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Bangkok Garden in Columbia, MD

I went and checked out Bangkok Garden in Columbia with a few friends based on a few recommendations on this board. It was very very good. And for the price (most dishes are around 10 dollars), it's even better. I have been to most of the Thai places in Baltimore, and they simply do not match up with Bangkok Garden.

Started off our dinner with Steamed Green Mussels, typical Thai dish seasoned with lemongrass. We pretty much drank all the broth. Since it was our first time, we tried the Pad Thai which was solid (good, not the best I've had), but it was very flavorful and rich (do not mistake that for greasy). Also tried panang curry with chicken. So good we ended up asking for more rice so we can mix it with the curry til not a drop remained. Finally, we tried one of their monthly specials, Southern Duck. It is basically duck, with the skin rendered crispy in a sweet chile sauce. It was phenomenal (and only 13 dollars). Washed it all down with some very good Thai Iced Tea (not overly sweet like so many other Thai Iced Teas I have tried in Baltimore, you can actually taste Tea). Portions are generous. I hear lunch is even cheaper, so I am looking forward to another lunch outing.

It's a good drive for me from Baltimore, but well worth it, and I plan on going once a week. It has all the signs of a good ethnic restaurant. Native owners, tacky decor, disco lights, karaoke machine, and a lot of Thai people dining as well.

Posting to give it some attention and see if anyone else has been here (haven't seen much about it). Eating here was a true pleasure. I think back at the time 2 years ago I ate at Thai Restaurant on Greenmount. Granted, everyone knows Thai Restaurant sucks (and grossly overpriced, curries there are almost 20 dollars). But Bangkok Garden makes me want to go burn down Thai Restaurant for serving such inferior food. Is Bangkok Garden better than Thai Arroy? Yes. (although Thai Arroy doesn't deserve a cruel fate like Thai Restaurant)

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  1. If you're going out that direction, you should give Bangkok Delight a try as well (http://www.bangkokdelight.com/). It's my all-time favorite, compare everything else to restaurant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ktracy

      Bangkok Garden is far superior to Bangkok Delight which is your run of the mill boring Thai joint flavor wise. BG is much more authentic, and I agree, really better than most Thai places in the area.

      1. re: ktracy

        I am glad that you enjoy Bangkok Delight, and their food is good, and IMO their Musulman curry is actually better than Bangkok Garden (which leads me to wonder whether the owners of BD are from southern Thailand or Malaysia). OTOH Bangkok Garden is IMO the best Thai restaurant around. Their Penang curry is not only excellent but unmatched. The hot and sour seafood soup, crab meat dumplings, drunken noodles and most other dishes that I have tried are first-rate.

      2. Bangkok Garden makes the BEST panang curry. It makes you want to lick your plate (which is why I get it to go, LOL)

        1. Try the Whole Crispy Fish with the chile garlic sauce AND the Angel Shrimp. Delicious!

          1. Oscar>> I'm glad you found Bangkok Garden.

            Their Bethesda location was highlighted several years ago by the Thai cooking instructor at l'Academie de Cuisine. She thought it was the best, at the time, place for authentic Thai food in Bethesda. For example: their Pad Thai is rich, not sweet. Other Thai places have come and gone and Bangkok Garden keeps cooking [I try the new places as time permits - still haven't gotten to Nark Kara]. The Bethesda location is a bit tattered decor-wise, but 'hounds focus on the food.

            Bangkok Garden website: http://www.bkkgarden.com/

            1. Thank you Oscar for the tip. We just got back from BG, and it was indeed great. My wife & I have been trying to find another worthwhile "regular" spot to go near Clarksville or Columbia, and we now have another thanks to your post.

              I've been reading Chowhound for quite some time, but only just now joined to thank you.

              4 Replies
              1. re: mdfoodlover

                Your welcome, and thanks, feels sort of nice to encourage discussion =). I only signed up recently as well.

                David, do you mind chiming in with what you tried? I want to get a good gauge of what the go to dishes are at Bangkok Garden (although I'm sure, there are probably too many to list).

                1. re: OscarTehGrouch

                  I had the green mussel appetizer as well. Main course was from the front cover's "Monthly Specials" as well. A combination of Mussels, shrimp, scallops, caulifower & onions. Very tasty! My wife had some kind of noodle & shrimp with a little peanut. Pad something. That was great also.

                  1. re: mdfoodlover

                    I love the fried chili fish, the yum woon sen, and curry puff.

                2. re: mdfoodlover

                  Glad you liked it! And I'm glad to see this place getting some CH attention, because they're in a lousy, out-of-the-way location (the nearby Fire Rock Grill recently closed) and I hope they can get more customers from Baltimore and outside the immediate area, because it really is a gem.

                3. I never go to Columbia to eat, but it sounds like I'm going t have to make an exception.. TIA.

                  1. Does anyone have any opinion about how Bangkok Garden compares to Little Spice in Hanover? I work in the area and I've been to Little Spice several times, but haven't stumbled on Bangkok Garden until now.

                    1. I've been to a dozen or so thai restaurants in this area recently, and none can compare with Bangkok Garden. I highly recommend the massaman curry. It isn't traditional, but their take on this classic is really good. It's with shrimp and fresh avocado, and the flavors are complex and just so good. The panang curry is also really good, but more traditional. From the appetizers I have tried, I really liked the shrimp cakes--simple, and nicely done. Some people seem to think the pad thai isn't amazing, but I thought it was really good. It isn't overly sweet or oily like most places and has an excellent balance of sweet, sour and savory. Like other posters here, I also really liked the Southern Duck in sweet chile sauce. And, the Thai iced tea is probably the best I've had in this area.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: juniormints

                        Bangkok Garden is a gem, and the panang curry is the bomb. They also have a hot-and-sour type of seafood soup that is exquisite. This place really deserves the support of chowhounds.

                      2. I went again last Sunday. This time I had the Green Mussels appetizer again, as I love them. Main course was Salmon Sam something. It was pretty tasty, but not as yummy as Indian Tandoori Salmon @ House of India down the road.
                        My wife had some sort of wide noodle, brocolli, & shrimp, forget the name, which I had a taste of. Very light & tasty.
                        The icing on the cake was a free platter of season Thai fruits they gave us. I forget the names, but we had 4 different exotic fruit that required hulling or peeling. All were very fun. And free!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: mdfoodlover

                          The fruit sample is part of a week-long Royal Thai Embassy sponsored event highlighting native, imported fruit especially Mangosteens: http://oca.thaiembdc.org/restaurantwe...

                          Were you served the same fruits as a blogger who posted photographes [scroll down in the blog post] of the Rambutans, Longans, and Mangosteens that they were offered as part of this promotion at a Vienna Virginia restaurant? http://thisisgonnabegood.blogspot.com...

                          The Embassy's list of participating restaurants includes Ban Thai on 340 N Charles Street, Baltimore, MD Phone: 410-727-7971 [ www.banthai.us ] Is this restaurant worth remembering next time I'm in Charm City??

                          1. re: Lydia R

                            Yes, those are what we got. The Mangosteens were the best.

                          2. re: mdfoodlover

                            My husband and I went this past Friday night for the first time. The food was wonderful, I've always thought Thai Arroy was the best Thai in the area, but this definitely gave Thai Arroy a run for their money. However, we went on this night specifically to try the mangosteen. We had never had it fresh before, and our Thai friend has raved about it. I know how difficult it is to get in the US, so we were really excited. Imagine our dissapointment when the waitress said that they were all out, and that the mangosteens they had left had rotted. We were a little perplexed, since the table of 12 people next to us had finished a huge plate of the fruit. We asked the waitress to check again, but she came back with nothing, saying there were none left. Once she left the check though, she came back with a brown paper bag and asked us not to open it, but that she had taken some mangosteens from the fridge, and that she wasn't supposed to. It was very nice of her... but it just left such a bad taste in my mouth... the only reason we went was to try the mangosteen, and they lied about having any. We may not go back, despite the tastiness of the food.

                            1. re: shureen1

                              Restaurants ought to learn that pulling stunts like this the age of the WWW can be very bad for business. Kudos, though, to your server for doing the right thing on the sly.

                              1. re: shureen1

                                I had a similar experience at Kanlaya in DC last week--it's been years since I've had a fresh mangosteen, so I went there for that express purpose, since they were on the list that the Thai embassy put out of restaurants that would be serving complimentary fresh Thai fruit. At the end of the meal, they brought out the check, and I asked about the mangosteen; the waitress said she didn't know if they had any, but would check, and asked if I wanted it if they had it. I answered that obviously I did, so she left, and a few minutes later, someone came out with a plate of mango and sticky rice, which I didn't eat since it clearly wasn't mangosteen. Then the check came back, with an extra charge for mango & sticky rice added. I was in a huge hurry at the time, so I didn't bother to argue, but Kanlaya definitely lost a customer who drops a lot of money on Thai food that day.

                            2. Just wanted to say - for those in the DC area - the Bethesda location (also Bangkok Garden) is the same under the same family ownership.

                              Both locations offer the same great food. My Thai friends and I try to eat at the Bethesda location when we want to eat some authentic Thai food (just out of convenience, since we are all around this area).

                              If you bring someone who can read Thai they also used to have a "native" menu which has "Mom's Kitchen type Thai food" - not sure if they still do or not, but couldn't hurt to ask :-)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: chew

                                I think Bangkok Gdn is good and have had several very nice meals there. Closer to Baltimore I have always been disappointed with most places---Thai Landing, Thai Restaurant, etc. One notable exception is a small divey kind of place in Catonsville called Thai Heaven that has some of the best Tom Ka Gai and other soups that I have had. Their curries have also always been good. Just a plug for a place I like---very popular at lunch.

                                1. re: baltymoron

                                  I'm a huge fan of Thai Heaven as well.

                              2. BG has 2 locations, one in bethesda and one in columbia. Since I live in VA it'd be closer for me to go bethesda but I was wondering if the food would still taste the same. My mouth was so watering after I read most of the posts.

                                1. I have not had Thai in a very long time. I looked up the menu for Bangkok Garden in Columbia online - how much food is about average per person - would an appetizer, soup and entree be too much for an average person to eat? I noticed they mark items in the menu with symbols for how hot/spicey the dishes are - would Thai food in general be a bad idea for someone who's stomach is extremely sensative to spicey foods?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                                    I have been having recent stomach troubles, and as much as I enjoy Thai food, it is at least temporarily off my menu.

                                    1. re: elgringoviejo

                                      My Fiance's stomach is extremely sensative to hot/spicey foods so I always have to try hard to take that into consideration. Are there any other types of foods you avoid? My Fiance is afraid of lots of Mexican dishes and spicier Indian dishes - or course I can eat fire.

                                  2. Does Bangkok Garden take reservations, or is there usually a wait to get a table?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                                      As far as I can tell, the Columbia location is never full. Not even half-full.