French influence, there is more than enough to please all tastes. You’ll find a Thai style salad, and a delicious Scottish smoked salmon starter with roasted beetroot. You’ll find seafood ravioli and a good selection of pasta dishes, as well as steaks, lamb, chicken and pork to tempt you from the meat section. Don’t even get us started on the desserts. Rocky’s also offer an ‘Intimate Dinner Package’, which works in two steps. First, a small table and chairs are set up on the private beach for you and your partner to enjoy cocktails, canapés and a gorgeous Samui sunset. You then move to a beautifully laid table in a private dining area, also on the beach, where you can enjoy a glass of sparkling wine followed by a 5-course meal (Thai or traditional) and a bottle of wine. Booking is essential. Speaking of 5-course meals, if you’d like to take the strain out of ordering when faced with Rocky’s tempting evening menu, try their ‘5 Course Chef’s Degustation Menu’. It promises not to disappoint. It starts with fresh Hokkaido

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, Thai Cuisine Fish and Seafood Open from 12:00 am - 01:00 am For reservations and further information, telephone 077 963 213 www.galangasamui.com

12 www.siamwininganddining.com


d a Great Location

scallop carpaccio with a salad of red radish and green apple drizzled with thyme and lemon vinaigrette, followed by a feuillantine of river prawns with Hass avocado, roasted tomato and baby spinach. On to some smooth foie gras served with caramelised peaches, brioche and a balsamic reduction. Next, some lemon sorbet to freshen your palate, before tucking in to a sous vide of Australian beef tenderloin served with glazed vegetables, potato gratin and a Port wine reduction. Sous vide is a special way of cooking things in a sealed container at a low heat for a longer cooking time to retain all the natural moisture, resulting in a succulent piece of beef. Then lastly, if you have space, indulge in the chocolate fondant with double truffle chocolate ice cream and raspberry coulis. You’d expect to pay a huge amount of money for a 5-course meal that included foie gras, prawns and tenderloin, but this incredible menu will only set you back 1,490 baht (excluding tax and service charge). An absolute bargain for the quality of the food, and if you get a chance to enjoy this outside on the rocks, then even better.

around 9:00 am with monks giving the traditional water blessings, and follow this with a long drum parade around the resort along with traditional Thai dancers. The fun really begins around 2:30 pm when the water wars start up at the main entrance. All guests are given complimentary water guns and everyone makes sure that passing traffic is given a wet welcome to the new yPear. And after all that fun, what better way to end off the day than to head to The Dining Room and indulge in some excellent food. After all, with their reputation, Rocky’s can always be trusted to make both your stomach and your wallet smile.

Colleen Setchell For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 3020 www.rockyresort.com

If you’re in the area for Songkran (the Thai New Year celebration), make sure you plan a visit to Rocky’s for this special occasion. They start

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Bill Bryson, author of humorous travelogues, wrote, “And I find chopsticks frankly distressing. Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects, and who have a noble history extending back 3,000 years haven't yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?” Most Westerners feel the same way as Mr Bryson about eating with chopsticks, yet for many Asians, their use is second nature, and from a young age, they master the art of using these simple, yet infuriating utensils. To them, knives at the table are taboo, and in contrast to the Western writer’s statement above, ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius, wrote, “The honourable and upright man keeps well away from both the slaughterhouse and the kitchen. And he allows no knives on his table.” Now few will agree with his out-dated theory that men should stay away from the kitchen, and in fact, most of Samui’s top chefs are men. But many Asians do believe that knives should not be used at the table – granted, a thick fillet steak is not a regular dish on the Asian menu, and most meals are already served bite-sized. Confucius equated knives with acts of aggression, which went against his non-violent teachings, and some experts credit his influence with the widespread adoption of chopsticks throughout China. While the precise origin of chopsticks is unknown, they were definitely in use by the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC - 1122 BC). Their increasing popularity since that time may

actually be linked to Chinese cooking methods - before stir-frying the food is cut into tiny pieces, making them easy to manipulate with chopsticks. Most foodies will agree that Chinese food just tastes better when eaten with chopsticks – in much the same way that pizza really should be eaten with the hands. Not sure how to handle them? Here are a few tips to get you using them like a pro. If possible, use wood or bamboo chopsticks when you’re a novice, as plastic chopsticks are more slippery and harder to hold. Always grip the chopsticks in the middle, making sure that the ends are even and do not cross. Pick up a chopstick and hold it so that it's resting comfortably between the tip of your fourth finger (the ring finger) and the hollow gap between your thumb and index finger. Keep the fourth finger straight. This will be the bottom chopstick. Now pick up the other chopstick and place it on top, firmly between the tips of your thumb, index and middle fingers. The index and middle fingers should be curled. When eating, always keep the bottom chopstick stationary and use the top chopstick to move and pick up food. To pick up food, straighten your index and middle fingers as much as needed to move the top chopstick outward. Grab the food, and then bring the chopsticks together by curling your index and middle fingers. The basic idea is to use the chopstick as a pivot, with the thumb being the axle. Lift the food up to your mouth, leaning over if necessary.

(It’s not rude to lean over your plate as it is in the West). For food that contains bones (such as chicken), hold the food with the chopsticks and eat around the bone. Children often find it easier to hold chopsticks nearer the bottom instead of in the middle. No matter where you happen to be enjoying Asian food in the world, knowing how to use chopsticks correctly will come in handy, and a little practice will stop you feeling like a clumsy idiot. But knowing how to use them is one thing. Being a real pro means that you also understand chopstick etiquette. When taking a break, place your chopsticks neatly to the right of your plate, preferably with the tips on the provided rest and without pointing them in anyone's immediate direction. Putting chopsticks on top of your bowl or plate indicates that you are finished and the staff may whisk it away before you can enjoy that bite you were saving for last! Chopsticks may seem extremely impractical for eating certain foods. However, there are polite ways to overcome this issue. In many Asian countries a spoon will accompany dishes that are difficult to manage with only chopsticks. And lifting a bowl to face-level and pushing rice into your mouth is both acceptable and perfectly normal in all parts of Asia, with the exception of Korea. Alternatively, chopsticks can be held side by side to shovel rice from your plate. While considered impolite in the West, slurping soup and noodles, even noisily, is perfectly acceptable in Asia. It’s also fine to drink directly from your soup bowl.

Stick it! If the thought of using chopsticks in public brings you out in a cold sweat, read on!

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Romantic Beach Dinner: Moonlight dining on the beach with your own private chef, from THB 1,500 per person Daily Happy Hours at Beach Bar - Buy 1 get 1 free beers and cocktails from 12pm - 2pm l 5pm - 7pm l 9pm - Midnight

Chaweng Noi Beach 14 www.siamwininganddining.com

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Large chunks of food can be torn or cut apart on your plate using chopsticks, but it’s bad manners to impale a big piece of food as a way to transfer it to your mouth. If no serving utensils are provided at a communal meal, turn your chopsticks around to use the clean ends when transferring food from communal dishes onto your own plate. A few more no-no’s when using chopsticks include the following: Don’t tap your chopsticks together in the air or on a bowl to make noises. Don’t leave them standing vertically in a bowl, and don’t use them to gesture or point at other people or dishes, in much the same way as you wouldn’t use your knife to point at somebody. Don’t hold chopsticks in a clenched fist as you would a weapon and don’t suck sauce off the ends. Remember not to pass food to other people using your chopsticks, as doing so resembles the practice of passing cremated bones at a funeral. Rather, put the piece of food you want to share directly onto the other person’s place (with the other end). And if you really want to be adept at chopsticks etiquette, then here are some more tips to consider: Particularly when eating in Japan, allow elders or senior members at the table to lift their chopsticks first. Don't pick through dishes (either communal or on your own plate) for morsels of meat or vegetables that happen to be

your favourite. Also, avoid crossing your chopsticks, as it symbolises death in some cultures. If disposable chopsticks were used, place them back inside the paper wrapper at the end of your meal and leave them to the right of your plate. Koreans use spoons to eat soups and even rice. But always put your chopsticks to the right side of your spoon when resting on the table … as the reverse is done at memorial dinners for deceased loved ones, so you could easily offend without realising it. Now while wooden chopsticks are easier to use, as they are less slippery than the plastic or metal varieties, there’s a factor to consider when using them. Demand for disposable chopsticks far surpasses the ability to make them from wood scrap or off-cut wood. This means that an estimated 20 million mature trees are logged each year just to supply China alone with billions of throwaway chopsticks. Plastic and metal chopsticks are far more sustainable – or if you want to use wood, let them be reusable ones. And that’s not even considering the vast quantity of paper or polystyrene takeaway containers that accompany these disposable chopsticks. Quite something to consider, isn’t it?

Rosanne Turner


A Breath of Fresh Air

Getting away from the beach at one of Samui’s most tranquil restaurants – The Farmer. Did you realise that around 15% of visitors to Samui don’t care so much for Thai food? Strange but true. There are quite a few reasons to visit Thailand, and food is usually one of them! But, then, few people want to eat the same sort of food every day anyway. And, for every Euro-style sports pub or restaurant, there are certainly a great many others offering ‘local’ cuisine. But this in itself causes a teensy problem, because Thai cuisine comes in all sorts of flavours and types. But what the heck! You’re here for the sun and the sand. And Thai food is more or less pretty much the same everywhere, isn’t it? Snappy answer – you’re suffering from too much sun! What you need is a break. You need to get just a little off the beaten track and away from the beach. And you need to tap into some of that deep tranquillity that you’ve read so much about. In a nutshell, you need to head towards Maenam and look for the sharp 90-degree twist in the road at the border of Ban Tai, right next to the temple arch and the side road to the Lomprayah Ferry. Because that’s where you’ll see the clearly signposted markers for The Farmer Restaurant & Bar. The Farmer is set within 16 rai of land, most of which is working rice paddy – as far as I’m

aware perhaps the only one to be found on this coconut isle – together with a team of workers to maintain it all. The best time of day to get there is half an hour so before sunset. The silence is impressive, like a soft blanket that makes you suddenly aware of all the now-missing background hum and buzz you’ve grown accustomed to. The rice paddy with its quietly rippling grasses stretches away into a cooling landscape of muted pastels, with the pale lilac of Samui’s mountainous interior as a backdrop. The building itself, however, is anything but rustic. It’s cleanly and elegantly modern, and the big, open interior deck leads down to the pride-of-place tables on the outer terrace, perched right over the edge of the sea of green. There are several levels here, each one stepping down a little, with a long bar at the back end and the kitchens along one side. The furnishings are tasteful and understated, but both the service and quality of fare are first-class. On the menu, it’s the Thai cuisine that shines through, and this is hardly surprising, considering the pedigree of the owner. Khun Lek (Khun Phraemat Pacharabusabong) is the creator of The Farmer, and she’s been here, on the island, for more than 25 years now. Although what’s

interesting is that her family is based in Bangkok, and for five generations the maternal side of her ancestry worked in the Royal kitchens. As a girl she was taught to prepare all the hand-ground curry pastes - everything very exact and precise. And she quietly became a party to many of the hush-hush palace recipes for sauces and flavourings too. You probably won’t realise it, but the majority of Thai cooks today don’t go to this kind of trouble – they’re just too busy and it’s far more convenient to buy their pastes and sauces ready-mixed. But at The Farmer these old, traditional recipes are very much in evidence. Their dishes have a creamy smoothness, and use prime imported ingredients: definitely something you won’t come across in many other local Thai eateries. The menu here is just about perfect. At Samui Wining & Dining we get to see a great many restaurant menus; some are confidently short and sweet, others just so lengthy that diners become stressed trying to decide what to eat! Here you’ll find an admirable selection of tip-top International offerings melded in with some exceptional Thai fare. But, whichever way you lean, you’ll quickly find two or three items that’ll get your juices moving. The International menu is sectioned into appetisers, soups, pasta dishes

and pizzas, then a selection of mains that cover meat, poultry and seafood. The beef is prime cuts of imported Australian tenderloin and rib, and a special mention has to go to the Kobe wagyu, that most tender of all meats. And this is where we enter that rich area where East meets West! A culinary generation ago, it would have been called ‘fusion’. But that’s now become a coarse and unwelcome banner, and dishes that once travelled under it (much as with ‘curry and chips!) were often similarly un-subtle. But to test the delights of a taste-bud tantalising chef, head towards the ‘Massaman Lamb Shank’. This succulent Australian lamb has been melded-in with a Southern Thai speciality, and the creamy soft sauce has a royal pedigree too, as already mentioned. The majority of local restaurants don’t offer duck on the menu. Why? “. . . because it’s Chinese, not Thai!”. But the far-reaching storerooms of the Royal kitchens had no such restraints. And at The Farmer, you’ll simply curl up and die when you order what is now simply called ‘Farmer’s Duck’. (A few years back it was ‘Dirty Duck’. But I guess the idea of clean living gets in everywhere nowadays.) It’s crisp. It’s a whole half duck and it tastes like nothing you’ve ever

come across. It’s mildly spiced with a red curry sauce but there’s a slight under-taste of sourness (that’s balanced by the creamy texture) which leaves hints of cinnamon and tamarind that’ll make your toes wiggle. There’s all of this, you’ve got one of the most serene setting anywhere, it’s eminently affordable for this level of dining – and it’s most decidedly not on the beach! How many more reasons could you need to get away from the sand and the sun and head towards the tranquillity of The Farmer?

Rob De Wet For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7744 7222. www.thefarmerrestaurantsamui.com

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: bophutsamui@anantara.com Skype: bophutsamui

A truly remarkable experience for all the senses Location: Ban Taling Ngam Reservation: 0 7742 8200 E-mail: reservation@thesunsetbeachresort.com www.thesunsetbeachresort.com

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Tropical Pick

Soursop – is it the latest miracle food? Some hail it a super food and a cure for cancer, others say it’s all hype and it’s just a tasty smoothie ingredient - you decide. It’s indigenous to most of the warmest tropical areas in South and North America, including the Amazon as well as the West Indies. The fruit is sold in local markets in the tropics, where it’s called guanábana in Spanish-speaking countries, and graviola in Brazil. Its growth has spread to other tropical regions too, including Southeast Asia, and in English, it’s known as soursop. The fruit pulp is excellent for making drinks and sherbets and, though slightly sour, can be eaten as it comes. Before we get to the reason the soursop has made headlines of late, let’s go over the facts. The soursop is a small, upright evergreen tree, five to six metres high, with large, glossy, dark green leaves, and is the largest member of the custard-apple family. Its leaves are believed to have sedative properties, so much so that in the Netherlands they’re sometimes put into pillowslips or strewn on beds to promote a good night’s sleep. The fruit itself has very distinctive soft, green, spiky skin surrounding a white bittersweet flesh, which contains numerous black seeds.

How do you know when it’s ready to eat? Well, the tips on the skin break off easily when the fruit is fully ripe. The skin is dark-green in immature fruit, becoming slightly yellowish-green before the mature fruit becomes soft to the touch. Fully ripe, soursop sounds hollow when tapped. Soursop is best eaten fresh. The fleshy pulp is very juicy, produces a refreshingly rich, creamy juice and freezes well. Seeded pulp may be cut into pieces and added to fruit cups or salads, or chilled and served as a dessert along with sugar and a little milk or cream. Soursop pulp dries very well and makes a good base when mixed with other fruits. Soursop has a long, rich history of use in herbal medicine, as well as a lengthy recorded use by indigenous people of Africa and South America for centuries. All parts of the tree are used in natural medicine in the tropics, including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit, and fruit seeds, and different properties and uses are attributed to the different parts of the tree. Generally, the fruit and fruit juice are taken for worms and parasites, to cool fevers, to increase mother's milk after childbirth, and as an astringent for

diarrhoea and dysentery. The crushed seeds are used against internal and external parasites, head lice, and worms. The bark, leaves, and roots are considered to be a sedative, antispasmodic, and hypotensive, and are served as a tea. Its properties have not been studied in the Western medical community, but soursop is processed and sold in Europe as a supplement, under its more exotic name, graviola. It’s not poisonous or seemingly harmful, but will still require clinical studies and further research in order to determine if it is appropriate for use in standard medicine. But it’s not these medicinal qualities that have caused a sensation on the internet of late. Google ‘soursop’ and almost every webpage result is about the fruit’s ‘miraculous’ cure for cancer. You’ll even read all the conspiracy theorists’ views on how the big pharmaceutical companies, having initially done the research on soursop’s cancer cure, shelved the results as they found out that they can’t market and trademark a ‘totally natural product’, so it wouldn’t be in their interests to let the world know about this cancer cure.

A Unique Koh Samui Experience at The Farmer

Well, truth be told, soursop is a minimally researched plant for cancer or any other major disease. The reactions with the human body are not completely known except for the fact that it can affect the nervous system. There have also been some reported effects on Parkinson’s disease, though not conclusive. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated or tested soursop for any type of commercial use, therefore its benefits cannot be assessed completely.

to the claim, and real studies will be conducted soon. And who knows, perhaps soursop will live up to its reputation after all. Until then, have a smoothie or some juice and just enjoy the fruit for what it is.

Rosanne Turner

What worries doctors, is that cancer patients decide to forego conventional cancer treatment in lieu of this new ‘miracle cure’, and it should be noted that natural products sometimes cannot be mixed with chemicals or other prescriptions. Experts warn against using the fruit to treat cancer, because, while research suggests soursop can fight the disease, it hasn’t been studied in humans. Now while this all sounds rather heavy, one way to look at it is that perhaps adding some soursop to your diet might reduce your risk of cancer, as with many other fresh fruits and vegetables. Let’s hope there is some substance

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.

Farmer’s Duck

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: info@thefarmerrestaurantsamui.com Free transfer for dinner guests Nathon - Maenam - Bophut. Other areas 300 Baht return. Для гостей из районов Nathon - Maenam - Bophut - трансфер бесплатный. Гостям из других районов острова мы возвращаем 300 батт от стоимости такси. 16 www.siamwininganddining.com

TOP TEN 2011 www.tripadvisor.com


A DIY Barbecue with style Get sizzling hot at Grill Bophut Fisherman’s Village has a lot to offer. It’s filled with little touristy shops, gift shops, tour and travel agencies and, of course, restaurants. And while it’s jam-packed full when it has the ‘Walking Street Market’ on a Friday night, at other times you can escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy a special meal. Grill Bophut is relatively new and sits almost directly opposite its sister restaurant, Krua Bophut, at the quiet western end of Fisherman’s Village. Easy to spot with its vast open, outside dining area and beautifully dressed Thai staff, Grill Bophut is offering its diners something a little different from the more traditional Thai fare found at Krua Bophut. Whilst keeping the same traditional, teak wooden styled architecture, Grill Bophut has a modern Thai decor. The two restaurants work well together because Krua Bophut takes a lot of group bookings and sometimes fills up quickly. So now instead of having to turn people away, they can offer an alternative place to dine, with the option of choosing from both menus. The display of fresh seafood on the steps in front of the restaurant might be enough to

beckon you inside, but seafood isn’t the only thing on offer - Grill Bophut has four separate menu sections.

lamb, pork spare ribs, sausages, roasted duck, or pork shank. And considering we’re seeing words such as tenderloin, fillet and rump on the menu, everything in this section is under 1,000 baht very reasonable.

Firstly, their barbecued seafood section. Making the absolute most of their location both on an island and on the coast, Grill Bophut offer a great selection of seafood. Good sized tiger prawns, squid, red snapper or sea bass, and Phuket lobster are all on offer, and the prices are very reasonable for this area. It’s a great way to sample the local seafood. Unable to choose? Try the mixed seafood platter which has a bit of everything. Served with a Thai spicy sauce, this is sure to have your taste buds singing. Some delicious sides are available too, including favourites such as French fries, baked potato and mashed potato, but also some slightly different options such as potato gratin or stir fried potatoes with bacon, all for under 100 baht.

The sides served with these dishes are all that little bit different. This is a fine dining experience after all. The T-bone is served with broccoli and sautéed potatoes; the beef tenderloin with green asparagus, baby corn and mashed potatoes; the rib-eye with green asparagus and sautéed potato; the rack of lamb with sautéed bell peppers and baked potatoes; the pork spare ribs and sausage dishes are both served with picked cabbage and braised red cabbage; the roasted duck with bread dumplings and red wine gravy; and the pork shank (which can be roasted or boiled) with picked cabbage and mashed potato. Are you hungry yet?

If you’ve over-indulged in seafood during your time on Samui and are craving something meatier, then perhaps the barbecued meat section will appeal to you. Here you can get your protein dose with things like T-bone steak, beef tenderloin, Australian rib-eye steak, rack of

Well then, let’s introduce you to the ‘pièce de résistance’ at Grill Bophut - the hot lava stone. First a definition, because you may have heard of the concept, but perhaps not really understood how great it is. Basically, a lava stone is a lump of volcanic rock which is

heated to around 400 degrees Celsius, so it’s pretty darn hot. The heated rock is placed on a wooden block and then your meat is placed either directly on the stone or just off the side. You must have seen or heard the sizzling of a lava stone making its way to a diner if you’ve eaten in a steakhouse before? You use the little tongs or fork provided and cook your own meat at the table. There is no worrying about asking the chef for ‘medium with no blood’ or ‘medium-rare’, you can just cook it yourself, exactly how you like it.

for dinner and the other half want traditional Thai food, don’t despair. Grill Bophut still offer over 20 Thai dishes (ranging in price from 120 300 baht) including all the favourites. There really is something for everyone here.

Colleen Setchell For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 5599

Grill Bophut have a selection of juicy meats available for you to grill on this sizzling lava stone. Beef tenderloin, sirloin rump, pork tenderloin, a mixed meat platter (which consists of pork loin, beef tenderloin and chicken breast), lamb loin and a selection of mixed vegetables. Each chunk of meat is at least 200g so you aren’t going to go hungry, but remember to leave room for dessert. Each meal is served with a selection of sauces (barbecue sauce, Thai sauce and pepper sauce) in little ceramic dishes. If you’re dining with friends and you find that half your group want the grilled meat or seafood

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: samui@siamresidence.com www.siamresidence.com

www.siamwininganddining.com 17


18 www.siamwininganddining.com


Something a Little Different RockPool’s chef leaves the kitchen and gets personal. Kanda - an interesting word. It has origins in the Native American language meaning ‘magical powers, and in some translations, it means ‘godly, heavenly peace’ but in Thai, it means beloved. So when you’re in a resort with such a name, you know it’s going to be special. Tucked away in a quiet bay, Kanda Residences is a five star resort with luxurious, spacious pool villas and superb sea views. Located towards the northern end of the road between Choeng Mon and Chaweng, its Thai and contemporary architecture have been combined to create a perfect combination of East meets West. Throughout the resort and their restaurant, RockPool, you will see handcrafted Thai artworks or paintings beautifully combined with modern furniture or decor. Firstly, why is it called RockPool? Well because if it wasn’t for the fact that it was raised up onto wooden decking, you’d be sitting directly on the rocks or in the sea itself! The restaurant has two levels: one higher up that overlooks the pool and lower decking, and the lower level perched on top of the rocks and earning the restaurant its very apt name. You can enjoy unbroken views across the sea during the day time, or enjoy the beautiful moonlit evenings when all the tables have candles, and the restaurant has taken on a more intimate atmosphere. You may have read in another of our recent articles, that there is a new Executive Chef at RockPool. Christopher Pierre joined towards the end of 2013, and since then has been bringing his own personal style to the menu. RockPool has a great menu with a lot of fresh seafood (handpicked by Chef Chris) and many dishes featuring premium wagyu beef, and lamb from Australia. They’re famous for their oysters which are flown in fresh (on ice and seaweed) from France, Australia, Ireland, Japan and the US, and have a good selection of wines to accompany them. These are of course the main feature of their Sunday ‘Oyster Brunch’. But Chef Chris has made some additions that he

feels will fit in with the concept of the restaurant itself - relaxed, simple dining, with quality ingredients. For instance, he’s added Croque Monsieur (served with salad and fries) to the lunch menu. Why? Because it’s a nice simple dish and it’s quick and easy to eat. The same goes for the Chicken Caesar Wrap which is served in a roasted garlic tortilla with egg and crispy bacon. Chef Chris wants you to not only enjoy simple, delicious food but he wants it to be quick. He understands that his guests’ time on the island might be short, and they might not want to spend it trying to work through a heavy meal in the afternoon when they want to go swimming or exploring later. On the dinner menu he’s added, among others, an ‘Organic Green Leaf Salad’. Now before you turn your nose up, this is no ordinary green salad and is most certainly not just a collection of green leaves. Chef Chris has made sure that not only is this salad totally organic, it is also a wonderful combination of sweet and sour. Different leaves such as rocket and Romaine lettuce create the crunch, and cucumber, bell pepper, radishes, shredded carrot and cherry tomatoes add a touch of sweetness and pepperiness. It’s all topped off with a tangy lime and extra virgin olive oil dressing. But RockPool also has something very unique and rather quite special on the menu … Chateaubriand. Well-prepared, it is one of the most tender and tastiest of cuts, second only to filet mignon. Traditionally the dish is served with a reduced white wine and shallot sauce, herb roasted new potatoes and a Béarnaise or mustard sauce. Chef Chris has brought this very special dish to RockPool, and it’s so special, you have to give 24 hours’ notice if you’d like it prepared for you.

comes on a wooden platter and has some delicious accompaniments - potato croquettes (slices of potato which have been dipped in herbs, eggs and flour and deep fried until crispy); a deliciously creamy, cheesy cauliflower Mornay; mixed seasonal vegetables, and a few sauces to choose from: morels mushroom, hollandaise, truffle jus and Béarnaise. He’ll carve the meat at your table before serving the ladies first, starting with the meat, then the vegetables and sauces. Then he’ll serve the men, top up your drinks and leave you to your blissful dining. But what is so special about this dish isn’t just the fact that it’s prime wagyu beef. No, the special thing is that you have the opportunity to have your table set up away from the other guests and have the executive chef serve you personally. Now that’s how to make an occasion extra special, don’t you think?

Colleen Setchell For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 4500. www.kandaresidences.com

Also on the menu is ‘RockPool Romance’. This ‘to-share’ dish is perfect for anniversaries, birthdays or any special occasion. It’s premium wagyu beef tenderloin (just under 1kg) which is grilled to your specifications (this also requires advance booking). Chef Chris brings it to the table himself and serves you personally. It

www.siamwininganddining.com

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S

ome Like

it Hot!

Neo New World Tapas and Grill arrives on the Chaweng dining scene.

Sea Wrap ...living by the sea...

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 seawrap@peaceresort.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 info@thescenthotel.com www.thescenthotel.com The Scent Hotel 58/1 Moo 4 Bangrak Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand

20 www.siamwininganddining.com


The Spanish chef is hot, dark and lean, and cooks up a storm. His name is Josper, and he's the face of KC Beach Club’s new fusion tapas inspired restaurant – Neo – which is described as a ‘New World Tapas and Grill’. Now that we have your interest, with ladies wondering who the new Latino hottie in town is, and men on their guard, perhaps we should explain that Josper is in fact a state-of-the-art charcoal-fired combination grill and oven. Josper may be the face of Neo, taking centre stage in the show kitchen, but the man responsible for bringing him in is Executive Chef, David Lloyd. When the owners of KC Beach Club decided that the beachfront resort needed a makeover on the food and beverage side of things, they sought out the best man for the job. And so David arrived with a winning concept to shake the place up a bit and give Chaweng diners something different. Neo’s main dining area is an alfresco covered platform that sits at roof level above the show kitchen, perfectly positioned to catch the sea breeze and make the most of the views across the bay. Comfortable poly-rattan cushioned sofas offer no-rush dining, or grab a seat at the bar for a quick bite. Although the main dining area is at this prime rooftop area, the Neo menu can also be enjoyed at the beachfront tables and beside the pool. So what exactly is a ‘new world tapas and grill’ menu? Well, David was instrumental in the opening of the very popular ‘Sushisamba’ restaurant in London, now an international brand; in fact it was his final project in the UK before moving to Thailand – and the menus have similarities. David explains, “The concept is to have food that’s an intense explosion of flavour. It’s fusion food, blending Brazilian and Peruvian flavours with Japanese. The result is food that isn’t formal, but is healthy, colourful and full of flavour, and has a little bit of a party vibe to it.” Most of the dishes at Neo are presented on wooden planks, most being bite-sized and easy to eat, as with tapas and sushi. Both sushi and tapas involve social dining concepts, and many of the planks are designed to be shared. Josper of course, forms the main focus of these dishes. The charcoal furnace reaches extreme temperatures, sealing in the flavour of the food, and with the grill/oven combination, the food seals and browns while cooking from the inside. This makes the cooking time about 35% faster than a conventional grill – so Josper really pulls his weight as an employee.

taquitos, corn chips, tomato salsa and guacamole. And you’ll find two sharing planks with a Mediterranean twist. First, there’s the ‘Cheese and Cold Cuts Plank’, which includes a selection of cheeses, smoked duck, chorizo and ham as well as pickles and bread. And equally as tempting is the ‘Mediterranean Plank’, which offers humus, pita bread, marinated olives, grilled aubergine and salsa. But if you’d prefer to go Asian, the ‘Japanese Plank’ brings rock shrimp tempura, soft shell crab sushi roll, tuna nigiri, salmon sashimi and grilled eggplant sesame. For those just feeling like a nibble, you can order snacks for the table, such as spiced nuts, rosemary focaccia bread with olive oil, or marinated Tuscan olives, and there’s a good selection of salads, sandwiches and soups too, that are served all day. While the sharing planks are great for a lunch treat, sometimes a more substantial meal is in order for the evening. And not to worry, as Josper has no problem working a double shift. Highlights of the dinner menu include the ‘Neo Josper Meat Grill’ – rib-eye, pork rack, lamb cutlets and chorizo, a winner for the carnivores. And those that prefer a seafood option will enjoy the ‘Neo Josper Seafood Grill’ – lobster, king prawns, scallops, squid and white snapper. There’s also a whole snapper. It’s steamed in banana leaves, served with coconut rice, pickles Asian pear and coconut relish. Wannabe chefs can try the hot-stone grill, which comes highly recommended by David, and gives Josper a little time off. Choose from top grade wagyu beef, ahi tuna or Salt Bush lamb fillet, which is sliced raw for you to sear to your liking on your own smoking lava stone. Each comes with a selection of oils, salts, sauces and pickles to complement your choice of meat. Neo can translate to ‘rebirth’, or ‘new and modern’. The name is fitting considering the transformation that’s occurred at KC Beach Club. You can still enjoy the resort’s regular beach parties, but for those looking for something fresh and trendy, yet unpretentious, then a visit to Neo will most certainly please.

Rosanne Turner For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 5155. www.kcbeachclub.com

Tapas from the grill include ‘Japanese eggplant sesame, miso, miren’, ‘asparagus with Bonito Truffle oil’, ‘pork rack with beer pickled onion, apple and ginger’, and ‘baby chicken in a whisky teriyaki lacquer’, to name but a few. You’ll find some interesting sharing planks to choose from, including a dozen oysters – choose any style from the oyster menu. Those feeling a little Latino at heart can try the ‘Salsa Plank for two’: chicken fajita sliders, tuna

Is this your dream Romantic Beach Dinner?

T: 077-960 567 E: book@TheSeaSamui.com W: TheSeaSamui.com We make sure that you arrive in style with a free round-trip transfer between Chaweng, Bophut, Bangrak, Maenam or Nathon.

Join us for a delicious lunch, a romantic dinner for two or a private BBQ on the tranquil and pristine Bang Por beach. Enjoy stunning sea views, exquisite cuisine and if you want to get together and share a meal with your closest friends, you can also enjoy a bubbly treat - groups of five or more people get a free bottle of sparkling wine.

Located on the enchanting white sand beach of Maenam - Bang Por. Free day use of swimming pool and Wi-Fi. A member of

Do it yourself BBQ Chef’s BBQ romantic dinner

1,000++ baht/person 1,600++ baht/person

Thai set menu romantic beach dinner 1,200++ baht per person North Meets South (Khantoke Beach Romantic Dinner) 2,400++ baht per couple www.siamwininganddining.com 21


Good Morning, Sunshine! Here’s what you can expect for breakfast in Thailand. Breakfast. What springs to mind? If you’re a Westerner, most likely you’ll have a few staple breakfast dishes – foods that you wouldn’t usually eat for your evening meal, but have the exclusive honour of being your first meal of the day. On a weekend, or when you have a little more time, you might go for the ‘Full Monty’, which will include eggs done the way you like them, bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and toast. If you’re in a rush, you’ll probably chuck back a bowl of cereal or a yoghurt, or perhaps some toast and jam. If you’re not watching your carbs, you may enjoy a continental breakfast with some muffins, croissants and other pastries. Or if you’re on a health kick, fresh fruit and muesli may be your kick-start to the day. Most of us wouldn’t think to have cereal for dinner or a roast for breakfast, and in the West, dishes are confined to their designated meal times. Now while there are dishes that are popular for breakfast in Thailand, a local would think nothing of having a spicy curry for their morning meal. But here are some of the most popular dishes Thai people enjoy to start the day. If there’s one food that immediately pops into mind as a Thai breakfast, it’s the thick rice porridge known as ‘joke’. It’s made of short-grain rice that’s boiled until it turns into a thick oatmeal-like porridge. It’s served piping hot with an egg cracked in the middle, some pork for flavouring, and garnished with slices of ginger and parsley. Joke would be the equivalent of a Western-style morning bowl of cereal, and you’ll see vendors setting up early to sell it, catching people on their way to work. Khao tom (rice soup) is closely related to joke, but instead of short-grain rice, normal long-grain Thai rice is used. The grains are boiled in stock until they’re soft and floating in a ricey soup, together with toppings such as pork, eggs, ginger and parsley, and even seafood. If joke is the cereal of Thai breakfasts, then khao neow moo ping is the energy and protein equivalent of ‘sausages and eggs’. A few satays of fatty grilled pork with a little packet of sticky rice are easy to eat on the go, and a great way to start off a busy day in Thailand. From early in the morning, you’ll find vendors standing over hot coals preparing little chicken or pork satays, or various types of sausages and meat or seafood on a stick – food on a stick is the best Asian invention; no cutlery required.

on the open grill, sometimes encases banana or sweet red beans. You’ll find many different variations of this, and sometimes, the rice is cooked in bamboo too. For a muscle-building breakfast, try kai luak, which is basically a soft-boiled egg served in a shot glass, and accompanied by a fresh cup of coffee. If you’re after a healthy breakfast, there’s no shortage of fresh fruit vendors, who’ll present your purchase neatly chopped and in a bag with a wooden skewer used to pierce the fruit for eating, and for only around 15 to 20 baht a portion. Like the rest of the world, Thailand has fallen into the fast-food trap, and every Family Mart and 7-Eleven will sell a selection of off-the-shelf-and-into-the-microwave breakfast meals. There’ll always be an urn of boiling water so you can buy your pot of instant noodles, rice soup or joke, fill it up and walk away eating your breakfast on the go. You’ll also find grilled sandwiches that the friendly teller will pop into the toaster for you, as well as over-processed filled sandwiches, cakes and muffins. But with so many great fresh options available, such as homemade joke or some fresh fruit, there’s no need to go the fast food route. Of course, if you’re staying at one of Samui’s many beautiful upmarket resorts, chances are that a buffet breakfast is included in your rate. Here you’ll get a spread of both Western and Asian breakfast dishes, so you can really mix it up and try a bit of everything. No matter what you have for breakfast, remember that it’s the most important meal of the day, so having a nourishing meal in the morning can start your day on a good note. Thais will seldom skip breakfast (or any meal for that matter), and they’re one of the happiest nations in the world. Is it because they have a hearty breakfast? Who knows, but it seems to work for them. So grab a bowl of joke, some Thai doughnuts or a couple of satays and start your day on a delicious note.

Rosanne Turner

Those that enjoy a sugar boost for breakfast should keep their eyes open for a vendor selling the Thai doughnuts called patongo. This slightly sweet blob of dough is deep-fried, forming a crunchy outside and a soft, fluffy centre. It’s served with sweet custard dipping sauce or sweetened condensed milk. Breaded deep-fried sliced banana is also a great morning snack, and cheap too, at only about 20 baht for six big pieces. Thailand has a strong Chinese heritage, so dim sum dumplings are a popular breakfast food, including the steamed buns and the greasy pork dumplings. Little banana-leaf packages of sweet, sticky rice are great on-the-go morning snacks. The rice, with a smoky flavour from being cooked

Discover authentic

Indian Cuisine Samui

Noodle Specialties from all over ASIA

at Akyra Chura Resort open noon - 22.00h reservation 077 915 100 www.theakyra.com www.facebook.com/Theakra

22 www.siamwininganddining.com

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


Silavadee Pool Spa Resort

Silavadee Pool Spa Resort presents a wide range of restaurants and bars featuring a variety of cuisines to suit all tastes. Premium cocktails and selected wines are also available in each outlet.

STAR

A stunning rooftop bar where you can sip our signature cocktails and enjoy some snacks while watching the sunset or gazing at the stars above. Open: 17.00-23.30hrs.

The Height

Sun Deck

Wine and Cigar Lounge

Oering an extensive menu of delightful Thai cuisine, the restaurant has both air-conditioned and open air seating options, all with stunning views of the surrounding sea. Open: 17.00-22.30hrs.

Exclusive dining on the deck with breathtaking views.Enjoy International delights in a romantic setting with your loved one. Please reserve in advance.

Refreshments, cocktails and snacks with a selection of premium wines and cigars to enjoy the breathtaking view.

Open:18.00-22.30hrs.

Open: 17.00-23.30hrs

Silavadee Pool Spa Resort 208/66 Moo4, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84310 Thailand Tel: (+66) 077 960 555 Fax: (+66) 077 960 055 www. Silavadeeresort.com www.siamwininganddining.com

23


Sweet Tooth

A look at some of the more popular Thai desserts. Admit it - you are thinking of a rich chocolate mousse to complete your dining experience. A creamy tiramisu or a refreshing gelato, perhaps? Sorry, you are going to have to retire those old-world notions and open yourself to a whole new experience. Khanom wan (dessert in Thai) are made from just a few basic ingredients: usually coconut, sticky rice, palm sugar, beans, seeds and eggs. While your hotel may list some local toothsome delights on the menu, khanom are mostly eaten as snacks, and not necessarily after a meal. More unusual ones are prepared especially for ritual events or festivities, and often they require some hunting and gathering skills on your part. The best place to track them down is on the street - sometimes at the sit-down stall of a specialist vendor, but almost always in any ‘fresh’ market where you will find a stand offering a multi-coloured array of Thai desserts conveniently packed in a banana leaf, plastic tray, cup or bag. There are some specialty purveyors of desserts that serve the same street corner for eons. In Bangkok’s Chinatown a vendor stand offering ‘bua loy nam king’ (sesame encased rice flour dumplings floating in a hot ginger soup) is a

famous night-time mecca for generations of fans. But let’s back up. Like any explorer in a new land, you are going to have to sometimes suspend your preconceptions while you get your bearings. Sugar with salt? Green onions on a sweet coconut base? Kidney beans? And what’s this - an ice-cream sandwich? It’s a great way to discover some truths about Thai people: they love variety, balance and contrast in their food, and are more than happy to travel across town for a taste treat. They are fearless about combining strange tastes and textures, and are per capita the third highest sugar consumers on the planet, with ever-increasing appetites for the sweet stuff. So be prepared for sweet. And sometimes for salt. At first weird, but very more-ish, many Thai desserts will contain layers of both. Khanom tuay is a traditional cup-shaped sweet that uses rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, salt and pandanus to produce a sweet layered dessert that, when viewed from the side, displays a sweet pale-green base and a white creamy salty topping. Be prepared for unusual colours - garish pinks and greens abound, but also more subtle natural colours from leaves and flowers. The butterfly

pea (dok anchan) imparts a purple blush, while the much loved bai toey or pandanus leaf (more commonly encountered as a wrap around grilled chicken) infuses a green shade and a distinctive fragrance to many desserts. And be prepared for weird combinations that surprise and delight. Did we say ice-cream sandwich? The best are homemade coconut cream ice-creams delivered by bicycle or a motorbike-powered sidecar, and cooled by an ingenious system where the salted water below the stainless steel drum creates a heat exchange that chills the ice. These vendors are often to be found parked outside the school yard in the afternoons. As the children spill out of school, the vendor will cut open a fluffy white hot dog bun, while kids select from an array of coloured glassy looking squiggly things, or dried fruit like bananas or pineapple as a layer under the scoops of ice-cream and finish off with toppings of peanuts and condensed milk. While neither ice cream nor hot dog buns are traditional, the unique combination is definitely Thai: sweet, unexpected, simple yet rich, cold, creamy, crunchy and reminiscent of the best ice-cream experience of your childhood. The most commonly found street dessert may be khanom krok, where a rich mixture of coconut

(both shredded and cream) and rice flour are crisped on a charcoal heated indented cast-iron skillet to produce hot morsels served plain or topped with scallions, taro or corn. Besides coconut, bananas are a common ingredient whether in combination with sticky rice in parcels called khao tom mud, or fried, or boiled in coconut milk with salt and sugar as kluai bot chi. One of my personal favourites is fak thong sang-ka-ya - or pumpkin custard - where a mixture of coconut cream and eggy custard (duck eggs are richer) is steamed inside the whole pumpkin, and then sliced when the custard is firm. I also love spongy brightly yellow khanom tan made by crushing the flesh of ripe sugar palm fruit to extract the colour and flavour, then combined with rice flour, coconut cream and ground coconut flesh, and steamed in banana leaves. Perversely perhaps, I also go for the fermented flavours of khao maak - an almost purple concoction that has a seductive alcohol tang from adding natural yeast to black sticky rice. Khao neow dam - made with tapioca starch,

coconut milk and topped with shredded coconut is also a favourite dessert using black sticky rice. Another place to find black sticky rice is in khao lam - bamboo sections stuffed with rice, beans, nuts and coconut cream and grilled over a fire. These are most commonly found on the street offered by itinerant hawkers and are well worth trying. But let’s be candid - all this is foreplay to the most beloved of Thai desserts made with sticky rice; khao neow ma muang. Sticky rice is famous as north-eastern Thailand’s glutinous staple, but here it’s been adopted as the base for a sweet coconut mango dessert that is the pride of Thailand. This dessert is one of the consolations of the hot season when the mangoes that are essential to this dessert are in season. You may find mango sticky rice at other times of the year, or even out of Thailand (what with clever growers and imports) but you simply can’t substitute the simple perfection of the ripe fruit in season.

Annie Lee

Authentic Thai Cuisine California Cuisine Succulent BBQ Seafood 24 www.siamwininganddining.com


The Aroma A of Fine Dining

Chef Aziz works his wonders at The Scent Hotel’s Le Jaroen restaurant.

Some may remember Chef Aziz from another well-known resort on the island. But his culinary career goes way back before he arrived and wowed Samui residents with his effortlessly creative style of cooking. The 30-something year old Azizskandar Awang (Aziz) has worked in some of Asia's top fine-dining restaurants, including Marriott, Hilton and Renaissance hotels in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Luckily for Samui, he hasn’t left the island, and now creates his masterpieces from the kitchen in Le Jaroen, at The Scent Hotel – a beautiful colonial-inspired boutique hotel, situated on Bangrak Beach. According to Aziz, his cooking philosophy is to use the best ingredients possible, cooking them perfectly and letting the flavour of the ingredients stand on their own. His style is classical French cuisine, with a modern approach. It’s this philosophy and style that made him a winner of the 'Malaysia Young Chef Challenge Award' at the tender age of 21, in spite of being the youngest entrant at that time.

Aziz has quite a following, not only for his inspiring food, but also for his charming personality. So what can his fans expect at Le Jaroen? Well, perhaps the best way to find out is by trying his five-course degustation menu. With a mix of flavours and textures, it’s a great way to experience several of his creations. There’s the option of having the food only, or enhancing the experience by choosing the wine-pairing option.

Next on the menu is a ‘Roasted Hokkaido Scallop’ – De Bellay goat’s cheese agnolotti, with caramelised apple, tomato confit, a white wine and dill sauce and Avruga caviar. A tender pasta pocket holds the mouth-watering goat’s cheese, and the sweetness of perfectly caramelised apple complements the richness of the scallop. The wine of choice for this course is a ‘Sauvignon Blanc, Salomon & Andrew, Marlborough, 2010, New Zealand’.

Right, so the meal – or should we call it an adventure – starts with an ‘amuse bouche de jour’, just to whet your appetite, and this may change according to the day. This, as well as delicious home-baked rosemary-scented bread, is not part of the five courses, but most certainly get you in the mood for more.

Staying with seafood, you’ll move on to ‘Atlantic Salmon’ – served with slow-braised red cabbage, wilted baby spinach, a refined mustard sauce and topped with salmon roe. The fish is done to perfection, firm and flaky and the vegetables are an interesting and tasty choice. A glass of ‘Muscadet Sevre et Maine AOC, Domaine de la Chauvinière, Loire, 2010, France’, is the perfect addition to this course.

The first course starts with a ‘foie gras au torchon’ – poached Rouchie foie gras au torchon, with caramelised peaches, warm brioche, aged balsamic vinegar and mesclun leaves. Not only does it sound good, but it looks good too – art on a plate. If you’ve chosen to enjoy the wine pairing, you’ll savour your first glass now, with a ‘Pinot Grit Les Elements AOC Domaine Bott-Geyl Alsace, 2009, France’.

To prepare your taste buds for the main course, enjoy a palate cleanser of apple and mint sorbet. It’s refreshing, with just a little bit of a kick with the addition of some liqueur. Beef tenderloin forms the main course of this degustation menu. Savour a tender piece of roasted Australian beef, served with a ‘sauce

trompette de la mort, pommes gratin and baby carrots’. A more robust wine is required for this course, in the way of a ‘Cru Mont Plaisir Bordeaux Superieur AOC, Gonet-Medeville, 2010, France’. A ‘Lemon Mille Feuille’ forms the grand finale of this gastronomic adventure. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart flavours, with layers of crispy biscuit base, fresh seasonal fruit, tangy citrus cream, crème anglais and smooth dark chocolate. For those with a sweet tooth, it’s heaven on a plate. This well-balanced degustation menu is offered at 1,850 baht ++ for food only, or for the wine-pairing option, it’s 2,590 baht ++ per person. While Le Jaroen offers a fine-dining, it’s also a relaxed dining experience with its beautiful beachfront setting. Perhaps arrive early for some cocktails, to take advantage of the breath-taking sunsets. And if you’d prefer to enjoy the daytime views from here, try the special lunch menu created by Chef Aziz, including great salad, sandwich and pasta options. Pop in to find out about regular afternoon specials too, such as the ‘sangria and tapas’ promotion, perfect for an afternoon snack attack.

The Scent, is an ideal place to escape the crowds on a busy day. Opening the oversized wooden doors from the main road is like stepping into a lost world of days gone by. The hotel is dotted with artefacts of Indo-Chinese colonial culture, and the effect is calming and restful. The hotel is quaint, cosy and personal and offers guests and diners a relaxed and elegant setting in which to unwind. It’s reminiscent of days when the simple things mattered. Like pleasant company, exceptional food and a view to match.

Rosanne Turner For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7796 2198. www.thescenthotel.com

www.siamwininganddining.com

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Splendid Spanish Wines

The last 20 years have seen major changes in Spanish wine production. I highly recommend wine lovers discover the wonderful wines of modern Spain, if they have not done so already. Here in Thailand, where one needs to hunt high and low for affordable and reasonable quality wines, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with some inexpensive and gorgeous Spanish Tempranillo and Garnacha red wines, branded as “Old Vine Selection” for a well-known supermarket chain. (Yes okay… Tesco Lotus, but please keep it a secret!) In my humble opinion, one of the more compelling wine stories of recent decades has been Spain’s almost miraculous evolution from a producer of oceans of mediocre commercial wine, to a source of some of the most exciting and original wines in the world, across the price spectrum. However, it’s true to say that change was a long time coming. Spain has a very long history of viticulture, it’s estimated that grapes first appeared in Spain around 1,000 BC. But the arrival of the non-drinking Moors, in the 8th century, put a damper on the wine trade that lasted 700 years. Not until the 1490s, with the expulsion of the party pooping Moors, did business begin to pick up again. Spanish explorers planted Spanish vines throughout the New World, but only in the 19th century did Spanish wines begin to move, hesitantly, into modern times. Where was Spain in the centuries when France, Italy and Germany were defining and redefining their tastes and traditions? With the exception of the export driven regions of Andalucía, Jerez and Malaga, it had slipped back almost to the Middle Ages. The proud traditions of Castile and the Duero had sunk into a stupor, Catalonia was a downtrodden province, and the rest of the country was making the dubious double-strength wine that was swigged, uncritically and unceremoniously, out of goatskins! Then, one of the most famous events in wine history happened. The phylloxera virus destroyed the French vineyards in the 1860s and 70s, and many Bordeaux winemakers were forced to move south. They brought with them their vines, their winemaking skills and the iconic Bordeaux bottle. And of course, as far as the highly regarded Rioja is concerned, the rest was history. But it was over century until other regions decided to join the contemporary wine world. And gradually Spanish wines began to improve immensely. Wine regions, unknown even within Spain a few years earlier, flourished, led by the Penedès region in Catalonia, and later Ribera del Duero. Priorat, Navarra and Toro also began to capture the attention of wine buffs worldwide. It’s curious that of all the countries in Europe, Spain was the first to have wine laws governing quality, yet its entry into the fine wine market is younger than California’s. Two decades ago, it had only half a dozen regions with any pretensions to quality. Today it has at least twenty, and most of them are still so young that an apt comparison would be New Zealand. It’s worth remembering that as late as the 1980s, most Spanish wines were

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over-sulphured to combat spoilage, and not very successfully. (If there is one chemical element that will guarantee a head-splitting hangover, it’s sulphur!) Thankfully, within a decade that practice ended, even in the cooperatives that sold inexpensive bulk wine all over Europe. Grenache, called Garnacha in Spain, is the country’s most widely planted grape but not necessarily its best. That honour surely goes to Tempranillo, the principal grape of the Rioja. Vega Sicilia, long considered Spain’s greatest red wine, comes from Ribera del Duero and is made principally from blending Tinta del País with Cabernet Sauvignon. (Tinta del País was once thought to be a separate grape variety, but today it’s often known as Tempranillo.) While Vega Sicilia has maintained the standard it set in the mid-19th century, it now has some serious competition. For several decades, Priorat, which is part of the Penedès, has been producing wines the envy of winemakers everywhere. Wines from producers Alvaro Palacios and the Clos Erasmus, to name just two, match anything Bordeaux or Burgundy can produce. Dominio de Pingus has produced intense red wines that go for 400 Euros a bottle and more. At the other end of the price scale, Torres Gran Coronas Reserva and Marques de Caceres Rioja can be found (in Spain) for less than 20 Euros. Of course, Sherry is still Spain’s best-known wine. And yes, I do class it as a wine, and not as some special aperitif or after-dinner drink. In Spain, people drink sherry throughout their meals. The different styles of sherry (especially dry) pair very well with a wide variety of foods, from seafood to white meats to salads. I highly recommend you consider it, for a deliciously refreshing change, when contemplating food/wine combinations for a dinner party. I would also recommend, the once embarrassing, Spanish white table wines, which have recently taken on a new life. Thanks mainly to the gallant efforts of the Rias Baixas region’s winemakers, along with a once little-known grape, the Albariño. The wine is dry, fruity and fresh, with lively acidity. And well worth hunting down for lunchtime enjoyment when dining on seafood at a Mediterranean brasserie. Clearly, there has been a frenzy of investment and serious upgrading in the Spanish wine industry. And the enlightened concept is not difficult to see. Most of Spain is now technically equipped to make wines as good as its grapes will allow. And several of its varieties have inherent qualities as positive as any in the wine world. Like Italy, Spain sees the perils, as well as the benefits, of joining the international Cabernet Sauvignon club, which is surely a good thing. And happily, Spain’s recent and valuable contribution to the variety of the world’s fine wines will expand all our horizons.

Peter James


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 27


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 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: thebarge@noraburiresort.com www.noraburiresort.com

Chaweng Beach Road Chaweng North

It’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: reservation@norabeachresort.com www.norabeachresort.com

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April 2014