Finding a hidden gem for cuisine in Asia
In cities that are full of culinary delights, discovering unique and exciting places to dine can be one of the greatest joys of travelling.

At Secret Tables, we unveil the essence of Asia through food, spending time scouring the landscape for places of interest and discovering hidden gems.

We delight in handpicking independent restaurants with core values that embrace sustainability, fair wages and career paths for young local people, and we invite adventurous diners to join us on a journey of gastronomy to somewhere unexpected.

Imagine arriving at a towering Bangkok high-rise apartment building, wondering where your restaurant is located. That’s exactly the type of surprise chef Steven John Hurni likes to present his guests when he invites them to join his private chef’s table.

Chef Steven has converted the main room of a Bangkok high-rise into a cosy dining room, where he likes to convey a feeling of being out in nature, whilst living in an urban jungle. Empty Plates is more than a restaurant, it is literally a private chef’s dining room, situated in a home-like atmosphere where enjoying and sharing food is the most important part of the experience.

As all the ingredients are mainly sourced locally, a strong Thai influence is distinct within the cuisine, however the menu cannot be easily labelled. Technique and presentation comes from an abundance of different influences, including Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, French and Swiss.

Chef Steven’s focus is on everyday ingredients that guests can relate to, but he shows his guests how these foods can be used and eaten differently. He also aims to use lesser-known or underutilised local ingredients that he receives from farmers or finds at the fresh markets. The menu is created daily, based on the information he collects from his guests.

Indulge your sense of mystery at a private dining experience, encompassing beautiful views over the Bangkok skyline and enjoying food inspired by the chef’s childhood memories.
Set high in the rugged mountains of southern Taiwan, Chef Alex Peng decided to open a small restaurant in his Rukai homeland, in a small village called Guchabo'an, precisely to make the journey part of the experience.

His desire is to create a holistic dining atmosphere whereby the commitment of making a reservation and travelling for some time to a different space and environment, alters the overall mood and perception.

The word “AKAME” means grilling, in the language of the Taiwanese indigenous Rukai tribe, and chef Alex presents modern aboriginal cuisine, designed to reinterpret Taiwan’s indigenous foods.

Chef Alex dedicates his time to gathering the ingredients for his kitchen from across Taiwan, often from some of the most remote of places in the country, and cooks by grilling on a traditional wood-fire brick oven using only seasonal foods, along with characteristic spices and wild herbs from the surrounding hills and forests.

Food prepping is intensive, since some of the ingredients are rare and can only be found in remote areas.

Chef Alex explains, “We use a lot of wild herbs from the mountains. Some are difficult to source, so we get friends who are familiar with the mountain environment to help us find them. For example, we use prickly ash leaf and flower, mountain asparagus, five-needle pine, and seeds from the nutgall tree.”

Embrace the mountain journey and adventure of discovering the ancient aboriginal culture of southern Taiwan through food and travel at AKAME.
Chef Num follows a philosophy of discovering forgotten foods and plants from by-gone eras and brings this passion and curiosity back to the tables of his guests. His culinary skills focus on traditional Thai cuisine re-created using the twists and turns of modern technique. Num believes that cuisine itself is a rich form living history and is fascinated by the challenge of bringing the past to meet the present in order shape the next chapter of Thai cuisine.

80% of the produce used by Samuay & Sons is grown in the local organic farm, and the remaining foods are found from many sources such as foraging in special educational events held across different parts of Thailand.

Samuay & Sons is located in Isan (north-east Thailand) in the province of Udon Thani, near the heart of the old khmer kingdom. Away from the usual tourist paths of Thailand, guests must be a little more adventurous in order to discover this rare and magnificent dining gem. Upon arrival, you will find no signs at the entrance written in English and while Samuay & Sons is hidden, there is certainly nothing to hide.
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Travel Asia with Secret Retreats

Secret Retreats is a curated community of independent boutique hotel, villas, yachts and river boats keen to share their Asian Homes with travelers, sustainably and responsibly. Conservation of the environment, culture and traditions of Asia is of paramount importance to all in Secret Retreats. A community of like-minded hospitality professionals, we offer our guests authentic travel experiences that go beyond typical offerings to unveil the essence of Asia. Supporting the Asia based hoteliers and hospitality professionals and providing incredible holidays in Asia and tailor-made Asia travel itineraries direct to public ad travel agents.
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