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Organic Thai grocery/takeout at El Cerrito Ranch 99 Center [Richmond]

Sorry to be so vague, but there's some wonderful food being prepared at this tiny shop across from the Pho place.

We tried the cutest little steamed desserts for $1 and less - sticky rice, coconut milk, custard. They'd make lovely little gifts.

The shop seemed to have ingredients as well as prepared foods. And reasonable prices.

Do you know the name of the shop? Or what else is good there?

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  1. It's called Ran Kanom Thai. I stopped by last weekend and was intrigued by many of the choices. There are handmade desserts and sausages (frozen) and a limited selection of packaged goods. I picked up the Laotian sausage and the "Organic Homemade Pork Sausage" with Niman ranch pork, unspecified pork skin, and organic onion/lemongrass,ginger, lime leaf, and chili. I haven't tried this yet, though I did try the Lao sausage. The woman checking me out made sure to check whether I'd had this before because "many non-Thai complain that it is soured--gone bad." The batch I got was a bit more rice-filled and less flavorful than I am used to, but I didn't get the chance to grill it, just pan fry, and I'm no expert.
    It's relatively expensive for Thai sausage at about $8/pound for the mostly organic sausage, but I'm excited to try it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ...tm...

      Oh, thanks for filling in some blanks. I woke up thinking about that sticky rice dessert.

      Not sure how long they're open nor what they're planning to carry. There was a refrigerated take out case with prepared food and an empty display freezer or fridge. Looks like they want to expand inventory.

    2. How long has this been there? Which space did it takeover?

      2 Replies
      1. re: kc72

        looks like scrapironchef is referring to daiso. looks like it been 6 months.
        Ran is now situated between J & S Coffee and the red wine store.
        the sticky rice in banana leaf (2) was pretty tasty. some curry seem to be priced at 4.95

        1. re: shanghaikid

          No, I'm going back farther in time than Daiso, and it is on the other side of the coffee shop from the red wine store, not between them.

      2. Bumping this thread to report that on weekends she now has a variety of hot foods and curries on sale. I picked up some very good green curry, fishcakes and dipping sauce, and assorted snacks. I sampled the winter melon soup with pork, penang curry, fish curry and a few others. All organic, tasty and taste like Thailand.

        The good news was that the store was busy and well stocked and the prices are very good for organic meals. Give them a try, I'm sure you'll find something you like.

        Edit - It's in half the space that used to be the Japanese household goods store and later the frozen food place, opposite side of the mall from Ranch 99.

        -----
        Ran Kanom Thai
        3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: Scrapironchef

          The pumpkin curry is delicious. It's got a little kick to it. She says it is spiciest item she makes. The food/entree items come with rice; choice of jasmine or brown but the brown usually goes quick. She also has red and green homemade curry sauce in jars for sale.

        2. Looks like another failure at Pacific Square mall, they've been closed all October. The owner had told me that the management had been trying to raise her rent.

          The frozen yogurt place is closed also.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Scrapironchef

            Bummer—but she once told me that the usual customers of the mall didn't want to pay more for organic/natural. I hope she reopens in Berkeley, where she would be very appreciated! What I loved was authentic homestyle Thai flavors with natural meats—I wish there were more Asian restaurants in this category, not fancy fusion or vegetarian, just not industrial ingredients.

            1. re: Armoise

              The prices for her food weren't really any higher than you'd pay for Thai anywhere else. I think stressing the organic ingredients put it in peoples head that they were paying more.

            2. re: Scrapironchef

              Sorry to hear this, closed before I had a chance to try it myself. Here's a link to the website, maybe someone can try to contact the owner and see if there's a plan to reopen elsewhere.
              http://www.rankanomthai.com/

              1. re: Scrapironchef

                Good news! It turns out her main employee had just gone back to Thailand, they were open today with a full line of food. They're going to be closed on Thursdays going forward.

                Green curry and Larb for dinner tonight.

              2. We were always curious about this place but for some reason we never got takeout until a couple of weeks ago. We got some fish ball curry soup with noodles and green chicken curry. It was excellent. We wished we gotten takeout from here sooner. I highly recommend this place.

                1. This place makes some of the best Thai food I've had. Prices are very modest for the quality. Cash only.

                  Pad prik khing with baby green beens, water spinach (kang kung) and pork in coconut curry sauce, chicken larb, all fantastic.

                  A variation on pork leg stew with fried tofu and hard-boiled eggs was very good, but I prefer the version at House of Thai (former Thai House Express on Larkin) in SF better.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    We love this place. I encourage people to go so it stays in business. We got some Food there yesterday that we are eating tonight. Will post a review afterwards.

                    1. re: Ridge

                      We got some takeout there this weekend. The food heats up very well. Tonight we had a noodle dish. I forget the name of it. It was pan fried very fine cellophane noodles with chicken and vegetables. It had just a hint of Maggie sauce. I almost never like dishes with Maggie sauce which I usually find artificial tasting and overpowering. But in this dish it worked beautifully. It did not dominate or overpower the dish and added an extra layer of umami that elevated the dish. Overall the dish was absolutely delicious and much better than most similar dishes I have eaten. We also had a red curry made with coconut milk, chicken legs, carrots and plantains. Most Thai restaurants use chicken breasts which can sometimes be bland and dry. The use of chicken legs was brilliant and more like Thai food I have eaten in Thailand. The dish was warm and comforting with the perfect touch of turmeric. The legs were moist and flavorful. They also make these fantastic Chili condiment sauces here. Flavors include mackerel (my favorite), fermented shrimp, pork and waterbug(very perfumey). Tonight we had some of the shrimp and the pork condiments. Both were good but I especially loved the one two punch of chili and fermented shrimp.

                      1. re: Ridge

                        does anyone have the address or web link for this delicious sounding place? thanks!

                        1. re: lexvegas

                          3288 Pierce St., Richmond, the Pacific East Mall. No web site.

                          http://www.pacificeastmall.net

                          1. re: lexvegas

                            Ran Khanom Thai doesn't really have a web presence, I keep telling the owner she should at least tweet her menu every day but she seems a little web phobic.

                            BTW if she has curry crab when you go there, get some.

                      2. We got takeout from here this weekend. One thing in particular completely blew me away. Red curry fish ball curry with noodles. Reminded me exactly of a dish we got on the street in Bangkok earlier this year. The curry was spicy and full of warm flavors. Had the percect balence of heat and umami funk. The fish balls were just the perfect texture. The noodles added a satisfying toothsome texture. Extremely enjoyable!

                        She also makes some interesting desserts. We got a coconut custard dessert that had a smooth satisfying texture and was not overly sweet. Excellent. We also tried this dessert we have gotten from her before. It's rice with sweetened coconut milk and turmeric. The top is this garlic and shrimp relish. It tastes much better than it sounds. Very interesting mix of flavors.

                         
                         
                         
                        1. I tried Ran Kanom Thai on Monday night, and thought it was great. They had little spoons to sample the different dishes, which vary each day. Tried the tofu pumpkin curry which was really spicy, and also tasted the broth from the sweet pork and egg dish. Ended up with a different pork belly dish, and a pork curry w/ water-spinach over rice. Big serving for $8.

                          Also tried a pandan sweet which I didn't love...I was hoping for a softer puddingy texture, like pandan nyonya kuih, but this texture was more jelly-like.

                          This place is a real find though, and it's very close to the freeway. Definitely worth a stop!

                          1. Life gets better, the owner is opening a Thai noodle place in San Pablo near San Pablo supermarket. Shooting for late December, early January.

                            On the flip side the hot pot / grill place closed down last Sunday and the Japanese place next to it has been closed for a while.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: Scrapironchef

                              The hot pot place had a craigslist for sale ad for many months. Where is the San Pablo Supermarket?

                              1. re: lmnopm

                                Corner of El Portal and San Pablo Ave. (across from Contra Costa College). There's a shaved ice place and Sukie's Kitchen(?) there also -- if you're familiar w/ either or those can be places to look for

                                Google gave 2 addresses
                                2368 San Pablo Ave, San Pablo, CA 94806
                                1188 International Market Pl

                              2. re: Scrapironchef

                                The owner of Ran Kanom is opening a restaurant in San Pablo?

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Yes. She had wanted to open it by December but it will be hopefully open in January. A noodles place.

                                  Good excuse for a Chowndown!

                                2. re: Scrapironchef

                                  Saw an application for a liquor license change today in the window of the Korean place and the sign was covered over with paper.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Stuck my head in the new place in San Pablo (the old Straw Hat pizza) things are progressing and she's trying to open before the end of the month.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Now scheduled to open March 1st -

                                        Ran Kanom Thai Noodle
                                        2300 El Portal Drive
                                        San Pablo

                                        510 255 7248

                                        1. re: Scrapironchef

                                          Ran Kanom Thai noodle is open. Plenty of tables plus a shop area for Thai snacks and take out food. The duck noodles were tasty. The green mango salad too. The previous days specials are on sale for $5/pint by the front door. Could be a good solution for quick dinner at home, there.

                                          1. re: flavorenhancer

                                            Yum! Sounds great, and it's just a few blocks from home. This is now on my near future to-try list.

                                            P.S. It could be tricky to find, if you're not from the area. It's in the same plaza as San Pablo International Supermarket. Good if you need to do some grocery shopping after.

                                            This plaza can get crowded so park/drive safely!

                                    2. The dishes offered have changed. Had the chicken curry and although the herbs and seasonings are the same deliciousness, the use of chicken pieces w small bones (not drumsticks, thighs, wings) was not a good change for me. I had driven in a ways from work to grab lunch but the bone thing was too much work and effort to eat, especially on the go.

                                      1. Any change at this place since she opened the restaurant in San Pablo?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          I got takeout from there on Saturday. Here is what I got:

                                          Massamam chicken curry. Made with chicken legs. I loved the Massamam curry I first tried in Thailand during the millennium. But I find it's difficult to find really good Massamam curry in the US. It's often too sweet and one dimensional peanuty and often made with dry chicken breast. The version I got Saturday at Ran Kanom at 99 Ranch market tasted like something you might get in Bangkok. The sauce had a velvety smooth texture and had the perfect amount of sweetness and very complex flavors. Just the perfect amount of heat from chilies complimented the flavor profile and gave it a warm homey feel. The whole chicken legs were moist and flavorful.

                                          I got other things as well and they were all excellent but I am late for a meeting bye.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            I was there once like a month after the San Pablo spot opened, and other than the fact that some new person spooned it into my to-go container, it was exactly the same.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              A little more variety on the steam table since she's able to spread it across two outlets, but other than that everything is good.