Monday, March 2, 2009

Ko Samui, Thailand

Southern Thailand has a huge number of islands to visit. We decided to go to Koh Samui because of the famous Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA) School, which offered cooking classes.

Other reasons we made Koh Samui our first island exploration was the big beautiful Buddhist temples.

We stayed in Lamai beach, on the southern part of the island, across from the night market, what can we say we love night markets.

The beach was nice, a bit crowded during the day, with rough waves and gravel-like sand.

Since the beach wasn’t that great we spent more time by the pool at our cute little resort.

Another great reason to come to SE Asia is the incredible deals for accommodations. Our cute little resort on Koh Samui was one of many we would find all over SE Asia with a pool, a great garden area and included breakfast!

At night all the restaurants and bars along the beach would set up tables right on the beach where we could watch all the tourist buy large balloons and set them free in to the night sky, just like in the movie The Beach, which made us think which came first the tourist balloons or the movie making them popular, either way it was impressive to see the large white balloons float high into the sky and then disappear.

It was also incredibly inexpensive to rent a scooter for a day, around $6.00.

Our cooking class at the SITCA was a hands-on class where we learned how to make curry pastes for different dishes.

We were introduced to raw ingredients.
We were given our own wok stations and combined all the items to make our five dishes.
Afterwards we were seated upstairs and enjoyed our food.The portions we prepared in the class were huge and ended up feeding us the remainder of our time on the island. We found the food surrounding our hotel area was mainly western food or the Thai food was terrible and not nearly as good as the food we made in class, so we opted to enjoy ourselves on our balcony rather than go out.Our resort offered a private cooking class where we could choose up to three items to learn and after looking at the dishes available we decided to take another cooking class to learn a soup we absolutely love at home, jungle curry, a coconut milk-free curry soup with tons of veggies, lemongrass salad and pad-thai noodles.This class was also very hands-on with us cutting and cooking all the dishes.This class was leisurely paced and better portioned. After each dish we would sit down and eat the food, enjoying it right after we cooked it.The private class was different from the more formal cooking school class, in that we could to taste the food as we cooked it and alter the flavors to our own liking and it was a lot less “institutionalized” with a more casual pace.
On a side note, Thailand loves their convenience store, almost as much as Japan. Our resort had several 7-11s, family marts and other convenience stores within blocks of each other. And the one item we simply couldn’t get enough of was the local varieties of potato chips. The nori seaweed was surprisingly good and our favorite, the double cheese pork burger was very interesting, in a very unfamiliar kind of way.We enjoyed our short time in Koh Samui and will be back, but next time we would stay on the northern coast at Big Buddha Beach or Bo Phut.

1 comment:

Tri and Justin said...

Did you get suckered into buying/drinking wine during the SITCA cooking class? I think we ended up spending more on wine than the class itself! I'd like to go back to that school and learn the fruit carving they're famous for. We walked from that night market to our resort one night and we passed our favorite name for a pizza joint: Pizza Hat. Heeeee...