Belmond Napasai Koh Samui Cooking School

18 May 2015 / By travel4foodfun@gmail.com
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We knew this was going into our trip and specifically allotted sufficient time in Koh Samui to recuperate. Koh Samui is the third largest island in Thailand, yet it has a hometown, laid-back feel. We wanted to have a fun SE Asian island experience, without all of the craziness. Koh Samui was our answer.

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While in Koh Samui, we were fortunate to have visited Belmond Napasai. The Belmond Group of properties is luxurious, and Napasai is no exception. From the moment we turned off of the main highway on the north coast of the island, we sensed how unique the property is.  Driving to the main entrance from the access road, we noticed the diversity of Napasai’s 62 acres. From the immaculately kept tennis courts to the beautifully manicured secret gardens, Belmond Napasai has it all!

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The lovely open-air reception area gave us a feeling of anticipation…a sense that we were in for something spectacular. And we were not wrong! Located on land that has a gradual inclination, every residence, and common area is treated to a fantastic view of the Gulf of Thailand. Also, the two-level beach allows guests to enjoy the sand in both low and high tide conditions. Although beaches in Thailand are public, Napasai is lucky to have the natural protection of a Buddhist temple on one side and a fisherman’s village on the other. This helps prevent hawkers from disturbing guests on holiday.

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Belmond Napasai is an activity driven resort. There are countless ways for guests to be engaged: from water sports to land excursions, to spa days. While at Napasai, Tom and I decided to take a cooking class. Of course!  Tom, a native of Thailand, is very patient with me to learn more about the flavors and ingredients of his homeland. Rather than having him as my only teacher, Tom wanted me to gain insight from a professional chef in Thailand. Luckily, Belmond Napasai had the perfect conduit for this to happen.

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I took a Thai cooking class at Napasai. Unfortunately, since it was raining, the course was not conducted in the Secret Garden, which is the usual location. The Secret Garden has beautiful herbs and vegetables that are used in preparing dishes at the resort. It also hosts lovely animals, such as chickens, rabbits, goats, and pigs. Additionally, there is a bee site that produces honey for guests’ consumption. Instead, we “had” to settle for a lovely and protected open-air pavilion overlooking the sea for the lesson.

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My teacher for the afternoon class was Kai. Her philosophy is to instruct, and then have her students follow. Classes at Napasai are always individualized and are never a group experience. The philosophy is for each student to learn what they want to learn and at their own pace.  Tom has been a great teacher, and I’ve learned a lot from him. However, Kai taught me a few new tricks that I can use to impress Tom! The first course was my favorite…Som Tom (papaya salad). When I make this dish at home, it tends to be quite dry. Although I use the same essential ingredients, I realized I was using so much more papaya than cooks in Thailand. Also, I tend to prefer sour to sweet, but Kai suggested I add more palm sugar to the mixture. I’m glad I did because I enjoyed how much more balanced the flavors are with the addition of sugar!

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After we made this first dish, Kai insisted we stop for a break and enjoy papaya salad with a glass of Monsoon Valley white wine (from Thailand!). Delicious and complimentary! After a nice leisurely snack, Kai helped me to prepare the main courses: Tom Yam Koong and Seafood Stir Fry with hot Basil leaves.

I love Thai soup! It’s a great combination of sour, tangy, salty, and sweet! Fresh from the garden ingredients are the key to this simple to make, yet with complex with flavor dish. I’ve made this before. However, I learned about different flavor profiles. I like this. I’m learning to trust my taste buds instead of relying on a recipe on paper.  The final dish was the stir-fry. I appreciate how versatile the dish is. Although it’s a “seafood” dish, it can be meat or be vegetable based as well! Once again, it’s the fresh ingredients that drive this dish.  Kai, her instructions, and the beautiful and tasty lunch where we got to sample my “experiment” was spectacular. It was an enjoyable class, set in a lovely setting, ending with the perfect meal. What more could we ask for!

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Belmond is a fantastic resort in Koh Samui. If you are looking for a secluded, yet activity driven property, look no further than Napasai! You will be pampered, you will be cared for, and you will have your privacy. What more can you ask for?

Virtuoso Amenities for your stay  

For 2019:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet Breakfast for up to two in-room guests
  • A complimentary 50-minute massage for up to two people, per room, once during stay
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Passion for foods and travel?  Let us help you with your needs.  Contact Us for additional information!

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