One of the most alluring components of a visit to Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa in Koh Samui, is the unadulterated pleasure of diving head first into their deliciously healthy cuisine. Their "healthy dining plan" is an integral part of the overall holistic experience at Kamalaya, and guests who book one of their award winning wellness retreats enjoy specially designed menus to go with their wellness packages (such as the detox menu) or have the option of dining ala carte during their visit.
Under the guidance of Executive Chef Paul Anthony Quarchioni, Kamalaya creates vibrant and tasty cuisine that enhances your overall health. The menus features unprocessed foods that are low in fat and sugar while emphasizing locally produced and organic food as much as possible. Pork and beef are never served, and you will discover a plethora of low fat and non-dairy options. The menu additionally highlights some stunning "raw food' options, as well a multitude of Asian and Western choices that will appeal to almost every palate.
The main outlets for dining at Kamalaya are Amrita Cafe where lunch is served, and Soma where breakfast and dinner take place. Each venue offers something unique and both have breathtaking views that incorporate the tranquility of the natural environment. At Soma you can choose to dine separately at your own table or take you meals at the large "communal" table where you are encouraged to interact with other guests and eat family style. You will NOT find a full bar with access to a bevy of tropical cocktails and spirits, but instead they offer a limited selection of local and imported beer as well as a small selection of organic wine from Australia, and non-organic wine from Chile. For something extra-special, you may want to take advantage of their inclusive "room service" and enjoy a meal in the privacy of your seaside villa. Another great tip is to pre-order a "take away" breakfast or lunch box on the day of departure so that you can have access to a healthy Kamalaya meal while travelling back home at the end of your vacation.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and at Kamalaya they take that mantra very seriously. I recommend starting each day off with a dual shot of Wheatgrass and Spirulina which is an amino rich "super food" that is loaded with antioxidants. You can order ala carte, but the breakfast buffet offers the do-it-yourself "Organic Museslli Bar" which is unprecedented. You can choose from a variety of dried nuts, fruits and grains while having full access to fresh fruits, almond milk, sunflower seed milk, pumpkin seed milk, fresh yogurt and fresh organic honey which you procure directly from the honeycomb. My favorite museslli is a combination of macadamia nuts, almonds, dried apricot and cranberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, gogi berries, wheat germ, and steel cut oats combined with fresh pineapple and fresh pomello (it's similar to grapefruit) topped off with fresh yogurt and organic honey. It's a powerhouse of textures and wholesome flavors that give you enough energy to keep going all day. Another highlight from the breakfast buffet is the Gluten Free Almond & Pumpkin Bread, and the Whole Wheat Croissants which I found thoroughly addictive.
Lunch at Amrita Cafe is memorable and you can't go wrong if you start off with the Garden Salad w/ Romaine, Rocket, Beetroot, Rose Apple, Goji Berries, Pumpkin Seed, Sunflower Seed, & Flax Seed. Be sure to try it with the creamy Wasabi Dressing which is made from coconut milk and fresh wasabi. You may also enjoy the Amrita Salad which is romaine, red and green oak lettuce, rocket, celery, fresh corn, cashews, fresh ginger, feta cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you crave Thai salads, you won't be disappointed with either the Pomello Salad w/Minced Chicken & Mint or the Spicy Minced Snapper w/ Roasted Rice & Fresh Mint (Larb Pla) which are both bursting with authentic Thai flavors. For a soup course I recommend the Chilled Water Melon & Mint Granite, the Rich Thai Coconut Soup w/ Chicken Breast (Tom Kha Gai) and the Miso Soup w/ Seafood & Yam Cake which is amazingly light and refreshing.
Favorite main courses include the Grilled Salmon Filet, Grilled Snow Fish and the Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops which are all served with a trio of homemade sauces (barbeque sauce, mango chutney and spicy seafood sauce) and include a choice of vegetable side dishes along with steamed quinoa or rice. I can't tell you how marvelous the Steamed Quinoa w/ Lemon, Tomato & Herbs is. It is delightfully satisfying and I found myself looking forward to ordering it each and every day. Some of the vegetable side dishes are a bit bland for my taste, but you can easily ask them to add chili or ginger to "kick it up a notch" and I particularly enjoy the Mushrooms & Spinach in Lime Dressing and the Steam Stirred Morning Glory w/ Garlic & Chili. You may also want to try the Braised Lamb Shank w/ Pumpkin & Onions (Massaman Curry), the Light Green Curry w/ Prawns or the Buckwheat or Pita Wraps that come with a choice of grilled seafood, vegetables and cheeses.
Dinner at Soma is arguably one of the best parts of the day at Kamalaya and a great start to your meal is the Energy Salad of Baby Lettuce, Dried Garlic, Ginger, Avocado, Wakame, Goji Berries, Sunflower seeds, Asian Pear, Millet Mill & Olive Oil & Apple Vinegar. Another popular salad is the Citrus Salad made with assorted citrus fruit segments, various greens, succulent white prawns, and seared scallops, all of which are swimming in a zesty citrus vinaigrette. For a much richer and heartier salad, try the Oven Warmed Goat Cheese Salad w/Assorted Greens, Cashew Nuts, Walnuts, Cucumbers, Green Olives & Grapes.
Favorite appetizers include the awe inspiring Beetroot Cured Wild Salmon Sashimi w/ Rocket Salad & Buckwheat Pancake and the Fresh Coldwater Crabmeat w/ Tomato Concasse, Avocado & Coriander Lime Vinaigrette. You may also enjoy the Slipper Lobster w/ Mango Salad and Frozen Coconut Wasabi Dressing and the Ahi Tuna which is served two ways (seared and tartar) and accompanied by mushroom salad, avocado guacamole and sweet wasabi dressing.
For a main course, try the Australian Lamb Fillet w/ Zucchini & Fig Caponata served w/ Mushroom Risotto and the Baked Snow Fish w/ Cucumber Avocado Mash & Watermelon Mustard Sauce. I also enjoy the Roast Ostrich Loin & Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ Black Pepper & Roasted Garlic Reduction, as well as the Roast Duck Breast w/ Braised Bok Choy, Sweet Potato Roesti & Arabica Coffee Sauce and the Seared Sea Scallops w/ Bok Choy & Mushroom Ragout and Tahini Cappuccino. Vegetarians may want to try the flavorsome Spaghetti w/Cauliflower, Pumpkin & Fresh Mint Sauce. The desserts are no less spectacular at Kamalaya and the Raw Chocolate & Avocado Pear Cake w/ Date & Coconut Sorbet and either the Chocolate Soufflé w/ Fig Ice Cream or the Cottage Cheese Soufflé w/ Orange Sauce will leave you feeling thoroughly pampered.
The Juices & Herbal Tea Blends
Undoubtedly, one of the more invigorating aspects of a stay at Kamalaya is their Fresh Made Juices and one-of-a- kind Herbal Tea Blends. Juices and teas can be ordered just about any time of day and they are always an excellent "pick me up" or can be used to help you relax and unwind. Be sure to try the Kamalaya Detox Juice which is made with coconut water, pineapple, and fresh Thai basil leaves. The Hibiscus Lemonade is another favorite made from hibiscus flower elixir, limes and pineapple. I also recommend the Mojito which consists of pineapple, lime, fresh mint, green apple and crushed ice, and the Sweet Dreams made from celery, gotu kola, green apple and guava juice. For hot tea try the Peace & Calm Tea which is cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, ginger, dried licorice root, fennel seeds, anise seeds and fresh spearmint or the Invigorate Tea made of dried juniper berries, cardamom seeds, dried gotu kola, dried sage and ginger. Perhaps my favorite teas are the fresh Lemongrass Tea, the Mulberry Green Tea and the Rose Tea made from green tea leaves and rose petals.
Cooking Class with Chef Paul Anthony Quarchioni
The most compelling reason to sign up for the Healthy Cooking Classes at Kamalaya is Executive Chef Paul Anthony Quarchioni. He is engaging and affable with an easy going and friendly persona that makes everyone feel at home. Chef Paul is originally from the UK and has a worked at several 2 and 3-Star Michelin restaurants in Europe before coming to Asia. He has also worked alongside many world renowned celebrity chefs including Joel Robuchon, Allen Passard and Pierre Gagnaire. Chef Paul's impressive professional career has spanned the globe and is he most notably recognized for his tenure as the Executive Sous Chef at the prestigious “Le Normandie” at The Oriental Hotel in Bangkok.
Kamalaya offers a Detox Cooking Class, a Non-Detox Cooking Class and a Thai Cooking Class. On my visit I enrolled in the non-detox cooking class where I was able to get up close and personal with Chef Paul. The class is more observational than participatory, and you can ask unlimited questions while witnessing firsthand how easy it is to make tasty and healthy gourmet fare. I learned how to make Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls w/ Spicy Mango Seafood Sauce, as well as Mushroom & Goat Cheese Risotto and Miso Soup w/ Seafood. A unique touch is that you learn to prepare cuisine featured on the menus at the spa's various restaurants, and it is a once in a life time opportunity to really understand the cooking techniques. You also receive a cookbook full of tasty recipes so you can recreate the dishes when you return home. For more information on how to book your own personalized wellness program at Kamalaya, visit the website at www.kamalaya.com.
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Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa
102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Road, Na-Muang
Koh Samui, Suratthani 84140 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 77 429 800
Fax: +66 (0) 77 429 899