The Thai Experience // Ko Samui, Thailand
“What we know is that the best way for people to get to know each other is to make them wear a stupid hat and get them very drunk.”
The Thai Experience, a 15 dish 3-course feast in a small closed-door restaurant on Ko Samui, isn’t your average tourist activity nor is it your average dinner party. Some might say that the goal for Richard and his team of bartenders, cooks and wait staff is to provide vacationers with an amazing dinner, which certainly happened. Others might consider Richard’s comedic stand-up hosting style to be a night of entertainment, because this also occurred. For me though, I felt like Richard’s motive for the evening was to connect travelers by providing the libations, talking points, and humor for a fun (albeit raucous) evening.
Upon arrival we were immediately greeted with a mango-coconut welcome cocktail, donned a towering chef’s hat and apron, and advised to pin our hometown on massive already-pin-coated map on the far wall. As Richard assigned us seats individually at a long table, more drinks were poured and the evening was quickly underway.
Richard laid out a synonoposis of the evening ahead peppered with dry humor, “now, the main course is ridiculous” along with sound advise “tonight’s food is a marathon, not a sprint”.
After preparing shaken cocktails for the neighbor to our left, we proceeded on to appetizers, ‘Thaiviche’, fresh crab salad won-ton sandwiches and others that were equally tasty. The apps tooted along a street food course which ended up being my personal favorite. Street food in Thailand is already considered unparalleled so I was delighted to find that they harassed the tastiness of pork belly skewers but with their own amazing twist.
As the night continued and our drinks were (yet again) refilled, Richard entertained and educated us on Thai customs and traditions that travelers often are oblivious too. The main dishes were laid along the table family-style and despite being totally satiated I had no problem finding room for the prawn stir fry and pan fried white snapper. Dessert followed dutifully and the room grew loud and jovial as everyone made good of Richard’s bottomless-drink promise.
Throughout the night Dan and I had fun cracking jokes with Aussies sitting near us and an American gal that had just moved to the island. After a month on the road it was so much fun to share a feast with a bunch of other travelers AND learn a bit about Thailand from Richard. I’d absolutely recommend checking out The Thai Experience if you’re in Ko Samui. It certainly makes for a “ridiculous” meal and dinner party that’s about as interactive an experience you could ask for.