Ruth recently visited the island of Koh Samui, Thailand where she spent 10 days exploring the tastes and flavours of this beautiful country. In the spirit of Songkran (Thai New Year), we thought we’d share what Ruth experienced on her food safari.
Located in the North of Chaweng, you’ll find a quieter, more idyllic beach which is perfect for relaxing and watching the Islands famous sunset. Just off the beaten track, we stumbled across Dusk, a beachfront restaurant serving traditional Thai cuisine. One thing I have learnt in Thailand, is looks can be deceiving. The restaurant is basic, but the queue forming outside was confirmation enough that this would be a great start to our foodie adventure.
The menu was minimal, offering five dishes with the choice of beef, prawn or vegetable. I ordered the beef massaman, a dish which came highly recommended by our waiter. I’ve had massaman’s before in the UK, but this was outstanding. Slightly hotter than our typical British offer, but rich and creamy, packed with flavour.
Ang Thong Marine Park
Later in the week we visited Ang Thong Marine Park, the 40-some jagged jungle islands which are dotted around the cerulean sea. We arrived by boat and were surprised to find the island completely uninhabited except from 3 sea bungalows and our tour guide.
We spent the afternoon snorkelling along the reefs, hiking to take in the incredible views and kayaking around the many islands. We worked up quite an appetite, so we were looking forward to our Thai BBQ on the beach. We sat down to a traditional, salt- baked white fish with chilli dip cooked over a homemade fire pit. It was delicious, stuffed with fresh lemongrass, chillies and herbs.
It was probably our most authentic meal, simple but really effective.
Bo Phut Fisherman’s Village
Bo Phut Fisherman’s village is fast gaining reputation for being the foodie hotspot of Koh Samui. It’s a lovely mix of boutique shops, bars, beach clubs and seaside restaurants. We went looking for a moon lit meal by the sea and that’s exactly what we got.
As the sea lapped around our feet, we shared an array of fresh starters and tucked into a fantastic bowl of Phanaeng curry. Phanaeng isn’t a curry I’ve ever tried before, but this creamy, lightly spiced sauce was definitely a highlight of my culinary adventure. Our curries came served with Thai steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves and vegetable spring rolls in a lovely light batter.
Sonja’s Thai Cooking Class
On our final night, we travelled north of the island to take part in Sonja’s Thai Cooking Class. We opted for Course 2 – a 5 hour long extensive course where you learn how to cook 15 different traditional Thai dishes including; A soup, starter, curry, one main, one seafood dish and a dessert.
Sonja was an excellent teacher, explaining to us the different components that create the balanced, fragrant flavour of Thai cuisine. She started by taking us to her garden, where she grows all of her herbs, explaining which herb or spice to use for each dish and why.
Firstly, we cooked a traditional Thai appetiser, The Tom Kaa, a coconut soup served with shrimp, then moving on to learning how to make an authentic Pad Thai. Both dishes were simple yet beautifully fresh and packed full of flavour.
We went on to make a yellow curry, roasting our garlic, ginger and shallots and blending with chilli, turmeric and lemon- grass. When our paste was ready, we heated some coconut oil in a wok, fried the chicken and left it to simmer. Simple yet very effective. Sonja also learnt the traditional way to make Thai rice wrapped in banana leaves, which is an art in itself.
For dessert we made my favourite, mango sticky rice, which was even better than the restaurant made version (see above).
All in all, it was a fantastic day and Sonja was an exceptional teacher. The highlight of it all was receiving a spice kit and full cooking instructions, so we’ll be able to recreate the dishes time and time again.
All in all, we had a fantastic time eating our way around the island. It was great to experience the variety and depth of flavours that are found in Thai cooking. Later this month, we will review Som Saa, London’s latest Thai venture.
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Ruth | Marketing