Fifteen years ago, Ob Aroi was a food stall selling seafood with only four tables. Today, try swinging by on weekends and you’ll find it’s positively heaving. The restaurant holds almost 100 tables in two zones: open air and air-con. Neither is fancy nor charming, just a bustling canteen vibe with your typical seminar chairs indoors and plastic ones outside. You guessed it: people come here for the food. The seafood’s freshness is impeccable, as you can see from the plamuek nung manao (squid in lime and herbs, B160)—naturally sweet and accompanied with tangy lime sauce. The same goes for the kung sadung (grilled prawns topped with chili and herbs, B160). They don’t look exciting but they taste great. The prawns are cooked just right and the sauce doesn’t overpower their natural flavor, creating a balance that’s both mild and yet lip-smackingly flavorful. While the grilled river prawns served with seafood sauce (B550) look like every other version of this simple barbeque dish, they too dazzle the palate. It’s actually not that easy getting the prawns cooked with smoky char-grilled notes while still keeping the flesh tender and juicy. Moreover, every single prawn we ordered came with abundant amounts of fat in the head. The poo ob woonsen (steamed crab with vermicelli, B250) is also lovely, with wonderfully moist noodles and fresh crab. On our last visit, our only letdowns were the pla krapong tod nampla (deep-fried seabass in fish sauce, B250), which could have used better fish sauce, and the recommended mango and sticky rice (B120). In both cases, you’ve definitely had better elsewhere. Still, Ob Aroi’s consistency and reasonable prices warrant the trek to its far-flung location.
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