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Bangkok Garden, Venerable Thai on St. Elmo and Norfolk Avenue in Woodmont Triangle, Bethesda


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I'm not familiar with Bangkok Cafe. But, for the most authentic Thai food in Ho Co, I would go to Bangkok Garden.

This is the only mention I can find of Bangkok Garden on this board. I've always admired the dowdy Bethesda location for putting out authenic food and resisting the fad of aquarium-themed decor.

Thanks to a post from MartyL on Chowhound, many of us found out Bangkok Garden has a Thai language menu. I was part of the June Chowhound lunch at the Bethesda location and was able to get a copy of the multicolored menu.

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Five Chowhounds got together to explore the Thai language menu at Bangkok Garden. Since there is no explanation or transliteration of this menu, we were completely dependent on our patient server to explain it to us.We made it very clear we were not afriad of spiciness, that we were interested in items not on the regular menu, items a Thai family would order, and that we wanted to know about any exotic ingredients.

With that in mind, we started off with the country curry that Marty L had - this time with shrimp. This was a spcy red oil curry with clusters of green peppercorns still on the stalk. The best dish of the day. We also went with a duck curry in a coconut base. I imagine this is on the regular menu, but maybe less sweet. Very delicious.

Another successful dish was a Pad Thai made with cellophane noodles. Unlike the ubiquitous melted-peanut-brittle pink Pad Thai found in most joints, this was served with a condiment tray of pickled peppers, soy pickled peppers, red chili powder, and a chili sauce. This was very good and fun.

We also had frogs legs, deep fried it seems with lots and lots of crispy basil and a chili sauce for dipping. Nice and moist.

The next dish that came out was crispy pork with chinese broccoli. In some places this is a jerky, but here it was chicharones, deep fried pork belly.

Lastly, we had a whole flounder with a chunky chili sauce. I thought this was a touch sweet, so I was not too pleased, though others liked it.

Overall, I'd have to say this is a menu worth exploring. Mostly less sweet than I expect from Thai food, and I look forward to finding other gems on the menu.

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I went to a Thai place near 7 corners yesterday. It is 2 doors down from Hong Kong Palace. Name has the word Bangkok in it. They have a regular menu and a buffet. I broke my general rule of thumb of never ordering a buffet unless its indian and order the buffet.

It had a lot of the standards dishes (green and red curry, pad thai, tom yum gam, spring rolls, etc.). Selection was very nice and I was very surprise about the food. It was really good. One of the better thai meals I've had. The shrimp dishes were not over cooked (it was actually excellent) and they did not treat the buffet like a trough. They never put out vast quantities of a dish out. Instead they would bring out some a small quantity, keep and eye on how much is left and then cook and bring out additional as needed. The food never really sat in the heating trays for long. When I first got there I thought they were just running out of food (by looking at the buffet) but soon figured out they were replenishing quickly with small batches of fresh made stuff.

I really like this thai place and would recommend it. I will be going back.

The heat/spice level was good. I did however spice it up on a few items.

Soup

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Can you scan andpost the translation? Sounds like stuff I used to get when I was friends with a Thai family that owned a restaurant in Chicago. I was made an honorary member of the family after downing a bowl of "Jungle Curry" and actually adding chile powder to it. The son closest to my age just shook his head. It was a red curry without coconut milk but with a lot of pickled and sour ingredients added. Most of them were things that the family really didn't know English names for. There were three or four kinds of bamboo shoot preparations and lots of odd looking stuff.

I would really like the translated version, too. The Bethesda location is a block away from my office.

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Had lunch today at Bangkok Garden in Bethesda, armed with the translated menu. We had been there once before and ordered from the English language menu and frankly thought it was ordinary at best. The Thai language menu was a completely different story. We had:

Muu Yang (grilled pork on skewer with sticky rice and spicy sweet sauce). The meat was nice and juicy and had a coconut-y taste to it, and the sauce was the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. Highly recommended, especially for meat on a stick.

Softshell crab with mango salad, which was posted at the entrance with a number of other softshell crab dishes. Not normally a fan of softshell crab, and this was kind of a last chance for me and these beasties. This is also highly recommended - good and meaty with an interesting sour, citrusy sauce.

Kha-naa Plaa khem (chinese broccoli with preserved salty fish). Huge flavors and definitely recommended for anyone into anchovies and the like. This was best when the fish was broken up a little and mixed in with the sauce.

I had no idea there was this interesting of a Thai restaurant in Bethesda. Thanks for the translated menu!

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Went to the Bethesda location last month for the first time in a long while. Had some Tom Yum Goong (lemongrass soup with shrimp)., Followed it with a duck dish that ended up being very broth-filled (oops), but was delicious as well. I have a lot to explore on the menu. Looking forward to trying more.

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Can anyone confirm that the Bethesda and Columbia locations are, or aren't, under the same ownership?

I ask because it appears they aren't: http://www.bkkgarden.com is Bethesda's website, and http://www.bangkokgarden9.com is Columbia's website - perhaps they split off from one another?

Ugh, I know what I'll be doing for the next 30 minutes.

Will Yum hurt?

Do you guys really not *get* how extraordinarily fucking funny I am?

The Columbia location now has its own thread here

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I went to a Thai place near 7 corners yesterday. It is 2 doors down from Hong Kong Palace. Name has the word Bangkok in it. They have a regular menu and a buffet. I broke my general rule of thumb of never ordering a buffet unless its indian and order the buffet.

It had a lot of the standards dishes (green and red curry, pad thai, tom yum gam, spring rolls, etc.). Selection was very nice and I was very surprise about the food. It was really good. One of the better thai meals I've had. The shrimp dishes were not over cooked (it was actually excellent) and they did not treat the buffet like a trough. They never put out vast quantities of a dish out. Instead they would bring out some a small quantity, keep and eye on how much is left and then cook and bring out additional as needed. The food never really sat in the heating trays for long. When I first got there I thought they were just running out of food (by looking at the buffet) but soon figured out they were replenishing quickly with small batches of fresh made stuff.

I really like this thai place and would recommend it. I will be going back.

The heat/spice level was good. I did however spice it up on a few items.

Soup

Little did you know you wrote the seminal post on this restaurant.

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On 11/9/2019 at 4:44 PM, Lydia R said:

Bangkok Garden now has a more casual offshoot. Just opened in Rockville’s Wintergreen Plaza shopping center.

Went for lunch today. It’s behind Habit Burger and three doors from Halal Guys. Inside, it’s dollhouse cute. They say the Bethesda location is staying in-place and this is a different, fast casual vibe. Here’s their opening menu including a not-so-secret menu. Dishes have a choice of protein (chicken, pork, tofu, veg) with an upcharge for beef, shrimp, or duck. Will be returning to explore more. 

BKRockville_NOV2019 - Nov 11 2019 - 14-21.pdf

 

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