International

At Flooded Restaurants Near Bangkok, There’s a Special Splash

By The Associated Press

Nonthaburi: A flood-hit riverside restaurant in Thailand has become an unlikely dining hotspot after fun-loving foodies flocked to its submerged deck to eat amid the lapping tide.

Now, instead of empty chairs and empty tables, Chaupraya Antique Café is as full as ever, offering an experience the canny owner calls “hot-pot surfing.”

If you love washing down your food with plenty of water, then this is the place for you.

Immediately after the water comes over the parapet, the first diners arrive. Before long, the deck is filled with carefree customers who are chugging along happily as if dining at the deluge is the norm.

The wait staff – some clad in rubber boots – step gingerly through the whirlpool rapidly rising to more than 50 centimeters (20 in).

The restaurant, in Nonthaburi, near Bangkok, opened in February in a riverside location that perfectly complements its ancient architecture and decor.

But the recent severe tropical storm and heavy monsoon rains have combined to raise the water level of the river. Add to that the tides and the result has been daily flooding.

Coming straight after a month-long coronavirus shutdown, it could have spelled disaster. Instead – fueled by publicity in the Thai media – it is now so popular that customers are required to make reservations.

“It’s a nice ambiance. This has become the highlight of the restaurant during this flood crisis. So I wanted to challenge myself and try this new experience,” said 24-year-old Siripos Wai-Inta. Crawling his shin was chewing his food with water.

The owner has dubbed the experience “hot-pot surfing.” When a passenger boat passes the motor you know why. The pleasant scramble to avoid getting wet by the wave is the moment everyone waits for, and no one goes home disappointed after one passes every 15 minutes.

It is TV presenter Titiporn Juttimann’s first restaurant venture. He says he was worried about what would happen if the floods hit.

“It turns out that there is a good response from the customers. They are happy. We can see the atmosphere of the customers enjoying the experience of eating out in the water. So the crisis has turned into opportunity. It is helping us to keep the restaurant open and keep the customers open. encourages you to be happy.”

He says the best thing he can do is keep his employees happy by hiring them. So, even in the midst of harsh economic times, the only thing that needs a bailout are restaurants.

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