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High Tea – Thai Style Jib Nam Cha at the Vana Belle Resort

High Tea – Thai Style Jib Nam Cha at the Vana Belle Resort

Jeremy Briggs

The Vana Belle resort can be found straight after the Fairhouse Hotel in Chaweng Noi. The resort is a spacious blend of traditional Thai style and contemporary design with over 80 rooms. Behind reception there is a large seating area overlooking the ocean and there are also buggies waiting to take you down to the pool bar and restaurant that is located directly on the beach with a very English lawn.

Jib Nam Cha 1Every day at The Vana Belle Jib Nam Cha will be served anywhere in the resort between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and this provides an ideal setting for either a business meeting or just a lazy afternoon by the pool with some friends, some highly caffeinated and sugared iced tea and a Thai-European fusion menu served in, you guessed it, a large birdcage.

Jib Nam Cha is a Thai tradition that literally translates to English as ‘to sip tea’. The origins of this ceremony are from Southern Thailand where iced tea has long been a popular cooling drink in the heady heat of the tropical sunshine. The tea itself was originally made from Ceylon Tea leaves and brewed until an incredibly strong tea is created which is then mixed with sweet milk and poured over ice. The resulting drink is a deep orange hue and has a kick to rival the strongest of energy drinks.

When done correctly Jib Nam Cha becomes almost its own art form and involves a complex dance where tea is poured from one container to another from great heights whilst the brewer turns in tight circles and pours the tea behind his own back and over his head between the two containers without ever spilling a single drop. This is not only a spectacle in itself but the tea takes on a new flavor afterwards and is a lighter more refreshing and complex drink than what you might find in the help yourself section of the local 7-11.

The menu that is served at Vana Belle’s new take on afternoon tea has something for everyone from the Western canapés such as smoked salmon on soft focaccia that is light and tasty with grape slices on top, subtle and simple cucumber sandwiches and wonderfully smokey prosciutto complimented by gorgonzola and walnuts on brown bread. The Thai section offers my personal favourite of ‘Khao Niew Mamuang’ sweet sticky rice with fresh mango and also some savoury classics such as ‘Larb Gai’ spicy mince chicken salad with mint leaves and ‘Por Pia Sod Pak’ fresh vegetable spring rolls. There are also such classics as scones and cream and a rich succulent blueberry cheesecake. The spread will take two people a solid afternoon of eating without getting boring and is still plenty of food for three or even four people. There is also a wide selection of delicious teas to choose from if iced tea isn’t your, well, cup of tea. For full menu click here.

Jib Nam Cha is an unusual East meets West creation and this is definitely what made it so enjoyable. The fusion of foods is well balanced and although there is a huge amount to taste none of the items are too heavy or overpowering so you can really enjoy each and every morsel without ever feeling stuffed and full. New experiences are few and far between on Samui so Vana Belle have done well to offer something both innovative and tasty!

For more information visit www.starwoodhotels.com

Telephone 077 915 555

Fax 077 915 556

9/99 Moo 3, Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui

Jib Nam Cha 2

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