Eatery - Bhan Baitong Thai Cuisine (CA)

Bhan Baitong Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

23808 Mercury Rd, Lake Forest, CA 92630
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Thai

We were hungry and caught in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere (aka the border zone between Laguna Hills and Lake Forest). Business plazas and cement-cold buildings were abound so we had to utilize our handy dandy Yelp app to see what was about. It was a chilly night so we started craving Thai food. Lo and behold, Bhan Baitong was on the map as being nearby and still open (it was nearing 8pm). We made our windy way there to a fairly empty restaurant that was somewhat chic inside and looked a bit new.

Aside from the decor that waffled between being traditional Thai and modern home, the smells coming from dishes brought out from the kitchen were intriguing. There were two other tables that night that had guests, one of which had ordered a sizzling plate of something. As we perused the menu, I just had to order the Thai Iced Tea ($2.50) because, well, that's what I do in Thai restaurants. It came out in a familiar tall glass (I have one just like it at home...really, the same exact one) with plenty of tea in it instead of a slurry of cream and sugar. I liked it, and it would come in handy later for the spicy foods. The crushed ice also gave a better texture to the drink.

We were not terribly hungry but certainly needed helpings to keep us warm. Unlike other Thai restaurants that I had seen, there was a section for noodle soups. How perfect! I crave noodle soups in times like these so happily I opted for the Tom Yum Noodles ($7.95 - rice noodles, lemongrass, lime juice, mushroom, green onion, choice of chicken, beef, pork, tofu, or vegetables). Duc is much more a fan of curries than soups for the most part when wanting something warm and comforting so he chose the Mussamun Curry ($7.95/$8.95/$9.95 depending on meat - simmered with onions, potatoes, carrots, and peanuts in special Massaman curry) after he briefly hovered over the Pineapple Curry option. The bowl of Tom Yum noodles was a fair size when it came out and chock-full of mushrooms. Delish! The lemongrass chunks were, unfortunately, a bit intrusive to the dish since there were so many large pieces (you can't really chew/eat them as they are mainly for flavoring at those sizes) floating about but I managed to get through the meal soon enough. I enjoyed the tangy but spicy kick in my soup and the choice of rice noodles to accompany it. The curry was a tad weak in flavor and not all of the vegetables were tender as was wont in the curry. However, overall, the experience was pretty good for a Thai place out in Lake Forest. I might have to order out in the future when cravings hit for Thai food since I work just a few miles down the road!

Photography by Duc Duong.