Maem’s Restaurant and Bar is located on the right-hand-side of Soi Bang Niang, which runs from the main Khao Lak thoroughfare to Bang Niang beach. It is a hop-step-and-jump from the Bang Niang market. Maem has been in the Khao Lak area for many years. She originally co-owned the Mars Bar and Café in Bang Niang, but then branched out on her own and opened Maem’s Restaurant and Bar in the Khao Lak centre in La On. Bang Niang, however, was calling her, so she packed her bags, as well as the restaurant, and shifted it all to the current location.
The above video shows Buddhist monks blessing and purifying the shop. The intention is to drive away bad spirits and to foster the prosperity of the business. Thailand is the second largest Buddhist nation in the world, behind only China. An estimated 93% of the Thai population is Buddhist – that’s a whopping 64 million people! And it’s very evident. Buddhist Temples are plentiful in Thailand, as are shrines which pretty much adorn every home and business in the country. There is also a much smaller contingency of Muslims, which make up approximately 4-5% of the population. Generally, Muslims are well-integrated into Thai culture. There is a strong concentration of Muslims in the southern areas of Thailand where they make up about 24% of the population.
Although Thai food features largely in Maem’s Restaurant and Bar, Maem has brought with her dishes that were served in her earlier incarnation, Mars Bar and Cafe. This includes home-made pies, freshly baked bread, and Western breakfasts that are served all day. I enjoy Thai food, and indeed eat Thai meals several times a week, but occasionally I just have to have my fill of baked beans, fried potato thingies, toast and eggs. On such occasions, I always head off to Maem’s Bar and Restaurant, where I order a vegetarian breakfast for 150 baht. This meal keeps me afloat for at least 4 or 5 days!
Maem’s Restaurant and Bar is air-conditioned and has a free Wi-Fi that is fast enough to watch broadcast football or cricket. Maem and her sister, Oi, who also works in the shop, both speak English fairly well, so there are no problems when wanting to order something a little different from the menu. They also engage customers with much verve and appreciation. There might be many things to do in Khao Lak, but when it comes to wanting to relax and enjoy a decent meal, whether Thai or Western, Maem’s Restaurant and Bar is the place to go.