Samui Wining & Dining
Do it Yourself!

Poppies’ Executive Chef, Khun Suwit Suwan, shares the secrets of his best-selling dish.


Do it Yourself!There’s one everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a big city or a small village somewhere, you can bet there’ll be one. It won’t be something that’s sprung up overnight. No, something like this takes time. But that’s how legends develop. A place that’s still there and still going strong after all those years. And one of Samui’s notable legends is Poppies Samui, down towards the southern end of Chaweng Beach Road.


Poppies was the first on Samui of what’s now fashionably become known as ‘boutique’ resorts. Back in the 1990s, there were plenty of small, family-owned resorts, but they were cheap and cheerful and were comprised of small wooden huts. Poppies was the first of the island’s resorts to expand the idea and create accommodation that was comfortably of a European standard. And, right from the start, this also meant incorporating a first-class restaurant serving quality International dishes as well as Thai fare.


It takes some doing for a restaurant to have developed its reputation and still remain popular for over 15 years. But that’s what’s happened at the legendry Poppies (the restaurant here bears, very simply, the same name). And it’s one of the measures of its standing that their staying-guests opt to eat-in most evenings: other resort restaurants often only see the guests for dinner on their first and last nights!


And the reason for this reputation is twofold. Firstly, the quality of the ingredients used in the cooking; they are all of the highest quality. Many items are imported, such as the prime corn-fed beef from Australia or New Zealand. And the second is Khun Suwit Suwan. He’s the Executive Chef and has previously studied under no fewer than four different world-class chefs. He’s a culinary wizard when it comes to creating a new and exciting sauce or adding a tantalisingly different twist to a traditional dish.


One of the firm favourites at Poppies is his very simply-titled Roast Duck Breast. Because not only is the meat tender and wonderfully succulent, but it comes with a sauce of his own creation that makes your tastebuds tingle and perfectly complements the texture and flavour of the duck.


I’d just love to say that this recipe is a jealously-guarded family secret passed down from father to son. Perhaps it is! But whatever the case, Khun Suwit is a generous man, a dedicated chef, and is keen to preach his gourmet gospel. As a result he’s laid-out the details of how to make this dish, with his recipe below. Of course, the best thing by far is to head down to Poppies and sample it for yourself. And then, suitably uplifted, you can look forward to praise and complements when you make it for your friends back home. But don’t forget to mention that, on Samui, this dish is legendary!


Roast Duck Breast

(The ingredients are for one person: simply increase them in proportion to the number of your guests.)



200 gms lean duck breast


The Marinade:

1 bay leaf

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp black peppers

2 tsp Dijon mustard

½ cup red wine


The Sauce:

½ cup fresh orange juice

2 tsp plum sauce

4 fresh strawberries

2 cloves finely-chopped garlic


The Salad:

50 gms rocket

30 gms feta cheese

¼ sliced red capsicum (bell pepper)



First create the marinade. Mix all the ingredients together and steep the duck breast for 2 hours. Pre-heat the oven to a medium heat. Remove the duck breast from the marinade and drain off the excess. Heat a little olive oil in a pan until it smokes and sear the duck breast, turning continually for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the heat and put the duck breast into a baking dish. Cook in the oven for four minutes (rare); seven minutes (medium); 10 minutes (well done). Remove the duck breast from the oven to rest.

Mix the orange juice with the plums and cook in a pan on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the strawberries and garlic and simmer for another 3 minutes.


Prepare the rocket salad by mixing all the ingredients together with the dressing of your preference.

Serve by placing the duck breast on a plate and liberally covering with sauce, with the salad placed alongside. And, in the true and legendary Poppies tradition, enhance this with a complementary wine: a well-tempered red Shiraz or a lightly-chilled rosé are both ideal.




Rob De Wet


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