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Pumpkin curry, where have you been all my life?
All your vegan fantasies are fulfilled at luxury wellness resort Kamalaya on Thailand's Koh Samui island. Executive chef Kai Müller – who moved from his native Germany in 2006 – has crafted an inspired gourmet menu of healthy, delicious cuisine with Southeast Asian flair.
While fish and poultry are served (poached sea bass with soya and Thai seafood sauce is a resort favourite), the menu is mostly vegetarian with vegan options. The focus is on whole ingredients, exciting herbs and spices, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and proteins, and everything is fresh.
Regional staples such as sizzling pad thai, wok-steamed vegetable dishes and savoury tom yam soup (bursting with broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus and cauliflower) complement hearty salads. Banana flower salad is a crunchy delight of lime and lemongrass with hints of chili, mint and sesame. Spring rolls explode with fresh herbs, vegetables and glass noodles made from mung beans. The pumpkin curry has a light, warm coconut milk base with hot basil, thick chunks of pumpkin and mangosteen – a sweet tropical fruit with a purple rind. It's an antioxidant and tastes like pineapple. After-dinner perfection is sipping coconut water from the peeled coconut itself, garnished with a jasmine flower. At breakfast, vegan buckwheat pancakes melt in your mouth.
Some of the tastiest dishes fall into Kamalaya's detox program of low-inflammatory foods. But you'd never know it. A few days of this cuisine and you feel different, more vibrant. Your complexion is better, eyes brighter, you have more energy. Consider this Ayurvedic proverb, quoted in Reconnect, the resort's cookbook: "When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need."
102/9 Moo 3 Laem Set Road, Na-Muang; 66 (77) 429 800; www.kamalaya.com.
Special to The Globe and Mail