Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Aroi, Mai Peng: Mr. Meng’s!

My new favorite restaurant, Mr. Meng’s! “Aroi, mai peng,” means delicious, not expensive. (Forget the tones, you can figure them out on your own.) It’s a chain of some kind, I’m not sure where it originated. I only know of one location, Centron (Central) World in Bang Na, Bangkok.

It’s the first time I ever ate what is called “soft shelled crab.” When I had seen it previously on menus in America, or otherwheres, I always thought, sure, soft shell, but it’s a crab! How soft can it be! At Mr. Meng’s, his happy, smiling face reassured me that it would be ok. And it was! Soft shelled crab over noodles with yellow curry, delicious, 98 Baht, about three dollars. The most expensive thing on the menu. Like Arnold said, Ah’ll Be Back.


Anonymous said...

Fred! You never had soft shells back in College PoinT?! What a gastrononimcally deprived life you led... My favorite meal, every birthday I would go up to The Five Corners restaurant and get 2 deep-fried crabs on toast with tartar sauce, ketchup, lemon and a side of fries! Pure ambrosia! Only $3.50in 1964. They are almost impossible to get now, and they cost an arm & a leg. Blue Eastern crabs were the best.

fred c said...

Nope, never had it. I was not an adventurous eater at all, I only learned over the long haul that many things that sound a little weird are really very good.

Your Birthday meal sounds great, though. I remember that the Five Corners had a great kitchen (and a nice collection of deer skulls).

nanute said...

And, it isn't the 5 Corners anymore. It recently changed hands, and is now called the Merseyside Pub. No crabs on the menu, sorry Ed.Best Known For...
Fish & Chips




Shepherd's Pie

Pork Chops





Daily Specials

Friendly Staff

Affordable Prices

Relaxed Atmosphere
You can still find Giddy McGowan there.

fred c said...

Thanks for the update, Nanute. Sounds like it might still be worth a try.

From the menu, I might surmise that the cook staff are Mexicans. People complain bitterly about Mexican immigrants but I have always found that they are great workers who love America. In L.A. I go to a great Italian place (Alejo's, even a Mexican name!) and a great Thai place (Ananjak Thai) where the whole cook staff are Mexican. The food is authentic, and great.

nanute said...

It's probably a safe bet that there are Mexicans in the kitchen. There are quite a few in town now days. Maybe it is to cater to the population as well. You are right: they (Mexicans) work hard and do love America. I think that is part of the reason that the "anglos" don't care for them.

My condolences on your loss of the "best man." On the local scene, Jimmy Krueger passed on this week. He's a bit older than you and I,but I thought you might know him, or recognize the name.

fred c said...

I remember the first "taco" place in College Point: not a Mexican in sight and the tacos tasted like Italian food, 1984 I think.

I spent my first five or eight years in California supervising people in warehouses, and I fell in love with Mexican employees. They worked hard, showed up even if they were on death's door, never complained, and loved this country. I know more Mexicans with American flag tattoos than I know "Americans" with 'em. Check the rolls of Medal of Honor winners if you doubt the patriotism of Hispanics. Hell, all my people were immigrants too. Converts have the strongest religion, it's a fact.

Welcome to America!

Incidentally, of my people, the happiest to be here were the English, they never spoke well of "the old country," never wanted to go back, even to visit, were never anything but relieved to be in a better place.