Bring Out the Longevity Noodles: How Restaurants Are Celebrating Thai New Year

For the second year in a row, Washington Thai restaurants are celebrating Songkran—the Thai New Year—with a week of promotions. Thai Restaurant Week runs April 13 through 19, and although some restaurants simply offer a 10-percent discount, others get more creative with the festivities. At many restaurants, you’ll find drawings for the chance to win gift certificates, cooking classes, spa services, even a Thai vacation. Here’s a sampling of what some of them are doing; for more, visit the Thai Embassy’s Web site.

Asia Nine
This Asian-fusion restaurant’s special menu starts with a choice of Buddha Blessing Shrimp with plum sauce ($8) or fruit salad with Thai chilies ($12). For the main course, choose between a steamed young-coconut seafood curry ($20) or grilled herb chicken with papaya salad ($23). Dessert is a dish called the Golden Axe, a custard with black sticky rice ($8).

Bangkok Joe’s
This upscale Georgetown restaurant gets into the Songkran spirit every year. Munching on the shrimp dish known as meang-kum ($6.95) will supposedly bring a year of health. Shrimp-and-chicken spaghetti ($21.95) may give you a long life. Other appetizers include crispy mee krob noodles and King Rama II Dumplings ($7.95). Main courses feature kao kruk kapi, a traditional rice dish ($14.95), and Crying Tiger, which translates to grilled, marinated flank steak ($19.95). For dessert, try the steamed coconut custard with black sticky rice ($5.95). You can also take part in a traditional water-pouring ritual to renew your spirit for the year ahead.

This Vienna restaurant is offering an $8 lunch special, with a choice of appetizer, soup, salad, and entrée. Appetizers include chicken satay, vegetable spring rolls, mango-and-vegetable spring rolls, ginger/chicken dumplings, and kanom jeeb dumplings. Next is mushroom-ginger soup and a green salad. Lunch entrées include black noodles, cashew chicken, crispy duck, drunken noodles, pad Thai, panang curry, and fried rice.

For dinner, a three-course menu ($17) comes with a free glass of wine. The menu begins with chicken-and-lemongrass soup, chicken satay, or vegetable spring rolls. Main courses options are crispy tilapia, olive-and-basil duck, and sea scallops with herbs and spices. If you spend more than $50 during the Thai New Year celebration, you’ll get two free drinks. There’ll also be drawings during the week for items including gift certificates and T-shirts.

The Thai New Year menu at this ornate Falls Church restaurant includes drunken lobster noodles, five-spice roast pork, Siamese sesame steak, and red curry with roast duck. Seafood choices include scrambled oysters, red snapper in green curry, soft-shell-crab tempura, and garlic-and-black-pepper Chilean sea bass. Throughout the week, there will be live traditional Thai music, and on weekends there will be a Thai folk dancer. Check out the restaurant’s Web site for a 10-percent discount. []

Pana Thai
This Derwood dining room is adding a traditional dish from southern Thailand to its menu. Kow krook kra-pee mixes steamed jasmine rice with shrimp paste and is served with fried dried shrimp, sweet sausage, red onion, and fresh chili ($15.95).

T.H.A.I. in Shirlington

This colorful neighborhood spot will have an entire menu of New Year’s specials. Entrées include Thai New Year spaghetti with wok-fried chicken and shrimp; kao kluk kapi, a traditional rice dish; and kao soi, made with shrimp, coconut milk, and “longevity noodles.” (Main courses range from $12.95 to $19.95.) Dessert is steamed coconut custard with black sticky rice ($5.95).

Thai Pavilion in Rockville, Thaiphoon in Arlington, and Bangkok Bistro in Georgetown will each offer a 10-percent discount. 

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