PHUKET: When was the last time you were laying on Nai Harn Beach daydreaming, "Ooh, I could really do with a grilled chicken quesadilla washed down with a pumpkin iced latte"?
Granted, it may not have been recently, but the next time you do, you can have exactly that and much more without even seeking a restaurant, it will come to you.
Indeed, when we decided to write about this brand-new Phuket food trend named Malisa & Me, they came to us on a sunny lunchtime in their shiny new van and made a lot of hungry Gazette
staff very happy.
Malisa & Me is the name of a newly opened "mobile food" venture specializing in iced coffee drinks and grilled sandwiches. Being mobile, they can visit various locations on the island, but have recently found a perfect spot on Nai Harn Beach where they are waiting for you to have just such a thought.
The Malisa & Me team is a charming couple consisting of Phuket-born Malisa Schults and her husband Dan "Me" Schultz who came up with the idea based on their own love of quality grilled sandwiches (panini) and coffee-based drinks.
"These vans are very popular in the USA, but we did not see any in Phuket and as both of us love to cook and love this kind of food we decided to start our own business," said Malisa in between preparing a delicious BBQ Pork and Coleslaw grilled sandwich (90 baht) and an Iced Caramel Macchiato (45 baht).
"Although we are mobile, we do need about three and a half square meters of space for our fold-out table and parasol and an electrical socket, which is not as easy as it sounds in Phuket," she added after serving a classic Tuna and Bacon grilled sandwich (85 baht) and a large Iced Cappuccino (75 baht) to another grateful editor.
"Although we live in Thalang, we travel each day to Nai Harn as we have found a spot there. Originally we tried attractive areas like Kata and Karon, but it is difficult to find a good place. Ideally, we would like to rent a semi-permanent space and pay a monthly electrical bill there. We also attend events like the Old Phuket Town Festival this week and private parties," said Malisa.
The sandwiches are lovingly created from only the finest ingredients including slow-cooked BBQ pork, four different cheeses, bell peppers, salsa and Paris Ham all served on toasted farmer’s bread except for the quesadilla which of course require tortillas.
For those with a sweet tooth, they even make a peanut butter and Jelly sandwich or a marshmallow, milk chocolate and Graham cracker encrusted sandwich called "S’more".
"We try to keep our prices reasonable, but as we only use the best ingredients it may appear expensive to some people – even our coffee is brewed with 100 per cent Arabica beans and mineral water," says Dan.
A quick look inside the "kitchen" and you can see that everything is spotless and
impeccable. Not surprising given that Dan used to be in the US Navy. "We hope the idea will take off and that we can create a franchise. In order for that to happen, we need to start selling more sandwiches," he adds.
So next time you find yourself craving a grilled pizza sandwich with pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce (80 baht), while near Nai Harn Beach walk on over to Malisa & Me’s van where dreams do come true.