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Phuket Lifestyle: It’s fun to eat at the ACYC

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Lifestyle: It’s fun to eat at the ACYC | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Sunday is a day when many of us generally have a lie-in, followed by a lazy morning pottering around the house, until thoughts turn to lunch. Dreamy thoughts of a traditional Sunday lunch… you know, the ones we used to have ‘back home’, with roasted meat, potatoes, peas, gravy and all the trimmings. But it’s already late Sunday morning, we live in Chalong and who’s going to cook all that?

The new team at the Ao Chalong Yacht Club (ACYC) – which recently celebrated 20 years of existence – have the answer with their soon-to-be-famous “Sunday Sessions” held between noon and 4pm every Sunday.

Award-winning chef, Kim Mitchell and his wife Amanda took over the running of the ACYC restaurant and bar 10 weeks ago and have been keeping a low profile in order to train up their six staff before launching the Sunday Sessions three weeks ago.

Kim knows exactly what a Sunday lunch should taste like having spent 35 years as a chef.

“I’ve been cooking since I was 17 and have had five of my own restaurants. My last job was as a chef in Arlie Beach, in Queensland, where we won the ‘Best al fresco dining’ award two years in a row,” says Kim in a relaxed Australian drawl.

Relaxed is also a word synonymous with this idyllic setting. The tide is out and a gentle sea breeze wafts around the well spaced out tables.

“This spot is absolutely beautiful. I’ve always worked where people like to take a holiday and always near the sea; Tasmania, Melbourne and a salmon fishing resort in Vancouver to name but a few,” continues Kim.

The restaurant is not only becoming known for its Sunday lunches but also for its extensive menu of both western and Thai food and one of the most complete breakfast menus I’ve ever seen.

Starting at 8am, on any day of the week, patrons can order anything from classic bacon and eggs (any style) with grilled tomatoes and toast (150 baht) to French toast with grilled mango and maple syrup (140 baht) to grilled polenta – whatever that is – and cheddar bread with scrambled eggs (160 baht) and there is even Vegamite available, for those who are really homesick.

“From my experience of travelling and living overseas we all crave ‘a taste of home’. Here you have to adjust the food to suit the venue, so this is not really an upmarket venue but everything is homemade, even my mayonnaise. I love food and we only use the best ingredients; New Zealand lamb; Thai pork, locally sourced fish and seafood –except for the New Zealand mussels which taste better,” says Kim before disappearing into the newly furnished kitchen to bring out another two plates which happen to be for us.

We ordered the cooked-to-perfection lamb plate served with baked potatoes; crunchy green beans; steamed carrots and peas; cauliflower cheese and roasted pumpkin together with mint sauce and gravy. The generous portion (350 baht) was just right and well presented. We wash it down with a 2010 Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (1000 baht) leaving just enough room for their homemade desserts: apple crumble for my lady and a chocolate brownie (packed with walnuts) for myself (120 baht each).

In the afterglow of such a delicious meal I finally catch up with Amanda, who, after serving her last customer, is chatting with an Australian couple a few tables away.

“We’re very happy here. It’s a peaceful spot without much passing traffic but, we do have many local regulars already and the Big Buddha is looking down on us so we feel very blessed.

“We’re confident we’re on the right track. A customer I’d never met before shook my hand recently and said ‘Thank you for a touch of Australia in Thailand’.” says Amanda.

The other Australian lady sitting at the table nods her head and adds “I just had the steak sandwich – it’s just like at home… even the chips”.

“I want to make this a fun place to come to, it’s open, there’s always a cool breeze and we have regular live music and trivia nights. We’re going to do a Christmas Day lunch here with turkey, ham and all the trimmings.” beams Amanda.

Throughout the meal guitarist and singer, Edwin, has unobtrusively serenaded us with impeccable versions of songs from Simon and Garfunkel; Sting; Neil Young; REM; U2 and Van Morrison, among others. The food and the music bring back fond memories from the past and looking around I notice that there are a fair number of older clients in evidence, although kids are also present, and have their own sand pit and play area. Around the bar several club members swap tales about their boats, which are seen bobbing within view and the place is busy but now crowded. Amanda and Kim are right, this really is a beautiful spot and I shall return to find out what polenta is.

The ACYC restaurant and bar is open every day and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8am to 9pm (click here for map). For reservations call Amanda on 0908 908 993 or visit their Facebook page: facebook.com/aochalongyachtclub.

Everyone is welcome and there is a 10 per cent discount for ACYC members.

— Marc Mulloy

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

World

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list

Maya Taylor

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The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Young Sok Yun on Flickr

The humble massaman curry has topped a list of the World’s 50 Best Foods, compiled by CNN Travel. Thailand’s coconut milk and potato-based curry (add the meat, tofu or vegetables of your choice) comes in at number 1, with 2 other popular Thai dishes also featuring. The hot and spicy shrimp soup, Tom Yum Goong, comes in at number 8, with papaya salad, aka somtam, in 46th place (mai phet please!) Tell us your favourite Thai dish, and why, in the comments section (below).

CNN Travel says its staff conducted extensive research on global cuisine to find the 50 best dishes ever created. Nice work if you can get it…

Italian pizza, Mexican chocolate, Japanese sushi, Chinese Peking duck and German Hamburger also top the delicious list.

Here’s what the writers had to say about the 3 Thai dishes that made the top taste grade…

Massaman curry, 1st place: Emphatically the king of curries, and perhaps the king of all foods. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savoury. Even the packet sauce you buy from the supermarket can make the most delinquent of cooks look like a Michelin potential. Thankfully, someone invented rice, with which diners can mop up the last drizzles of curry sauce. “The Land of Smiles” isn’t just a marketing catch-line. It’s a result of being born in a land where the world’s most delicious food is sold on nearly every street corner.

Tom Yum Kung, 8th place: This best food Thai masterpiece teems with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Usually loaded with coconut milk and cream, the hearty soup unifies a host of favourite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. Best of all is the price: cheap.

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Richard Lee on Flickr

Som Tam/Papaya salad, 46th place: To prepare Thailand’s most famous salad, pound garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle. Toss in tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, sugar cane paste, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya. Grab a side of sticky rice. Variations include those made with crab (som tam pu) and fermented fish sauce (som tam pla ra), but none matches the flavour and simple beauty of the original.

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.needpix.com

SOURCE: Thai Residents | CNN Travel

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Protests

K-Pop fans show their support for the young Thai protesters, donate 3 million+ baht

The Thaiger

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K-Pop fans show their support for the young Thai protesters, donate 3 million+ baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Fan-funded 'happy birthday' signs around Thailand's BTS and MRT station

Art meets politics again, this time with hundreds of thousands of K-Pop fans raising funds in support of the growing student protest movement in Thailand. So far they’ve raised more than 3 million baht (as of 10am this morning) but the amount is rising quickly as Thai and overseas K-Pop fans respond. The most popular band in Thailand at the moment is BTS, the South Korean septet which is currently the most popular band in the world (as of today BTS commands the Number 1 and Number 2 positions on the US Billboard singles chart).

BTS fans have so far been the largest contributors donating funds to the protest cause.

The BTS Thailand page, not to be confused with the BTS Skytrain, is urging K-pop fans to stop the practice of paying for billboards in support of their favourite idols and to celebrate the birthdays of the 7 members. RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook issued a statement on their fanpage asking fans to stop funding the BTS and MRT “inconvenienced protesters and normal citizens from getting home and putting them in danger”.

Bangkok’s two main rail systems were closed down over the weekend as police and protesters played a cat and mouse game. The protesters were withholding the announcement of protest locations to the last minute whilst police second-guessed their moves, ending up in mass inconvenience for the wider public in shutting down the entire network, including the Airport link.

“We’re calling Armys and other fans to stop buying ad projects with the BTS and MRT.” (“Army” is the name of BTS fans.

Fans of K-pop groups as well as other “idol” groups often pool their resources to purchase display ads in the MRT and BTS stations wishing their stars happy birthday or on other significant anniversaries.

It’s thought that many more millions of baht will be raised by the K-Pop fans in the next few days.

The young Thai protesters are tapping into a strong social media network, and have “weaponised” the social media and messaging platforms. The main App they are now using, to communicate their intentions, is “Telegram”, developed by a young Russian couple but now operating out of Germany. The App features encypted messages, impossible to track, and has 400 million monthly active users.

Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging, video telephony and voice over IP service with end-to-end encryption for secret chat only, whereas Cloud chat uses client-server/server-client encryption and its messages are stored encrypted in the Telegram Cloud – Wikipedia

Meanwhile, other K-Pop acts that have mobilised their fans win support include Girls’ Generation, GOT7, NCT, WannaOne, Nu’est, X1, Day 6, Red Velvet, MonstaC, Woodz, Shinee, Super Junior and R1se. We’re sure the fans of Black Pink are also contributing but didn’t have their figures available at the time of publishing. Fans of popular Thai actors and celebrities are also donating to the pool.

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Property

Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19 | The Thaiger

The Coronavirus outbreak poses challenges for Thailand’s property market as potential Chinese condominium buyers remain stranded in China. Meanwhile, some believe that the outbreak may bring opportunities for non-Chinese buyers and in the long-run, the Chinese may be looking for an overseas refuge in the event of these types of emergencies popping up again

Through all this, there will be a certain level of pent up demand for Thai real estate.

Of course, it’s not just the Chinese unable to come and inspect potential buys, the rest of the world is also mostly shut out of Thailand.

Market remains weak

The pandemic is hurting the condominium market as Chinese nationals were accounting for half of the international buyers in Thailand, or 57.6% of the total foreign condo owners in 2018.

Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Centre says that 50% of Chinese condo transfers are expected to disappear in the first 2 quarters of this year and the total transfer value by the Chinese will miss the mark of the usual 29 billion baht by about 25% (around 7 billion).

However, since Chinese property buyers only make up 6% of the total international and domestic housing transfers in Thailand, the proportion of total housing transfers in the country is likely to be similar to last year.

Developers looking to sell current stock whilst shelving new projects

CBRE reports that most Thai developers are postponing the launch of new condo projects to focus on clearing existing stock.

“Discounting completed projects to generate quick revenue as a financial lifeboat is the best solution for many of the country’s larger developers whilst the market is in limbo.”

Rathawat Kuvijitrsuwan, head of CBRE Research and Consulting in Thailand believes that, now business is gradually recovering, a few developers have started to launch new condominium projects.

“In the first half of 2020, the Bangkok condominium landscape was gloomy with fewer than 10,000 condominium units launched, which was much lower than the total number of new launches in the past three years of more than 60,000 condominium units per year.”

The Chinese are reluctant to complete transfers

The virus has continued to affect hospitality operators, including hotels and condominiums that service tourists, nationwide. Since China has suspended tours, put restrictions on movement, and locked down cities, home to over millions of people, it also poses a threat to real estate developers as their clients are unable or unwilling to fly.

“Currently multiple off-plan condominium developments are approaching completion, and Chinese clients are unable or unwilling to transfer. Chinese clients who made a reservation in Q4 2019 are requesting a refund and withholding their investment,” said Marciano Bijmohun, Business Development Director at FazWaz Property Group.

He believes every condominium that is in transfer status will see the percentage of non-transfer units rise in the coming months.

“These non-transfer units will cause a big financial hit to developers.”

If a client refuses to transfer, does not comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the sales and purchase agreement, and decides to release the property, their deposits will be forfeited.

“However, there is some good news, these non-transferred units can be offered with a discount to new clients.”

Also, as China has been susceptible to a few disease outbreaks – from bird flu to the current coronavirus – it may prompt Chinese buyers to look for second homes outside of China.

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