Though the famed restaurant changes its menu daily, its owner insists that certain things about the kitchen never change.SEE INTERVIEW
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Those with a taste for spicy food are in luck: the southern-style Thai food served at restaurants and cafés in Koh Samui is known for packing quite a kick. Don’t worry, however, if you prefer your food heavy on flavor but light on heat: Kitchen staffs here happily cater their cuisine to Western palates used to milder foods. From tropical fruits to fried noodles, here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best food experiences in Koh Samui:
1. Rambutan. This small fruit grown throughout Southeast Asia is encased in a spiny, almost furry bright-red skin. Peel it open, and inside you’ll find a delicious off-white colored center with a gummy texture that tastes like a mix between a grape and a lychee.
2. Coconuts. You’re on a tropical island teeming with coconut palm trees so, naturally, Koh Samui is a perfect place to dig into as many fresh coconuts as you’d like. Though they’re available just about anywhere that serves food or drinks, our favorite place to enjoy a coconut is right on the beach, where you can purchase one from a vendor who hacks it open with a machete and pops a straw in the top. Don’t forget to dig out the coconut’s flesh after you’ve drained the milk.
3. Thai kalamae candy. Available in a variety of flavors and colors, this locally produced sweet treat is a chewy, carmel-ish candy made from rice flour, coconut milk and palm sugar.
4. Phat Thai. The delicate, ooey-gooey phat Thai served at restaurants in Koh Samui will taste nothing like the greasy platters you get from your local take-out joint back home. Thailand’s most-famous dish here is prepared in many different ways — we recommend ordering it with fresh prawns and wrapped in egg.
5. Khanom jin. Rich and as spicy as you want it to be, khanom jin is another classic Thai dish made with fish sauce, fermented rice-flour noodles, red curry and coconut milk.
- Laurel Highlands
Keeping food within season is a big priority for Lautrec, which is why the prix fixe menus change seasonally, and the tasting menus change weekly. To optimize your dining experience, chef Earl Morse uses the best ingredients, whether it’s from the local farm or flown in from an international destination. This commitment to changing the menu on a regular basis is exactly why Lautrec has earned such notoriety as a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant — you can always count on something new and inventive to try each time you visit.
- The Hermitage Hotel
One of the best features in each of the rooms at The Hermitage Hotel are the large windows, which not only let in plenty of fresh air and natural light but also offer breathtaking views. This Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel is laid out in a U-shape, with the best views on the north side, overlooking the Tennessee State Capitol building. Modeled after a Greek temple, the capitol building is striking and a great place to people-watch on weekdays as government workers buzz about. The Hermitage Hotel rooms on the other two sides of the U offer interesting views of downtown Nashville, but we think the view of the historic capitol just can’t be beat.