Khun Haroon, owner of Makanan Islam Cafe, is a Thai noodle master.
He has to be one the best at what he does, or his tiny restaurant on Sai Yuan Road in Nai Harn wouldn’t be packed daily with its eclectic mix of customers.
Thais on lunch break compete with foreign residents and tourist families for a place to sit. Makanan Islam Cafe (MIC) seats between 40 to 45 covers and tables turn quickly.
It’s kind of the UN of noodle shops. On any given day you can hear a dozen languages and several regional Thai dialects spoken.
Khun Haroon mingles easily with his customers cracking jokes with Thais and taking orders in English from foreigners.
His roaring trade is based on both his welcoming demeanor and a simple one-page menu using the freshest available ingredients.
Basic noodle and rice plates all start from 60 baht US$1.85), up from a whooping 50 baht last year. Everyone pays the same regardless – no double pricing and very generous portions for his single plate meals.
Oh, and then there are his forking outstanding noodles.
Mainstays are chicken or beef with traditional choices of various width rice noodles or wheat noodles. The best seller by far is Nam Piey, stewed beef and liver in a rich gravy good enough to give you gout.
But who cares, more than half his customers are there for noodles (fried or with broth) and most are regulars who eat either one or the other daily.
MIC also has a couple of daily specials, usually with Tum Yum and Beef Massaman (120 baht) as regulars.
These are not served on top of rice like most of the menu, and Massaman is one of this fork’s all time favourites.
On top of that it smelled delicious.
It was love from first bite, obviously slow cooked overnight, giving it a texture like pulled meat sandwiches in New Orleans. It’s presented in a huge bowl with a massive serving that is best shared.
Makanan Islam Cafe is on Sai Yuan Road in Nai Harn.
Khun Haroon recently moved his outdoor signage to the other side of the restaurant, so it is dead easy to spot now. It usually opens between 9 to 10am (9am for good coffee) for food and closes when it sells out in the late afternoon.
Guests might have to queue or share tables between 11:30am to 1pm, especially during peak season. So get in there early and do so often.