Tasted: Baitong Restaurant at Banana Fan Sea
Here you are in Thailand – the land of smiles. It’s also the land of some of the tastiest food on the planet. This is so universally agreed upon that it’s nearly crossed the line from opinion to fact – if that’s even possible. Regardless, there is no doubt that to Thai people, their cultural heritage has far transcended the realm of mere sustenance to something much more sacred and cherished.
This being said, not all Thai food is created equal and this is evident after dining at Baitong Restaurant. Located right on the water at the Banana Fan Sea Resort on Chaweng Beach, a beautiful tropical beachside atmosphere is complemented by an extended menu with plenty of options for all palates. However, if you truly want to experience their specialty, take a look at the southern Thai food offerings.
Unsurprisingly, most countries as bid as Thailand exhibit several regional culinary variations. There are many famous dishes from the central and northeastern parts of the country such as papaya salad, larb, green curry, and tom yum. Southern Thai dishes are lesser-known but certainly offer equal, if not more, in terms of flavour varieties and intensities.
Let’s start with the dish that exemplifies the cuisine of several southern provinces – orange curry with fish (gaeng som plaa). Many of these southern dishes are inherently spicy, although they can tone it down for you upon request, and orange curry is no exception. Typically made with fresh white snapper, this thin curry mates turmeric with chilli peppers, garlic, shallot, shrimp paste, tamarind, and lime to create a unique flavour that balances sour, sweet, and spicy.
Another very unique dish is the shrimp pan fried with shrimp paste and sataw which is often called stink bean or bitter bean in English. They start with the freshest Thai shrimp and lightly fry them. After, they toss in a pan with shrimp paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, garlic, and other spices along with the sataw beans. The result is an intensely potent and complex flavour. The distinct aromatic taste of the sataw meets the flavour of the shrimp paste halfway and morphs into something that is neither fishy nor overly oniony. There’s a depth to the flavour that is elusive in other types of cuisine.
Sticking with the theme of full, complex-flavoured dishes, khua kling is a dish commonly found in eateries across the south. Most often made with minced pork or chicken, khua kling is sautéed in a dry curry. perhaps it’s the dryness that reduces the curry paste resulting in such profound tastes. Khua kling is packed with kaffir lime leaves, black pepper, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, garlic, and of course chillies.
All the food at Baitong tastes incredibly fresh thanks in part to their herb garden. On Mondays, Baitong puts together a great beach barbecue.
201 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach, Chaweng, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, +66 (0) 77 413 483