There is nothing I love more than dining alfresco, so when my bestie Alan told me about a new Thai restaurant that had opened up by his home in Haebangchon I was somewhat excited to go. Since the the place has outdoor seating we decided to make the most of one of the many public holidays that seem to litter October and enjoy our last few days of summery weather. The restaurant is located at the end of a residential street in a brand new building. It is quite a big space with plenty of seating inside and a large patio with a smattering of tables and a large faux grass area outside. The place is festooned in a very colourful style. The walls are adorned in graffiti, and strings of fairy lights cover the patio. It has a very joyful feel about it.
The menu I would say is Thai inspired. While there are a few dishes that you will recognise, there seem like a few more of their own creations that will appeal to the Korean palate. To drink they have a variety of soft drinks, and beer. One item that stood out among the drinks was the butterfly pea drinks. We weren’t sure what to expect so just ordered the water version (1,000). We were greeted with a bottle of blue water and some some lemon juice, which, when added, turned the water purple. It definitely scored points for cuteness.
To kick off our meal we started with a portion of Spring Rolls (8,000) and the Crispy Sweet Corn (6,000). The spring rolls were really large and came stuffed with meat and veggies. They also had two dipping sauces, a sweet chili and a peanut. I couldn’t get enough of them, especially for the price. We even ended up eating the bed of deep fried rice strands they sat on with the rest of the satay dipping sauce. They are not to be missed. While I loved the spring rolls I wasn’t as keen on the Crispy Sweet Corn. While they weren’t bad per se, I’d eat a sock if you deep fried it, they just didn’t have much about them that really ticked the boxes in either flavour or texture.
For our main course we ordered the Shrimp Pad Thai (9,000). As Alan doesn’t like shrimp he asked them to change it to chicken which they were happy to do. I was so into this dish. It had a really great flavour and was a very generous sized portion. For the price it is pretty unbeatable as most Thai restaurants in Itaewon charge around 15,000 for it.
The second dish we ordered was the Kao Ka Moo (9,000). Steamed rice with pork belly and veggies in a spicy sauce. I wasn’t as keen on this as I was on the Pad Thai. I found the deep fried pork belly to be a little over cooked and I wasn’t a fan of the spicy sauce the veggies were in. Alan loved it though, so if you like the spicy sauce it’s a good sized portion for the price.
Overall I really enjoyed my meal, the spring rolls and noodles were excellent. It is not the most authentic Thai place in town, but it’s one of the cheapest. I think our bill worked out to 16,000 a person. The seating area is also great, and it is the perfect place to sit and enjoy a few beers and some nice food before winter comes.
Aroi is located at 8 Sinheung-ro 5-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station and come out of exit 2. Walk straight to the end of the road, then take the road baring left and walk straight past the Kimchi Pots. Keep walking until you see Casablanca then take the road to the left thats just after. You will see Aroi just ahead of you. For more information you can call them on 02-546-0399, or check out their Instagram page. They are open from 11:30am – 10:00pm everyday.