chef noi, phuket, nikky feeding souls

Nikky Feeding Souls Season 2, Episode 6: Cooking with Chef Noi, Thailand’s Iron Chef

As I’ve mentioned in the previous episode, we attended a cooking class on our second day in Phuket. But this was no ordinary cooking class. For one, the venue was Suay Restaurant, one of Phuket’s trendiest Asian fusion places. For another, the teacher was none other than Chef Noi, Suay’s owner and one of Thailand’s biggest celebrity chefs. It was definitely a starstruck moment.

Chef Noi fuses Thai food culture with European cooking techniques

Chef Noi, as Chef Tammasak Chootong is fondly called, truly deserves to be counted among Thailand’s top chefs. He has more than 20 years’ culinary experience in his belt. A great many of those years were spent in Europe, working in Michelin-star restaurants, in luxury hotels, and on the Queen Elisabeth II cruise liner. He trained in Germany, where he got his master’s degree in kitchen development from Ueberkingen Culinary School.

In 2010, Chef Noi stepped out on his own and established Suay Restaurant. The name “Suay” is actually an acronym for Sassy, Unique, Authentic, Yummy—four words that pretty much embody the concept behind the restaurant. There, Chef Noi puts his own spin on traditional Thai food by applying cooking techniques he picked up in the years he spent in Europe. Today, Suay Restaurant is considered to be one of the top places to eat in Phuket, praised for its delicious food and its classy ambiance. It currently has two locations: the flagship restaurant in Phuket Town and the sister restaurant in Cherngtalay.

Additionally, Chef Noi is an Iron Chef and appears regularly in Iron Chef Thailand. One of my Soul Foodies asked him what does it take to become an Iron Chef. Chef Noi replied that, for him, it’s his long-time experience in many different places and the knowledge he picked up along the way.

Chef Noi with Chef Nikky

Cooking Suay’s signature dishes

What did we cook in Suay Restaurant? Chef Noi taught us how to make three of his restaurant’s signature dishes—tom yum lobster dimsum, som tam hiso, and pad Thai.

The tom yum lobster dimsum is, as its name suggests, dimsum filled with lobster meat, served in tom yum soup. The soup, however, is not your regular tom yum soup. It tastes like tom yum, but it has a creamy bisque base. The plating is simply amazing, one you’d expect in a French restaurant.

Now, everyone knows what som tam is. It’s Thai papaya salad that’s spicy and refreshing at the same time. It’s one of my favorites. Chef Noi spins it by topping the salad with marinated, perfectly cooked ribeye steak. It’s a beautiful creation. Yum!

Chef Noi’s recipe for pad Thai is pretty simple. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity. Each bite bursts with flavor. At the same time, it’s comfort food at its best.

You’ve got to eat at Suay Restaurant whenever you visit Phuket. Make dining there a part of your Thailand travel experience.

Watch the episode here:

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