Pooky was one of the delightful Thai girls we were lucky enough to work with at Parrot Cay. Her food, amazing! So, when we met up with Steve & Kannika, also some old friends we had worked with on the island and we were in Koh Samui, we decided to hunt down Pooky's Mum's old restaurant. We knew it was called Jun Hom, and knew it was somewhere along Hat Bang Po. We doubled up on scooters, and rode the ring road up to the top of the island ... It was hot and dusty, and we were going at some speed. We of course drove past it and ended up at Mae Nam beach before heading back and retracing our steps. It took us a while to find, but it is nestled just beside the Coconut Villas, which is a great landmark should we be looking for it again.. We park the scooters and head on in.
It's so green, the entrance surrounded by fresh plants. There is an undercover eating area, but we are very happy to take a seat out on the beach tables, taking our shoes off with the sand between our toes. We order a couple of big beers, which come Thai style with a bucket of ice.
They have a huge menu, and then funnily enough only a couple of pages translated into English, which lists all the usual suspects. We are very lucky to have Kannika with us, who of course spots a whole range of interesting Thai dishes on the Thai menu. We leave the ordering up to her, just expressing our interest to try and true Southern style dishes. The first dish is just that, a dry fried curry with green peppercorns and lots of tumeric with a few slices of cucumber on the side. This is incredible, almost like a Southern style larb, but a bit dryer.
The soup is also stained with the yellow of tumeric, simply filled with chunks of chicken, slices of onion and some fresh coriander.
The next dish, oh my, I can still remember the taste, the texture of the fried lemongrass, and the amazing aroma. A whole fish was firstly marinated in amongst many other things, lemongrass, garlic & fish sauce and then deep-fryed. Then on top of that, a mountain of smashed up lemongrass and garlic had also been fried, the fine strands so aromatic and crispy. We all love this dish so much, and we have nearly devoured the whole thing before anyone notices the little sauce on the side, not that it needed it!
Majority of the Thai population are Buddist, but many of those from the South are Muslim, immigrating to the area from the Indian subcontinent over the last 2 thousand years or so. Therefor the Southern regions of Thailand bear close similarities to Indian food, turmeric permiating a lot of the Southern Cuisine. It's the fresh tumeric root that is used though, with a beautiful gold colour and mild flavor. We see it again used in the Southern style fish curry. Chunks of well browned fish, with a green leaf that is a little bitter swimming in a light coconut and turmeric broth.
Fried crab with egg, pepper and garlic was our last dish of the day. Whole blue crabs smashed up and piled high, the meat sucked from the shell.
A beautiful, beachside location, with some really interesting and delicious Southern Thai dishes to match. A must if you are up the top end of the island.
Hat Bang Po
Next to the Coconut Villas
Koh Samui, Thailand
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