I never usually crave Thai food. Like ever. But, after I had those glass noodles from Malai the other week, for some reason I couldn’t help but want more. Give me moreee!!
So I did.
Since I am not super familiar with great Thai places, I asked my fellow foodie Lisa for some good suggestions. She recommended Si Lom on Oak Lawn, Ruang Thai in Plano, and Thai Thumbz in Richardson.
We were closer to Ruang Thai, so we decided to go there based on proximity. It’s a cute little restaurant and we arrived just as they opened for dinner. The restaurant isn’t very big with modest Thai themed decorations and soft music. Not much of an ambiance, but it screamed mom and pop restaurant and it’s pretty clean.
We ordered two entrees and an appetizer to start. We were also excited that the menu had a bunch of pictures!
To start, we ordered the Tod Man, a Thai spicy fish cake deep fried and served with a sweet relish. It was a little on the oily side, but it was pretty tasty. I’ve had variations of fried fish cakes, but have never tried a Thai fish cake. Unfortunately, I have nothing to compare it to, but my taste buds did enjoy it. Not too salty or heavy and the sweet relish was a great complement. There were only four small fish cakes for $8 bucks. They offer Tod Man in fish or shrimp variations.
For our meals, I was craving Pad Woon Sen or Fried Glass Noodles again so I opted for that. I got it with shrimp this time and I couldn’t wait to dig in. Danny ordered the Raad Na. He loves this dish ever since we had it at Thai Gourmet in Houston (blog here). The service was great. An adorable family runs the business and they take your order and serve you personally.
The Pad Woon Sen was delicious, but a little heavy on the oil. The sauce was delicious despite being a bit heavy on the seasonings. I would have preferred less cabbage but this dish was still a good one. They didn’t skimp on the shrimp either. The entree as a whole was a good size for one person.
The Raad Na or Laad Na wasn’t my favorite. We ordered it with the meat combo of shrimp, chicken, beef, and pork. I am used to a more savory sweet gravy with my pan fried noodles. Their raad na had a sweet tang to it that I didn’t care for. I wouldn’t order this again based on that difference. It was still good overall, but not what I am used to as far as this dish goes. The mistake a lot of Thai places make with this dish is the gravy. Some don’t achieve the right ratio of gravy to noodles and drown the flat noodles in gravy. Or the portion of the noodles, veggies, and meat are way to small. There should be enough gravy to glaze the noodles. It’s not meant to be soupy. The portion Ruang Thai offers is pretty close. Wished there were more noodles instead of veggies and gravy though.
Overall, I really liked this place. It’s great for a quiet meal and has a great appeal to families. The bill was a bit pricey for what I would’ve expected, but I totally didn’t mind supporting the local businesses. Our dishes with shrimp averaged about $15 bucks each and the appetizer was around $8. This location is easy to miss. It’s not trendy or fancy. Just soulful and delicious and offers home cooking. Take it or leave it. If I am ever in the neighborhood again, I would definitely go back.
I haven’t been back to Malai Kitchen since it opened years ago in West Village. My first impression then was not a great one. I thought it was overpriced, faux-vietnamese cuisine and at $12 for a bowl for pho…totally whack.
This time, I skipped anything wanna-be Vietnamese and went for the Thai food. The glass stir fried noodles with chicken or Pad Woon Sen was delicious. It wasn’t too sweet or too tangy. You can also sub out for shrimp at no extra cost. I definitely like it enough to come back again. Soon.
My friend got the drunken noodles with shrimp which I also really liked. A bit on the salty side, but it didn’t bother me too much. I hear their brunch is something to check out. Since West Village is saturated with so much Tex-Mex, Malai was a nice reprieve.