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Posts Tagged ‘Koh Lanta restaurants’

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Nestled under dark wooden canopy and lush leafy plants, sits a hidden gem in Old town, Koh Lanta.
Shine Talay, with its unassuming coffee lounge area opening into the street, welcomes you to make your way just a few short steps to a smart, relaxing sea view deck.

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The Angchuan family, with its three generations, are originally from Pinang. With Chinese descent, they decided about a year ago to open a restaurant in Old town, as their mother has a passion for cooking and wanted to share this with others, which she does so elegantly with a clean, classy mixture of modern takes on traditional regional Thai dishes, with interpretations of European dishes too.

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What comes across at first, is a strong sense of calm, teamwork and an incredibly friendly welcome. In fact, although this is the case, it is not clear from the entrance, just how beautiful an area there is to eat and drink in behind.
Polished rosewood chairs and tables line the undercover section and just past those, lays a wide sun trap decking, with low tables and sprawling thai cushions.

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The family and their staff make such an exemplary effort to look after your needs. On visiting with Bear, my baby son, they always ensure he has access to shade, a fan and a banana!

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They are happy to talk through dishes with you and make suggestions of complementary dishes and new flavours. The presentation of bar drinks and coffees is beautifully complemented with a delicate flower.

The family were kind enough to invite me to come and take some photos and to chat about a few of their popular dishes. I jumped at the opportunity, because one of my goals in our time here was to investigate the flavours and ingredients used in Thai cooking. It’s certainly something I’d tried back in the UK in restaurants, however I think I was more accustomed to the Chinese style sweet, fried type of food. The food here is clean, fresh and any spiciness whether deft and subtle or raging and firey is gentle on the palate. The flavours are never numbed with burning, although others might disagree! Each dish is made from fresh, with a keen passion and sense of pride and love I do not see so often in the UK.

I was shown three beautiful dishes, each one unique from the other, each one beautifully presented. The fish is sourced locally, from the very sea you can sit beside whilst you eat. I choose not to eat meat, but they prepared a vegan dish especially for me and I have tried other dishes available there, like the curry soups, ‘ocean’ vegetables and various thai salads – all of them generous and delicious. My friend accompanied me to the visit and tried the fish dishes for me, so that I could share a description here.

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The first dish was tiger prawns wrapped in tempura noodles. ‘Rich and crunchy, with a sweet chilli dressing and dipping sauce.’ It’s a very popular dish, which showcases the artistic nature of thai cooking and demonstrates the kind of fish available to the local people.

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The second dish, Shine Talay’s most popular dish on the menu, white snapper, steamed with chopped garlic, chilli, ginger and lemon juice. ‘The fish was soft and moist. Melt in the mouth, the flavouring subtle and not overpowering at all.’

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The last dish, one they prepared specially for me, is Lab Tofu. It’s a mix of sweet and sour and spicy salad, with crispy tofu, with hints of lime and a sprinkling of firey chilli flakes. It’s fresh and light, with such a depth of flavour. The sauce is tangy and juicy and the crunch from the crispy tofu is moreish and deep.

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Above all, I feel that this restaurant is most certainly worth a visit. Families, friends and couples alike will find the service, surroundings and variety of dishes a treat to the senses. Nothing is too much trouble and you can relax in their care, knowing you are getting a premium selection of ingredients sourced locally for your ‘pleasure’.
Getting a close look at these dishes has given me real inspiration and over the next week or so, I am going to emulate them, but raw vegan versions. It is a challenge, being that they are all cooked and two of them are fish!
I think it isn’t that I want to reproduce or replace the meat aspect of the first two, but the essence of what I was shown.
Clean, fresh, spicy, subtle, light, tangy are the words I’m going to keep in mind when making my interpretation of Shine Talay’s food.

If you are ever on Koh Lanta and would like to delve into the taste of Thailand with an added friendly atmosphere, then this is the place to try.

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