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Spilling the beans – Chef Aoy, Villa Ananda

in Dining by

One of the great expect of staying in a luxury private villa is the superb food prepared exclusively for you by skilled in-house chefs – many of whom have trained in internationally renowned restaurants. Villa menus comprise of an extensive range of Asian delights and cater to every guests’ tastes, however every chef has his or her very own ‘special’ recipe that proudly reflects their culinary expertise. After a little arm twisting we have managed to prise the standout recipes from a few of our chefs.

Chef Aoy and her specialty

Chef Aoy is the outstanding creator of food  at Villa Ananda, (one of the stunning beachfront Jivana Beach Villas on Natai Beach) and has kindly offered her version of the all time classic – Pad Thai with prawns.

This is  equally popular street food as it is  on every menu in Thai restaurants, hotels and cafes and is arguably the National Dish of Thailand.

It can be with made with prawns, chicken, crispy pork or just tofu.

 

Prawn Pad Thai Recipe
Ingredients

  • 5 peeled Thai shrimps 1 Tbsp.
  • chopped garlic 1/2 tbsp.
  • red pepper flakes 3 tbsp.
  • vegetable oil 2 tbsp.
  •  fish sauce 1 tbsp.
  • tamarind juice 1 tbsp.
  • finely chopped shallot 1 tbsp.
  • Thai Radish, finely chopped 1 tbsp.
  • roasted peanuts 50 grams
  • palm sugar 10 grams
  • dried shrimps 50 grams
  • firm tofu, thinly sliced 150 grams
  • thin noodles, 100 grams
  • bean sprouts, 20 grams
  • chives, cut in one inch lengths
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 lime

Chef Aoy's Prawn Pad Thai

Top tip: Prepare your ingredients beforehand and have them nearby. Timing is of utmost importance. Making Pad Thai isn’t hard; it does, however, require a fairly high level of concentration.

Directions

Step 1.  Soak the thin noodles for 5 minutes in water before cooking to soften.

Step 2. Heat 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a pan, fry the garlic and shallot, then add the thin noodles and sprinkle with water until the noodles are soft.

Step 3. Add fish sauce, palm sugar, red pepper flakes and tamarind juice.

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The Picture Perfect of the Family Ideal

in Families by
Children are fabulously celebrated and doted on by the Thai people which makes it a seriously sensational destination for a family holiday. The stunning island of Koh Samui is trending hard among those ‘in the know’ families. Velvet soft sandy beaches are perfect for sand castle construction (and parent lazing) while the glittering azure shallows are so safe for swimming and snorkeling – the exact amount of needed shade is provided by the abundance of trees which complete the picture perfect of the family ideal.
Koh Samui is just off the south-east coast of Thailand’s Surat Thani. It’s laid back and a tranquil corner of an energized nation. Blessed with extraordinary natural beauty it has a raft of fun adventures that will be certain to create memories.
 

Family-friendly villas

The first concern for most families is where to stay. Hotels and resorts may pitch themselves as family friendly, but the prying eyes of other guests can be vexing. Massive resorts offer little in terms of space and privacy and certainly don’t give you access to your own private chef.
 
The support of a stellar team of professional staff in a luxury private villa caters to the broad demands of family life. Daily housekeeping discretely happens every day everything is pristine and random glasses are whisked away. Meals are a stunning affair with a private chef creating beautiful dishes – from exotic delicacies, western favourites, barbeques, kids’ choices and even special diets. Add to this an easily secured in-villa nanny and the load of parenting can be lightened even further. 
 
Imagine a private swimming pool with floating toys, play equipment, board games and possibly table tennis and pool tables. Staff are quick to help with the kids, so you can enjoy the bliss away from other guests who may not love junior’s joyful squeals and noisy pool games. Secure walls deliver safe spaces for little ones to wander and explore under the watchful eyes of a nanny. Many villas are also big enough to house a few families turning a gorgeous estate into a sensational tribal ground with friends and cousins roaming in packs. 
 
A stream of homemade snacks will be prepared by the cooks and guests also have open access to the kitchen which is worth its weight in gold for families with toddlers and babies – and jetlag. 

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Where Tropical Perfection Meets Gourmet Cuisine

in Dining by

Thailand’s leisure island of Koh Samui holds a priority position on the bucket list of every chic traveller. With Mick Jagger, Richard Branson and the Beckhams drawn to the divine destination, the island’s enviable reputation for barefoot luxury is set in stone.

Powder soft white sandy beaches dotted with swaying palm trees and glittering turquoise shallows gently lap the shores and set the spectacular scene. 

Private coves and hidden beaches abound and are easily discovered through local fisher folk who will happily transport you to these dreamy destinations – or if exquisite coral reefs for a spot of snorkeling are more your style then for a few dollars you can be transported there.

Exclusive holiday villas are always the preferred style of accommodation among the rich and discerning, and many already own a private property on the island, however the well-versed traveller knows the joys of simply renting a private luxury villa to experience the ultimate holiday. 

Then there is the food for which the entire Thai Kingdom is rightly honoured…

 Personal Chefs

Chefs attached to these luxury villas are unique professionals with a vast repertoire of dishes fulfilling all dining moments – snacks, kids’ choices, a broad western menu, specific diets and five-star flavours.

Order a stunning poolside seafood barbeque, a formal degustation feast for 12 people or an intimate dinner for two at a perfectly set table on the beach at sunset. It is all fabulously possible and seamlessly executed.

Chefs adore to showcase their regional specialties and to dazzle guests with their culinary magic. Start the day with a trip to the local markets, which is always a cultural immersion, and launch into a crash course in Thai cooking.

Learn to identify and select fresh ingredients to be pounded into the paste that you will turn into a creamy and lush coconut curry. Or as the afternoon heat sets in climb into a comfy hammock with a cool signature cocktail and have a chat with the villa manager about possible trips to one of the pretty waterfalls in the hinterland, a traditional sea gypsy village or a visit to one of many Buddhist temples whilst your personal chef surprises you with yet another Thai masterpiece.

Dining in any one of our luxury Koh Samui villas is a gourmand’s dream come true,

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Samui Elephant Sanctuary Review

in Destinations/Recreation by

“For the herds of wild elephants show no resentment when domesticated animals join them. They have none of that herd instinct directed against the stranger that one finds in cattle, in small boys, and among many grown-up men. This tolerance is just one of the things about elephants which makes one realize they are big in more ways than one.”

― J.H. Williams, Elephant Bill

Samui Elephant Sanctuary opened on 16 January 2018 by Founder Wittaya Sala-Ngam and is the first ethical elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui. Currently, there are five elephants in their care; Cartoon, Kham San and Sri Nin (50 – 60 years old) who came to the sanctuary from the local riding camp on Koh Samui. The sanctuary also has two younger elephants; Nong Pech (7 years old) and Moloair (9 years old) who came to the elephant sanctuary from Surin province.

Samui Elephant Sanctuary offers tours that educate visitors about the importance of these extraordinary, majestic giants. You will be able to feed and walk and observe the elephants as they forage, socialize and play, and do what elephants do, and that’s be elephants.

These five elephants that now live, at the Samui Elephant Sanctuary, have come from an extremely hard life, working long hours in the entertainment or logging industries. These stunning animals have been beaten and made to do what their owners wanted by use of force and torture. Having a chair strapped to their back or painting a picture has never been part of their natural environment. The positive news for elephants is that times are changing and projects such as the Samui Elephant Sanctuary are becoming the new way for a tourist to experience elephants. 

The Samui Elephant Sanctuary is the perfect opportunity for families, couples, and friends to discover the life of elephants in a stunning natural setting and enjoy these beautiful creatures in a way that does not take advantage of the animal. The project works under the Save the Elephant Foundations “off Saddle” program.

On arrival, you will be welcomed by extremely friendly and highly dedicated team of staff, many of whom are volunteers, that are all committed to the well-being of the animals. The tours focus on observation of the elephant’s natural behaviors and as such, they do not allow guest to join the elephants in the mud pit or swimming pool and of course NO RIDING.

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I’ll have the เป็ด…

in Dining by

Host to thousands of famed authentic Thai restaurants and plenty of newer culinary hotshots too, each with several exotic dishes to sample, choosing where to dine out in Phuket can be overwhelming. One piece at a time is the best way to take it all in, and this feature serves up recommendations about how and where to enjoy one very specialty entree.  

… THE DUCK, PLEASE.

From a plethora of duck or เป็ด entrees popular in Phuket, we found four dishes most likely to wow visitors and leave a lasting impression.

1- Duck Tamarind

The Duck Tamarind is a choice ambassador of the Blue Elephant’s Bohemian/Buddhist charm. Roasted duck breast is elegantly stacked atop a bed of fried, shredded kale and topped with crispy fried onions. The rice server glides from table to table, offering never-ending servings of steamy white Jasmine or organic black rice. The tart and sweet tamarind sauce provides an adhesive element for this interesting, impressionable cuisine. The crispy, savory, and tart flavors of the dish left me eagerly anticipating the next bite before I was done with my first.

The Blue Elephant
Governor’s Mansion, Phuket Town, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000

The Blue Elephant is located inside the historic governor’s mansion in Phuket Town. The trail up to the mansion is lit by tiki torches and blue string lights dangling from lanterns hanging from massive tree branches. The mansion’s green and white checkerboard floor blends well the limestone colonnades and dark-wood ceiling. The lighting from the antique chandeliers and the brass, orchid-themed sconces create an ambiance that is sleek, historical, and hip all at once. Also, there’s an abundance of blue elephant sculptures scattered about, along with traditional Thai art and pictures of King Rama IX.

Afterward, I was given a brief tour of the Blue Elephant Cooking Class room, the famous Blue Bar, the main kitchen, and the upstairs seating for larger parties. The wooden floors, contemporary shark paintings, vintage Buddhist artwork, and blend of freshly cut flowers create an ambiance that the Blue Elephant has become famous for.

The Duck Tamarind is a dish that is justifiably representative of this established restaurant’s history. The Blue Elephant has locations in Bangkok, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Malta, Dubai, Jakarta, and Phuket.

2- Stewed Duck and Egg Noodle Soup

Kitti Duck Noodle
367/30-31 Yaowarat Road,

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