Say 'Koh Samui restaurants' and one word springs immediately to mind: variety. From informal buffets to fine dining and everything in between, this idyllic island is also a foodie's paradise. Here are some of our insider tips for travellers seeking a culinary experience to remember.
1. Venture Out
If you're staying in one of the larger resorts, chances are you'll have a choice of restaurants within your hotel's grounds. Some of these are exquisite - and well worth a visit or two - but don't be tempted to eat there every night of your stay in Koh Samui. Restaurants in the local town will often be considerably cheaper, and will give you the chance to sample a wider range of the local cuisine. You'll be supporting the local economy too.
2. Bigger Isn't Always Better
Seating just twenty diners, The Barracuda restaurant in Mae Nam is a Koh Samui favourite - and with good reason. Dishes are a tantalising fusion of Thai and Mediterranean cuisines, served in cosy yet elegant surroundings. Not to be missed, you'd be well advised to book in advance, especially during high season. Then there's Tree Tops in Chaweng. As the name suggests, you'll be dining on raised platforms - so if you're looking for romantic ambience, you'll find it here.
3. Try the Seafood Diet
The fantastic thing about being on an island is the abundance of fresh fish and shellfish. And on Koh Samui, restaurants serve their fruits de mer with a distinctly Thai twist. From fresh crab with fried rice at a beachfront café to sweet and sour red snapper as the sun goes down, this is seafood like you've never had it before.
4. Go Global
If you're looking for a taste of home or just fancy something a little bit different, you'll find a tempting array of international dishes on offer in Koh Samui. Restaurants specialising in a particular cuisine are often a good bet. La Lanterna in Chaweng is a favourite for Italian, offering hearty calzones and delicious fresh pasta. And for French food, The Boudoir serves up authentic food and wine in enchanting surroundings.
5. Eat Like a Local
If you're looking to try out specialities local to Koh Samui, restaurants aren't the only type of eatery you'll want to seek out. In the west, the street food movement is still relatively new, but the stalls you'll find on the island have been serving up tasty and affordable dishes to travellers for decades. A great way to sample new dishes, you'll know a stall is worth visiting if it's popular with the locals. Another favourite with the locals is the all-you-can-eat Thai BBQ - well worth a visit for a great value, authentic meal and a truly memorable evening. For a reasonable price you get to choose your own mix of food, cook it at your table and soak up the fantastic atmosphere.
Follow these tips and you'll turn your visit to Koh Samui into the ultimate culinary adventure. Just don't forget to bring your appetite!