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Apr 11, 2012 06:55 PM

New Secret Menu at Bangkok Golden, Falls Church

There is a new secret menu now at Bangkok Golden in Falls Church, VA. There is the printed Thai menu, the printed Lao menu (which used to be the secret menu), and now a copied paper in a plastic sleeve with a list of new dishes. I had the kao soi form this list, which is a Chiang Mai version (with coconut milk) A wonderful soup with both soft and crunchy noodles plus on the side are raw onions, pickled vegetables and hot peppers.

Off menu, I had fermented pork belly (maybe it was a special of the day, they simply told me about it), and dried, pounded fish. Both dishes great, with the fish being completely stellar, served with raw and steamed vegetables to wrap with sticky rice.

This is a place where it really pays to make inquiries and let them guide you.

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  1. thanks steve for the update. the food is good and the people are friendly and helpful.

    1. The pounded fish was indeed good but the pork won for me, in all three forms. We had larb made from liver (the most un-livery liver I've ever had) and skin, the fermented belly, and grilled boneless pork neck meat. The larb innards come in pork, chicken, and beef--we had beef liver larb last year and it was good, though strong. There's a pork rind app with an amazingly good green dipping sauce, though the rinds themselves were not particularly exciting. We also had the beef noodle soup from the New Year's menu on the whiteboard, which I believe Steve enjoyed a lot but I strongly preferred the kao soi, since I like the warmth of the cumin-y flavors as well as coconut milk. Steve's had it with duck, which I can easily believe is even better.

      Before Steve arrived, I talked with Seng about the new menu. Although it contains several new dishes such as the larb innards, it's mostly translations into Thai of dishes from the Lao menu, since the Thai customers were confused both by nomenclature and by differences in preparation. Ordering from that menu will get you Thai-style (and more authentic) versions of the dishes. I have to say this does make things even more confusing, but if you read Thai, presumably you can get some pretty good food by ordering from the new menu. And as Steve says, the best way to order is to let Seng steer you to the dishes she's really excited about.

      9 Replies
      1. re: KWagle

        The grilled pork neck (not served on the bone) is marinated for a very, very long time and is sensational. The liver and pork skin larb was exceptional, and the pork rinds (super crunchy) provide a startling contrast to the rest of the food.

        Still, you will not easily find a dish like the dried pounded fish anywhere else. A unique creation, and just as impressive the second time around.

        1. re: Steve

          Pounded fish, fermented pork and innards soup were superb. Really nice people too. Food quite hot and very rich in flavor.

          Having had a lot of Issan food, the differences between Lao and Issan seems to be in balance: they use the same ingredients. Issan tends more to the citrus and herb side. Lao as cooked here, more to the earthy side with more bean sauces etc used.

          Good call Steve. Makes up for a place you recommended that I didn't care for ;)

          1. re: wineo1957

            I'm glad I steered you right this time, but 50/50 is not what I'm shooting for. What place did I recommend that you didn't like?

              1. re: wineo1957

                Argh, sorry you didn't like it.... I've had quite a few great meals there, but my top three (which I constantly mention on this board) are the shrimp and grits, the lemon pepper wings and the broiled crabcakes. And the greens are monumental. The broiled crabcakes take them about 35 minutes to prepare, and most people don't want to wait for them. Short ribs and turkey chops with gravy are also winners.

                Only two items I've had I didn't like, and both were fish: either blackened in the broiler or breaded and fried. And I don't really care for mac n cheese or candied yams.

                So I can definitely see being underwhelmed by it, but I believe that's true about every restaurant.

            1. re: wineo1957

              Where do you go to get Issan food... Issan?

            2. re: Steve

              Could you describe the dried pounded fish a bit more? Is there any pork, chicken, beef in the dish? Do you know the Thai name for it? I googled but found a dessert dish like mango sticky rice that I've already tried.

              1. re: bmorecupcake

                I am not aware of any other protien in the dish. It comes out dry and fluffy and does not look like fish or in the form of fish. Looks more like ground beef hash. She uses shallots and garlic with the skin still on, but chopped up very fine.

                Pon Pa is pounded fish, but I do not know the name for the dried version. It does not appear on any menu as I think she made it special around this time for the New Year.