Samui Wining & Dining
All Tead Up
Drinking tea at Namcha in Fisherman’s Village is a whole new Samui experience.


All Tead UpTea or coffee? It’s like cats or dogs, beer or wine, beach holidays versus mountain climbing adventures. Everyone’s got their preference and in many cases is quite insistent that theirs is the only way to go. Coffee drinkers will wax lyrical about the jolt of an espresso first thing in the morning, whilst tea drinkers will evangelise about that refreshing cuppa with cakes in the afternoon, or curling up on the sofa with a steaming mug of English tea and a book as the rain beats down outside. Or dunking a biscuit into your cup, or your day being made when a jumbo bag of Tetley’s arrives from home. Which is why the tea house Namcha Samui in Fisherman’s Village has become a favourite spot for many expats and others on the island. It’s become known as the place ‘where friends gather for tea’.


Namcha is how a tea house should be. Walking in, you see comfy sofas, displays of tea from all around the world, a cosy décor and none of the bright florescent lighting so many cafés and restaurants on the island seem to have. It’s not the type of tea shop you find on every high street back home, with doilies and tacky prints, where you don’t want to speak above a whisper and you’re worried about dropping crumbs on the floor. Namcha is a friendly relaxed place where you can lounge for as long as you want, working your way through all the different types of tea.


There’re four different areas, or tea corners, at Namcha. The English Tea Corner has been set up to recreate the ambience of drinking tea in England, because, as Namcha owner, Michelle Ho, says, no-one drinks tea quite like the Brits. The Japanese Tea Corner focuses on the health aspects of tea from Japan, a country where green, black and oolong tea has been drunk for beneficial purposes since at least the eighth century. And it’s the same with the Chinese Tea Corner, showing how hot herbal tea has been drunk for health reasons in China for centuries, with tea after a meal believed to be beneficial in removing oil from the body. Meanwhile, the African Tea Corner serves tea from all over the continent, such as the hot sweet Kenyan chai or Rooibos tea from South Africa.


If you’re not quite sure what type of tea you want, no problem, as Michelle and her team are very friendly and knowledgeable in pointing you in the right direction, whether you just want a refreshing drink or are looking for something with more of a beneficial purpose. There’s also a round counter in the middle of the tea house, with samples of and information on all the many different types of tea available. You don’t have to be lumbered with Lipton’s just because you’re in Thailand.


The emphasis on the tea served in all four corners at Namcha is ‘for health’. Michelle knows everything there is to know about the health-giving properties of the drink – Chinese tea, for example, contains over 300 substances and can help with dizziness, headaches, pain and sunstroke, whilst all companies in Japan serve green tea at around 11:00 am to perk up staff and refresh them after a morning’s work. Michelle has travelled around the world, picking up many different tea-related items and knowledge about how to best use tea to promote good health.


If this is all sounding a bit too healthy for you, rest assured that Michelle also knows her cocktails. With tea in them, of course. As previously mentioned, Namcha is also as ‘the place where friends gather for tea’, but they also gather there for the extensive range of cocktails, beers and liqueurs as well as Michelle’s own special tea-based brews.


There’s plenty of food on offer too and at very good prices. The small wraps – chicken, vegetarian, smoked salmon, fish, beef or lamb – start at 80 baht and are easily a decent enough portion for breakfast or lunch. And if you’re feeling a bit delicate, there’s a ‘Hangover Special’ all-day breakfast on offer with mixed grill, eggs, toast, hash browns and bacon. The all-day breakfasts also include a ‘Healthy Heart’ option with wholegrain muesli, fruit and nuts, an American breakfast and two Oriental options (Singaporean and Indonesian), and there’s an extensive Thai menu if you feel like eating the local cuisine.


Michelle’s a busy woman. As well as running Namcha, she also owns and manages a Mexican bar and restaurant next door called Sambora Tropicana, where you can continue you eating into the evening if you don’t want to stir from this cosy little corner of Fisherman’s Village.


Lisa Cunningham


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