Phuket Epic Food: Spanish Paella Rice at Dream Beach Club

The premise of the Phuket Epic Food series is simple – we focus on the remarkable. Which is why the food we present here is often anything but simple. Only the most extraordinary, striking, delightful, or in other words, epic dishes served at Phuket restaurants make it onto our list. This isn’t your daily bread, but meals for a special occasion.

How then do rice and seafood fit into that equation? Because, at its heart, that’s what this Paella is – rice with seafood. Remarkable? Extraordinary? Aren’t rice and seafood some of the easiest available ingredients in Phuket? Yes, they are, but creating an Epic Dish takes more than great ingredients; it takes knowledge, creativity, and skill. Dream Beach Club Executive Chef Kiattisak “Eak” Yeechun has got it all.

He begins preparing his Paella by selecting excellent produce; both local, including freshly caught Andaman seafood; and imported, most importantly spices, such as Spanish saffron and hot, smoked Spanish paprika. Those are then mixed with freshly-cooked arborio rice and lots of crispy-fresh, sun-kissed vegetables. But to say “mixed” is to lessen chef’s Eak’s craft – he adds these ingredients to the smoking hot cast iron skillet in a specific order, designed to extract maximum amounts of flavour from each of them, while creating a perfectly balanced concoction. It’s that knowledge of what goes when into the pan, as well as details such as a high flame used at the exact right time to create a socarrat – Catalan for a layer of flavorful toasted rice on the bottom of the pan, that makes this rice with seafood and Epic Paella and not just, well, rice with seafood.

The ready dish that lands on the table, served in the hefty cast iron pan that it’s been cooked in, is aromatic beyond belief and no less colourful, the texture is creamy but never mushy and the seafood is cooked to perfection – a beautiful tribute to the Spanish sun and the Andaman sea.

But it’s also more. I’ve seen each ingredient go separately, at its own precisely selected time, into the pan. Yet on my plate, all of them belong perfectly together, as if they’d never been apart. This translates into the way this paella should be enjoyed – together with friends. There’s enough of it for three people to share and fill up on. And later, as they leave the table, they’ll all be thinking: “Wow, what an Epic meal that was!”  

Book a table on 0980483500 or visit dreambeachclub.com for more info.

Maciek Klimowicz
Maciek Klimowicz

Maciek Klimowicz is the former Editor in Chief at Real Life Phuket. Food, wine, culture and travel are some of the things he enjoys and writes about. Contact Maciek on klimowicz.maciej@gmail.com

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