Aux Amis du Monde: By Farrah Praisal

A French creperie that’s magnifique

Crepe: “A very thin `pancake` of French origin” so says the dictionary. I first enjoyed crepes when I was a child in the form of crepes Suzette and the crepe and I have had a love affair ever since. It was later in life that I discovered the savory crepe and it has only enhanced the affair. I love the delicate texture and the way the paper thin crepes just melt in your mouth. If you too are a lover of crepes than you must pay a visit to Aux Amis Du Monde which translates to “Friends of the World”.

The creperie/café is located on Ratchamanka Soi 2 just off Moon Muang in the Thapae Gate area of town inside the moat and 3 doors down from the Laughing Leprechaun. Even though that area of Moon Muang can be a bit noisy and is usually awash with tourists, the eatery is just far enough down the Soi to be surprisingly peaceful and quiet as I enjoyed a very relaxing meal with friends. The interior of Aux Amis Du Monde is simple and pleasant — an open kitchen along one side opts for utility over glamour (a big soda refrigerator and a counter of condiments are plainly visible). The former sewing machine cum cafe tables and wooden benches are lent warmth by the simplistic country feel of the venue though the benches can be a bit hard on the derriere. There are just four tables inside and another four outside. Antonio, the affable proprietor, is very pleasant and welcomed us like old friends.
Aux Amis Du Monde has an extensive menu printed in both English and French. The selection is vast and fantastic! You will be spoilt for choice...I want to work my way through the menu so I plan many a return visit for more tasting sensations. It seems like whatever filling you fancy is sure to be on hand as well as many you never would have imagined. In addition to the many selections for the carnivore, vegetarians have a whole bevy of sophisticated choices too! All of the savory crepes — all those big, dark brown, crisp-around-the-edges, thin, tangy buckwheat pancakes – are very reasonably priced, and that includes a little green house salad so the whole thing adds up to a meal — very simple but very satisfying.
If you read about the buckwheat crepes of Brittany, there are lots of touted health benefits; there’s potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein, phosphorus and other goodies, but all that information fades into the background when you dig into a folded pancake cradling a plush filling of chicken, herbs and cream sauce or a riskier culinary anomaly like “Bergere” with its satisfying assemblage of goat cheese, air dried beef and potatoes.
The restaurant offers several set menus also. These include your choice of four savory crepes, your choice of four sweet crepes, a side salad, a glass of wine or cider and a cup of coffee or tea. Priced at a very fair 270 to 300 baht, these are a bargain. Also featured is a variety of crepes with alcohol as well as some pasta dishes.
No matter what save room for dessert. Heck, you’ve got lots left in your wallet, so throw caution to the wind with a mammoth share-able buttery crepe enfolding warm chocolate-and sliced almonds. Our other favorite was the chestnut cream filled crepe.
You will find some interesting drinks to accompany your crepes here also. Aux Amis Du Monde carries the rare and delicious Beer Lao at 70 baht per bottle and the famous Belgian beer Leffe at 150 baht. We enjoyed a kir Royale at 80 baht before our meal and the red house wine was deemed enjoyable by my colleagues. They also carry plenty of fresh fruit juices and milk shakes.
To sum it all up I would say: Magnifique! The crepes were excellent and created right before your eyes by the talented, skilful employees! One can choose from an exciting range of both savory and sweet crepes and enjoy them in a relaxed, informal atmosphere with a friendly and welcoming staff.
If I must find a negative I would have to say that the area in general doesn’t have great parking but there seems to be plenty on the opposite side of the moat and the walk back to your vehicle will more than welcome after a filling meal.
Aux Amis Du Monde is open 11am to 12 midnight daily and they do takeaway. Call 08-57091065 for more information. Definitely worth a visit!


Vietnamese Asparagus and Crabmeat soup

Somewhat different from the Thai variety, this soup however does have the spiciness expected. You can add or subtract more chilli if required, but the recipe will produce a dish that the expat palate can handle, as the chilli is used more as a garnish.

Cooking Method
Boil the stock in a deep pot and add fish sauce and white pepper. Cut asparagus into 6 cm lengths and add to the stock, along with the crabmeat.
Turn down the heat and simmer for two minutes, then whisk the egg whites and stir into the soup, forming white threads in the soup and cook gently for another minute. Place in serving bowl and garnish with the spring onions and chilli.

Ingredients     Serves 4
Chicken stock         1,000 ml
Fish sauce               2 tspns
White pepper            ¼ tspn
Canned asparagus   9 spears
Crab meat                 200 gm
(shredded, tinned)
Egg white                  3 eggs
Spring onions chopped       2
Fresh red and green chillichopped