Samui Wining & Dining
Something for Everyone

Poppies announce a new selection of kantokes.


Page-08Located at the southern end of Chaweng Beach and tucked away in a tropical garden with shady trees, fish ponds, waterfalls and little teak bridges, lies a tiny magical oasis - so magical that you’d half expect to find fairies dancing under the trees or elves sitting on the rocks..

      Yes, Poppies Samui is an oasis. When you walk down the path to the restaurant, you’ll hardly believe what you’ve just left behind. Since they opened back in 1994, they have established themselves as an exclusive boutique hideaway. Their sister hotel, Poppies in Bali, also offers the same style and charm you know you can trust.

      Something else you know you can trust is the quality of their food. In a previous article for Wining and Dining, we wrote about their two Executive Chefs, Khun Watanee (nicknamed Khun Wan) and Khun Suwit (nicknamed Khun Noi). They are responsible for the Thai and Western menus respectively, and they both ensure the restaurant patron’s tastebuds are always satisfied. And they have a fantastic option on the menu which allows you to sample a variety of Thai dishes. It’s called the kantoke.

     First a little about the kantoke. Its history dates back to the ancient Lanna Kingdom, which was centred in present-day northern Thailand from the 13th to 18th centuries. Present day Chiang Mai is right in the middle of where the Lanna Kingdom used to be. The kantoke is an assortment of foods in small bowls served on a platter. In Northern Thai culture, the family sits on small cushions on the floor around a small round table called a ‘toke’. It is made of wood or bamboo, and usually has five or six short supporting legs. On this small table are the small bowls filled with various foods which are collectively called a ‘khan’. Hence ‘khan-toke’ or ‘kan-toke’.

     There is a variety of foods so that everyone is able to sample a sweet, sour or spicy taste. Sticky rice is usually served and used to dip into the bowls that have sauces. It is traditionally eaten with the hands, although nowadays in most restaurants, you sit at a table and eat with a knife and fork (or spoon and fork).

      But enough of the history, and back to Poppies. Their amazing team of chefs have once again created magic out of something ordinary. Okay, kantokes are hardly ordinary and certainly not the ones at Poppies, which are served in individual, white ceramic dishes painted with intricate colourful patterns, with a dainty golden trim and a soft mother of pearl sheen. You get treated to art and good food at the same time. The chefs here have taken the kantoke and created some original ideas with not only new Thai kantokes, but some brand new Western ones too.

      First the more unusual Western kantokes. The ‘Selection of small Poppies favourites’ option (which is for two), gives you lobster wrapped in a crispy panko breadcrumbs; a fresh, crispy Caesar salad with anchovy dressing; roasted duck breast with plum and strawberry sauce, feta cheese and rocket salad; Australian veal tenderloin with whole grain mustard and sautéed asparagus; and steamed snow fish served on a bed of iceberg lettuce and a sweet ginger and seaweed soy sauce. Save space for the warm chocolate lava cake with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream.

         Or how about the ‘Selection of small seafood dishes’ (also for two). In this kantoke, you have soft shell crab tempura with green mango salad; green lip mussels in white wine, garlic and herb butter; tiger prawns sautéed in a tomato and basil sauce with rocket salad; char grilled snow fish with a coconut sauce and sautéed morning glory; and poached rock lobster in a light green curry sauce with sautéed kale. Again, leave space for dessert.

         There are five new Thai kantokes too. You can opt for the ‘Traditional kantoke’ with spicy prawn soup, stir-fried morning glory, charcoal roasted duck curry, stir-fried chicken with ginger, deep fried prawn cakes with plum sauce and Jasmine or brown rice, and Thai banana fritters with coconut ice cream.

         Or how about the ‘Four regions kantoke’ with northern Thai spicy sausages, poached minced duck, beef in a peanut curry sauce, stir-fried prawns, stir-fried mixed mushrooms and steamed rice, and don’t forget the Thai pumpkin custard with sticky rice and coconut ice cream.

         Vegetarians needn’t miss out either. The ‘Vegetarian kantoke’ comes with green papaya salad; sweet and sour vegetables; stir fried bean sprouts and deep fried tofu; mixed vegetable panang curry; vegetables and tofu in a creamy green curry and steamed rice, with a selection of seasonal fruit for dessert.

         A luxurious treat would be the ‘Royal Thai kantoke’ for two. A selection of appetisers such as stuffed omelette with shrimp, crispy pastry cups with chicken, and Betel leaf wrapped with ginger, lime and roasted peanuts. A main course choice of king prawns, beef red curry, tamarind vegetables, steamed white tuna fillet, steamed curry crab meat soufflé and steamed rice. And if you have space, Thai pumpkin custard with sticky rice and coconut ice cream.

         If it’s only seafood you’re after, why not opt for their ‘Seafood kantoke’ which will give you spicy seafood soup, white tuna fillet with chilli and Chinese brandy, soft shell crab, prawns with basil leaves and fresh rock lobster medallions in green curry. Dessert is the very traditional mango and sticky rice.

         So if you’d really like to try as many different dishes as you can in one evening without having to adjust your waistband, make sure you head down to Poppies and give their new kantokes a try.


Colleen Setchell


Copyright 2017 Samui Wining & Dining. All rights reserved Siam Map Company Ltd.