Potential 2 hour traffic jam? 30mins minimum waiting time for your table? Not so far, but not so near to the city? You’re dependent on a taxi to bring you to Ram-Intra? Speak no Thai?
But……you’ve just landed in Bangkok, as have I, and you are craving craving craving for some seafood, local style. You’re tired, cranky, desperate in need of some stomach lovin’ and wanna boost your cholesterol levels up a notch. Do you REALLY want to come here?
These are the challenges awaiting you, should you decide to skip the tourist trap restaurants that ply Sukhumvit road and take a short taxi ride up past Ekkamai into this place called ObAroi. With the nifty map link at the bottom of this post, your taxi driver should have no time finding this joint. Chances are, he’s been there with his family and friends. Thats how local this place is. With probably more than 200 seats, its bustling like crazy.
Time your trip correctly and you will be ok. There are massage places around the corner from Obaroi where you can nip in at 5pm for 2 hours of relaxation before rocking up for dinner. This lets you avoid peak hour traffic and have dinner at 7.15pm. Perfect.
Whats the fuss all about? Can you see that orange cauldron behind that gentleman? Yes, that is a scorching fire fueled by charcoal. Your seafood sir, comes grilled to perfection on charcoal. Sea bass, cockles, river prawns, scallops. They don’t mess around here. Their menu is small and they do it all consistently well at a great price.
This fish tom yum burnt the tonsils. A few sips was unbearably painful inducing thanks to the prik ki nu suan used. These are tiny chillies, smaller than prik ki nu, the bird’s eye chilli or chili padi and pack a mean punch. It was extremely flavourful with the kaffir lime, coriander root and galangal, and strangely addictive too despite the heat.
This place serves the best stewed glass noodles. Puu ob woon sen the call it here, served with crab. The sauce is flavoured with coriander root and szechuan peppercorns, making it oh so deliciously savoury and beautiful. This is not a spicy dish at all, but so packed in flavour.
Not content with just one serving with crab, we got another with prawns, goong ob woon sen. Personally, the seafood is merely a garnish to the glass noodles, which soaks up all the sauce and drippings from the seafood they are stewed with. This is one of my favourite dishes in the Thai-Chinese repertoire and ObAroi does the best version I’ve eaten thus far.
Pla grapong tod nam pla. Deep fried sea bass served in a tangy green mango salsa. A flippin’ fresh sea bass is spliced in half, dipped in fish sauce and deep fried in a hot cauldron of oil until crispy golden outside, and steaming, fluffy and soft inside. Be sure to ask for the seafood sauce, nam chim seafood. Its made with coriander roots, coriander, lime and chilli. The perfect sauce for Thai seafood.
A dish that would make any high end restaurant proud. Charcoal grilled scallops with scallions, a dash of fish sauce and butter. Ok, so they use a butter with a bit of butter flavour added into it, but its not fine dining is it? As much as I love Echire butter and eat almost nothing else, I’d order another plate of this everytime. Did I mention that the scallops are cooked to perfection? Its cooked to the middle, with a bit of bite at first, but it gives easily to a juicy, sweet treat.
Thai style curry crab, with a curry ‘scrambled egg’ sauce. This dish wasn’t given a fair chance to my tastebuds, as I grew up on Singapore chilli crab. It was pleasant, but not something I’d order again. My favourite preparation for crab is still Puu Kai Dong, marinated raw crab.
We eat bi tter gourd here in Singapore, but why don’t we as well eat the leaves and tendrils? Cooked chinese style with garlic, soy sauce and a bit of chilli, these tendrils are crunchy and full of fantastic flavour, without the bitterness of their fruit.
ObAroi is on my Bangkok hitlist of top 10 places to eat. I used to love SornThorng in Rama 4 road, near Emporium. If I’m hankering from raw marinated prawns and crab, I go there. For other seafood, I’ll come here. Life is simple when you know where the good food is!