This edition we’re delighted to introduce you all to Karma Apsara chef extraordinaire Orawan Srirat, who’ll be sharing some of her favourite recipes over the coming weeks. But first of all, let’s learn a little about her…
Can you introduce yourself?
My Name is Orawan Srirat, but as with all Thai people I am known by my nickname, which is Bow. I was born in Maenam, Koh Samui. I started as head chef at Karma Apsara during the pre-opening in August 2019. I started cooking from a young age; from helping my family in our kitchen to local restaurants and eventually working my way to Thai kitchens in award winning Resorts.
What’s the most challenging dish you have ever had to create?
Having been in touch with Thai ingredients and recipes all my life, there is really nothing that represents a challenge when it comes to Thai food. When I embarked on my journey with Karma Apsara I was first introduced to new dishes, techniques and sauces. Me and the kitchen team put a lot of effort in mastering our Hollandaise Sauce that makes our Eggs Benedict a best seller during breakfast.
Your first ‘taste’ of what inspired you to make your food a career?
With my family being from Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, we always had traditional Southern recipes at home and my favourite was the taste and smell of a Southern Thai spicy and sour fish curry called “Kaeng Som.”
What ingredients do you like to grow in your (or resort’s) garden?
At home, on the north coast of Koh Samui, I grow Thai basil, lemongrass, kaffir lime and many other Thai herbs used in Thai traditional cuisine.
Any local farmers’ markets nearby the resort? What is the speciality of the region?
Maenam fresh market is located just 900 metres from Karma Apsara and it is a popular place to visit for our members. There are locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs. Samui’s most popular items are coconuts and sour mangoes. With sour mangoes being a very popular snack dipped in sugar and chilli flakes.
What’s your favourite breakfast or brunch dish?
My favourite breakfast is the Thai traditional rice soup called “ Khao Tom”. I also enjoy the Thai fried donuts called “Patonko” accompanied by a traditional filtered coffee called “Café Bolan”
Favourite sunset beverage?
I enjoy a fresh Lychee Mojito and a cold Singha beer.
What’s the most overrated ingredient or dish in your mind?
Gingko nuts have been very trendy in Thailand because of their health benefits and are commonly used in Thai dishes and desserts. I find them overpriced and they lack taste.
What are your top 3 foodie experiences and why?
Suratthani fresh seafood markets are surrounded by restaurants offering fresh local oysters and are a must visit. Koh Samui has its specialty local sweets made from coconut and pandan leaves and called “Kalame” often sold in the Hin Ta Hin Yai market. Trang Province is famous for its crispy pork and medicinal salted egg delicacies – one of my favourites.
Which chefs do you admire and why?
Chef Ian Kittichai is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, television personality and author who constantly pushes the boundaries of Thai cuisine and has a unique approach to classic flavours. He has always been an influential chef to me and made me persevere in my passion to evolve Thai cuisine.
Describe the best dessert you’ve ever had…
I am still very keen on the classics Khanom Krok and Khanom Tom, both made from freshly harvested Koh Samui coconuts.
What’s on the menu for this year at the resort? Any local and seasonal ingredients you are experimenting with that we need to know about?
We are using locally sourced coconuts to cook and present our Masaman and green curries. Additionally, we are preparing an exciting new dinner concept based on sharing flavours and experiences.
What has been the most popular dish at the restaurant this year?
Our ever popular Tom Yam Kung continues to reign as the most popular dish in our menu. This spicy and sour soup has the perfect balance to excite all palates.