Rare traditional local foods of Koh Samui which even Thai people want to try.

You might already know about several foods in Thailand. Each religion or even province in Thailand has its own local foods, for instance, in Chang Mai and neighboring provinces (North Thailand), Khao Soi is the outstanding food.

Pad Thai, green-, and red curries are often found in the middle regions like Bangkok and nearby provinces.

Nowadays, these foods exist in restaurants in the entire country, you can find them every now. But now we are talking about the original source.

When it comes to food, There are plenty of southern foods but tourists especially Western tourists who have never been here, don’t know much about the South foods.

The common reason why southern foods are not so worldwide popular is that almost all southern foods have an extreme taste, they are really spicy, and even Thai people self (from other regions) say that it is too spicy.

Not like Khao Soi, Pad Thai, or Green curry which are very friendly to the tourists.

Here in Ko Samui which is located in the south, there are foods that most of the other South provinces have and don’t have.

*Samui foods are special and different from other provinces in Thailand due to ingredients and names.

Even though I come from South Thailand (Naknon Sri Thammarat, the neighboring province) I never heard of some of the traditional local foods in Samui before.

Some dishes use ingredients found in the ocean of Ko Samui or nearby like sea anemones as the main ingredient (Many people recommend this menu).

Domestic tourists from all regions coming from North, Bangkok, or elsewhere always ask the waitress before placing an order, what are the recommended foods here in Ko Samui?

Because they have heard that Samui foods are unique and want to try them. If you want to try too but are afraid of the spice and taste very local way.

No worry about that, since Ko Samui is the hub city of tourists, the chefs know how to cook it for you.

Most of the restaurants have adjusted the local foods to be more friendly to the tourists. In case you want to try the original taste, several local restaurants are specially offering this to you.

I really recommend you eat it like us but just hold a glass of water or milk in your hand while eating and everything will be ok.

You have to tell the waitress that you want to order the original taste.

Do not assume that she will bring you the original taste automatically when you order it normally without saying anything.

Here, the waitress always assumes that the tourists do not eat too spicy and bring the tourist food to you.

My recommendation for travelers who are going to eat in an original-taste restaurant for the first time is to order your interested food for one small dish and share it with all persons coming with you.

If you are ok with this, then order more. By the way, in Thailand, we always share food on the table.


However, the following foods I am going to express are very traditional. Not every restaurant offers these, especially the restaurants on the tourist street. I recommend you to call the restaurants first to check it.


So let’s go.

Dished menus

1. Khao Maan Kra Ti (Coconut milk kneading with rice)

You might have ever tried Khao Maan Kai before somewhere in Bangkok (It is made of rice kneading with chicken oil and top up with boiled chicken meat.

But for Khao Mun Kra Ti, instead of using chicken oil, coconut milk is used to be kneaded with rice because Kra Ti means coconut milk.

The traditional way to cook this menu is by using coconut shells as firewood. It will bring more good smelling for rise.

But nowadays I am not sure if they still cook this way. I will explore it further, if there still is any restaurant like that, and will back here to write the update.

The way to eat this menu like the local coconut farmers is to eat it with chili sauce. There are several variances of chili sources.


2. Nam Prik Chao Ko (Chili sauce of Samui island)

If you get worried about this menu because of chili as the main ingredient, it is ok just to learn about the culture, and how the locals here in Samui eat.

There are several types of Chili sauces. For example, type 1 that made of grilled chili kneading with grilled shrimp or fish and garlic.

Or type 2 which is the same as the first one but add tamarind. Type 3 is made by stewing the coconut milk in a pan and putting type 2 in that.

You will be not familiar with this menu but for the domestic tourist, it is a paradise taste.


3. Gang Ped or Spicy Curry (Yes, the name is Spicy Curry)

This is also a spicy one and the locals easily call this the spicy curry. The first taste that comes when try a spoon of the curry is the taste of black pepper.

The basic ingredients of the curry are chili, garlic, pepper, salt, mixing of vegetables and meat.

4. Koa Y (Octopus curry)

In Samui, they call this octopus ‘’ Y ‘’ it is also very easy for you to call. It is one of the highlight dishes in Ko Samui, that domestic tourists usually seek when coming.

The ingredients of this menu are coconut milk, shallot, lemon grass, and the Y.  They used to cover Y with salt and dry it in the sun.

Then cut it into small pieces stew it with coconut milk and put the ingredients into. They eat it with rice since Thai people eat curries with rice, this curry also. People claim it is a very delicious one.  


5. Galamae (Thai caramel)

Furthermore, there are several traditional desserts of Samui that are available for travelers in restaurants.

They still use the same method as their grandparents to cook this dessert, just the taste was a bit different from the tradition.

Because they have to adjust it to satisfy the wide range of groups of travelers.  The outstanding dessert of Ko Samui is Galama (Thai caramel),

Thai caramel dessert exists in the whole country, but Thai people/ domestic tourists will think of Samui when talking about Thai caramel.

It is very reasonable because Thai caramel is entirely made from coconut milk and the most traditional and famous source of coconut is here on Samui island.

Thai caramel or Galamae is a very traditional dessert that has existed since many decades ago in Samui  # Samui has a long story of coconut.

If you have been to Ko Samui before, you will recognize it when see the picture of it.

You might have seen it at many tour spots in Samui and the best place to find it is Hinta Hinyai rocks  (Grandma and Grandpa rocks) at the Lamai beach.

Now you are in Samui, If you find it at some shop and want to try it a bit first, it is fine to ask the vendors for a peace to try by saying: Could I try the Galamae, please.

You will be beyond advanced by calling it ‘’ Ya Noom ’’ since it is the name that South Thai people use call. So, you are going to do a big surprise and favor to the locals or vendors, try to call it ‘’ Ya Noom ’’ even at the tour spots.

 Galamae is mostly bought as a souvenir as well. We normally buy it when we are going to visit our relatives on the mainland. Because as mentioned it is the signature of Samui, the coconut island.



6. Langsat or lansium

Langsat is actually available in many provinces in South Thailand. But langsat in Samui is very special.

The common aspects of Samui langsat that made it different from other provinces are the bigger size, it has smaller seeds, and less rubber in its peel.

It will taste very sweet when becomes completely ripe. But if is almost ripe, it will taste a little bit sour which is the favorite taste for western tourists.

Samui langsat tree can grow in an inhospitable area, it is very reliable compared to other fruit trees, it doesn’t need fertilizer but still produces perfect fruits using only natural nutrients and water.

The traditional variance of Samui langsat is mostly at Hin Lad waterfall or Lipa Yai village, the area with high humidity like down hills, mostly where the natural water streams flow by.  

The production circle of Langsat depends a bit on the weather that year, if the rain falls normally in December (Rainy season on Samui) it begins to produce its flower around March or April.

In May and July, the fruits will develop. The fruits will be completely ripe and can be harvested between August and September and the new leaf will spring in October and November.


7. Durian

I presented this fruit at the last point because the most important scene is always at the end.

Durian is the most well-known fruit to tourists. For Thai, it is the most popular fruit and is honored as the king of Thai fruits.

The place that has the most expensive durian and is considered to be the top source of Durian. is Nontha Buri, a northern neighbor province of Bangkok.

Here in Samui, if you have experienced exploring the hills on Ko Samui several times, besides coconut trees, you might have met the durian trees but still a fellow amount compared to other provinces, Ko Samui is also one of the good sources of durian. There are mostly 3 variances of durian here. ‘’Monthong’’ , ‘’ Chani’’ and ‘’Kan Yao’’ variances.

The common variance that is mostly put on the shelf in all durian vendors is Monthon variance.

Fortunately, the Chinese also love the taste of Monthong the farmer then has a good income from selling it to China.

Despite higher prices for selling to China, local high-quality durians are available to buy in the Ko Samui in Nathon City, and here you are able to find local vendors are able to sell durians from their own farms.

Naturally, the harvest of durians in ko Samui begins to take place in May and October, why 2 different times? These 2 significant aspects of the area where durian trees are growing.

The flat lands and hill land, mostly on Khao Pom mountain which is the largest source of durian on Samui island.

The durian trees on the flat lands are taller and provide their fruits faster, also it will give the products in May.

While those on the hills, also on Khao Pom will give us its products in October.

the durian available to buy at other times or reasons might be the imported durians or the durians in Samui but its production circle doesn’t depend on the weather of seasons but on the plan of farmers by using agricultural techniques in order to provide the out of season durian when the demand is high.


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