Saturday, July 07, 2007
Thailand the World Kitchen, slogan of the Tourism Authority of Thailand promoting Thai food a gourmet phenomenon to the world; indeed I agree that Thailand is already the Japanese Kitchen of the World, especially in Bangkok. All regions of Japanese cuisine and specialties are waiting for your appreciation conveniently in this charming city, even easier than doing the same in Tokyo. Our Japanese friends always visit Bangkok and Phuket for few rounds of golf, or scuba diving, and then enjoy the evening with us in a Japanese restaurant from a list of unlimited choices. My friends always remind me that a decent (Japanese) dinner in Bangkok cost only half while dine same in Tokyo. So it worth them paying air fares and a few hours of flight for the joy of gourmet, and, of course tee off.
AOI arrived Bangkok humbly 2 decades ago with the emphasis of authentic Japanese cuisine the traditional way, even the decoration of AOI is classic. Although AOI tends to be a family restaurant but due to the high quality of ingredients some even flown in fresh from the Tokyo’s Tuskiji Market, the price therefore couldn’t be unreasonably low. We were better turned for AOI’s affordable lunch set.
Even during lunch, all lunch sets and meals were well-prepared showing true traditional culinary art of defined Japanese cuisine. We started with the (1) Tempura Set, it consisted a dish of deep-fried breaded prawn, a little portion of ultra fresh sashimi (raw fish fillet), and a cup of chawan mushi (steamed egg custard); followed by the (2) Tonkatsu Set, it was deep-fried breaded pork cutlet the Japanese style, crispy outside and tender inside was my comment. Each cost us around $10. A good value choice started with some more exciting meal following.
Coming next was my favorite (3) Sabusabu Seafood, the Japanese steam boat set served with home-made udon made our appetite a pleasant one. The seafood consisted of prawn, portion of crab, clam, scallop, chicken fillet and vegetables, all served fresh. The home made broth made of kombu (kelp) and dried fish brought out the taste of seafood to the high a specialty of Japanese sabusabu and nabe. Cost was around $15.
The enjoyable lunch at AOI didn’t end here. Highlight of our lunch was the (4) Yuki Lunch Set. The set was big and divided into 4 parts. First dish was the sashimi (raw fish fillet) with generous portion of tuna and the whole scallop in a shell, served ultra fresh. Then came the bento (lunch box) consisted of fine hiyayakko (chilled tofu block), tsukemono (pickled stuffs), agemono (deep-fried stuffs), yakimono (grilled stuffs), nimono (stewed stuffs), and even baked cheese kamaboko stuffs. Came third was the soup and rice, a must for Japanese meal. The soup we got was the sumashijiru (clear soup of kombu with seafood), and the vinegar rice with salmon roe. The set didn’t end here. Fruits, dessert, and iced tea (or coffee hot or cold) were included in this less than $20 Yuki Lunch Set.
If these lunch sets do draw your appetite then next time when you drop by Bangkok, try the AOI lunch set at any of its three branches, the Emporium Shopping Mall, the Siam Paragon Mall, or the Silom Soi 6 branch. By the way, dinner may be more exciting but also draw your pocket deep too.
Either warm or chilled sake (Japanese rice wine) was recommended to accompany the meal but we paid more attention to the green tea.
Our Ratings (1 to 5 the higher the better): AOI has [4.0]
(Ratings are based on Food, Service and Ambience, with Price taken into account in relation to Quality) Food =4, Service=4, Ambiance=4, Money Worth=4
Price range for two without drinks (incl. local water) in Thai Baht = BBBBB
(B=below 200, BB=201-500, BBB=501-1,000, BBBB=1,001-2,000, BBBBB=over 2,000)
Details: Open daily Lunch 11:30am-2pm, and Dinner 5:30-10pm
AOI Japanese Restaurant, 1) Silom Soi 6, 2) The Emporium, 4th Floor, 3) The Siam Paragon, G/floor. Tel.: 02- 6648590