Thai Gang Waan in Springfield - Report

I’ve had a few excellent meals at Thai Gang Waan, and my latest try was the best yet. I went in expecting a fine meal, and I came away more impressed than ever.

My new favorite is Kua Gling, a dried pork dish that should not be missed. Very rich tasting, dusted with peanuts, and even though it is rated as 3 chilis on the menu, not nearly as hot as their larb ordered medium spicy. It’s a jaw-dropping dish.

The larb in this case was a monthly special duck larb and was indeed fiery, served with raw cabbage to absorb the heat. The rice powder in the larb was not fully softened, unfortunately. Still, the meatiness of the duck and flavor of the larb shone through.

The fried watercress salad was nice and crispy and the other ingredients, especially the tender squid, were top notch. Every component of this dish was so good.

Alongside the pork we ordered the crispy mussel crepe which was served with bean sprouts, some chopped scallion, and a zesty sauce. The crepe was crackling good, and provided a nice foil for the other dishes which had strong flavors.

I will rush back.


Yesterday, we were in Shirlington seeing the fabulous matinee of Signature Theater’s Sweeney Todd. After, we wanted something light so we immediately thought of Thai food. We decided to avoid a Saturday early evening DC downtown search for parking and traffic to head south to Thai Ghang Waan. We used to get takeout from them all the time when we lived nearby but have never eaten in. At just before 6pm the place was mostly full and they were doing a lot of to-go and delivery. Lots of staff so the service was efficient if not particularly friendly.

They had a nicer than typical drinks list of a strip mall Thai and we picked out a couple of beers and there were cocktails I would have tried if I did not have a 90 minute drive home. The beer was frosty cold on a warm evening. The current menu online is hard to navigate and the best is to be found on the
Thai Menu tab.

Grilled Squid (ปลาหมึกย่าง)
BBQ Squid served with spicy lime dressing.

This was a very nicely grilled, very large squid cut into ringlets and leg pieces. It was super simple but came with a hella spicy dip that was addictive. There was leftover shredded lettuce on the serving plate and I finished the sauce poured on the insipid garnish.

Larb Nuer (ลาบเนื้อ) $13.00

Traditional Northern style larb sauteed with minced beef with Nothern larb chili powder, red onion, scallion, lemon grass, cilantro, and mint.

This was a pretty spectacular version of Larb. It had large slices of very tender tripe in a nicely spicy preparation. This was pretty spicy for me and I like spicy foods. I did not ask for any particular spice level, so this is how it comes. This dish had fried red chiles, roasted chili flakes, and plots of onion, roasted rice powder and cilantro. Nothing fancy, but perfectly balanced and perfectly cooked. There is a fine line between getting a lush, juicy fall to the salad and overcooking it. That hit the spot exactly. This dish is not to be confused with the far more boring version on the ‘regular’ menu made with chicken and no tripe. It is one of the last dishes listed on the menu.

Unfortunately, the last dish was on a separate laminated menu of seasonal specials and that menu is not available online AFAIK. It was house made fish jerky/dried fish which was then fried leaving the pieces pliable and a little caramelized. Mixed with the very standard Thai salad accompaniments, this was totally wonderful and addictive.

All in all, a major league great meal. We are returning to see Sweeney Todd again on July 2 and are thinking of a return visit. Anyone interested in joing us, let me know as more people means more dishes to order.

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I will happily join you. It’s an impressive place. I can probably entice some others as well.

So let’s call it for 6pm. I think 8 people would be ideal. Their plates are certainly big enough