Satisfy that Thai food craving in Machida
Machida has proven an excellent area for good eats. A major stop on the Odakyu Line, and a quick 30-minute ride from Shinjuku by express train, it is a lively option for visitors to Japan, as well as those living in bedroom communities in the southern outskirts of Tokyo, or neighboring Kanagawa.
On a recent weeknight dining-out in Machida I was introduced to Backpackers Café Aroi Chin Chin. With a craving for Thai, I followed my companion to a colorful old house, decorated in Thai inspired murals, statues and signboards. The place looked fun, and the huge 530 JPY painted on the side of the building was enticing. Once inside we were seated on the second floor and given the a la carte menu, an almost overwhelming number of options, all 530 JPY. The menu is in Japanese, but accompanied by pictures, so you can order by picture. We were lucky and our server spoke English so we were able to chat.
Most drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, were 530 JPY, though some specialty cocktails were priced a little higher. The mango cocktail is dangerously good and the other cocktails looked equally delicious. They have an excellent selection of Southeast Asian beers, and Japanese beer on tap (500-800 JPY).
If a good Pad Thai is the standard by which to judge a Thai restaurant, Aroi Chin Chin has succeeded. The noodles were delicious, chewy, fresh and cooked to perfection. The requisite toppings of peanuts, cilantro and lime mixed perfectly with the subtle flavors of the dish. The salad rolls were beautiful, fresh and tasty. The Tom Yum Soup was also a hit, sour and, by Japanese standards, spicy. The three dishes were plenty to fill our stomachs.
We must have been there on ladies night, as my companion was the only male patron. The place was littered with ladies in groups of 2-4 having intimate conversations. One large group of ladies occupied the semi-private table by the stairs; they were having a good old time, laughing and clearly enjoying the 'all you can eat and drink' set.
If you’d like to gather a group of friends and choose a set meal (3 options), through the end of the year they are offering a discount. Visit the website for the coupon and details. The set meal, plus all you can drink for 2 ½ hours is 3480 JPY (just over a 500 JPY savings). This deal requires a reservation.
In Machida recently with some time to kill, I decided to have lunch at Aroi Chin Chin’s second location. Located in a popular Machida food alley, this location is smaller and good for groups of 2-4. The lunch menu included a nice-looking selection of salads, fried snacks, vegetable and seafood small plates, soup, and lunch plates. I opted for a lunch plate of jasmine rice and fried chicken that came with three dipping sauces (ginger, soy and red chili) and was garnished with cucumber. It also included a cup of mild flavored broth, which was welcome on a cold December day. The Jasmine rice was excellent, aromatic with a subtle nutty flavor. Though I do wish I’d ordered the boiled chicken, rather than the fried, as the rice was also fried and it was a bit much. Regardless, it was a tasty lunch.
If the Thai craving hits, or you’re shopped out and need to nosh in Machida, you won’t be disappointed with Aroi Chin Chin.