Almost hidden in a corner at Le Meridien Phuket is a treasure of Japanese
culture, the Ariake restaurant where each night Chef Manee Emamorn presides over
the tempura and teppanyaki table.
"We have copied an authentic Japanese
restaurant with three stations. The first is for sushi and sashimi. Our Japanese
guests can experience their cuisine using local fresh fish from the surrounding
Andaman Sea. The second station is the quick fry teppanyaki table where I prepare
traditional delights as squid, salmon, snapper, beef, chicken, prawn and pork
when the guest orders. The third station is for the delicious soups such as miso
and kitsune udon which I prepare each day.
Chef Manee was born in Saraburi
Province and while a young teenager his family sent him to Bangkok to apprentice
in the Kobe Steak House in Siam Square. He quickly learned the art of preparing
the cuisine that satisfied the numerous Japanese businessmen that he served.
I never learned to cook Thai food as I have spent twenty years perfecting the
tastes of Japanese flavors which are very light" comments Chef Manee. "The
quick fry of fresh foods keeps the cuisine very healthy yet very simple."
developed such a renown reputation in the kitchen that when the Japanese ambassador
to Nepal was appointed, he recruited Chef Manee to work in the embassy in Kathmandu
for over two years.
"When I needed to find a chef for the Ariake, I put the word out
to recruiters who instantly told me that Chef Manee was the best in the country,"
confides Executive Chef Antoine Rodriquez, who directs the operations in Le Meridien
The Ariake is designed like a garden in the night with
a walkway that meanders around the seating. Two enclosed tatami rooms give privacy
of small groups of up to ten people.
"We've opened the Ariake two nights
a week with a delicious buffet of sushis, salads, soups, bbq teppanyaki and desserts
such as kakigori, crushed ice with various syrups," explains Chef Manee.
"This buffet allows someone not familiar with Japanese food to enjoy the
variety and subtlety of a range of sushis as our recommended seafood tamaki where
I combine shrimp, crab, crab eggs and imported seaweed into an irresistible combination."
Japanese dinner is complete without traditional sake. This has been Japan's national
drink for over a thousand years closely linked with the religious and social life
of the people. Sake is made from fermented rice and is colorless with a fairly
sweet flavor and a bitter aftertaste. At the Ariake, it is kept at the correct
temperature by a special heater imported from Japan.
Guests to Ariake will
be charmed by the servers who wear traditional Japanese kimono which gives an
air of authenticity to the room.
"I have worked in the top Japanese
restaurants in Thailand and I think the cuisine and service at Ariake competes
with the best" states Chef Manee. "I invite you to try our special buffet
on Wednesday and Saturday. You won't find a better Japanese experience on Phuket.
here for more information about Le
Meridien Phuket Resort