Ruan Thai

11407 Amherst Ave.
Wheaton, MD


Neighborhood: Wheaton

Cuisines: Thai

Opening Hours:
Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner.

Price Range: Inexpensive

Dress: Informal

Reservations: Not Needed

Best Dishes:
Scallion dumplings; yum watercress; pad Thai; deep-fried whole fish (often sea bass); duck in red curry; sticky rice with mango.

Cheap Eats 2009: Ruan Thai

Great food, low prices, lots of fun

Why go: The fiery cooking of this family-run sliver of a restaurant is not about the dish or the ingredients. It’s the special effects—particularly the sauces and seasonings—that transform familiar-sounding dishes (veggie dumplings, whole fried fish, Penang curry) into more than the sum of their humble parts.

What to get: “Yum watercress” appetizer—fried shrimp, squid, and watercress with toasted cashews; yum ped yang, duck slices rubbed with chili paste and lime and tossed with red onion and scallions; vegetable dumplings stuffed with green onion; Penang curry with chicken.

Best for: A quiet, wallet-friendly date; anyone with a hankering for fire-breathing heat.

Insider tip: If fresh mango is available to accompany it, the sticky rice is perhaps the best in the area. The other dessert option, Thai custard, is forgettable.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here