Ae Seafood, Chulalongkorn Soi 14, Bangkok, Thailand
Nearest Train:BTS National Stadium
Opening Hours:daily 6-11:30pm
Price Range:B - BB
Reservation recommended, Parking available
Ae Seafood scores zero for ambiance, but if you are looking for fresh seafood at bargain-basement prices, this place does the trick. Don’t expect stunning riverside views, a cool air-con dining room, or plush comfy seating—this is more of a sixth date kind of place. Ae Seafood is just a grungy streetside shophouse with a handful of tables and red plastic chairs haphazardly scattered, worn-out hand-written menus taped to the walls and a small grill parked in front. A humming ceiling fan whirls overhead, while motorbikes race by outside. This eatery attracts two distinct types of customers: the quick dash-in lunch crowd who flock here for kaphrao kai khai dao (and try their best not to spill it on their yellow shirts), and the lingering dinner crowd. The evening meal is the highlight, when diners drop by for fresh seafood and icy beer (Leo, Singh). Though Ae Seafood is near Chulalongkorn University, don’t expect to rub elbows with fresh-faced uni students—they hardly make an appearance at this shabby eatery. Instead, the regulars are made up of neighborhood aunties and some office workers in the know, who are so dedicated to the delectable food that they’re willing to endure the steamy, sweltering setting. Short and simple, the menu features only 15 homestyle seafood dishes. The staff is comprised of only two kind aunties and Ae, the young talkative owner/cook with a Jatukam chain, who maintains quality control by manning the grill’s helm himself. The food here is simple and basic. Flavors don’t compete as the ingredients are left to speak for themselves. The grilled cockles were succulent and juicy, while prawns were grilled to perfection with the head intact, allowing the fatty juices released from the head to enhance the prawn’s natural moisture and sweetness. Mussels can be steamed with lemongrass and sweet basil leaves or baked with garlic butter sauce—both ways are delicious. Salt-coated roasted sea bass (depending on the size) was also fresh and sweet. Poo op wunsen (whole crab baked in a pot with glass noodles) might not reach the Somboon standard, but at this price, you can’t really complain. If you’re lost, ask around for “the koong op wunsen place with a handsome owner.” According to Ae, that should do the trick. So if you’re willing to eat in an unattractive setting, Ae Seafood is a great place to go if you crave seafood but don’t want to pay fine-dining prices. Don’t forget a handkerchief. You’ll need it. No corkage.