Samui Wining & Dining
Not One, Not Two but Three Signature Dishes

Nora Buri express their love of seafood with colour and creativity.

 

11From the second you arrive, the staff at Nora Buri Resort & Spa smile and greet you like a long lost friend. But today we aren’t here to talk about the amazing staff, or even to talk about the beautiful resort with its typical Thai style rooms, or the sea-facing spa, or the gorgeous infinity pool with the sea view. We’re not even going to talk about their biggest restaurant on the hill, Manora which is used for all their big functions, festivals and even ballroom dancing events. No today we’re here to talk about some very special dishes that are served at their restaurant by the sea, The Rice Barge.

      Nora Buri is located at the north end of Chaweng Beach Road, and the restaurant can be found on the third level of The Barge building, which is situated on the beachfront. It is open from 6:00 pm with last orders at 10:00 pm, and seats around 150 people. Traditional Thai music is played every evening, and you can relax listening to the beautiful music and enjoy the authentic Thai cuisine.

      Most restaurants have one signature dish, a dish that they are

particularly proud of or that shows off their skills or love of a particular food or ingredient. But here at Nora Buri they had such a tough time choosing just one signature dish that they’ve chosen three!

      So the three dishes sharing the spotlight are the ‘Mixed Appetisers’ starter and two main dishes: ‘Snowfish with spicy Thai Herbs’ and ‘Scallops with black pepper sauce’. Three very different but equally delicious Thai dishes.

      Let’s start with the ‘Mixed Appetiser’. It’s a visually striking dish that’s been created with care and precision and you’ll be forgiven for taking time to appreciate it before you start tucking in. A hollowed out pineapple acts as the dish, and you’ll get two of everything because the dish is aimed at two people sharing (or one very hungry person). Two sticks of tender chicken satay served with a rich peanut sauce; two prawns wrapped in yellow noodles and deep fried until golden; two Thai fish cakes made with minced fish, Thai curry paste, chillies, kaffir lime leaf and Thai herbs which are tender, juicy and very savoury (and not spicy at all despite the curry and the chillies). Then there are two good sized balls of deep fried crab meat which go very nicely dipped into the Thai sweet chilli sauce provided. Finally two crispy vegetable spring rolls which also aren’t spicy but definitely savoury with a hint of pepper, and work well with either the Thai sweet chilli sauce or the plum sauce. And even though many of these things are fried, they are by no means greasy or oily but rather crispy and perfectly cooked.

       The dish’s decoration deserves a special mention here. A chunky stick of galangal has been used to create a tree made with chillies and garlic and topped with flowers carved out of turnips. The craftsmanship is incredible.

      On to the next dish - Scallops with black pepper sauce. Scallops are easily overdone and need to be cooked quickly over a high heat. But the scallops in this dish are beautifully light brown on the outside with a deliciously caramelised flavour. There are quite a few scallops in this dish so don’t think you’ll get a token three or four! Chinese mushrooms, red and yellow peppers and onion are lightly stir fried and then mixed with a mildly spicy black pepper sauce and served in a red cabbage leaf. The dish is finished off with a huge juicy scallop drizzled with sauce, resting on top of the colourful mountain of vegetables. Again the decoration deserves a special mention - what’s been done to two red chillies is a work of art. They’ve been slit lengthways and then curled back to create the illusion of a long-petalled flower and are laid next to a spring onion which has had its green leafy bits curled like ribbons. How do they do that?

         The third and final dish is ‘Snowfish with spicy Thai herbs’. If you’re not familiar with snowfish, it has a very similar texture to salmon but is a white fish. It’s soft and succulent, yet firm with a very subtle taste. The Thai herbs served with this are a mixture of lemongrass, mango, garlic, ginger, green peppers and shallots. Spicy, fresh and with citrus undertones with a good taste of garlic, it perfectly complements the gentle taste of the fish. Again, the colours are visually pleasing - orange, green, and white provide the base and the large piece of gently browned fish rests on top. The beautiful decoration consists of a small green lettuce decorated with chillies and garlic.

         Three very different but very tasty dishes. So, head over to the Rice Barge where you can learn that there is so much more to Thai food than pad Thai and tom yam soup.

         I know I’m up for the challenge.

         

Colleen Setchell


 


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