Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hidden Dining Jewels in Suburban Bangkok: Saen Aroy Pochana แสนอร่อย โภชนา, Udomsuk 49

Front of Saen Aroy. I do like the logo very much

Have you ever been to a restaurant in your vicinity for the first time, and realised how silly you were to not have patronised it earlier? If you have, this is the exact feeling I had after visiting this restaurant with my friend and neighbour Wendy last weekend.

Saen Aroy Pochana is a simple dining establishment along Udomsuk (by the main road before the entrance to Soi 49) serving Thai-Chinese cuisine (think Somboon or Jae Ngor). The interior is clean and simple, with a glass panel separating the dining hall from the kitchen, which makes things interesting for people like myself who like to observe the happenings in any professional kitchen. As it was our first time, we did not know what to expect. We just picked a few dishes from the list of chef recommendations and let the food do the talking.

Braised duck tongue, pretty good, but not amazing

Shrimp with Glass Noodle, there were at least 5 shrimps of this size. Pretty good, but still not the star of the show.

Simple stir-fried bittergourd shoots

Special mention has to go to the bittergourd shoots. If anyone is familiar with the standard Thai-style vegetable stirfry, you will realise that too many chefs mix the raw vegetables with all required condiments before pouring everything into a hot wok at one go to complete the cooking process. I am in no position to judge cooking methods, but this kind of Thai-style stirfry is unlikely to bring out the deep fragrance of different elements in the dish and more importantly, not able to infuse the "wok hei" ("锅气“)into the vegetables. This"wok hei" sets this vegetable dish apart from the standard vegetable stirfry in Thailand, and I am glad I found a place to enjoy it.

The unexpected star of the show, fried shrimp roll.

If a restaurant should be judged by how well it makes the simplest stuff, Saen Aroy must be up there with the best. Aside of an excellent vegetable stirfry, the best of the 4 dishes had to be this very humble deep-fried shrimp rolls. Saen Aroy's shrimp rolls taste like they are made of nothing but the freshest shrimp, minced to perfection, leaving bite-sized chunks to enhance the springy texture of every bite. I can't find the right adjectives to describe this dish, but I can only say that this is the best shrimp roll I have tasted in Bangkok and will definitely order it during all my future visits (it's THAT good).

Update on 8th December 2014

Another must-try, steamed sea bass with lemon. Very much tangier and spicier than other common more soupy versions in other restaurants. Fish is always perfectly cooked.

I have now been to Saen Aroy countless times, with family, friends and business associates. Their consistency and level of service has been commendable, and will certainly continue to be one of my top choices for dining out.

stranger in bangkok

1 comment:

  1. They really look yummy!----Have you ever been to Bang saen in Chonburi Province.The delicious fried shrimp or crab roll comes from that area.Please try some when you visit there in the future.


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