Many people book a private holiday villa on Phuket or Koh Samui simply to relax in total comfort and indulge in the wide range of personalised services provided by their villa's in-house hospitality team — which often includes a private chef. If you prefer to be more independent, however, it's still worth considering a holiday rental property that provides all the facilities of home, allowing you to cook your own meals while still enjoying the best in personalised luxury.
All the top private villas on Thailand's tropical islands feature a fully fitted western style kitchen with a hob, oven, fridge/freezer and utensils all provided and ready to use. In fact, many villas also have a second "wet" kitchen where the Thai chef prepares meals for guests, leaving the former more as a showpiece used only for snacks and drinks. Even in less extravagant properties such as those in the Luxury Villas and Homes' Boutique Collection, the kitchens are modern and well equipped, meaning guests can opt for either a full or partial self catering holiday, at very affordable rates.
Off the shelf
Islands like Phuket
and Koh Samui
are now home to hundreds of thousands of Thai and foreign residents, which means supermarkets, convenience stores and fresh markets generally do a roaring trade. What's more, fierce retail competition drives these outlets to continually extend and improve the products they offer making self catering as easy and convenient as cooking back home, because the majority of ingredients are readily available.
The first stop for most provisioning needs on Phuket or Koh Samui is one of the larger supermarkets, generally either Tesco Lotus or Big C, both of which stock the same choice of dry goods and fresh foods you would expect from a similar outlet in your home country, plus some interesting local variations. For imported foods, wines and many other products you may not expect to find in Thailand, there are also a number of speciality supermarkets and suppliers that can be easily found online or with the help of your villa manager or concierge service.
Fancy a picnic on the pool terrace with freshly baked bread, French cheeses, Italian sausage, crispy salad and plump olives? All of the above are easy to find. How about a few juicy steaks for the barbecue? Or some fresh fish fillets? Also not a problem. You can even wash it down with a few glasses of your favourite wine, be it a Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay or Sauvingnon Blanc, all sourced from vineyards around the globe.
Of course, you may prefer to try your hand at local Thai cuisine, especially if you have just completed one of the many cooking classes available around the islands or even learned a few new dishes at a one-to-one class right in your villa's kitchen. In that case its fun to make a list and head for one of the local markets to hunt down the freshest ingredients, making friends with the stall holders at the same time who are always happy to meet and help visitors another part of the world, especially those with a genuine interest in their produce. Fresh seafood, vegetables and delicious tropical fruit can all be found in abundance and in many cases the stall holders will fillet, chop and even blend ingredients to make your life easy.
5 tips for island food shoppers
Although the supermarkets in Thailand
may look familiar, there are a few peculiarities that are worth noting when heading out to stock your villa's fridge/freezer and cook up a storm.
1. Egg sizes are numbered rather than alphabetically graded in Thailand (0 is the biggest)
2. You have to ask the supermarket staff to weigh and label fresh produce before
you take it to the check out.
3. For some popular Thai dishes such as famous spicy tom yam soup, you can actually ask for a "set" with all the fresh ingredients packed together for you right in the shop.
4. If you plan to stay for a while, most of the larger supermarkets have aisles that stock cartons or boxes for bulk buying.
5. If you plan to drink lots of water, grab some pandanus or lemongrass leaves from the local market and boil them in your drinking water before putting it in the fridge to add a subtle, healthy flavour to the daily rehydration ritual.
by LVH Marketing