EDITOR’S NOTE: BaanChan Thai Restaurant closed permanently over the summer of 2022.
I had been hearing about BaanChan Thai Restaurant (https://www.baanchanorlando.com/) for years before finally making it there in December. I brought back takeout for my “lunch bunch” at work, and everyone really enjoyed what they ordered. It’s way out east on Colonial Drive, further east than I usually venture, almost out to Alafaya. But it is easily accessible via the 417 and convenient for anyone in the UCF area.
My one co-worker ordered the BaanChan ramen ($10), with noodles in a spicy lemongrass soup, mushrooms, onions, scallions, cilantro, whole chiles, and lime. It came with a soy-marinated soft boiled egg and several large deep-fried, breaded shrimp. This was a a uniquely Thai take on ramen. They wisely packed the broth, the fried shrimp, and all the other stuff in three separate containers for her. My photo of the broth came out blurry, so I left it out. You’re welcome!
Three of us ordered my go-to Thai dish, drunken noodles ($8.50), at various levels of heat. Because I like to tempt fate and sometimes ruin my afternoons at the workplace, I asked for mine to be hot. Drunken noodles, sometimes called pad kee mow or pad kee mao, are wide, flat noodles stir-fried to an al dente consistency in a spicy sauce with onions, bell peppers, and Thai basil, plus a protein. I chose pork, which was tender and not dried out from the stir-frying. These were much more oily than other drunken noodles I’ve ordered elsewhere, at places like Mee Thai, Naradeva Thai, and Thai Singha, but still had a lot of flavor and A LOT of heat.
Someone’s food came with fluffy jasmine rice, but it went unclaimed. That was a relief to me, because I ate it to cut some of the lingering heat from the spicy, oleaginous noodles. Sometimes carbs can save your life!
I also ordered two small appetizers for myself, so I could make everything last for lunch and dinner. I asked around, and a lot of people recommended the Thai heaven beef ($4.50), which is fried beef jerky! Because it was fried and not just cured like a lot of conventional jerky I’ve had, in addition to being sticky, sweet, salty, and slightly spicy, it was oily and also quite firm and crunchy, which I wasn’t expecting. I can see why this is a popular crowd-pleaser at BaanChan, but I don’t know if I would order it again.
My absolute favorite thing I tried on this first visit to BaanChan was the Thai sausage ($4). It was chewy and savory with a slightly crispy exterior, not spicy at all. It was a terrific sausage, and I loved it. It came with paper-thin slices of pickled ginger like you might get with sushi, and some intimidating-looking whole chiles that I wisely avoided.
You can also see a fried pot sticker that one of my co-workers gave me from her order ($4.50 for four). It was stuffed with ground, seasoned pork and vegetables and was a pretty standard pot sticker, but you can never go wrong with those.
I was glad to finally try BaanChan after reading about it for years. Whenever I make it back, I’ll definitely order that amazing sausage again, and I’ll probably try the pineapple fried rice, chili jam, or larb next time to switch things up.