When Thailand native Penelope Chungsakoon and her husband, Bangkok native Tom Chungsakoon, opened Thai Yum Restaurant in 2010, the Baltimore Sun declared it the city's "best Thai restaurant." It's a testament to the ardent work ethic of Penelope and Tom, who flavor each beautifully plated dish with spices hand-ground in their open kitchen.
Besides staples such as massamun curry, the duo crafts Thai specialties such as duck breasts coated in curry-roasted peanut sauce and frog legs sautéed in garlic and chili paste. Feasts unfold inside a dining room of shiny hardwood flooring and white brick walls decorated with traditional artwork depicting animals such as dragons and elephants.
Red Parrot Asian Bistro puts a fresh take on Thai, sushi, and other pan-Asian specialties. The chefs pack the huge menu with specialty sushi such as the royal mountain roll, complete with steamed lobster, asparagus, and seared white tuna. Freshly cooked dishes also abound, including Thai noodles and Korean short rib, which guests can pair with cocktails or bubble tea.
The chefs at Lemongrass fill two different Annapolis eateries with visions of modern Thai cuisine. To do so, they keep an array of spices at their fingertips—dried red peppers, curry powder, kaffir-lime and basil leaves, ginger, and blades of that eponymous lemongrass. Pinches and spoonfuls of such seasonings lend nuanced flavors to a long list of dishes, including pad thai, sautéed mussels, panang curry, and pepper beef. Cocktails and desserts such as sticky rice with mango top off each meal with a tasteful style that recalls Abe Lincoln's signature cake hat.
An unfortunate fire forced husband-and-wife team Brad and Pui Wales to find a new location for their popular My Thai restaurant. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the conflagration led to the newly reopened eatery at the Holland Tack Factory, which is near the Little Italy and Harbor East area. The eatery now boasts a spacious interior full of large communal tables, a 40-foot bar, private rooms for groups, and an Open Street Food kitchen, where guests watch chefs prepare "Drunken Noodles," pad thai, curries, soups, and a multitude of seafood and fish specialities. For the adventurous, specialities at the Open Street Food kitchen include fried silkworms, beef tongue, and pork brains. The newly resurrected dining destination also serves spicy eggplant in chili garlic sauce or pork in creamy red Panang curry, as well as Thai foods such as crispy green beans. Tropical cocktails complement the experience—exotic lychee juice laced with peach vodka, or sour apple liquor mixed with absinthe—along with Thai beers and local favorite, Natty Boh.
Colorful, pan-Asian dishes piled high with generous portions emerge hot out of the wok from the kitchen at Chopstixx Cafe. Sifting through the pages of the vast menu, diners will find familiar classics composed of super-fresh ingredients, including spicy General Tso's chicken and pad thai, as well as specialty dishes such as the steamed "Revolution Diet," which features tender shrimp and an array of healthy veggies. The kitchen also whips up crave-worthy bubble teas in fancy flavors such as lychee, passionfruit, and red bean.
The Thai cuisine at Cha Ya Asian Bistro is accented by creative sushi rolls. Playful flourishes characterize the bistro’s dining room, from retro sci-fi hanging lamps to mod chairs that encircle the bar and tables along the curved wall of windows. The colors, both in the décor and sushi, compliment the culinary traditions of Thailand, which emphasizes spices in a range of brilliant reds, greens, and yellows. Patrons settle down near a sun-drenched yellow wall, sampling those flavors in curries, bowls of lemongrass seafood or chicken, and crispy duck. The sushi chefs show off their artistic inclinations in rolls packed with or broiled salmon or other maki folded into the shape of a heart like a poet’s tax returns.