My sister said, ‘it’s noon, let’s get something to eat at a hydroponic place’. Just the word hydroponic garden got me going. Growing food without soil, just water and without pesticide sounds ideal. The gardener inside of me wanted to see and taste the hydroponic greens.
Suan Pak Nam Restaurant’s seating is indoors as well as outdoors, in the midst of a garden of trees and plants. The indoor seating is in an open space, cooled by hanging plants and potted plants. Towards the back of the property are rows and rows of lettuces in hydroponic tubes. There are 4 types of lettuces, green oak leaf, red oak leaf, butter and iceberg. The greens were grown in solution without soil. They take 6 weeks to harvest. The produce is sold at the restaurant or directly to other restaurants and buyers, no shelf space in supermarkets. They also have a larger hydroponic farm in Kanjanaburi Province.
As I was flipping the menu, I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe I’m sitting here in Thailand and about to order a western meal.” I avoid western food in Thailand, not that I don’t believe that you can get great western dishes in Thailand, but that I have to satiate my desire for Thai food before going back to the US.
While most restaurants in Thailand have countless dishes, here there were no more than 10 dishes. The menu consisted only of salads, some pasta dishes and fruit smoothies to drink. I ordered squid ink spaghetti with clam sauce. It sounded good. My sister ordered salad with the same clam sauce. We also ordered Caesar salad, fusilli with ham and red sauce and brown rice with pork tenderloin. The clam sauce tasted delicious, creamy and spicy with loads of cracked pepper and garlic. Needless to say that the lettuces were sweet and crispy, like nothing I had before. This is just a step removed from eating off the (tree) hydroponic pipe.
My only complaint was that the pasta was not al dente, but the owner, Khun Tui, said the quality of the pasta was not as good as he had hoped and they could only reheat it because they lacked cooking facilities.
Khun Tui said they’d been opened for over 10 years. He asked that when I write about his restaurant, to let people know that it’s a small place and they serve mainly greens. I counted 11 tables. They also have pre-washed salad greens (picked and washed in the morning) and salad dressings that you can take home. You can also order the veggies still in their containers. I grabbed the last 2 bags of salad. That was all they had. Khun Tui said that he had 400 bags this morning. I was happy that the food was good and the restaurant ambience was peaceful; more importantly I didn’t waste my tummy space.Suan Pak Nam ร้านสวนผักน้ำAddress: 17/136 Sukonthasawat Road, Lad Yao, Chatuchak, Bangkok17/136 ถนนสุคนธสวัสดิ์ แขวงลาดยาว เขตจตุจักรHours: 11Am - 2PM Friday, Saturday and SundayPhone: 02-907-9989, 08-1816-6741Getting There: It's best to go by taxi.Get there early or make a reservation