Cannabis-infused food is definitely Thailand’s biggest non-croissant food trend of 2021 so far, and a restaurant on a popular southern island has jumped on the bandwagon.
Claiming to be the first restaurant on Koh Samui allowed to serve dishes containing cannabis, Chi Samui opened late last month with a wide range of food and drinks containing newly legalized cannabinoids, or CBD.
“We believe once people really understand and appreciate the health benefits of CBD, it will simply go from strength to strength,” said Gaetan Bertin, general manager of Chi Samui.
As with all the other new cafes and restaurants which have opened across the nation, it’s not a stoner cafe as the use of THC, the psychoactive compound of cannabis, is still prescribed in any significant quantity.
The restaurant, which is licensed to obtain cannabis leaves from a partnering university, serves a varied selection of teas, cocktails, shakes and lemonades alongside dishes such as pizza, burgers, pasta, hummus and crowd-pleasing pad kaprao– all cooked with cannabis.
In December, most bits of the marijuana plant – except the THC-rich flowers – were decriminalized for commercial use by people or organizations licensed by the health ministry to stimulate the nascent hemp industry.
Unlike THC, CBD is widely known for being an appealing alternative to relieve pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects. Bertin said he and his team have already had repeat customers drawn to its medicinal purposes.
“We already have a lot of returning customers that are enjoying the benefits of our dishes such as relieving insomnia, stress and pain,” Bertin said.
But that’s not to say there weren’t some bumps in the road, including the process to getting licensed and making sure guests understand what exactly they are putting into their bodies.
“There were obstacles in being pioneers of the cannabis menu on Samui as Thailand is just opening up, and the legal situation is still fluid,” Bertin said. “It’s our pleasure to explain and educate guests that our CBD-infused menu is healthy and has many medicinal purposes.”
Customers can sunbathe and chill next to a beachside swimming pool while sipping cocktails such as Green Goddess (hemp-infused rum, triple sec, midori, lime and cannabis leaf), Mojito Med (hemp-infused rum, brown sugar, lime, mint, cannabis leaf) and Hempius Maxiumus (hemp-infused rum, curacao, midori, pineapple juice, lime juice and cannabis leaf).
Non-drinkers can opt for lemonade or tea, available hot or iced, including Sweet Mary Jane (cannabis-infused mixed berry coulis and lemonade), Ginger Forest (tea, brewed hemp leaves, ginger and fruit) and The Magic (tea, brewed hemp leaves, cinnamon, honey and lemon).
The five-page menu goes further with big and small plates utilizing hemp leaves and CBD oil. Classic hummus gets a green update to Hemmpus, with the chickpeas infused in green curry hemp sauce and CBD oil while burger dish Canna Lickin’ Good has hemp butter on the bun and Cajun chicken breast and cannabis mayo inside. The Pimp My Pasta is chicken, sun-dried tomato and pasta tossed in a CBD oil-infused pesto.
The restaurant doesn’t serve the special recipes to customers under 25. It also advises that the CBD recipes should be avoided by pregnant women, people with impaired livers, kidneys and heart disease.
Chi Samui is located on Bang Rak Beach on Koh Samui, Surat Thani province. It’s open 10am to 11:30pm every day except Monday.
16/4 Moo 4, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani
10am-11:30pm daily, except Monday