Cheap Eats 2015: Ruan Thai

Where we go for our favorite Thai stir-fried dishes.


Fried whole flounder at Ruan Thai. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Ruan Thai


11407 Amherst Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20902

Wheaton has long been a hotbed of Thai cooking, with Nava Thai and Thai Taste by Kob vying for authenticity-seeking diners. Ruan is the oldest of the lot, and you don’t make it to two decades in the restaurant business on the strength of longevity alone. Krisana Suchotinunt’s cooking remains the lure—the flavors hot and bright—but just as important is the consistency of these dishes night after night. The stir-fried duck with basil is the standard by which all others in the area are measured, the meat fragrant with cinnamon and as crunchy in spots as crisped bacon. Rasika’s palak chaat is hailed in many quarters as a dish that defines the scene, but Suchotinunt’s “yum watercress” is just as memorable—imagine a lacy fritter of shrimp, squid, watercress, and cilantro, which you dip into a spicy lime sauce—and has it beat by decades.

Cuisine: Thai

Where you can get it: 11407 Amherst Ave., Wheaton; 301-942-0075

Also good: Crispy fish with red curry; duck with chili paste and lime; country curry; drunken noodles.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.