Bangkok’s new flooded catering concept
Bangkok is getting a new attraction – Chaopraya Antique Cafe – just in time for Malaysians who can now travel abroad for leisure.
A Thai restaurant has taken water-view dining to the next level – its patrons perch precariously on wooden stools as the murky, brown floodwater laps over their tables. Tropical Storm Dianmu and heavy monsoon rains caused flooding in 33 provinces of Thailand, inundating more than 300,000 households and killing nine.
Bangkok’s waterfront areas are bracing for flooding in the coming days and more storms are expected to hit the kingdom next week. But the crisis has been a boon for the Chaopraya Antique Cafe in Nonthaburi, part of Bangkok’s vast sprawl upstream from the city center.
Afternoons and evenings, the restaurant is packed with diners munching on miang kham, a fiery appetizer wrapped in leaves, giggling and jumping in their seats as boats and rice barges cruise along the Chao Phraya River. , sending waves of caramel-colored water towards them. When the flooding started, the owner, Titiporn Jutimanon, intended to close the restaurant, but soon realized that customers weren’t afraid of being surrounded by water.
“The concept was spread by word of mouth from customers,” he told AFP, adding that images of the quirky restaurant quickly began to rage on social media. Restaurants in Bangkok and other hot spots have started to move in and out of on-site dining restrictions this year as a deadly third wave of coronavirus infections takes hold.
Authorities in Thailand authorized the resumption of on-site meals in September, as part of an easing of restrictions, with new cases falling to around 10,000 per day, from a peak of 23,000 in August. According to the Thai Restaurant Association, around 50,000 restaurants have closed permanently, and Titiporn is grateful for being able to keep its doors open.
“If I were to close the restaurant again, it wouldn’t survive for sure,” he said. Running a flooded restaurant is labor intensive, noted Titiporn. “You have to make your way through the flood waters while holding the customers’ food,” he said, adding that the staff also had to mop up the mud at the end of the day.
The experience has proven popular with young people and families. “The economy is doing pretty bad these days… I think it’s a really good idea. The owner turned the crisis into an opportunity, ”said client Neung, 49.
Health authorities in many countries advise people not to expose themselves or swim in flood waters. Faeces from overflowing sewage, chemicals and industrial wastes can cause disease and skin infections can occur from open wounds.
Images of heroes and stars by Antique cafe of Chaopraya. The story is published via AFP Relaxnews