Luxebook Jan-Feb 2024

and Singapore and a global outlook, they finally sealed the flavours of what is now known as Southern Thai cuisine. As a result, the dishes are bold and will challenge your taste buds. While some are high on spices, and others are all about the raw, rustic taste of the produce. Chef Bom rightly adds, “When you come to Phuket, you must eat the local food. Anyone who doesn’t eat that will feel like they never arrived.” With a cocktail made with local Chalong Bay Rum in hand and the sound of the waves in the background, it was the perfect way to end the day and start this food trip. The next day, we visited Ta Tuay, a quaint restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Families talking loudly over tables filled with different types of seafood, garnished with herbs and edible flowers, and a small coffee kiosk at the entrance. This is where the locals go. I placed my order and stepped out to take a call, only to cross a wall casually displaying not one but two Michelin Guide mentions. While my fellow travellers fussed over the century egg, mud clams, and glass noodles loaded with giant prawns, I tasted one of the best vegetable fried rice I have ever eaten. And I take my fried rice seriously. Made without fish sauce, the buttery goodness makes it stand out in the sea of seafood! But the trip was not just about the traditional flavours. That evening, Chef Seefah served an eight-course meal in collaboration with Chef Bom at the J Restaurant on the property. A reflection a Tom Yum with fried rice and eat it for your mains with the sea grapes for added texture. The restaurant sources its produce from local villagers, guaranteeing freshness and taste. We wrapped up our meal with a generous portion of mango sticky rice, but my standout dessert here was O-aew, a local specialty made of jelly, shaved ice, red beans, and syrup. You are right if you think all that food will slip into a gentle lull. The ride back was quiet, filled with satisfaction and meditative calmness. The flavours of Phuket might be unfamiliar, but the feeling is homely. We spent that evening talking and sharing stories and recipes at the Ocean Kitchen, a few steps from the beach. Chef Bombay Chaichana, the property’s executive chef, explained, “Phuket has the perfect blend of traditional indigenous culture and Hokkien Chinese culture, making it a unique city.” The flavours of modern Phuket are a culmination of a series of events that started in 5000 BC when the Mon-Khmer community from China, also known as Sea Gypsies, settled on the island. As they travelled via Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, their palate kept developing acquiring a unique flavour. By 2000 BC, Phuket was a popular port for traders worldwide. The local cuisine developed further, adding Arab, Malay, Indian, and Portuguese techniques and textures to the local food. The final addition to the local cuisine came with the Peranakans in the early 19th century. With origins in China Kata Night Market, Phuket Lunch at One Chun A meal at Ta Tuay Oh Aew, a local dessert of Phuket Interior, Kin Dee Restaurant Mock meat cutlet with makhani gravy at J Restaurant 38|LUXEBOOK |JAN/FEB 2024 JAN/FEB 2024 |LUXEBOOK|39

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