The Wonders of Wheaton
Okay, so there's too little writing on this board in the nature of recommendations and leads, so I thought I'd jump right in and talk about my nominee for best suburban town for ethnic food: Wheaton. Sure, there are tons of great places to eat in Bethesda or Arlington, but I doubt anywhere has the number and range of high quality (and cheap) ethnic restaurants, and certainly nowhere has them packed as densely as they do in downtown Wheaton. A sampling of my favorites:
El Pollo Rico - nothing but rotisserie chicken, the best I've ever had (I think the original was in Arlington, but this one's fine by me). The line is almost always out the door.
Nam's, Saigonnais, & that Pho place in the mall - three quality Vietnamese places within three blocks, I've listed them from best (and most expensive) to cheapest, but I've had great meals at all three.
Sabang - Indonesian, already frequently mentioned on this board. I'll just concur, it's great. The Rijstaffel is a bit pricey unless you're in the mood to splurge, but the entrees are even more interesting and reasonably priced.
Malaysian Satay House - not very plush, but interesting food (and great satay)
China Chef - there are probably 4 or 5 other Chinese restaurants in this densely packed area and several of them have gotten high marks, but China Chef has always been my favorite. Extensive, interesting menu (plus an "authentic" Chinese menu if you're really adventurous), and incredible dim sum that makes a great weekend brunch.
The Chicken Place - a Peruvian chicken place (duh) expanded into a full restaurant with live music and funky potato-based salads along with quality entrees that compliment their excellent rotisserie chicken (not quite El Pollo Rico, but still good). Used to be across from the second mall entrance, but it's moved (and I haven't been there since).
All of these places, along with several Thai restaurants, a few pizza places, a well-reviewed seafood restaurant (the Anchor Inn), a Shoneys, a Dunkin Donuts, an IHOP, a mall food court, as well as Greek, African, Brazilian, Italian and Asian markets and any number of other places I haven't discovered yet are within three blocks of the Wheaton metro exit. A great place to go if you haven't quite made up your mind where to eat.
What other areas are full of interesting places (and are also Metro-accessible!) that DC-area chowhounds can recommend?