AEC, is it the ASEAN Economic Community?

A good sized chicken steak.
A good sized chicken steak.

Reviewing restaurants is not as easy as you might imagine. Publishing deadlines to meet and hoping that you haven’t missed something, or got the wrong price. There is also the situation where the cook has gone off sick and the stand-in just isn’t good enough, but to write about the food will give the restaurant a bad rap.

This week’s restaurant review is of AEC, and is a re-review of the initial one two and a half years ago, and has no bad rap. However there has been an ongoing reviews as well – we pass the restaurant many times each week, and have eaten there at least twice every week since then! That is probably a better recommendation than the formal review.

A spicy stir-fry.
A spicy stir-fry.

It is a large venue, being a triple shophouse, on Chai­yapornvitee (1.5 km from Sukhumvit Road) with an entirely glass frontage. The chairs are comfortable and it is also very, very clean, both in the dining area and the toilets. The uniformed staff are helpful as well.

The owner is a lady who has been in the restaurant business for many years, and also has a consuming interest in art, with the walls all decorated in framed art works, including one huge canvas floor to ceiling.

Leave time to peruse the menu as there are 245 items in it. Some have somewhat ‘original’ spelling, but you’ll get there.

While perusing, beers are B. 60, the same price as some of the soda drinks like soda lemon but small soft drinks are B. 20.

The 245 items are individual dishes too, not the same thing in beef, pork, chicken, prawn or fish variants. The menu is also multilingual having descriptions in Thai and English. And another important fact with this menu is that it is pictorial – not everyone speaks different languages, and even many who do can be uncertain as to what any particular dish is made up of. Don’t be too surprised when you read about a spicy fish swimming or spicy boiled frog in the menu.

The happy cashier.
The happy cashier.

The huge menu begins with breakfasts (hence the 8 a.m. start for the restaurant), and are generally around B. 165. There are European as well as Thai items, which is the case through the entire menu such as spaghetti bolognaise (B. 100), pork steak (B. 150) and deep-fried prawn (B. 100), but there are many truly Thai offerings such as khao pad gai at B. 60 and chicken in oyster sauce with rice (B. 70), plus many noodle dishes. Curries range from B. 80 to B. 100.

European dishes include spaghetti carbonara (B. 100) and burgers (B. 100).

Some of the art work.
Some of the art work.

With the aforementioned 245 items, it is difficult to select your meal, as the menu does not seem to have many ‘sections’ to lump them together. The price for most Thai items fall into the B. 60-100 range and the top seemed to be sea bass at B. 320.

We tried a few dishes, including the chicken steak (B. 150) which comes with boiled vegetables and chips. For me, the steak was my dish of the night, but we had no disappointments. Madame finished the night with a blueberry soda.

We originally went to AEC two years ago with no particular pre-supposed ideas, and came away with the certainty we would be back again (which we have done many times over). The venue is excellent, the food was great and inexpensive, other diners there that evening also said the food was always consistent.

We did notice that there were many different Asian nationalities dining at AEC, something we still see today, so it really is the ASEAN Economic Community. There are always many different western nationalities dining as well.

From our recent review and from our weekly visits we can highly recommend AEC. Good food, good ambience and good fun. Do try.

Coming from Pattaya head towards Naklua and turn into Chaiyapornvittee at the traffic lights and carry on over the train line and AEC is on your right.

AEC Restaurant, Chaiya­pornvittee Road (1.5 km from Sukhumvit Road), open 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., on-street parking at the front, telephone: 089 245 7088