Jay Leshark

Jay Leshark has 12 articles published.

Jay Leshark
Having spent most of his life travelling the world teaching sailing, Jay anchored down in Phuket, Thailand, where he now does creative marketing, events and a radio show.

‘A Chef’s Tour’ A Phuket Must

in Dining/Recreation by
Produce Market Phuket

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti

In 2017 Phuket was crowned a City of Gastronomy by UNESCO and anyone who has ever experienced real Thai food will agree that it’s arguably one of the best foods in the world. A balance between sweet, spicy, bitter, salty and sour is the main reason why Thai food is so special. But in internationally renowned Phuket, you find there’s actually much more than Thai cuisine to tantalize your taste buds.

chinese doors phuket

Having lived and worked in Phuket for the past 11 years I thought I had experienced most of southern Thai food, as well as some of the dishes from the North. In my culinary journey, (which does make me sound like a foodie millennial) have tried chicken feet and chicken heart, fried silk worms, raw prawns in fish sauce, chili and lime (this is one of my favourites to order) and a bitter-tasting green vegetable thing that to this day I have no idea what it was, although it was disgusting.

In May this year, it was announced that the legendary Michelin Guide will now include restaurants from Phuket and Phang Nga. With all the accolades that Thai food has received and now with the car tire manufacturer’s marshmallow man in the picture I thought it time to jump on the food cart wagon and see what is out there in terms of food tours and adventures.

Old Town Phuket

A CHEF’S TOUR

There are of course some fabulous cooking schools in Phuket that will teach you how to cook an authentic Pad Thai or a Green Curry, but isn’t it better to get out of the TV kitchen and hit the streets? I wanted to eat and drink with the locals. So, along with my friend we chose to go on A Chef’s Tour, which is a boutique tour that gives you a true flavor of food in Phuket and as you will find out, this tour gives you a whole lot more.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 4-hour guided walking tour of Phuket Old Town
  • Tastings at hidden “street eats” and local restaurants
  • History and culture lesson on southern Thai cuisine
  • Great photo opportunities
  • Drinking water and Thai refreshments
  • Private fully-licensed (foodie) guide

red Chinese lanterns Phuket

On the steps of one of Phuket Town’s largest indoor markets,

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Irresistible Thai Desserts

in Dining by
thai dessert wedding villa shanti

Sometimes, it’s just easier to say yes to that extra snack or dessert, because frankly, it is exhausting to keep saying no.

– Michelle Obama

If you have a sweet tooth, then Thailand is the place to visit. Most Thai desserts are a sweet filling snack rather than a light and airy Western-style dessert. There is a vast array of sweet desserts in Thailand and it can be rather overwhelming to know which ones to treat yourself to. Here are some of the most common Thai desserts that you must try. Discover them at our private villas or out and about, where local street vendors and market sellers are everywhere.

We need warn you though: some of them are very sweet. Many authentic Thai desserts are made from healthy whole foods like rice, coconut and fruits, but the sugar content can be very high. It’s also worth mentioning there can of course be artificial flavours and other unseen ingredients, too. Condensed milk is everywhere, from convenience stores to street coffee makers who load up your coffee with so much cream and sugar that you wouldn’t even realize you are drinking any coffee.

AUTHENTIC THAI DESSERTS

Kalamare

This is the most common dessert served at Thai wedding ceremonies. The texture of kalamare is sweet and sticky which symbolises a sweet marriage in which the lovers stick together as one. The process of preparing kalamare takes time and you need to be patient. For this sweet dish, sticky rice, shredded fresh coconut and sugar are stirred until all the ingredients are blended very well together. The end result is really chewy and perfect with afternoon tea or coffee.

sweet mung bean cakes

Mung Bean Candy

These candies are almost too pretty to eat. Mung bean paste is sweetened and smashed into perfection before being glazed and formed to look like small pieces of fruit.

Thai ice cream at Villa Shanti

Coconut Ice Cream

Ice cream is a favourite dessert to chow down in Thailand’s tropical heat and here it’s made with dairy as well as coconut milk. Most vendors have a wide variety of toppings to choose from, including peanuts, sweet corn, yes sweet corn, and sweet syrups to drizzle on top. Oftentimes, coconut ice cream is served in your own personal coconut husk that has been scraped out to become a bowl.

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Top Seven Samui Restaurants

in Dining by

Koh Samui has an array of dining options for you to venture to, combining the local ingredients and traditions of authentic Thai cuisine with contemporary culinary techniques and some of the island’s most scenic locations. If you want to try fresh local seafood or you are a steak lover, or even if you are making sure you live a fresh organic life there is something for everyone on Thailand’s third biggest island, Koh Samui.

 1

Sa Being Lae
THAI SEAFOOD

Sa Being Lae Restaurant is one of the most well known and established restaurants in Koh Samui that serves mostly Thai seafood dishes. They offer traditional fresh seafood in a classic Thai style.

Owned and run by Mr.Amnart and his wife the restaurant has been open since 1990, they have strong family connections to the local fishermen, and everything that is sold here is fresh off the boat each day, with absolutely nothing being kept to sell-on again tomorrow.

The range of fish to chose from is extensive and the southern Thai cuisine is characterized by the number and variety of curried dishes on the menu. If you have a sweet tooth the kluay buad shi (bananas in sweet coconut milk) can’t be missed. Unlike other seafood restaurants in Samui, Sa Being Lae is affordable and might come in under B1,000 for two.

+66 081 538 7045

2

2 Fishes
ITALIAN AT FISHERMAN’S VILLAGE

2 Fishes is a brand new fine dining Italian restaurant  which offers a range of traditional and modern dishes. The Chef Leandro Panza has over 25-years experience working at some of the best restaurants around the world from London, Sydney, Singapore and Melbourne.

The team are very inspired to use fresh local produce and mix these with classic ingredients imported from Italy. 2 Fishes is a warm and welcoming restaurant with professional staff and a great open kitchen so you can watch the chef make the handmade pasta and the classic homemade Italian Desserts.

2 Fishes offers friendly, hospitable service and a top-notch menu, and we didn’t even mention the amazing signature cocktails and fabulous wine list. They are located in the heart of Fisherman’s Village.

OPEN FROM 18:00 (Closed Mondays)
+66 0992 819 973

3

Krua Bophut
THAI RESTAURANT ON THE BEACH
(IT’S OUR COVER IMAGE)

Krua Bophut is an authentic Thai restaurant located in the beautiful Fisherman’s Village on Bophut Beach and is surprisingly one of the few Samui restaurants that specialize in traditional local cuisine,

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Songkran Festival in Phuket

in News by
songkran waterfight

Songkran is Thailand’s most famous Festival and possibly the largest water fight in the world.

WHEN IS SONGKRAN?

Songkran Festival starts 13 April 2018. In some areas of Thailand it only lasts for three days, the 13th, 14th and 15th, and in other areas it lasts for seven days.

Songkran is not only Thailand’s most famous festival but it’s also one of the most important events on the Buddhist calendar. The event marks the beginning of the traditional Thai new year.

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF SONGRKRAN?

The festival originated centuries ago as a purification rite, in both a physical and spiritual sense.  Temples, Buddha images, and houses where tidied and cleaned as a way to clear away negative influences. Traditional celebrations involved a gentle sprinkling of scented water.

HOW IS SONGKRAN CELEBRATED?

Over the years, Songkran like many other centuries-old festivals has become commercial. Water guns and bright-coloured Hawaiian shirts (more on these later) are on sale in shops weeks before the event and every marketing department scrambles to get their Songkran message heard through a downpour of advertising.

songran festival crowds

Songkran has become arguably the biggest water fight in the world. The throwing of water (er, mass water fights) have become a huge part of the celebration over the past two decades everywhere in Thailand, so don’t be surprised if you get splashed with icy cold water, well when we say splashed, we mean drenched in water, shot at you from every angle form a variety of colored water pistols, buckets and anything else that can hold water. You will also become covered in powder, which is… Well, even to this day after being in Thailand for eleven years, I have no idea what it is.

WHAT IS SONGKRAN LIKE IN PHUKET?

The whole of Phuket island stops on the 13th of April when families, friends and communities set up make-shift water splash stations on the side of every road. Think of a fun road stop checkpoint, with blaring music coming out of a 1980 speaker which has been blown out ten years ago, and everybody drenched in water and covered powder, dancing around in these bright Hawaiian shirts.

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5 brilliant things to do in Koh Samui

in Recreation by
Boating and diving in Koh Samui

The range of things to do and see in Koh Samui, Thailand is extremely varied and interesting. The island offers a host of activities for those looking for adventure, sport, nature or just relaxing and enjoying a holiday at one of our Koh Samui beachfront villas. Discover Koh Samui’s natural splendour, modern man-made attractions and religious and cultural sights. Of course let’s not forget the perfect beaches, night markets and lively nightlife, either.

There is so much to see and do on this island, it can be hard to fit it all into one trip or, for that matter, one blog. With our guests’ invaluable feedback, our own local insight and some ingenuity as longtime villa holiday experts, we’ve narrowed it down quite a bit to five essential experiences in Koh Samui.

1. MAGIC BUDDHA GARDEN

Magic Buddha Garden Koh SamuiCopyright image from Magic Buddha Garden

This lovely and quiet place was created by a Thai farmer Nim Thongsuk. The whole area looks like a sculpture garden; it is located along a small mountain river flowing across the Magic Buddha Garden. Khun Nim wanted to build a place where people could enjoy peace and nature.

Statues here depict creatures and deities from Buddhist mythology. There are several viewpoints along the way to Magic Buddha Garden offering a stunning panorama view over the southern part of Koh Samui. There is also an artificially created waterfall named after the creator. The waterfall is located right at the entrance and greets the visitors of the Magical Buddha Garden. It’s a unique treasure best enjoyed in the morning.

2. BOAT TRIPS

Koh Samui boat tripsImage by Sailing in Samui

The Gulf of Thailand is an exciting sailing destination. There are five islands nestled closely together; Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Matsum and Koh Tan. Close by, and the famous Angthong National Marine Park. Each island has its own distinct beauty and offerings of unique terrain, beaches, and attractions.

Boutique Yachting based in Koh Samui offers luxury day trips and private charters to Angthong Marine Park and around Koh Samui. Boutique Yachting has two boats, Naga, which is a classic Turkish Gullet and Baidee, a traditional Indonesian Ketch, and if you chose the private charter or day tour you will be able to view all the stunning islands around Koh Samui from different angles and take in the breathtaking scenery from the sea.

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