Weekly Journal

What to Eat on Your Writers’ Retreat: 4 icy treats near The Content Castle

15th June 2017

A writers’ retreat on a tropical island is a wonderful thing. There’s nothing like beautiful beach vistas, coconut-scented breezes, and that laid-back island atmosphere for inspiring writing. There’s just one problem with the tropics: it gets really hot here! Luckily, frozen drinks and confections are chock-a-block in Thailand, so you’re never far from sweet, icy relief. Here are four such soothing treats within walking distance of The Content Castle, all outfitted with aircon and comfy seating so you can set up a temporary writer’s studio right while you eat.

1. Kakigori at Lamellow

This adorable little cafe is located right down the hill from the Samui Courthouse, so you’ll often see government workers in miraculously sweatless suits and dresses taking their coffee breaks on their terrace. You probably won’t look quite as crisp as them when you straggle in after your twenty-minute walk from the Castle, but you can remedy that with a heaping bowl of kakigori. Their rendition of the Japanese shaved-ice dessert comes topped with anything from fresh lychee to piles of chocolate cookies and cake. Enjoy one as you gaze over the nearby lily pond and listen to their soundtrack, which features jazzy renditions of the inspiring writing of such luminaries as Wham and Culture Club. If you’re in need of a more medicinally potent treat, try the “Hangover Cure”: a blend of fruits, herbs, and Betagen yoghurt drink. It is much more delicious than it sounds, and also works for writer’s block.

Enjoy tasty Bingsu at Koh Bingu. It is so yummy! 

2. Bingsu at Koh Bingsu

This air-conditioned spot a few feet from the Castle serves bingsu, the Korean version of Japanese kakigori. Their menu isn’t as extensive as Lamellow’s, but it’s just as satisfying. You can get your soft, snowlike ice topped with fragrant mango, green melon spheres, rainbow stripes of fruit-flavored syrup, or even a pile of luridly lavender sweet potato (when it’s in season). They also blend seasonal fruits into refreshing juices and smoothies — try the passionfruit shake, a tangy treat punctuated with poppy little seeds. Plus, it’s generously air-conditioned and complete with outlets, making it a great remote writer’s studio.

“Luckily, frozen drinks and confections are chock-a-block in Thailand, so you’re never far from sweet, icy relief.”

3. Coconut Ice Cream at Guan Yu Coffee

You can find coconut ice cream at almost every tourist destination in Thailand. Much of the time, it’s your usual dairy ice cream served in a hollowed-out young coconut — delicious, but not particularly exciting. This stall adjacent to the Guan Yu temple scoops up the real deal: ice ‘cream’ made with pure coconut milk and topped with your choice of sundries: preserved palm nuts, cubes of colorful jelly, or crunchy peanuts. For more adventurous palates, they also offer equally-pure durian ice cream. The owner is a friendly, grandfatherly type who loves to gossip about his neighbours to anyone who drops by. His free-flowing stories are an even better remedy for writer’s block than the ice cream.

Buy some refreshing coconut ice-cream and explore the island!

4. Gelato at Leonardo Gelateria Italiana, Lamai

If you’ve got the kind of craving that only real ice cream will cure, take a short songthaew ride to this gelateria about 2 km north of the Castle. Leonardo’s has been a centre point of Lamai since French chef Philippe opened it in 1974, and it remains one of the best scoops of ice cream you can get on the island. The namesake Leonardo Da Vinci was known for his frequent attacks of the artist’s version of writer’s block, but even he would be cured by the creative energy behind these flavours: the board recently featured lemongrass, mojito, and white chocolate with passionfruit. The space is decorated artfully enough to serve as the most aesthetically picky writer’s studio, with elegant Thai weavings and rattan chairs. Even the shop’s location encourages creative fertility; it’s near the famously suggestive Hinyai and Hinta rocks, an inspiring writing spot if I ever saw one.

Would you like to treat yourself to an experience even more inspiring than the best bowl of ice cream? Check out a residency or workshop at The Content Castle today!

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