Friday, June 13, 2008

Bangkok Delight: Thai in Columbia

This is the one place that I can actually say tastes authentic.

Our honeymoon in Thailand was the only trip in which I came home without craving some familiar American food. Bangkok Delight captures the feel of Thailand -- from the pretty paper umbrellas hanging from the ceiling to the mango with sticky rice that we eat every time.

Start with chicken laab -- minced chicken dressed with lime juice, celery, red onion and herbs -- or one of the lemon grass ("tom yum") soups. Those capture the Thai flavor that balances salty, sweet and sour flavors and takes special advantage of lime, herbs and sometimes hot peppers. A first-time visitor will enjoy a chicken or pork satay -- skewers of meat served with a peanut sauce. The adventurous will savor spicy yum salads -- beef, chicken, squid other choices mixed again with lime, spices, celery and scallions.

Then order whatever entree looks good. You're choosing between noodles and rice dishes, picking different curries or stirfries, and deciding whether you want veggies, chicken, pork, fish, etc. Everything has been delicious, and there are specials that extend Bangkok Delight from a basic joint into a creative restaurant. Squash dishes, soft shell crabs and special curries. This kitchen wants to impress you, and entrees from $11 to $20 make it easy to come again and again. It's also great takeout, especially the noodles and curries -- most surprisingly the brown curry that we only tried recently because, well, it was called "brown" curry and "ruby," "red" or "green" sounded more appetizing.

Again, my post about the mango sticky rice.

(Update: My thoughts on Bangkok Delight have changed. For a while in 2008, I thought it was the best restaurant in Howard County. But I have been disappointed several times in 2009. There are comments below from The Minx, who was really disappointed in November 2009. I really don't know what has happened.)

If you like Thai food, go check out H Mart or check out (literally, from the library) "Thai Food and Cooking" -- the cookbook that I carry around the H Mart.

(If you want Thai, many other people -- including a handful who disparage Bangkok Delight -- swear by Bangkok Garden in the Oakland Mills Village Center. Check out a note and see the address is below.)

Bangkok Delight
8825 Centre Park Drive #A
Columbia, MD 21045

NEAR: The Giant off Rte 108 just west of Howard High School and east of Rte 29. Bangkok Delight is in the shopping area just north of Giant. Look for the Burger King on the corner.

(I promised myself that I wouldn't write many negative comments, but the Mexican restaurant next to Bangkok Delight is one of the worst that I have ever eaten. Eat at Burger King first.)

Bangkok Garden
5810 Robert Oliver Place
Columbia, MD 21045
NEAR: They're in the Oakland Mills village center.

Bangkok Delight on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

My husband has been itching for Thai food but we weren't sure which places in the area are good and which are duds. We'll have to try one of these now! Thanks for the suggestions.

Anonymous said...

We ate at Bangkok Delight this weekend and had a fantastic meal. The prices are really good and the service was excellent also. I just had to come back and thank you for a wonderful suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Have eaten at Bangkok Delight twice. Once was mediocre. 2nd time a friend and I walked out because we could not get any service, even tho' the place was nearly empty for lunch. Bangkok GARDEN is the place to go for Thai!

theminx said...

I had dinner at Bangkok Delight based on the strength of your words. I was sad to discover that the food there lacked the finesse in spicing that I'm used to, with fish sauce as the predominant flavor and nary anything else. The Western celery ruined the laab for me, making it taste like conventional American chicken salad. A disappointment. Makes me miss the hugely aromatic and subtle curries from the late great Bangkok Place in Baltimore even more.

HowChow said...

Oh, no. I'm so sorry!! I have to admit that I haven't been excited by our last two dinners there. Something about the spicing did seem off (although I think the laab always had celery). I omitted Bangkok Delight from my "Best Restaurants" this year, and we have had dinner at a Thai place in Rockville twice that definitely beat out our local joint. So sorry to lead you wrong!