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Phuket Lifestyle – Bang Pae secret revealed

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Lifestyle – Bang Pae secret revealed | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Bang Pae Seafood restaurant has been a favourite among Phuket’s locals for sixteen years.

This charming seaside place is run by a small family, headed by Mrs Prakorb Tiranon, who oversees daily culinary operations.

A beautiful twenty-minute drive in the direction of Ao Por from the Heroines Monument through shady rubber tree plantations takes you to a small bay. The restaurant is located on the edge of a mangrove forest and commands a stunning view of Bang Pae harbour, where flocks of wading birds search for their own seafood in the shallows.

The restaurant has two sections; the main area is shaded, but open on all sides to allow for a bay view and a refreshing breeze from the shore, while the al fresco beachside area is arranged chalet-style. A canopy of large trees provides overall dappled shade.

The restaurant has been a guarded secret kept by locals, but clearly not successfully judging from the crowds there during our Saturday visit. Large groups of people were enjoying their meals and soaking up the holiday-like atmosphere while discussing a plethora of topics.

Clientele is by no means exclusively Thai. According to Prakorb, her restaurant has many satisfied foreign customers who send her messages of appreciation and pictures from abroad.

The exclusively seafood menu is not overly complicated, featuring a variety of reliable staples dishes with fish, crabs, prawns, clams and squid. Oysters are also on offer when in season. The restaurant owners prides themselves on the freshness of their fare which is drawn daily from the nearby waters. Only in inclement weather is the fish brought in from neighboring provinces.

We didn’t bother with any starters but tucked right into the pla nung manao (fish with lime – 150 baht), and this didn’t disappoint. It’s a large sea bass poached to perfection in unguent lime and tamarind sauce, topped with plenty of garlic, chillies, ginger and Shitake mushrooms. The dish was full of flavors and not as spicy as it looked.

House speciality fish souffle in banana leaf, hor mok (25 baht a piece), has a smooth and creamy texture tinged with the aroma of basil leaves buried underneath.

Equally fresh and satisfying were clams sautéed with basil (120 baht), which were deliciously sweet. Seafood doesn’t get much fresher than this. By contrast, the prawns in tamarind sauce (200 baht) were a little too much on the sweet side. Still, the large prawns were tasty and a treat in themselves.

Try also the grilled mixed seafood (450 baht) accompanied by chilli-lime sauce. Not for the faint-hearted is the seafood hotpot or poh taek – literally meaning a “bursting fishnet” in Thai – which is a country version of tom yum, with lots of herbs and definitely more heat (150 baht).

Also highly recommended are the native dishes of tumeric crispy fish with garlic dip, and relishes (nam prik) of crunchy prawns with assortment of fresh vegetables.

Disappointingly, crabs were unavailable that day, but a glance at the menu told us that they come in many delectable designs. We made a mental note for our next visit to order stir-fried crabs with black pepper and onions, or Goan-style with Indian curry and egg, or simply steamed.

To round up, there is a platter of mixed fruits, complementary with any order above 300 baht. A variety of beer is on offer but there is no wine list.

We found prices to be quite reasonable with six mains for five persons at 1,500 baht (no alcoholic drinks). Service was quick and with a smile. In all, this was a very enjoyable experience, worth repeating with friends and family. Children in particular will enjoy walking out during the low tide to explore the rich mangrove wildlife.

If a drive out to the country for a decent seafood lunch is your kind of thing, then Bang Pae Seafood Restaurant is a must.

From Phuket’s Heroines Monument drive towards Ao Por. At exactly 10km (restaurant is signposted in Thai only) turn right into Bang Pae Village until you come to the end of the road at water’s edge (about one km).

Open daily from 10 am to 8pm. Contact on 076-529059 or 087-887 5785.

— Nanthapa Pengkasem

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Thai Life

Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers

The Thaiger

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Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Daily News

The answers are in the banana leaves.

Thai people LOVE playing the lottery (and gambling generally). In fact they’re BANANAS about the twice-monthly lottery (it was drawn again today). Daily News has reported about two unusual banana trees growing in front of a shop in Klong 4 Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok. The trees did not have blossom and on one plant two bananas were pointing skywards. On another there was a whole bunch pointing up into the sky.

There was a steady stream of the faithful lighting incense, praying and rubbing powder on the trees to get lottery numbers. One group thought ‘542’ was the magic numbers and a path to riches (we’re not sure how they came to this conclusion). 53 year old Surachai says the trees had been growing for a few months and that he’d never seen anything like it before.

An unnamed agricultural expert suggested that there was probably something wrong with the banana plants. Trees and malformed animals are a favourite source of inspiration to select numbers for the lottery, as are numbers of houses and vehicles involved in events where people experience “miracle” escapes from danger, or even bizarre accidents.

SOURCE: Daily News

Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers | News by The Thaiger Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers | News by The Thaiger

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Entertainment

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival

The Thaiger

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The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival | The Thaiger

On the streets, in parks and garages, seven Cuban youngsters spent seven months practising K-pop moves to secure a spot on their dream stage: an appearance in South Korea to imitate their idols. 13 final teams from 80 countries are competing in the 2019 event.

At the grandly titled and government-funded Changwon K-pop World Festival contestants from around the globe perform imitation dances or sing cover versions of the genre’s biggest hits, with thousands of fans cheering them on.

In terms of global heft, South Korea is overshadowed by its much larger neighbours China and Japan, but the event is a way for Seoul to derive soft power from one of the country’s biggest cultural exports. In terms of pop-power, South Korea’s K-Pop is now a recognised world-wide music phenomenon with bands like BTS and Blackpink figuring amongst the other big-hitters on the Billboard charts and outselling their western counterparts with millions of albums and downloads.

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival | News by The Thaiger

Finalists for this year

Cuba’s Communist government is one of North Korea’s few remaining allies: when President Miguel Diaz-Canel, successor to the Castro brothers Fidel and Raul, visited Pyongyang last November he was only the third foreign head of state to do so since leader Kim Jong Un inherited power in 2011.

But rather than geopolitics, Havana performer Karel Rodriguez Diaz – whose mannerisms and sleek hairstyle could easily be mistaken for those of a K-pop star – is more motivated by high-tempo beats and superslick dance moves.

“We never had a place with a mirror or a choreographer who could teach us the steps” but they kept on practising, he said.

His team-mate Elio Gonzalez added: “We are so excited to represent not just Cuba but also the whole of Latin America.”

Some 6,400 teams from more than 80 countries entered the competition, according to organisers, with 13 groups from places as diverse as Kuwait and Madagascar winning through to the final in Changwon, where they appeared on stage waving their national flags.

“This is like watching the Olympics, a K-pop Olympics,” said the event’s host Lia, a member of K-pop group ITZY.

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival | News by The Thaiger

The Korean Wave

K-pop – along with K-drama soap operas – has been one of South Korea’s most successful cultural exports to date. A key part of the “Korean Wave” which has swept Asia and beyond in the last 20 years, the K-pop industry is now estimated to be worth $5 billion, with boyband BTS its latest high-profile exponent, becoming the world’s most successful band in the past 12 months, selling out stadium concerts within minutes, around the world.

The South Korean government has financed a variety of K-pop themed events in what CedarBough Saeji, a visiting professor at Indiana University Bloomington in the US, said was a form of long-term “soft power diplomacy”.

“When you are covering you get to ‘become’ those idols for the three and a half minutes of the song,” she said, adding that performers will go so far as matching their clothing, accessories and hairstyle to their heroes and heroines.

“The cover dancers of today will be diplomats, news reporters, and business leaders in forty years,” she went on.

“And hopefully they’ll still have a soft spot in their heart for Korea. Korea can’t win the world through hard power – armies, economic bullying – but with soft power even a small country like Korea has a chance.”

The music also provides an artistic alternative for overseas fans, especially those in developing countries, Saeji added.

“The West, especially the United States, has been so dominant culturally for so long, and having a different cultural pole to look to provides hope that one’s own country can experience similar success in the future.”

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival | News by The Thaiger

Be who you want

Beneath its glitz and glamour, the K-pop industry is also known for its cutthroat competition, a lack of privacy, online bullying and relentless public pressure to maintain a wholesome image at all times and at any cost.

Sulli, a popular K-pop star and former child actress who had long been the target of abusive online comments was found dead on Monday, with her death sending shockwaves through fans around the world.

“I think a day where (people) would be ashamed of the K-show business will surely come,” a South Korean online user wrote in the wake of the star’s death.

“I think an industry that makes money by (making people) sing, dance, undergo plastic surgeries and go on a diet to please the gaze of others since they are teenagers should really go bankcrupt.”

But for Kenny Pham, a finalist from the US at last week’s contest, K-pop’s diversity – with some tunes having dark themes, while others were “cute” or sensual – is what gives him a sense of liberation.

“I like how expressive you could be,” the 19 year old told AFP last week.

“I feel like it’s a place where you could show the passion you have for music, dance or fashion. No one is bashing you for what your likes are.”

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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