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Wining & Dining - About Thai Food

Shellfish Oysters on the half shell served chilled with a garlic-lemon and chili sauce topped with Chinese mustard. Most restaurants serve this as an appetizer - truly irresistible! Another method of preparing oysters is to have them fried, boiled, or stewed in a clay pot with fragrant basil leaves. Cockles, clams, mussels, and more shellfish choices are available in Samui. These shellfish are either aromatically steamed with sweet herbs, or sautéed in garlic butter. In selecting shellfish, it is deemed fresh when the membrane is clear.

Lobsters Lobsters are usually kept in tanks. Lobsters can be steamed and served with garlic butter. Seafood restaurants pride themselves in their own secret sauce recipes to accompany your order. In choosing lobsters the joint between the head and tail must be translucent and not of a black discoloration.

Squid Garlic squid or barbecued squid are savory dishes, but squid deep-fried in batter is a delicious way of preparation. The thin crispy batter crumbles as you bite into the tasty, tender meat.

Crabs Crabs taste great when fried with curry powder. A plate of chili crabs with extra hot peppers is for persons who love hot food. Crab claws with glass noodles and celery is a mild and tempting Thai dish served in a clay pot. Barbecued crabs is an interesting way of preparation, while steamed crabs are the European way of savoring the natural sweetness of the meat. To assure freshness, crabs must be alive when you select them.

Fish Steamed Fish (Pla Neung) is served in a fish-shaped tray atop a burner. Every restaurant has its own varied of garnishing for steamed fish. Some are topped with preserved Soya beans, ginger, garlic and onions. Others combine minced pork with preserved lemon, preserved leeks, chilies, onions, or shallots.
Snapper, groupers, sea bass, sea perch, mullet, skip jack, and trevally are recommended fish for steaming. Sweet and Sour fish (Pla Preaw Wan) is a deep-fried fish with a simmered sauce made from arrowroot, baby cucumbers, tomatoes, pineapple, and onions ladled over the fish. Fish with Tree Sauces (Pla Sam Rod) is a deep-fried fish served with a combination of three sauces. Deep - fried mustard green are used as garnishing. Flounder, skip jack, and sole are recommended for this special Thai dish. Fried Fish with Garlic and Pepper (Pla Thod Krathiam) is pan-fried and seasoned with fried garlic and a strong dash of pepper. Bar-B-Q Fish (Pla Yang) is a tasty treat wrapped in banana leaf and barbecued directly on the grill. When selecting a fresh fish, the eyes must be shining and not dull or glazed. The body must be firm when pressed and the gills should be a rich red color.

Prawns A wide variety of prawns are available Grey or pink. Tiger prawns are commonly called jumbo prawns. They are usually barbecued and the meat pulls easily away from the shell. slit in half , and sautéed with garlic butter, is another popular way of cooking prawns. Smaller prawns can be deliciously prepared with steamed herb, fried with garlic and pepper, or baked with salt. But one should not leave Samui without trying Tom Yum Goong , the undeclared national soup of Thailand made of lemon grass, ginger, and shrimp. When selecting prawns, the head should not be discolored, nor should it have and unpleasant smell.

Sticky Rice Place 4 (2 lb/ 1 kg) cups of sticky (glutinous) rice in a saucepan and add water to cover. Rub the rice between your hands several times and drain off the milky water; add clean water and repeat until the water is clear. Soak overnight in water to cover or, to save time, it can be soaked in hot water for 3 hours before steaming. Drain the rice and place in a cloth lined basket or in a steaming basket. Place the basket over a pot of boiling water, cover, and steam for approximately 30 minutes

Rub the entire chicken with the combined marinade ingredients and allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 45 minutes and then broil/ grill for 10 minutes until done. Cut into smaller pieces before serving.

Papaya Salad Peel the papaya and rinse under running water. Remove the seeds and shred the flesh with a grater. Set aside. Place the garlic cloves and chilies in a mortar and mash with a pestle until crushed into chunks. Add the papaya and the remaining ingredients and gently combine all with the pestle and a spoon. Serve cold.

Satay Slice the chicken breast finely, width approximately 1 1/2 inches. Pound together, or blend in a blender, the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pepper, turmeric, curry powder, galangal, lemon grass, salt and garlic. Pour the blended ingredients into the coconut milk. Add sugar and vegetable oil and blend again so that all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the chicken slices and marinate for 2 hours. Thread the chicken slices onto the skewers. Pour the marinating sauce into a pot and heat until boiling. Place the chicken slices over a charcoal grill (barbecue) and apply the sauce to the chicken while turning . When cooked through, serve with Satay sauce and cucumber sauce.

Barbecued Chicken Rub the entire chicken with the combined marinade ingredients and allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 45 minutes and then broil/ grill for 10 minutes until done. Cut into smaller pieces before serving.

Kaeng Khiao Wan Nuea (Green Curry with beef) Place all the green curry paste ingredients in an electric blender and process until smooth, or pound in a mortar. Pour the coconut milk and green curry paste into a large saucepan and heat till boiled. Add the beef, fish sauce, and sugar. Cool at a slow boil for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the coconut cream and stir to combine. Add the kefir lime leaves and basil leaves. Remove the contents into a serving bowl and garnish with red pepper.

Khao Phat (Fried Rice) Heat the oil wok or pan, add the chicken and garlic, and mix well over the heat for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute, break in the eggs, mix very well, and then stir in the rice and the rest of the ingredients. Stir well. Cook for 2 minutes and serve immediately with cucumber slices and whole spring onions.

Thot Man Pla (Curried Fish Cakes) Pound or grind together the shallots, garlic, lemon grass, coriander root, galanga root, krachai root, peppercorns, grated kaffir-lime rind, shredded dried chilies, salt, and shrimp paste to a fine paste. Put the minced fish in an electric blender, and blend in the curry mixture. Add the beaten egg. Pour the curried fish mixture into a large bowl. Mix in the chopped beans. Make flat, round fish cakes. Use about 1 spoonful of the fish mixture at a time. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and deep-fry the fish cakes until golden brown. Serve with cucumber dressing.

Mi Krop (Crispy Noodles) In a wok or deep fryer, heat the oil to 375 F (190C) and fry the rice vermicelli until puffed. Remove and set aside. Combine the sauce ingredients in a large skillet and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes until of a syrupy consistency. If desired, fry the beaten eggs in a small pan. When cooked, remove and slice into strips. Set aside. Add the noodles to the sauce and mix quickly so that they are evenly coated. Place on a serving dish, sprinkle with garnish, and lay the egg strips on the top. Serve immediately.
Tom Kha Kai (Chicken Coconut Soup) Combine half the coconut milk with the galangal, lemon grass, and lime leaves in a large saucepan and heat till boiled. Add the chicken, fish sauce, and sugar. Simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked, and then add the remaining coconut milk. Heat just to boiling. Place the lime juice and chilli paste in a serving bowl and pour the soup over them. Garnish with cilantro leaves and crushed chilli peppers.

Po Pia Thot (Spring Rolls) Heat a large skillet, add the oil, garlic, and pork, and sauté' until the pork is cooked. Add the carrots, celery , sauces, sugar, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute on high heat to reduce the sauce and drain whatever liquid is left from the pan. Allow the filling to cool and then add the bean sprouts. Place a wrapper as a diamond with a corner towards you and place two tablespoons in the lower portion. Fold the corner up, rolling once. Bring the sides in and brush the upper portion of the wrapper with egg yolk. Roll the wrapper up, sealing the entire spring roll. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers. Heat the oil to 350 F (180 C) and deep-fry the spring rolls until golden brown. Serve with a sweet and sour sauce.

Tom Yum Kung (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup) Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat. Add the garlic, lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce, lemon grass, and shallots, then the mushrooms and chilli peppers, if using. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and reheat to boiling. Cook until the shrimps are pink, opaque, and firm but no longer than 1 minute. When the shrimps are cooked, place the lime juice and chilli paste in a serving bowl. Pour the soup into the bowl, stir, and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Pat Thai (Thai Fried Noodle) Fry the chopped garlic and onion until turned yellow. Add chicken and fry until cooked. Pour in the shrimp, pickled white radish, soya bean curd. Break the eggs into the pan and scramble. Add sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, ground dried red chilli and stir well. Pour in the noodles, stir fry until mixed well, add spring onion, 3/4 or half a cup of bean sprouts ( the remainder, clipped both ends, used for garnishing) and stir-fry until cooked. Spoon onto a platter, Garnish with ground roasted peanut, bean sprouts, carrot, cabbage and sliced lime.

Yam Nuea (Spicy Beef Salad) Cook the beef until medium rare, or as preferred, and cut into small thin slices. Pound together the garlic, 2 chopped coriander leaves, sugar, soy sauce, lime juice , salt and ground black pepper until smooth. Heat the oil in a saucepan and stir fry the spice paste for 3-4 minutes. Add the beef and cook for a further minute. Remove the beef and allow to cool. Serve on a plate. Then , sprinkle the chillies on top and garnish with the remaining coriander leaves. Makes 4-6 servings.

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