Thais are not just looking for delicious foods but also for a different experience. Flood dining is the new trend among restaurants in Thailand.
Restaurateurs are taking advantage of the tropical storm and heavy monsoon rains. These atmosphere disturbances caused nearby rivers to rise and flood the restaurant. However, this does not deter hungry customers from sitting down and eat despite the rippling tide.
New Flood Dining Experience
They say that every storm has a silver lining. The saying proves true when locals flock to the Chaopraya Antique Café to experience a different ambiance in flood dining. The owner even called it “hot-pot surfing.” The said restaurant opened in February. Its riverside spot perfectly enhances its antique structure and decor.
Just recently, a violent tropical storm along with monsoon rains caused the Chao Phraya river to rise. Adding to the deluge are tides resulting in an overflowing river. It is a disaster after months of shutdown due to the Covid-19 virus.
However, what happened is entirely the opposite. Instead of closing again, flood dining has become popular in the region. Customers who want to dine must book for reservation.
“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,” said 44-year old proprietor Titiporn Jutimanon.
The flood dining customers move quickly to avoid saturation from the bow waves. It is the instant that everyone is waiting for. With a wave that passes every 15 minutes, no one goes home upset.
He added that he keeps his staff happy because they can continue working in his eatery. Despite the disagreeable economic times, he can still keep them.
Videos went viral on social media where customers were happy with their flood dining. They don’t mind sitting on wet chairs and stand up when waves from passing boats soak them. Customers laugh when waves knock on the wooden seats they are sitting on.
One customer said that it is very rare for them to go flood dining and had to try it out. Another said he wants to challenge himself while the water creeps up his shin.
Another Storm Churning
Thailand is preparing for another storm yet to come. Tropical storm Lionrock will bring more precipitations to the northeastern region. At the same time, a strong monsoon will cause heavy rainfalls in southern Thailand, said the Thai Meteorological Department.
The government agency has already disseminated flood warnings to several districts and provinces. Most of these areas are still submerged in water because of the previous storms that hit the region.
This year’s flooding is not as severe compared to 2011, which affected an area 50 times larger. However, the dwindling situation may affect a burgeoning recovery in the economy. The country’s financial system is already dealing with skyrocketing energy costs and a weaker baht.
The flooding might downsize gross domestic product by at least 0.2% point this year. There will be more if the imminent storm wreaks more havoc.
Thailand suffered from consecutive severe droughts., which affected crops, including rice and sugar. Since the third week of September, the inclement weather has impacted over 300,000 households in 33 provinces.
The economic losses due to the flooding could reach 20 billion baht ($591 million). Half of which is from the agricultural sector.