Samui Wining & Dining
A Salad with a Difference

Krua Bophut makes the most of Samui’s Seafood.


17You’ve probably walked past Krua Bophut many times as it lies at the quiet, western end of Fisherman’s Village. The beautiful teak traditional Thai-style building is hard to miss, and you might be forgiven for thinking it isn’t busy because of the lack of patrons seen in the restaurant as you peer through the open wooden shutters. Don’t be fooled though, the best place to dine at this restaurant is down on the beach. Okay, so it’s not directly on the beach but the ‘beach level’ has been filled with sand and you get to wiggle your toes in it while trying to decide what you’re going to eat.

      Soft, relaxing music is played, but not loud enough to drown out the wonderful sound of the waves lapping on the sand. The glass vases on the table with candles, sand and shells remind you where you are, and the soft lighting and fire lanterns on the beach create a wonderful calm oasis. Tall palm trees sway gently overhead (don’t worry, all coconuts have been removed) and as you sit in this pretty garden area, you’ll truly feel you’re on a tropical island.

      Krua Bophut is well-known for their seafood. They use a local supplier and everything is caught locally (which is not hard when you’re based on an island). The white snapper is used in a lot of the dishes, as are prawns and soft shell crab.

      As you sit down, the waitresses, dressed in their beautiful, traditional Thai outfits, will take your drinks order while giving you some time to read through the extensive menu.

      If you’re new to Thai food, or if you just can’t decide what to order, they have two set menus, one spicy and one slightly milder. They cover all the popular dishes along with some less well known ones. Tom Yum Soup, Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad), coconut ice cream and banana fritters are much-loved dishes, but have you tried roasted duck curry or stir-fried white snapper with three spices? There is a wide selection of dishes on the à la carte menu to satisfy every taste, from mild to spicy. A ‘one chilli’ symbol signifies mild and if you order a dish with a ‘three chilli’ symbol, prepare to be blown away.

       The signature dish here at Krua Bophut, isn’t fish or curry or even their delicious home-made coconut ice cream. It is actually a salad. But the ‘Krua Bophut Salad’ is no an ordinary salad, and although it is described as ‘a shrimp salad with herbs’, this is a massive understatement. Shrimps are those small things found in ‘prawn cocktails’ at office parties, not the large, beautiful pink, steamed prawns sitting on top of a very colourful salad you can expect here.

      This dish’s popularity can be judged on the feedback the restaurant receives from its patrons. If they are going to eat a salad, this is the one they’ll order and it was very clear why. When you think of salad, what do you think of? Lettuce, tomato, cucumber and some dressing? Well, this salad is indeed served on a bed of lettuce but that is the only similarity. Freshly grated coconut and finely chopped onion and garlic are all fried until almost brown then added to a fresh, mildly spicy dressing of freshly squeezed lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and Thai chilli paste which is poured over steamed, succulent prawns and topped with finely grated lemongrass, a few dried chillies, a sprinkle of crushed peanuts and finally a sprig of coriander. And of course, being Thailand, don’t forget the ornately presented carrot art as garnish on the side.

       Your mouth will be dancing with flavours. Nothing in this dish is marinated, it is all freshly prepared and you can certainly taste that when you take your first mouthful. The lime dressing works perfectly with the tender prawns, really bringing out their flavour. Close your eyes and the lemongrass and chilli flavours fill your mind with images of Thailand. These two tastes really symbolise the flavours of this land. Finally, the peanuts add an interesting texture and after you have swallowed, you’re left with just a subtle reminder of the chilli paste. A great combination of flavours.

         Krua Bophut flavour their dishes with fragrant herbs rather than salt, pepper or too much chilli. You’ll find sweet Thai basil, lemon grass, coriander, mint and many other herbs in their dishes. There’s nothing worse than leaving a restaurant with a horrible bloated feeling from too much stodgy carbohydrate or fat. Here, you’ll certainly not have to worry about that as all the dishes are nutritious and healthy. Citrus flavours, chillies, herbs, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as a good selection of seafood make this a very healthy night’s dining. Prawns themselves are a very good source of protein and contain omega oils which are known to be good for your heart. They are a very nutritious food. So you can eat here and know it won’t increase your waistline.

         The restaurant also offers a free signature cocktail for returning guests. The “Krua Bophut Punch” is made with mixed fruit juice, Thai whisky and red Grenadine. Enjoy it with a cool slice of watermelon on the rim.You really do feel looked after at Krua Bophut. From the minute you arrive and a crisp white, fabric napkin is placed on your lap, to the excellent staff and their ability and willingness to explain anything on the menu, your time at this ideally located restaurant will be special.


Colleen Setchell


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