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May 7, 2014 02:43 PM

Chowhound Group dinner at Thai Ghang Waan in Springfield, VA

Last Saturday, six of us gathered for a dinner at Thai Ghang Waan in Springfield. On my two previous visits, I was greeted with two menus. One was a one pager written in Thai and a folded menu with Thai dishes you would typically find in a lot of Thai restaurants. On this trip, they handed me the folded menu and a two pager that was written in English! I am so glad to see that there is a translated version for my friends that don't read Thai. Being a fairly large group, we were able to sample quite a lot of dishes.

Overall, I thought it was an excellent meal. We didn't have a bad dish all night. Below is a list of what we ordered. The group favorites are marked with **. Most of the dishes were on the small side, so six of us were able to finish most of the 12 savory dishes and two desserts. On average, I think if you order 3 plates for every 2 people, you would have a very satisfying meal. The crispy pork with chinese broccoli was just done so well that we ordered it again on our second round. I could go back just for the Goong Chae Nam Pla and Hoy tod. I just don't know where else to get them in the area, and they were some of my favorite dishes in Thailand. However, I will probably be making my way around the menus as everything was done so well. Attached are photos of the translated menu. The total including a big tip (~25%) was $180 with no drinks or $30pp.

Dishes ordered:

**Goong Chae Nampla (Raw shrimp with a chili, lime, garlic, sauce)
Som Tum with Pickle Crab and shrimp paste (Papaya salad)
**Sweet liver (Spicy liver salad)
**Naem Kluk Kao Tod (Thai crispy rice salad slightly different than the Lao version)
Yum Pla Dook Foo (catfish puff salad)
Suki Haeng with Seafood (stir fried bean thread noodle with suki sauce)
**Hoy Tod (Mussels Omelette)
**Pad Kana Moo Krob (Crispy pork with Chinese broccoli)
**Crispy chicken wings with basil (on the Thai written menu only)
Gaeng Ped (roast duck in red curry)
Green curry with Pork
Mango with Sticky Rice
**Khao Niew Sang ka nya (Taro custard with sticky rice, not on the menu)

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  1. Thanks for the write-up. This was a terrific meal and I felt privileged to eat so many homestyle dishes at one sitting.

    That first dish had a killer sauce. I could see it was green chili peppers and some lime juice, and it had an unusual pale green color with very thin slices of raw garlic on top. Not terribly hot, just enough to dazzle the tastebuds. This was a real treat, and I knew we were in for a good meal.

    The Hoy Tod also didn't seem like it came out of a restaurant kitchen, just something a family friend would make. It was really, really nice.

    Hard to go wrong by ordering the crispy pork with Chinese broccoli - the pork was super crunchy- and the chicken wings were chopped up into liitle bits, so each little piece was crispy all around. No americanized restaurant would do such a thing.

    The curries on the other hand were from the regular menu, and were what you'd expect from a good kitchen.

    In addition to the papaya salad with pickled raw crab, there was also a pickled crab salad on the menu which we didn't get. Pickled crab is served as tiny claws in the shell and getting at the meat is tricky. It comes out sweet and a bit like jelly. I liked it a lot better than I've had previously. I think I finally understand this dish.

    The one item that didn't work was the yum pla dook foo, which is much better at Thai Square. Here it just shatters into a bunch of oily crumbles.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Sounds like a place I need to try. Are the crab claws means to be eaten with the shell?

      1. re: KWagle

        Hard shells, so you have to pick out, or more appropriately, suck out the crab. Nothing to fill up on, it's more the suggestion of the jelly-like sweet and cool crabmeat.

    2. Is it better than Bangkok Noodle House?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Worldwide Diner

        I've only had the noodle soups at Bangkok Noodle House. i wasn't too impressed with their noodle soups, so I never ventured into the other dishes.

      2. What is a catfish puff? How is it incorporated into the salad?

        5 Replies
        1. re: luckyfatima

          It's basically catfish meat with flour that gets air dried first. Then, it gets deep fried which causes it to puff up. It's laid on top of the salad served with a sauce on the side. You toss the whole thing with a sauce at the table. Steve is right. The version at Thai Square is better.

          1. re: souvac

            There are two dishes at Thai Square that are textural masterpieces: In addition to the yum pla dook foo, the yum pla krob is tilefish made terribly thin -think contact lenses. Not sure how this is accomplished. Served in a salad like the catfish.

            1. re: souvac

              i was curious about this dish (and how steve keeps the names of all these dishes straight ;-), so looked up "dook foo" (i know yum and pla). found this recipe, fwiw:

              1. re: alkapal

                Thanks for posting this; it makes the dish much more understandable. Sadly, the version we had didn't have much flavor, IMO. Not compared to the other tasty dishes on the table.

                I dragged a friend there the other day and had the mussels omelet, raw shrimp, and crispy rice salad again. All delicious.

                1. re: tcamp

                  looks like the flavor comes mostly from the dressing, anyway. i wonder if a food processor would get the same smashed effect, but i'm thinking probably not.