Thursday, January 7, 2016

KOH Thai Cuisine: Four Seasons Koh Samui





Set on a palm covered hilltop on the northwestern tip of Koh Samui, KOH Thai Kitchen & Bar offers authentic Thai cuisine and wines unlike any other dining hotspot in the world, with open-air dining set amidst a plantation of coconut palms, and views out over the Gulf of Thailand to Koh Phangan and the islands of the Angthong National Marine Park, below a blanket of stars. Designed by Bill Bensley, who also designed the resort, KOH blends tropical architectural touches and high ceilings to take full advantage of the resort’s breezy hilltop location. Helmed by Executive Chef Alex Garés, alongside Sous Chef Sumalee Khunpet, the menu is a creative spin on authentic Thai dishes, with the introduction of less familiar Thai recipes and flavours, with many recipes going back to the roots of some of the island’s favourite dishes. 

Over our five nights at the resort, we dined four times at KOH, tasting most of the dishes on the menu and exploring many traditional salads which use local vegetables such as delicate bindweed, star-shaped wing bean, crunchy banana blossoms and sampled many of the appetizers including 'Goong Chai Nahm Pla' - Raw Prawns with lime, chili sauce and cilantro, 'Kai Yang Takrai' - Lemongrass-marinated Char-grilled Chicken Skewers and 'Yum Hua Plee Goong' - Banana Blossom Salad with crispy shallots and prawns, as well as most of the entrées such the delicious 'Paneng Goong' - Dry Red Curry with Prawns, Cashew Nuts, Sweet Basil and Lime Leaves, unusual 'Hor Mok Pla Yang' - Grilled Fish Curry Cake wrapped in banana leaf, succulent 'Massaman Nua' - Slow-cooked Wagyu Beef Cheek in Cardamom-Scented Southern Curry, and traditional local favourite, 'Pla Kapong Neung Manao' - Steamed Whole Boneless Sea Bass with Spicy Lime Sauce. No meal would be complete without Thailand's most popular dessert — 'Kao Niao Mamuang' - Mango with Sticky Rice and Coconut Ice Cream, with the unmatched views of the Gulf of Thailand providing the perfect backdrop.




KOH at sunset

The entrance to KOH from the bar

Raw Thai vegetables with tiny shrimp dipping sauce

KOH dinner menu

'Larb Tuna' - Fresh Raw Marinated Tuna with Thai herbs, cracked rice and chili powder

'Kai Yang Takrai' - Lemongrass-marinated Char-grilled Chicken Skewers

'Goong Chai Nahm Pla' - Raw Prawns with lime, chili sauce and cilantro

'Yum Hua Plee Goong' - Banana Blossom Salad with crispy shallots and prawns

'Yum Tua Poo Goong' - Wing Bean Salad with Straw Mushrooms and Prawns

'Phad Tua Ngog Hua To Pak Grud' - Sautéed Peanut Sprouts with Oyster Sauce, Ferns and Chili

'Som Tum Yot Ma Prao' - Spicy Green Palm Heart Salad with Peanuts, Long Beans and Dried Shrimps

'Moo Ping' - Local Char-Grilled Pork Skewers served on tabletop charcoal grill

Without doubt, the best-known Friulian wine around the world, 
I enjoyed this white Italian Livio Felluga Pinot Gris over three nights at KOH

Glass of the white Livio Felluga wine — elegant and well-balanced

On the last evening we dined at KOH, the sommelier recommended this delicious Fass 4 Gruner Veltliner white wine from Austria

Wairau River Pinot Noir 2012 from Marlborough New Zealand

A soft and delicate Pinot Noir from the Wairau River is a remarkable family owned New Zealand winery known for their small batch production and dedication to quality

'Hor Mok Pla Yang' - Grilled Fish Curry Cake wrapped in banana leaf

'Phad Phed Nor Riang Sai Goong' - Sautéed Prawns with Nor Riang Beans, Curry Paste and Lime Leaves

The sautéed prawns served on steamed brown Thai rice

'Phad Pak Boong' - Wok-fried Morning Glory with Garlic and Chili

'Paneng Goong' - Dry Red Curry with Prawns, Cashew Nuts, Sweet Basil and Lime Leaves

'Massaman Nua' - Slow-cooked Wagyu Beef Cheek in Cardamom-Scented Southern Curry

'Pla Kapong Neung Manao' - Steamed Whole Boneless Sea Bass with Spicy Lime Sauce

Spicy Lime sauce for steamed Sea Bass

'Guy Phad Nam Prik Paow' - Stir-Fried Chicken with Roasted Chili Paste and Vegetables

'Kao Niao Mamuang' - Mango with Sticky Rice and Coconut Ice Cream

Chilled scented towels arrive at the end of each meal

Executive Chef Alex Garés with Sous Chef Sumalee Khunpet














Sautéed Squid with Roasted Sweet Chile Paste & Salted Egg
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui


120 ml vegetable oil
80 g chopped garlic
200 g large red chiles
800 g fresh squid, sliced
200 g chopped white onion
400 g straw mushrooms
8 salted eggs, cut in quarters - available from Chinese grocery stores
200 g chile paste
120 ml soy sauce
8 g white pepper
20 g sugar
200 ml oyster sauce
400 g chicken stock
200 g spring onion, white and green pars sliced into 1-inch pieces
80 g sweet Thai basil leaves
8 g table salt, or to taste


Pour the vegetable oil in the wok and heat over high heat until hot. Add the garlic and chiles and stir-fry until fragrant. Add squid and stir until the slices curl and the colour changes from transparent to white. Add the white onion and straw mushrooms and stir for one minute. Add the salted eggs, chile paste, soy sauce, white pepper, sugar and oyster sauce and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the chicken stock and stir for 30 seconds. Season with salt if desired. Transfer to a serving dish and top with spring onions and sweet basil leaves. Serve with steamed rice.







Spicy Fresh Palm Heart Salad with Peanuts and Lime
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui


20 bird’s eye chiles
8 Thai stink beans cut into 1-inch pieces
200 g roasted peanuts
20 ml fish sauce
60 ml fresh lime juice
40 g coconut palm sugar
40 g dried shrimp
8 garlic cloves
24 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
400 g coconut palm tips


Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chili peppers, stink beans and peanuts until bruised. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar and mix everything together. Add the dried shrimp, garlic, cherry tomatoes and palm tips and grind the ingredients together enough to ensure all the flavours are released. Season with fish sauce, lime juice and coconut palm sugar as desired.






Pla Goong
Serves 2
Recipe courtesy of KOH Thai Kitchen & Bar, Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui


4 tbsp roasted Thai chili paste
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
1 tsp mint, plus additional mint leaves for garnish
2 tbsp green onion, finely chopped
2 tsp coriander leaves
2 chili peppers, finely chopped
10 prawns


Blanch the prawns and set aside. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl. Add the prawns and mix well. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve with steamed rice.