One of the undisputed joys of a holiday on the Thai islands is the chance to feast on seafood — everyday if the mood takes you. When you stay at a private villa on Phuket or Samui; your private chef will know exactly where to source the freshest fruits of the ocean, and also the most delicious ways to prepare them.
Here are some seafood suggestions from the kitchens of our signature villas on Phuket and Koh Samui.
Every Thai chef has his or her own favourite dishes and on Phuket and Samui many of them involve fresh seafood.
For private villa guests, this means the choices for a flavoursome ocean feast are endless and you could easily spend a two week holiday savouring seafood delicacies at every meal, without ever repeating the same dish.
One of the most popular options with villa guests is a simple, but always sensational seafood barbecue. Most of the top rental properties on the Thai islands have a good sized barbecue on the pool or dining terrace, and the chef will happily head out to the market and choose a selection of treats from the daily catch to delight guests' taste buds.
Although it's now rare in many parts of the world to buy fish, prawns, squid, mussels or even lobster straight from the local fishermen, in southern Thailand, this is still considered the best way to guarantee freshness. In the small seaside villages on Phuket and Samui, the buying and selling of seafood often takes place right on the boats as soon as they pull into the shore.
"The fresh markets are always very busy during high season, even early in the morning," says Chef Kung from the Jivana Estate near Phuket "To make sure I always get the best seafood on the day, I use the same two or three fishermen most of the time. I meet them on the pier before they take the fish to the local market. I know their wives now too, so they always hold back the best king prawns for me."
Chef Kung says the best type of fish for a barbecue is barracuda, because of its meaty texture. She often uses the villa barbecue to cook seafood for her guests without too many trimmings. Like most people she prefers to let the natural flavours shine through. However, she always recommends that her guests try dipping their fish, prawns or squid into some of her special Thai seafood sauce — a rich blend of fish sauce, lemon juice, garlic, shallots and green chillies that not only brings out the flavours of the ocean but adds a special kick to the experience.
Beyond the barbecue For guests looking to extend their seafood experience beyond the barbecue, Thai cuisine involves a whole menu of dishes prepared with various types of seafood. Below is a selection of seafood treats recommended by the private chefs at several of the villas in the Luxury Villas and Homes portfolio.
Goog Sarong, also known as "prawns in a skirt" is a Phuket speciality of marinated fresh prawns wrapped in yellow noodles and served with a delicious mango sauce.
Fresh fried fish goes particularly well with the taste of sour green mango and for Pladuk Foo the mango is shredded and mixed with palm sugar and chillies. The result is an explosion of textures and flavours when the fish and mango meet in the mouth.
A coconut based red curry sauce that is poured over a fillet of sea bass or snapper to create a deliciously rich dish. The spice levels in Pla Chu Chee can be adjusted to suit you taste.
An exquisite squid dish that once tried, quickly becomes a favourite. In Pla Muk Nam Prik Plau the fresh squid is flavoured with roasted chilli paste, fresh Thai basil leaves, a hint of lime juice and fish sauce .
Another traditional and well known seafood delight from Phuket is Crabmeat Curry served with rice vermicelli noodles. The dish is so popular that some restaurants in Phuket Town even "export" to Bangkok.
by MAX VEE