So today I’m eating amazing food on the beautiful island of Koh Samui in Thailand. Just a short hop from Bangkok (love those 45 minute flights) and you land at what must be one of the best airports in the world. It’s a selection of little buildings spread through a lovely garden-like setting – it’s hard to see quite where the terminal is when you land and a little train-like bus takes you in. It takes minutes to get through what can be a painful process…if only more airports were as much of an enjoyable experience.
From there we headed for Chaweng Beach, a very short drive away. We soon discovered that October/November is rainy season in Koh Samui and boy can it rain! Don’t go anywhere without your umbrella – which all hotels supply you with in your room. Clearly for a reason.
For those really rainy-day lunches when we didn’t want to venture too far in the downpour, we discovered a lovely little restaurant called Hugo’s just across the road from our hotel. One of my favourite Thai dishes is green papaya salad, it’s crunchy and spicy and topped with freshly cooked prawns makes for a wonderfully flavoursome and healthy lunch. And it looks so beautiful, too.
When in Thailand you have to get plenty of green papaya salad in!
Running parallel to Chaweng Beach is the main road. It’s a long, bustling street with plenty happening from massages and other beauty treatments, shops and stalls selling everything you could desire and plenty of bars and restaurants. It’s hard to choose where to go, but I soon discovered there’s no need to stress about it too much – you can pretty much eat anywhere and not be disappointed in this amazing foodie town.
A lot of the restaurants have a tempting array of seafood on display in front of their establishments and an enthusiastic group from the restaurant trying to convince you that theirs is the best place for dinner. We liked the look of Terminal D with its contemporary design and substantial book of a menu. A lot of the menus in Koh Samui took some serious perusal, with so many offerings to choose from. The red snapper was a great choice in its amazing sweet and spicy tamarind sauce.
The freshest of red snapper with zingy tamarind sauce
And then we discovered Samui Seafood. I spotted the bar first which was set up in a corner in what looked like a garden just steps off the main road, totally irresistible. And then you realise it’s part of a large outdoor oasis of a restaurant serving an impressive collection of seafood at really reasonable prices. It’s is sold by weight and you can choose your own quantities, which I love, match your dish to fit your hunger perfectly. Thai rock lobster is delicately delicious with amazing texture and served here with a light red curry sauce was a delight.
Rock lobster with red curry sauce
Rock lobster was available cooked a wide variety of ways, with Thai and European options, here it is in a creamy sherry sauce.
Lobster in the creamiest of sauce
And here’s the ultimate dish for me – a green papaya salad (told you I love them) topped with deep fried soft shell crab. What can I say, just awesome.
Crispy, juicy crab tops a spicy crunchy salad
Wandering through some of the many market stalls scattered along the main road we spotted Green Bird. A small establishment always packed with locals that had delightful aromas emanating from it. A substantial menu at really great prices I mean, a substantial, tasty lunch for two for well under a tenner, gotta be happy with that.
The Vietnamese omelette came stuffed with a delicious stir fry of pork, shrimps, bean sprouts and other vegetables and served with a zingy sauce.
The light omelette opens up to reveal its tasty filling
The menu had pictures for a lot of the dishes (as a lot do it Thailand) and this dish, which was called Hong Pan, looked interesting – there was no description of the ingredients and the picture wasn’t this clear but based on the experience that all food here was going to satisfy we ordered it, not quite sure what we were going to get.
Lettuce leaves stuffed with vegetables, topped with slices of omelette, pork and finally a prawn, all tied together with a chive. And served with a dipping sauce. I’m certainly going to be making my own version of these soon – well, lots of different versions I think. They look so pretty, taste amazing and are fun to eat.
Tasty little hong pan parcels
Indian restaurants are usually really good in Thailand and we do like an Indian feast. So when we were invited into the Curry Hut (more people on the street talked us in), we couldn’t resist. Lovely chicken madras and the creamiest of delicious tarka dhal. Plus perfect freshly made garlic naan – I do love to sample one in every Indian restaurant I visit and Curry Hut’s was spot on.
Spicy chicken madras and wonderfully creamy dhal
The prize for best starter of the holiday goes to these wonderfully crispy prawns served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce at a busy little establishment on the main road called Tumzaab. They were large and succulent and just perfectly cooked. Yummy! Their curries were also exceptionally tasty.
A delightfully succulent prawn starter
On the nights we didn’t venture into the busy centre of activity we headed down to the beach for dinner. Our hotel sat on a little bay with a collection of eateries with tables set on the sand. When the tide was high we sat with the warm sea gently lapping at our feet. How I love dinner like this, no shoes, warm sea and one night even a beautiful full moon.
Lazy Wave was the first one in the line of restaurants which were all beautifully lit up at night with twinkling lanterns and spotlights focused on the sea. These crunchy little starters are nicknamed money bags – and you can see why – light pastry stuffed with spicy pork mince and served with two dipping sauces.
Crispy parcels stuffed with spicy pork mince
I loved this delicious plate of food, a traditional Thai chicken dish with a lovely chilli bite and plenty of sweet Thai chilli. Love that they shaped it like a pineapple!
Chicken with chilli and plenty of Thai sweet basil
The Massaman curry was beautifully creamy, hot and sweet.
The luxury of a Massaman curry
The red duck curry was packed with fruity delights, plenty of tomatoes, pineapple and even grapes plus those crunchy baby aubergines that you only find in Thai dishes.
A tasty bowl of sweetness and spiciness
A little further on was Sobaroso – another great beach discovery. With tables on the sand under little voile shelters and loungers on offer in front, it became a regular destination for us. Soaking up the sun and drinking their amazing shakes before taking the few steps to a table and ordering lunch. A simple Thai pork mince dish with a good hit of chilli was served with plenty of crunchy fresh vegetables.
Spicy, limey Thai pork mince
How’s that for a delicious array of dishes? The food in Koh Samui is simply fantastic. How I miss those flavours.