Great-tasting Thai food is hidden in Wheaton

Feb. 24, 2008, midnight | By Kevin Teng | 12 years, 9 months ago

Ruan Thai mixes a perfect batch of spices on the right dishes

Walking distance from Wheaton Plaza is a small, modest Thai restaurant. Looking cozy cozy in a run-down parking lot, beset by small shops on either side, Ruan Thai's outside appearance makes it easy to miss, but the food is memorable and will keep customers coming back for more. For a reasonable price, Ruan Thai's fresh food trumps the meager portions of more upscale restaurants.

Photo: Tucked away in Wheaton, Ruan Thai offers great food for reasonable prices.

One appetizing entree is the Pla Muek Kha Tiem Prik Thai, stir fried squid sautéed with white pepper and garlic, relies on a strong peppery taste and the unique consistency of squid to create a mouthful of great taste. Served with a small side of vegetables, the dish looks like it could cost upwards of $20 – but with the exception of fish, everything costs less than $13.

Equally delicious is the Goy se-mee, a bowl of flat, crispy egg noodles with vegetables and a choice of meat in an unforgettable gravy. For only $8.95, the mountain of noodles satisfies both the wallet and the palette. The crispy noodles, comparable in crunch to a bag of potato chips, complement the consistency of the heavy gravy.

On the contrary, the Pad Khing, made with beef or chicken and sautéed with ginger, fungus mushroom, onions and spring onions, is a less exotic dish and tastes disappointingly dull, lacking the numerous spices that are common in other dishes. The only part of this dish that resembles its better-tasting counterparts at Ruan is the portion size.

Fortunately, there are dishes like the Gang Keow Whan, chicken, pork or beef in green curry soaked with coconut milk and hot chili, is so spicy that it tricks the taste buds into thinking that the chili is sweet. The curry strikes a perfect balance of sugar and spice because it is filled with flavorful tastes. Another must is the Pla Pad Prik Khing, which is stir fried catfish with hot chili. The unusually crispy fish is prepared with tasty chili, so good that it proves the gem of the restaurant is in its spices.

Photo: An inviting atmosphere makes Ruan Thai a delicious place to dine.

Much different than serialized Western-style Asian food, Ruan Thai is filled with unique dishes exude confidence in both taste and presentation. And a respectable and friendly staff just adds to the experience, and makes Ruan Thai a perfect, inexpensive place to share a meal with a few friends.

Ruan Thai Restaurant is located on 11407 Amherst Ave. in Wheaton. Call 301-942-0075 for optional reservations. Open daily for dinner and Mon. through Sat. for lunch.

Kevin Teng. There are some things in which people believe. Some people believe in other people. I believe in meatloaf. I believe that we all should have fun eating whatever meatloaf we want to eat. Sorry, that was "Harold and Kumar"-esque. Life is pretty good because I'm … More »

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