Aran hosts its share of markets and local-style food shops, including several focusing on Vietnamese cuisine. Mit Samphan Road hosts at least half a dozen Vietnamese eateries and is the only part of Aranyaprathet that’s actually enjoyable to walk around.
On our most recent visit we hit Amsorn Restaurant for a great meal of banh xeo (khanom beuang to the Thais) along with khanom pak mor, a pork-and-chive rice flour dumpling topped with peppered pork sausage strips. The same sausage came in kuay chab Yuan, a mild soup of fresh rice noodles and tender boiled pork (“Yuan” is the Thai word for Vietnamese). Amsorn is easy to spot thanks to the bicycle propped above its front awning; the sign and menu are only in Thai, but pictures of every dish make it easy enough to order. The dining room is comfortable and a basket of fresh greens accompanies every meal, with single dishes fetching 60 to 120 baht.
Though we didn’t have time to try other restaurants during our last visit to Aran, we noticed everything from Isaan food to roasted duck to Japanese ramen and steak with chips at the many eateries on Suwannason Road, the main drag stretching east from the train station on the way to the border. You’ll also find a typical wet market that could be worth a quick browse in the south part of town, and a handful of vendors dish out cheap kuay thiao (noodle soup), khao man gai (chicken rice), muu ping (grilled pork skewers) and other standard Thai street dishes just north of the railroad tracks on Thanavithee Road.
Out near the border, a few cafes serve fresh coffee, baked goods and simple breakfasts on the far southern side of Rong Khlua Market (also spelt Kluea among other ways)—you can’t miss it on the left when approaching the border crossing. You’ll also find fresh fruit, deep-fried insects tossed in salt and baguettes done banh mi style with pate and veggies in the roofed “tunnel” section of the market, on the way towards the Thai immigration checkpoint.
Amsorn Restaurant Mit Samphan Rd, Aranyaprathet; T: (037) 628 624, (083) 598 8242; Mo–Su: 09:00–20:00.
Aranyaprathet fresh market Corner of Ratuthit Rd and Weluwan Rd; Early morning to mid afternoon, daily.
Rong Khlua Market North side of Suwannason Rd next to the border crossing; Mo–Su: 07:00–20:00.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.