Spice Island

"A kitchen never stops evolving?it will always be a place where art is created," says Belgian chef Joeri Schreurs. That's the sort of culinary chatter you might expect to hear in the world's dining capitals?but Koh Samui? Once upon a time, the only foods associated with this backpacker destination were hallucinogenic-mushroom omelettes, street-corner noodles and barroom burgers. But today, the island off Thailand's east coast is heading upmarket. Slick new resorts are luring older, more affluent travelers, and in their wake has come an army of chefs and entrepreneurs, hoping to cash in. "Four to five years ago there were 20...

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