Hungry holidaymakers should head to Hua Hin
By Bruce Scott
The obvious attractions for weekend wanderers making a trip to Hua Hin are that this seaside resort town has great hotels, a beautiful beach, and it’s a fairly painless drive to and from Bangkok. But over the years the dining, café, and nightlife scene in Hua Hin has grown considerably—meaning you can be wining and dining at the same time you’re unwinding.
Dine Along the Beach
When five of Hua Hin’s leading international resorts join forces to launch a special group dining experience together, you know they’re cooking up something good, and the appropriately named Dine Along the Beach experience definitely delivers an evening that is as tasty as it is out of the ordinary.
Launched on the 1st of June 2017, this creative culinary journey along the coast features the combined kitchen talents from the Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa, the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort, the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, and the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa. The chefs and their teams have banded together to create a unique four-hour dining journey wherein guests pay one set price—B2,499 net per person, which includes wine pairings—but dine at five different luxury hotel restaurants. And to add to the enjoyment, your between course time is spent strolling along the beach to the next property (where the next course awaits).
This group event takes advantage of Hua Hin’s stunning beachfront location, with the tables and chairs at each station set up either right beside the beach, or right on the beach. The size of the group will be 50 persons maximum (approximately 10 guests per hotel), which makes it both manageable and great for mingling. The general camaraderie that develops over the course of the night means that by the end you should have 49 new best buddies.
The evening begins at 5pm at the Hyatt Regency with a starter of fresh Hua Hin scallops and smoked snapper, with beetroot salad tartare, horseradish crème fraîche, and egg roe. The hotel’s Executive Chef Christoph Trocker (left) has a passion for creating dishes that enhance the natural flavours found in local foods, and he makes it a point to work with local farmers and fishermen. The first course wine pairing is a sparkling Monsoon Valley Blanc de Blancs Brut and, in fact, all wines served during the course of the evening are from this renowned local Hua Hin winery.
At about 5:30pm diners rise from their tables and stroll together along the beach to the next stop on the journey, the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort where Italian Executive Chef Riccardo Ioanna greets diners with his tantalizing spinach cannelloni, stuffed with braised cinnamon lamb loin, madeira reduction, and crumbled goat cheese (all paired with a 2016 Monsoon Valley White Shiraz). This first beach jaunt is the longest of the four in-between course strolls, and it will definitely work up an appetite.
The next stop is the recently relaunched Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa, and here Executive Chef Mario Hofmann welcomes diners with a fantastically flavourful main course of perfectly prepared fillet of sea bass with crispy bacon, a divine truffle potato mousseline, parsley emulsion, and black tuille (paired with a 2016 Monsoon Valley Colombard). It’s a magnificent meal!
The second main course is prepared and presented at the Coast restaurant at the stunning and historic Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin. Here Executive Chef Steffan Hoffer shares some of his German upbringing with a combination plate featuring slow-cooked beef short rib, German spätzle pasta, baby vegetables, and mushrooms—all paired with a deep red 2015 Monsoon Valley Shiraz (pork or chicken substitutions to the beef are available upon request).
At about 8:30pm diners move to the last remaining location—the very close at hand Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa—where dessert awaits at the hotel’s beachfront Chay Had restaurant. Executive Chef Phillip Maus tops the evening off with a Bavarian style tap sakae coconut parfait with raspberry, nicely paired with a 2016 Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc dessert-style wine. In addition to dessert, diners are treated to an exciting beachfront fire juggling act.
Diners partaking in Dine Along the Beach will cover about 4 km on foot, and since walking barefoot on the beach is encouraged, bags are provided for carrying your shoes. The event itself is a wonderful way to meet new people, enjoy the evening ocean breezes, and test the talents of some of Hua Hin’s best chefs.
NOTE: Dine Along the Beach will take place on the first Thursday of the month, until September 2017. For information, or to make reservations, call 03 252 1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foodie Food Tours
If you want to “eat like a local” try one of the several innovative dine and discover tours operated by Feast Thailand Food Tours. The company, started by a husband and wife team from Melbourne, introduces guests to dishes they may not know, and educates them about Thai food (even long term residents in Thailand have been surprised by some of the things they discovered while taking these tours).
The company offers a number of specialized excursions—information about each is available on the company’s very informative website—but a good place to start is the 3.5 hour Foodies Food Tour, which is priced at a very reasonable B1,500 per person. The tour begins with a traditional Thai breakfast, before moving on to a guided tour through Hua Hin’s famous 100-year-old Chat Chai Wet Market, and concludes with a stroll up Naeb Kehardt Road. Along the way, the informative English-speaking Thai tour guide answers any and all questions relating to the food being sampled.
“It’s not only about finding restaurants or vendors that have great tasting food,” explains owner Leigh Higgins. “The food needs to be consistently good, and the standards have to be high when it comes to food preparation and hygiene. We tasted and visited every place several times, talked to the owners, and looked at how they operated. Our Thai staff were also crucial in this decision making process as well, as they also would only eat where its tasty and prepared fresh.”
For more information call 03 251 0207, or visit the website at www.feastthailand.com
Be Seen at SeenSpace
Opened last April, the ultra-hip SeenSpace Hua Hin—designed by the same team behind Thong Lor’s perpetually popular SeenSpace—is a 7,200 sq.m beachside lifestyle mall, located on Hua Hin Soi 35 (Liebwang Nue Rd). It combines shopping and dining with plenty of niche market boutiques and a few names familiar Bangkok’s food and drink connoisseurs (HOBS, Greyhound, Fin Seafood Bar, etc). There’s also lots of outdoor lounge space—and cool beanbag chairs for lounging upon—as well as a large ocean-facing swimming pool surrounded by daybed loungers, deck chairs, and small tables. Apart from the huge array of restaurants, there’s some cool stores worth checking out including a vintage vinyl shop.