Samui Wining & Dining
Sunshine Reigns

Samui’s always a great place to be, but it’s even better when the weather’s good!


1Having suffered one of the longest and most severe rainy seasons in living memory last year, Samui and the south of Thailand were hit with terrible flooding in this year’s ‘dry’ season in March 2011. And as if we weren’t all wet enough already, we spent all day on the 13th April chucking water over each other in celebration of the Thai New Year – Songkran. Hopefully, the only time this month that you’ll get wet is when you choose to!


So, unusual natural calamities aside, with all this bad weather behind us we can now enjoy a lovely hot and dry May on this beautiful tropical island.


And our feature writers are certainly glad to be out and about in the glorious sunshine this month. Rob De Wet begins by joining the daily cooking class at Nora Chaweng Hotel, on the northern strip of Chaweng Beach Road, where he masters the art of single-handedly creating a traditional Thai dish. And the following evening he’s back in the same area but just across the road in Red Snapper Bar & Grill where he perches himself by the bar and samples several unique cocktails prepared in person by international mixologist, Joseph Boroski, whilst finding out a bit about the man’s background (hope Rob gets a taxi home that night!).


Life’s good to Rob this month as his next assignment is reviewing Rocky’s Boutique Resort’s fabulous new restaurant, The Dining Room, which is already considered as one of Samui’s top restaurants. And this comes as no surprise when you learn that award-winning Malaysian-born Executive Chef, Azizskandar Awang, is in charge of the kitchen!


Rob must have been a saint in an earlier life to be receiving all these rewards in this one. His next ‘task’ is to take himself and a guest along to the celebrated The Library minimalist resort’s beachfront restaurant, The Page, and indulge in a special ‘Tenderloin of Wagyu Beef MBS 9+’ dinner with perfectly paired wine. And not only does he get to enjoy some of the best beef in the world for free in a fantastic setting, but we actually pay him to eat it!


And within a couple of days of partaking in that veritable feast, Rob’s at it again as he attends one of Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi’s theme nights and carries on indulging. His final trip out in May is to the 5-star Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa, when he gives his stomach a rest and finds out from the charming General Manager, Manish Jha, and the super-efficient Event Manager and Wedding Co-ordinator, Khun Uea-ingkun Sophavachirathavee, all about the magnificent facilities on offer to visiting MICE (that’s Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions to you and me).


Our other full-time Feature Writer, Johnny Paterson, is also very busy this month. He also takes a trip over to Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa but it isn’t MICE he’s there to find out about. Johnny’s there to interview this month’s ‘Kitchen King’, their celebrated Executive Chef, Don Lawson. And with a 5-star-studded background in top restaurants around the world, who better to be May’s ‘Chef of The Month’?


Johnny doesn’t have to travel far for his next assignment as it’s to Hansar Samui Resort & Spa, which is right next door. And he’s there to talk to another top chef; this time it’s Stephen Jean Dion, whose most notable part of his already impressive CV is a 2-year period of being the personal chef to the King and Queen of Jordan. And Stephen kindly shares with Johnny (and therefore the rest of us!) his personal recipe for one of his signature dishes, ‘Grilled Maine Lobster’, which is served every day at the resort’s excellent H Bistro restaurant.


And vegetarians amongst you will be pleased to read about Johnny’s next venture this month, as it’s to Nora Buri Beach Resort & Spa where he’s treated to a three-course vegetarian Thai meal in their outstanding The Barge restaurant. A couple of days later, Johnny tracks down one of the island’s friendliest people, restaurateur D.D. Pandey. He’s the man behind the continued success of both of Noori India’s two restaurants and also their brand-new Noori India Cooking Center. So who better person for Johnny to quiz about what makes Indian cuisine so very special?


Another very interesting man Johnny gets to meet in May is Paul Mcdermid, the enigmatic proprietor of Chaweng’s hottest new Thai restaurant, Spirit House. Johnny finds out all about the man, what brought him here and what inspired him to create this fabulous establishment. And Johnny rounds off his month in the sun with a trip to Big Buddha and lunch in Pra Yai Restaurant; a great little eatery just metres from the iconic statue itself.


As usual, our resident wine guru, Peter James, closes the show this month with an interesting article in which he voices his considerable fears that excellent wine for the masses in the future will be a thing of the past. And that’s about it. Enjoy the sunshine on Samui whilst you can – maybe it’ll start snowing next month!


Bon Appétit.


Steve Taylor



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