A destination made for a true foodie, among the many ways the lovely island of Samui will hook you with is food. Whether you will only eat in upscale dining places or are adventurous enough to try local street food, or are here for the hip fusion restaurants, the variety of edible choices available will entice you to have a food-centered holiday. But what should you really be eating a lot of while here?

Thai Fritters

Crunchy, golden, and absolutely phenomenal when eaten right from the stove, fritters are sinfully fatty yet are so good. In Thailand, you can find fritters being sold in outdoor food stalls. Our favorite are the yummy sweet corn fritters or Tod Man Khao Pod. These taste amazing with sweet chili sauce. Once served, don’t take too long to eat them. They are best when hot and crispy. Second to corn fritters are banana fritters. Also known as Kluay Kaek, these are crispy on the outside yet sweet and soft on the inside. Some dining places serve these banana treats with ice cream but they are great on their own.

Quail Eggs

Locally known as khai nok kra-ta, quail eggs are small, spotted eggs that are popular in Thailand. These are often boiled and used in soups, stir fries, and salads. Sometimes you can see these eggs fried, sunny side up style. They are satisfying, rich in protein and can be eaten as is or with rice.

Local Desserts

In a place where they serve lots of chili-laced dishes, you can also expect a lot of sweet stuff to balance the hot flavor. Home to some of the best exotic desserts in the world, in Koh Samui, you can find a treat that will make your sweet tooth happy. There’s the classic mango sticky rice, Thai coconut custard, iced sweet milk,  and coconut ice cream to name some. The best dessert for a hot tropical day is something sweet, fruity and cold like Thai mango sorbet. This is simply luscious and a nice treat you can have all year long.

Curries

Thai curries are as colorful as the country’s culture. We highly recommend that you sample as many curry dishes as you can on your Koh Samui food adventure. From the sweet, nutty Penang curry to the slightly Middle Eastern Massaman, to the very spicy green, and the mellow yellow curry, your taste buds will delight in the variety of flavors and complexity of tastes that local curry provides. Of course, don’t forget to try some red curry too. It’s a classic and is well loved by food fanatics.

Spicy Food

To those who like it hot when it comes to food, you will love it in Koh Samui. Being a Thai territory, you can expect that the majority of food available use chili on one form or another. Here they put chili on dips, marinades, soups, salads, and even on top of fried fish. Make sure you try tom yum gung, spicy papaya salad, and tom yam kai (spicy chicken soup).

Soups

A category of Thai food worth exploring, local soups are fascinating and have a wonderful variety that there is one for all sorts of preferences. There’s jim jum or hot pot, joke or rice porridge, gaeng on or vegetable curry soup, and soup neua or beef soup among others. Of course there’s the favorite of many—clear Thai chicken soup.

Fresh Local Fruits

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When you are in the tropics, it is time to eat a lot of tropical fruits. This is as healthy and natural as your food can get. Koh Samui is a basket full of nutritious and colorful fruits that you can buy for a cheap price. Mangoes are a crowd favorite and are amazing whether ripe or still green. Durian is also another fruit worth trying. It may smell pungent but it has a flavor unlike any other you have tried. Bananas, coconut, papaya, and rambutan are also available. In some stores, you can find even more exotic options such as dragon fruit, lychee, mangosteen, and jackfruit. Of course there’s tamarind too. While on the island, eat these naturally sweet gifts of nature. They are rich in vitamins and require no cooking. They are perfect as a snack or as a dessert substitute.

Rice

In Koh Samui, the staple food is rice. It is abundant on the island because Thailand is predominantly an agricultural zone and one of its main produce is rice. This crop is used in many different ways locally. It is steamed and is eaten with fish, vegetables, seafood, and Thai stews. The leftovers are usually made into fried rice, in which meat, eggs, and seasoning are added to bring the rice back to life and improve its taste. Rice can also be made into rice cakes and desserts. Glutinous rice, which is a variety that is stickier and denser, is often combined with coconut oil, coconut cream, and sugar to come up with many exciting sweet food. Rice grains can also be made into flour or starch that is used as thickener and binder for products such as Thai fish ball and squid balls.

Pad Thai

Given that it is the most well-known Thai food in the world, you might think that pad Thai is the least thing you need to eat when it Samui. Just for fun, try it while you’re here. You will be amused to find out that the thing you thought is the real deal might be so different than the ones they serve here. Who knows, maybe the pad Thai you pay several dollars for per plate at home will pale in comparison to the street version that sells for like a dollar or even less here. This is your chance to taste authentic pad Thai. Don’t miss out.

Grilled Stuff

Whether you are on a strict diet, have issues with chili, or are just looking for something delicious yet familiar, grilled dishes are always reliable. On the island, you will realize that there is a lot of roasted stuff that you can taste. There is grilled octopus, grilled chicken, grilled fish, and so many others. Here grilled stuff is never boring since Thais are so creative in their marinades. There’s nutty satay, bright lemongrass, sweet honey garlic, and so much more. A goodie you must try: grilled shrimp. You have to have grilled shrimp when you visit Koh Samui.

Photo by Lisheng Chang on Unsplash