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Aroi are celebrating twelve successful months serving Asian Street Food in Carey’s Lane. They have quite an extensive menu there. If you are not familiar with some of the Asian words, the staff will help you out and will also point out the spicy dishes (even these are marked with an “S” on the card). All mains cost a tenner and the sides a fiver or less.
I have eaten there a few times, enjoying mostly the duck dishes. This time I picked something different, the Pad Se-lew which consists of Pork strips, Thai green vegetables, egg, keoteow, Thai soya sauce and is from the Wok Noodles section. I very much enjoyed the pork, cut into slivers the size of a small finger, and the amazing crispness of the green vegetables.
The other main dish we picked was Khao Pad, tomatoes, broccoli, Thai pepper, onion, egg, and chicken (or beef) and this came under the Rice heading. This too, with the chicken, was a winner, full of flavours. By the way, they have two sauces on the table for you, one a hot chilli sauce, the other a soya.
The main dishes are quite substantial and quite a few people settle for that, great value at a tenner. But we usually get a side or two, a fiver each, as well. On one occasion we ordered three but that was too much!
The two we shared the other night were Porpia Bpet tod: duck rolls, sweet chilli, pickled chilli and cucumber and Satay Gai: - chicken skewers with peanut sauce. Those duck rolls - I’ve had them here before - are simply outstanding, quite spicy with the chilli. The chicken skewers are a much calmer dish but delicious.
Aroi has a short wine list but we ordered a couple of Asian beers: a Bottle of Chang and one of Tiger. Lots of soft drinks on the menu too including refreshing palate cleansers like ‘white tea with lemon and ginger’.
Khao Pad, with Chicken
We spoke with Vincent Richard, Manager of Aroi Cork: “Our healthy cuisine avoids the obscure chemicals and additives so common in our food today. We do not use M.S.G. in any of our preparation, and our focus is on market fresh local produce, that is naturally low in fat. You can single-handedly battle the winter sniffles with our spicy beef noodle soup - it heals you from the inside out. Our fresh and healthy approach, along with the phenomenal value of dining at Aroi, is what sets us apart from others.”
But it is not just the food Aroi had to get right, after all they had being doing that in Limerick for several months before opening in Cork. He emphasised that getting the right staff and giving them the right training is also key. And Aroi have passed on some tips if you’d like to try Asian at home.
~ Tips on cooking Asian food ~
· Always cut, wash and prepare ingredients in advance of cooking.
· Use a wok when steaming vegetables for a stir fry – the curved edge allows for varied cooking temperatures which is beneficial when cooking meat and vegetables together.
· Ensure you have other necessary utensils for Asian cooking like a steamer, sharp knifes (for cutting ingredients), tongs and a pestle and mortar (for grinding spices).
· Use chop sticks only with rice bowls as they don’t work well when eating from a plate.
· Rice cookers are the quickest way to cook rice and can be used in microwaves.
· Use natural flavour enhancers like mushrooms, herbs and spices which do not contain monosodium glutamate (MSG).
· Always use fresh vegetables.
· Choose dark soy sauce over a lighter colour as it is low in salt.
· Use fresh ingredients like ginger or garlic for delicious taste and strong smells. Garlic has many health benefits too as it is rich in vitamins and low in calories.
· Use different mixes of meat and vegetables to create optimum flavours. Asians like to use the ying and yang method in their cooking – They balance flavours by using both hot (ying) ingredients and cooler (yang) ingredients. An example of this would be having a hot sauce over plain chicken pieces.
We were guests of the restaurant, as part of its birthday celebrations