For a more traditional Thai dining experience, you sometimes have to get outside of the main city and head out towards the rural farm areas where a lot of the Thai traditions you here about or see on post cards still exist..including restaurants and cafes.
Huan Nam cafe (“Huan” being an Isaan word for “house”, and “Nam” meaning “water”) is as the name suggests, houses or huts on water, as this cafe sits partly over the top of a lake, and also has a number of private huts/dining areas that sit completely on top of the water. It’s these huts and the walkway over that sit above the water that gives you that traditional Thai feeling.
OK, the cafe is quite a modern cafe, and has a “class” to it, so I’m not saying you need everything this place has to offer to enjoy Traditional Thailand. In fact if you travel out further to the real country where there’s larger and natural lakes, you can find these restaurants with huts over the water in true Thai style…just don’t expect air-conditioning, comfy seating, or even a sit down toilet). If however you want the comforts of Air-conditioning and other “modern” and “classy” extras, then this place is perfect. as there’s out in the rural areas that are a poorer than other more wealthy areas, but the overall look and feel of the place has traditional touch to it.
The other advantage of this place (and also why it offers more modern features), is it’s distance from Udon Thani city. เฮือนน้ำคาเฟ่ อุดรธานี CAFE | HUAN NAM CAFE is only 1-15 minutes from Udon Thani city, so it’s customers are more likely people from the city who are more used to these modern comforts.
Although the huts are very inviting, these are “huts” with curtains/drapes as the only shade on the sides of them, so it can rather hot in the middle of day, so you may want to choose the main cafe area which offers airconditioning and a modern style of dining. The main cafe is quite large and has two sections to it. A large bright open section which where the bar/counter is as well which seats around 20 or so people, and more cosy smaller area out the back seating around 12 people or more.
This cafe isn’t a place you come to for quick bite to eat or take-away (although you could), as it’s designed to offer a real relaxing experience and has some areas around the cafe to walk around and take a look at, and as most people do, take a lot of photos. So the place seems to be built to offer its customers and experience that involves more than just a meal and/or drink/s.
I was first impressed with the design of this place, from it’s photos on Facebook…it was these that got me here for my first visit. Seeing the place in real life a little didn’t dsisapoint either, it was pretty much exactly like the photos portrayed on Facebook.
So I was already impresssed with the design and layout of the place once I arrived, but I was impressed even more once I got to see and taste the food they had on offer here as well. I order a grilled chicken breast for 180 baht, and given the whole style of the cafe I was expecting a lot of the price was probably paying for the experience and not the food….well boy was I wrong.
The chicken was a proper well sized chicken breast that wasn’t flattened like you see a lot of here. It was served on a perfectly smooth bed of Potato Mash and came with some additional garnishings and sauces that made this a 5 star meal…and I mean 5 star! Something I would expect from a 5 star resort. The presentation was spot on as well.
Everything was cooked perfectly, the chicken soft and juicy, but cooked well. The potato mash was all pillowy, smooth and very soft…almost like cream. And all the extras like the veggies and sauces were a perfect addition to compliment the meal and add that extra flavour.
I also tried the Phad Krapow chicken here as I was travelling with a friend, and although the dish was also awesome, I can’t rave about the presentation or quality of it as Thai Meals (particular phad krapow) can only be presented in so many way without going completely fancy or fusion style.
Everything here is well priced, and for a my meal, I would say EXCEPTIONALLY priced. I will be coming back here just for this dish alone….and if they weren’t out of the city, you might just find me visiting here 2 or 3 times a week.
I was impressed with everything at this place, from the arrival and seeing the setting (layout and design), to the presentation of the food, and then to the taste and quality of the meal…it was all exceptional!
What are the prices like?
Incredible! It could be the cheapest quality western style meal I’ve had in Thailand.
Where are they located?
Village No. 1 544, Nakha Subdistrict, Mueang Udon Thani District, Udon Thani 41000
It’s about 10 minutes drive heading north to Nong Khai from Udon Thani
Everyday: 9:30am – 8:00pm
check out their facebook page here
What to Expect