Are you on the hunt for a hip new restaurant? Now’s a great time to jet set away to Thailand, where recent monsoons have foodies flooding to one riverside restaurant’s outdoor dining for a dive-and-dine experience that really makes a splash.
Having secured a prime location along the Chao Phraya River in Nonthaburi, Thailand, television presenter-turned-restauranteur Titiporn Jutimanon had high hopes for his first dining endeavor, Chaopraya Antique Café, when it opened back in February.
Things quickly turned grim for the new restaurant after a series of tropical storms and monsoon downpours raised the river’s water levels so high that they flooded Chaopraya’s deck to the point where high tides continue to roll into the watering hole on the daily.
Rather than throw in the towel, Jutimanon leveraged the Thai media to transform the vacant chairs and tables into an underwater dining experience described as “hot-pot surfing,” during which diners partially submerge themselves in the pool of river water while served by wait staff clad in rubber boots.
Reservations for the flooded feast begin shortly after the tide takes over the restaurant deck, which is quickly filled with curious patrons chowing down as if sitting in the midst of a 20-inch puddle is par for the course.
“This is a great atmosphere. During this flood crisis, this has become the restaurant’s signature attraction,” said 24-year-old customer Siripoj Wai-inta of the experience.
Chaopraya’s wet and wild wonderland gets an added splash every 15 minutes when passenger boats cruise by, sending waves barreling into diners looking to hang ten.
Though his vision for Chaopraya may have taken a dive, Jutimanon is thrilled that he seized the opportunity to take the restaurant world by storm — and keep his staff employed during the pandemic.
“It turns out the customers have a great reaction. They are happy. We can see the atmosphere of customers enjoying the experience of eating in the water. So a crisis has turned into an opportunity. It encourages us to keep the restaurant open and keep customers happy,” he told AP.
By Megan Yani, contributor for Ripleys.com