Vancouver Washington, on the Columbia River bench, is fifteen minutes away from downtown Portland, yet, it has developed its own identity, and the food scene is thriving. From Indian to Mexican and everything in between, food is better than ever, and the best restaurants are at the same level as the finest in the country.
Main St has the largest concentration of diners and eateries, but it’s on the 4th Plain Blvd, between Dairy Queen, Papa John’s and Burger King where we found the best Thai food in town; the finest we’ve eaten in a long time.
Thai Wok Kitchen is the name. The decor, casual and familiar. A rustic wooden bar serves as a focal point and is used to display local wine and beer. The light-wooded tables and booths are rustic and minimalistic; the place is designed so there’s nothing to distract you from the colorful and enticingly aromatic dishes that come out of the kitchen.
You know food is good when you notice the attention to detail all around you. Fresh flowers embellish every table and dim lights from Edison bulbs bring forward the Vancouver’s skyline hanging on the wall.
The lunch menu brings out the big guns. The classic Pad Thai, with stir-fried noodles, egg, green onions, and bean sprouts, is beautifully balanced between sweet, sour, and spicy flavors in a complete meal. The whole range of Thai curries: yellow, green and red, are homemade from scratch and are as authentic as they get. The spicy Tom Yum soup, with mushrooms and tomatoes, is livened by kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, while the Tom Kha, based in coconut milk, is palate coating and comforting.
For dinner, Thai Wok Kitchen offers all the stars from the lunch menu, and much more. Start with Thailand’s street-food signature: satay chicken skewers or freshly made translucent spring rolls. Enjoy the original green papaya salad, with peanuts and green beans dressed with a light lime dressing, or indulge in a duck curry with eggplant, bamboo shoots, and sweet basil.
Noodles are a specialty here, and so is fried rice, but the stir-fried shrimp with greens and roasted sweet chili, and the SSS Duck, crispy and fork-tender meat in a sweet and sour sauce are wonderful.
Save room for dessert because both the mango and the coconut ice cream, the sweet sticky rice, and the fried bananas are well worth the visit.
There are lots of gluten-free and vegan options so that everyone can have a satisfying meal. Service is friendly and attentive without being intrusive, and Thai Wok Kitchen offers delivery through SMILE Dining, so there’s no excuse to try the best Thai food in Vancouver, WA.
If you had to sum up this restaurant in one word, it would be happiness, because that’s what the faces of every customer coming out of the small dining room say: without words, but with a full belly and a memorable experience in their hands.