Eating in Bangkok

Last night’s dinner started with a random stroll, just bumping along the road. We decided to walk around Suan Phlu Soi area and pick a Thai restaurant. We wanted something local, non-descript, undiscovered for us. As so often happens in Bangkok, we stumbled upon exactly what we were looking for in no time Larp Suanplu. Just the perfect little restaurant with 4-5 tables serving both Thai & Northern Thai style. Simple, very casual with delightful menu and great, friendly staff. We enjoyed a bounty of 9 different dishes…
 
• Fried rice with crab meat
• Fried rice with salted fish
• Stir-fried pork liver with black pepper
• Fried pork neck slices with fish sauce
• Papaya salad with crab
• Stir-fried century eggs with crispy basil
• Spicy shredded bamboo-shoot salad
• Sliced grilled pork neck salad
• Spicy chicken curry
 
Plus of course a local Singha to wash it down… All for around 700 baht ($20).
Ah!!!!!!! Bangkok.
 
By the way, fyi this is our unsolicited personal opinion. By no means, a requested review from the owners.
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Fried rice with crab meat

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Fried rice with salted fish

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Stir-fried pork liver with black pepper

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Fried pork neck slices with fish sauce

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Papaya salad with crab

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Stir-fried century eggs with crispy basil

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Spicy shredded bamboo-shoot salad

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Spicy shredded bamboo-shoot salad

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Sliced grilled pork neck salad

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Spicy chicken curry

Going Incredibly Asian.

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Jackfruit, the largest tree born fruit in the world, a species of the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family. The jackfruit plant originated in southwest India, where it grows abundantly. And then, it spread to other parts of India, southeast Asia, the East Indies, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

It has a mildly unpleasant aroma if you are sensitive but not nearly as aggressively pungent as Durian. The flavour is a mix of banana & pineapple with a texture of chewy to succulent, depending on the ripeness.

Many consider the best part to be the giant seeds, which are a delicacy for the locals and popular among foodies & fruit connoisseurs. As I say, “when in Asia, go Asian”! The seeds are best boiled or roasted, and you will sometimes see them offered on the streets. The taste is a combination of Taro & boiled potato with a fine sweetness of chestnut.

Next time you buy jackfruit, don’t forget to keep the seeds. Enjoy!

 

Vana Belle, a luxury collection resort, Koh Samui

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Vana Belle is a luxury resort situated on Koh Samui’s Chaweng Noi Beach with breathtaking views over the Gulf of Siam. Offering tastefully furnished and modern luxurious suites and villas, the property is, as stated on their website “more than just a resort”

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Bruce Humphry is the general manager of the property, a charming man who offered me a warm welcome and was happy to show me round the property. I was struck by his personal approach and attention to detail which I am sure is extended by all the staff to guests and visitors.

The resort comprises 73  suites andDSC_0748 7 villas.  Each suite and villa provides total privacy and is designed to indulge and spoil you with a private pool surrounded by tropical gardens.  Spacious in design and exquisite in decor, each suite has a different style reflecting Thailand’s culture and artistic heritage. Some of the villas have convenient access to the soft white sands of Chaweng Noi Beach.

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Although only 4 kilometers from the markets and vibrant nightlife of Chaweng Town, the resort offers a serene getaway to discerning visitors. If you are looking for a luxurious escape on one of Koh Samui’s most beautiful beaches, Vana Belle will not let you down.

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The resort also offers culinary delights guiding you on an epicurean journey of Southern Thai and Italian flavors. The signature restaurant, Kiree serves Thai and international dishes for breakfast and dinner while Italian cuisine is served in Panali, the beach-side restaurant.  Guests can enjoy drinks with an ocean view at the Pool Bar. The helpful concierge service can also recommend local restaurants as well as arranging sightseeing tours and providing a wealth of helpful local information.

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As I continue my tour of the property with Bruce, we visit the Vana Spa, comprising 4 double treatment rooms, 2 of them with a steam room and jacuzzi. The spa offers a truly pampering experience in exotic surroundings, promising to transport you to a realm of healing and revitalization after your day of sightseeing or soaking up the sun.

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Although our tour of the property is almost at an end, I am in no hurry to leave the Lobby Lounge enjoying Panoramic views of the Gulf of Siam while the soothing breeze cools us down. I chat to Bruce about the experience LGBTQ travelers might expect at the resort. He reassures me that many lesbian and gay travelers have thoroughly enjoyed their stays at Vana Belle and with a strong commitment to equality, LGBTQ travelers are always very welcome.

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If you are planning for a trip to Thailand, do not miss the delights of Koh Samui and a stay at this haven of peace and tranquility.   You will be amazed.

By Robindro Saikhom (Robin) with Steve O’Donnell
Serene Journeys
Email: robin@serenejourneys.co
The author, Robin, is the owner of Serene Journeys, a gay travel agent in India and a freelance travel photographer.  Follow him on Instagram @ serenejourneys or Facebook @ Serene Journeys.
The co-author, Steve, is a freelance travel writer and photographer and UK Consultant with Serene Journeys.

Vana Belle