Order safely and you’re likely to miss what’s exciting about this Wheaton gem. The papaya salad and the smoky, sweet pad Thai are both benchmark dishes, the best in the area. But beyond those familiar, expertly rendered tastes lies a trove of treasures drawn from the street foods of Thailand, such as Floating Market Noodle Soup—a meal in a bowl that blends sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami (the fifth, less definable element of taste) into an exhilarating whole—and crispy mussels: sweet bivalves suspended in an egg-and-rice-flour batter. It feels like a cheap trip to the Far East.
This article appears in the March 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.