Bangkok Golden is in a little strip mall (which is actually part of a deceptively enormous complex) in Seven Corners, Virginia’s answer to Rockville Pike when it comes to Driving Hell, the former being a labyrinth, the latter a straight line of torture. This restaurant is only a few doors down from Hong Kong Palace.
Bangkok Golden is actually a local Thai chain – perhaps – with other locations in Fairfax and Fort Washington. However, despite them all being listed on the carryout menu, the Seven Corners location is the only one with its own website, and more importantly, the only one that offers a separate, Laotian menu.
Earlier in the evening, I’d made the mistake of opening a 1996 Oddero Barolo which was not in particularly good condition – it was bitingly tannic, but also starting to lose its fruit. Desperate, I picked up the phone for some Laotian relief.
The Lao Curry Puff ($6.95) is actually three puffs, wonderfully golden, crusty turnovers (something like miniature Cornish pasties) stuffed with curried potato and chicken, served with a plastic tub of typically thin Vietnamese-style sweet, vinegary dipping sauce. These were so good that I finished two of them standing up at the kitchen counter.
But it was the Orm Pork ($8.95) that was my Hail Mary pass to save the Barolo, and fortunately, it did. Orm is a Laotian stew described as a “country style curry with chili paste, lemongrass, galangal, Asian eggplant, and fresh dill,” and you can order it with about six different types of meats (chicken, beef, tilapia, etc.). It’s a gutsy, harsh, sodium-laden (I’m not dropping the MSG bomb, I’m not) dish which, while not “hot,” comes at you with persistent, guttural spices. More importantly, it took that tannic Barolo and produced, magically, black cherry fruit. I know it sounds insane, but this was a great food and wine pairing.
I was miffed to see that only half of a large plastic container was full (there was only about a pint of the Orm), but it came with extremely heavy sticky rice (which I’m used to having with mango and coconut milk as a Thai dessert), and I could not finish all the food.
There is some past or present relationship between the three Bangkok Goldens, and I haven’t sorted it out yet, but more than anything else, I’m called back to the Seven Corners location to explore their Laotian menu more fully.