Samui Wining & Dining
Magic Moments
Every night at Bandara Resort’s Chom Dao restaurant is special
– especially Thai Night every Saturday.


Magic MomentsComing into Chom Dao, the signature restaurant of Bandara Resort and Spa at Bophut, is all the reminder you need that you’re on a tropical island. Walking along polished wood paths, under palm trees and past pools before coming into an open terraced restaurant only a few feet from the beach and the lapping waves ... it’s an ideal way to feel any stresses from home and work slipping away.


Chom Dao restaurant is completely made of wood and looks like it’s set in a rustic village. It runs 30 metres along Bophut Beach, looking across to Koh Pha-Ngan, and the size of the restaurant means there’s almost always a beachside table available. There’s the renowned ‘Bandara Platter’ with three sauces, and every Tuesday is the Beach BBQ with its Western food and music right on the sand with the waves coming in. Eating at Chom Dao is a very ‘island moment’.


And the regular Thai Night, held in Chom Dao on Saturday nights, is another definite reminder that you’re in Thailand. A lavish buffet of Thai favourites accompanied by Thai music and dancing, all in a warm evening under the stars with friendly attentive staff, makes for an authentic Thai experience in an authentic Thai setting. It’s one that should be on your ‘To Do’ list whilst you’re here on Samui.


The Thai Night has been running for the past two years at Chom Dao and was set up as a way for guests to experience a taste of Thai culture alongside traditional Thai food. It all kicks off at 7:30 pm, and you don’t have to be staying at Bandara to attend – just ring the front desk and make a reservation.


The food is carefully chosen and cooked to show the best of Thai cuisine whilst being adapted to a Western palate, says General Manager, Khun Somsak Sutajit.


“Guests can try a lot of Thai food in the buffet, but most of it isn’t too spicy,” he says. “A lot of people do like spicy Thai food, but we’re aware that for many people it might be their first time here, or they’ve only been here for one or two days, so we tone the spiciness down to let people adjust. We also do a barbecue with seafood and meats, so there should be something here for everyone to try.”


At first glance, the buffet seems to have everything you could want and the only problem could be if you eat too much early on and don’t leave any room for dessert. There are eight starters, all neatly positioned in blue and white porcelain pots with laminated labels showing what’s what. And there’s a marinated chicken and Thai herb salad, sitting alongside a sea fish salad with lemon-grass. There’s chicken wrapped in panda leaf and traditional Asian spring rolls. And, if you’re used to Thai food and do like it spicy, you can try the spicy seafood salad.


There’s no set time for starters or mains – just fill up your plate, take it to one of the tables on the terrace and tuck in. The Thai music starts around eight, with three musicians playing, one on a buffalo drum and two on the ranad (the traditional Thai xylophone instrument made from bamboo). And then the dancing starts.


There are four dance-sets in all, covering dance from the south provinces and Issan as well as traditional Muslim style. The three-strong troupe comes out in colourful Thai costumes and dances expertly before posing for photos with guests at the end. The sets are timed so that the whole show lasts around 90 minutes; plenty of time to get stuck into your main course and dessert in-between performances. It’s a completely Thai experience and the beach setting makes it better still.


Once the first dance is finished, it’s time to hit the buffet again. Try and make sure you don’t pile your plate too high with the starters, because you’ll want to have plenty of room to try all the mains. There are eight of them, all sitting in huge earthenware pots with casks of jasmine rice and brown rice on the side. You can start off with the chicken and coconut soup then go on to try the duck curry with fruit, the green beef curry with eggplant, the stir-fried sweet and sour fish, or the slow grilled seafood with tamarind sauce. Khun Somsak says that two of the most popular dishes are the chicken with cashew nuts and the stir-fried pork with black pepper, and, of course, there’s also the ever popular national favourite pad Thai. And don’t forget the barbecue grill, with prawn, chicken, pork, squid and more.


Getting through the mains will take you through another couple of sets of the Thai dancing, with the band keeping the music going in-between. If you’ve room for dessert, you can take your pick from several traditional Thai dishes, including mango on sticky-rice, rice dumpling sweets, sweetened gold egg yolks or rice sweets made with panda leaf. As Khun Samsak says, Thai cooking is about taking a common ingredient and cooking it in different ways – most of the desserts here are rice based. And, if you did go for the spicy seafood salad and the papaya salad for your starter and main, there are also ice-cream and seasonal fruits to soothe your mouth.


All this takes place under the attentive eye of plenty of staff, who are poised to help the second you need it, but without being intrusive. That’s very Thai too. In fact, for an ‘authentic Thai experience’ it would be very hard to beat Chom Dao.


Laura Canning


Copyright 2019 Samui Holiday Magazine. All rights reserved Siam Map Company Ltd.