Last week, I wrote a little bit about Point Yamu, a newish ultra-luxe property in Phuket opened by COMO Hotels and Resorts. In that post, I said that Point Yamu is my and my wife’s new favourite resort. One of the chief reasons for that is the stunning food. I’m trying my best not to oversell things too much, but I simply have to say that I can’t remember staying in a hotel or resort in which every single meal was as amazing as they were at Point Yamu. To put it as simply as possible, it is — to me at least, right now — the best place in Southeast Asia for an all-inclusive foodie vacation.
Twenty-one years ago, I spent the summer after my freshman year in university working at a beach resort in Phuket. It remains one of the wildest and most fun experiences of my life. That summer, I fell in love with the southern Thai island, located in the Andaman Sea. And for several years after, it remained one of my favorite holiday destinations. Sadly though, as time went by and Phuket became ever increasingly commercialized and congested, and as my favorite undeveloped beaches began to be overrun with gaudy hotels, I lost interest in visiting. Just recently, however, I have discovered a reason to return to Phuket — not just once but again and again. That reason is Point Yamu, a stunning new resort by COMO Hotels and Resorts, located on the eastern side of the island, at the tip of Cape Yamu.
As far as many Asian countries go for visiting foreigners, Thailand is certainly among the most relaxed with regard to customs and rules. Having been a top destination for tourism for over 60 years, Thailand is known for its warm hospitality and uniquely welcoming ways. However, that is not to say that anything goes. While the Thai customs may not be as fixed or rigid as Japanese or Chinese, there are still some big DO’s and DON’Ts to be mindful of when traveling, greeting and eating in Thailand.
During my stay at Angsana, Bintan, I had the opportunity to participate in a cooking demonstration with Chef Renu Homsombat, Banyan Tree’s Corporate Chef at Saffron. The dishes that I was learning were from the four course dégustation meal that I had at Saffron. I was very excited to uncover the secrets behind Chef Renu’s delicious food.
A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to Angsana Bintan for a quick weekend getaway, and also to experience their quarterly weekend event, The Colours of Thailand. Among the activities lined up, it included feasting on a selection of Thai cuisine that was thoughtfully prepared by Chef Renu Homsombat, Banyan Tree’s Corporate Chef at Saffron, who had specially flown in from Bangkok for the event.
The tall, slim, olive-skinned, always-smiling Thai female staff, the sound of sizzling woks in the background and the delicious smell of curry bubbling on the hob, all bring me back to my idyllic days of holidaying and eating by the scenic beaches of Phuket. Lewu Cafe is my choice when I’m in need of some authentic Thai grub, and if I close my eyes, I might just be able to feel the sand in my toes again.
I might very well be the last food blogger in Asia to write about Soul Food Mahanakorn in Bangkok. Which is really kind of pathetic since I consider owner Jarrett Wrisley a friend. And I’ve known about this swanky eatery since before it even opened three years ago. Circumstances, however, had kept me from getting a chance to actually eat at Soul Food until just recently. The meal was really great, which is why I’m now, finally, able to give Jarrett a shout-out here.
A number of years back, when I was in Bangkok on an overnight work trip, a good friend there took me out for a magnificent meal at a restaurant I had (at that time) never heard of. She in turn had first visited there as a guest of our mutual friend Chef David Thompson, who had hosted her along with a celebrity chef visiting from London. In the years since, Krua Apsorn has become one of the most celebrated restaurants in the City of Angels, and yet remains to this day one of its most modest and affordable.
One of the easiest and most delicious dishes that my wife and I like to make at home is Gai Yang, or Thai-style grilled chicken. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll remember that we served Gai Yang as the main course on our Diner en Blanc Singapore menu. While easy to cook and a joy to eat, especially with some sticky rice and some Thai sweet chilli sauce, the trick to making a great Gai Yang is to marinate the chicken (at least) overnight.
When my darling wife S and I choose a hotel to stay in, one of the most important factors (for us) is the food. While I realise that there are many that choose not to eat in the hotels they stay in, we tend to have at least one real meal (other than breakfast) if not more on property. To me, the food and beverage side of a hotel is as important as the room size, the service, and the architecture. When I choose to stay somewhere nice, I want to experience all that the hotel offers. And that means checking out their restaurants and bars (as well as their spa, gym, etc). When S and I checked into The Siam a few weeks back, knowing that the owners Kriss and Mel are real foodies, we were very much looking forward to exploring the hotel’s restaurants.