Travel like a local

Huen Muan Jai


Very popular Northern Thai restaurant. I had cycled past it multiple times and always noticed that it looked busy. One time I arrived at 3pm but it was closed 3pm-5pm despite their official website, Google Maps, Facebook and Wongnai listings all saying that it's open all day. It is very frustrating when a big restaurant does this. What's the point of having a website if you're going to put incorrect opening times and waste the time of your customers?

I gave them a second chance and arrived on a Friday at 2pm. There were over 20 people sat waiting for a table. It's not particularly inviting or obvious what you need to do but I've been to many similar restaurants so I knew where to go to put my name on the waiting list. There were maybe 10 to 15 names ahead of me on the list, all in Thai and all in the same handwriting, but because none of the staff can speak any English, the lady handed me the list and pen to add myself.

I prepared for a long wait but for some reason I was shown to my table after only two minutes. I can only think that it's because the other people waiting were larger groups and therefore couldn't sit at the table I was using.

The menu is mostly in Thai but with some English. However, there aren't English descriptions and some items aren't translated at all, so it made ordering a little more interesting than I expected. There are photos though! I often ask staff what there favourite dishes are but that wasn't possible as my waitress couldn't speak a single word of English and I'm useless at Thai, but she pointed at a few options.

I ordered the fish laab (tasty and not too spicy), aeb pla (grilled catfish cooked in banana leaves with herbs - a little tricky with bones but worth it), egg with sweet leaves (this one didn't have any English but I recognised the picture from a dish I regularly order at TomTemToh) and sticky rice. I was a little worried but actually was very happy with all the food and it went well together!