Samui Wining & Dining
Superbly Supattra

If you think you enjoy Thai food, just wait until you’ve paid a visit to Supattra Thai Dining!

If you think you enjoy Thai food, just wait until you’ve paid a visit to Supattra Thai Dining!Did you realise that there’s actually no such thing as ‘Thai cuisine’? Certainly there are typical Thai ingredients. But how they’re used to make a dish is a different matter. The Thai food you’ll get in Boston will taste completely different to that which you’ll get in Birmingham, and not at all the same as you’ll find on the Samui coast, here in Bangrak. Every city makes Thai food the way their people want it. And every chef has a different approach. Which brings me right away to Supattra Thai Dining.

This is the name of the restaurant run by Khun Supattra, (interestingly enough, on the edge of Bangrak Beach) just a little way away from Big Buddha. It’s a Thai restaurant, serving only Thai dishes, with no attempt to include fries or burgers to keep the kids happy – although it has to be said that when youngsters get a taste of what Khun Supattra is offering, they’ve been known to squeak with delight.

But I think, to explain more fully, we also need to look closely at the sorts of ‘Thai’ food you’ll get in Thailand. Look at where the Thai people themselves go to eat – the big food courts and markets. The food is basic, the ingredients cut-price; the cheapest cuts of chicken, pork and beef. Everything’s full of MSG and sugar, and slathered in fish sauce and ground chillies. This is not the fare you’ll find in the resorts!

But take the same basic ingredients and play around with them; try different combinations and mixes, use prime corn-fed chicken, tender beef and the freshest of seafood. Experiment for several years with the sauces and curry pastes, blending and making your own, refining them until the flavour and the aftertaste approach a gourmet level of achievement. Balancing harmonies of flavours and contrasts of textures with just the right amount of piquancy from the heat of the chillies. You’ll end up with Thai cuisine, not Thai cooking. And, after 20 years of eating Thai food all around the world, I can say the food at Supattra Thai Dining is simply superb – it’s the way that Thai food was always meant to taste.

Even the menu is thoughtful and considered. Probably one of the few Thai menus I can say that’s actually been crafted! Firstly, it’s not a menu in the sense of a small book; it’s a large movable chalkboard. Dishes on offer change according to the seasons (plus there’s also a bit of what happens to take Supattra’s fancy, just for a change!).If you think you enjoy Thai food, just wait until you’ve paid a visit to Supattra Thai Dining! It’s sectioned into ‘nibbles’ (Thai cuisine doesn’t have ‘starters’ or ‘mains’) and featured dishes of meat, fish and then desserts. And second, it’s a work of art too, because it is beautifully and microscopically hand written.

This is where Thomas (Supattra’s partner in both senses of the word) comes into play. He’s an unforgettably friendly man, and the most genial of hosts. After settling you with a pre-dinner drink (they have a first-rate selection of both Classic and New World wines – Thomas is a connoisseur and buys them in especially), he’ll bring the menu-board across to you and spend a full ten minutes going over each dish (in English or German) describing it and explaining the flavour and nuances and asking about the degree of spiciness you prefer, prior to taking your order. Even though Thomas isn’t working in the kitchen, it’s just like having your own personal chef, as he somehow manages to convey your preferences with almost psychic precision.

I’m always pleasantly pleased to watch another couple of diners as they take their first mouthful – the expression on their faces is beyond words, and usually brings them to a complete halt for a moment. If you say the words ‘Thai food’, then you’ll get a taste-impression based on your experience of Thai food. But, believe me; the tastebud experience here is nothing like, If you think you enjoy Thai food, just wait until you’ve paid a visit to Supattra Thai Dining!absolutely nowhere near anything you’ve ever known before!

Take the ‘Barracuda fillets with Penang Curry Sauce’, for instance. Supattra takes the time and effort to cook the fish separately from the sauce (usually it’s all mixed in together) and this means you can taste all of the ingredients, both individually and together in harmony. And then she carefully and exactly makes her own curry sauces – this is the heart of any curry dish. She gets her curry paste from only one person; it’s specially made for her and tastes like no other. It’s rich and creamy and tantalising, and plays perfectly against the thick and firmly-succulent barracuda and the diced, crisp, Thai vegetables.

There must be a thousand different places on Samui which serve Thai food. But after 20 years of living and eating here, I can state one thing with utter confidence. You’ll struggle to find Thai food – anywhere in the world – that is as good as here at Supattra Thai Dining!


Rob De Wet


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