The restaurant scene in downtown Silver Spring MD has exploded in the past 15 years. But don’t neglect the older local spots nearby, including Ruang Khao Thai.
Last month I went back to Maryland for Thanksgiving. I’ve only been able to do that one other time since moving to Oklahoma, due to work. But our home season ended early, Maryland had a home football game that weekend, and OSU played Maryland in basketball the following weekend. It became the perfect reason to spend time with friends and family.
The day after Thanksgiving we took my mom to the train station, as she was going on a trip with her sisters. So it was just me and my dad for the rest of my trip, and when it is just us we tend to eat out more. I originally considered dinner in DC, but didn’t want to fight traffic and crowds on Friday evening.
One of the first places I always check for restaurant options is Restaurant.com. It’s a great site that offers coupons for restaurants around the country. You purchase coupons in multiples of $5, and each restaurant chooses its available denominations. So say you purchase a $10 coupon, you then spend $20 at the restaurant and get half off. The best part is that Restaurant.com usually offers deals on the coupons so you rarely pay full price. My mom has twice found bulk coupons on Groupon, so I got $600 of coupons for $60. I haven’t used the coupons as quickly as I thought I would, and in some cities there aren’t a whole lot of restaurants to choose from, but the certificates never expire. Restaurant.com has helped me find numerous restaurants for the food blog that I never would have discovered otherwise.
Downtown Silver Spring MD has absolutely exploded in the last 15 years, with restaurants and shops. Just a couple of blocks away, Ruang Khao Thai is one of the small, local ethnic restaurants that are off the beaten path. These restaurants don’t get the same recognition and publicity, but the locals know about them and they have a loyal following. The restaurant name changed from Thai Derm when ownership changed hands. Ruang Khao Thai is in a transformed row house.
Ruang Khao Thai is open for lunch and dinner Monday – Saturday, and dinner on Sunday. They also offer daily delivery during the dinner hours within 1.5 miles of the restaurant.
Ruang Khao Thai is not a very large restaurant. There is a small patio out front with 5 tables. Just inside the main entrance is a small waiting area, and the kitchen is at the far end. Through a doorway to the left is the dining room that seats about 50, which is a long, narrow space. The seating is all square 2-top tables, and they can be moved together for larger parties.
The Ruang Khao Thai menu is large, and features appetizers, soups, salads, specials, curries, entrees, noodles, fried rice, noodle soups and desserts. They also offer seasonal specials.
We had to spend $30 for the coupon, so we decided to start with both pan-fried dumplings and vegetable spring rolls
The rolls are screaming hot, the shell is nice and crispy, and the filling is delicious. The sweet and sour sauce adds a very nice flavor to the roll.
Our dumplings were a little over-seared, but still had great flavor. The dumplings have both vegetables and tofu in the filling, something I had never tried before. Tofu has a very unique texture, but it works well with the vegetables in these dumplings. I’m not sure if the sauce is soy sauce, but it is extremely sweet on its own. However, it adds a great flavor as a dipping sauce.
For entrees and noodle dishes, you add your choice of protein. Ruang Khao Thai offers lunch and dinner portions and pricing for most of their dishes. My dad got the Lard Na, and added tofu
I’m not usually a fan of large chunks of tofu, because of the texture. However, this tofu was delicious. The brown sauce is rich and delicious.
I love the unique serving dish, shaped like a sea shell. You really don’t see things like that in restaurants, but it’s a great touch. I honestly didn’t even notice it at first, until I positioned it to take pictures.
I got the drunken noodles with beef
This dish is so good. The beef is super tender, and very well seasoned. I love basil, and the Thai basil adds such a great punch of flavor. I’ve never cooked with wide rice noodles, and I really don’t know why. They are delicious, and I really like the texture. My request for medium spice got lost in translation, because this dish had serious kick.
The only negative with my meal was the temperature; the broccoli was room temperature at best, and the entire dish was just warm. I briefly considered asking them to re-make the dish, but decided against it. My dad’s dish was super hot and I didn’t want him to feel like he had to wait for me.
Will I go back to Ruang Khao Thai? No question. The food is delicious, I love that it’s part of the Restaurant.com program so I save money, and I am such a fan of these local restaurants. I will be back for sure.
For reviews of more restaurants in Maryland, click on the photos below!