Luxebook Jan-Feb 2024

Phuket has over 38 Michelin-recognized restaurants and cafes, so how does one choose where to eat? Simple. You travel with a chef. Eating around PHUKET with Chef Seefah Chef Seefah “But what are you going to feed me in Phuket?” was the second question I asked Chef Seefah, award-winning chef and owner of Seefah restaurant in Mumbai, the most straightforward and authentic human being I have ever met. She’s known for bringing authentic Thai flavours to the city. The first question upon receiving the invite was, “When are we going?” Her no-fuss response was, “I have a surprise for you, and you will love it.” And boy, was she right. I ate my way through the island for six days, tasting the unique southern Thai flavours, bigger and bolder than what you find in the rest of the country. We took a 4 am flight from Mumbai, which gets you directly to Phuket in about four and a half hours. Flying at such an unearthly hour is not appealing, but good things take work. The promise of sunshine, blue skies, clear water, pristine beaches, and, most importantly, hidden gems that serve dishes you will never find on the menus of popular Thai restaurants kept me motivated. Between the cycle of deep sleep and waking up to a flight caught in turbulence, I heard our pilot preparing the crew for landing. I looked out the window to glimpse the famous landing point on Mai Khao Beach. Made famous by Instagrammers and aviation enthusiasts, this is where the plane seems to be touching the top of the swaying trees just before it hits the tarmac with a gentle thud. The weather forecast for the next seven days showed rain, thunder, and lightning. Thankfully, we were welcomed by the soft, balmy sunlight that makes you forget about every to-do list and immediately switches the vacation mode on. Once out of the airport, the ride toward the newly opened Le Meridien Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort indicated the gentle adventure we had in store for us. With single-story houses, quaint cafes, and stores on both sides of the road further flanked by trees, I knew we were getting close to tasting the local flavour. As you take a left from the main road onto the narrower lane towards the beach property, the beauty of Phuket starts unfolding. Sunlight bouncing off the leaves set against a sharp blue sky makes everything high-definition. Driving past lily ponds and farms supplying vegetables to the local eateries, you hear the sound of the ocean even before you see it. The resort is spread across a vast campus along the beach. Some have a private pool, and some have balconies overlooking the ocean. Every room offers a unique view. While my private pool was very inviting, I decided to give it a skip to drive off with Chef to our first stop of this food trip. We reached Kin Dee just in time for lunch. It was a busy afternoon, and the place was packed with locals, which is always a good sign. A beautiful gem that Chef Seefah had added to our itinerary, the restaurant is famous for its seafood. While fried fish in spicy orange sauce and crab meat in yellow curry are the two most popular dishes, the umami in the sea grape salad had me looking at airline websites to book my next trip. An insider tip is to order BY JYOTI KUMARI 36|LUXEBOOK |JAN/FEB 2024 JAN/FEB 2024 |LUXEBOOK|37 TUKTUK DIARIES

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