A Thai Lover’s Paradise: Rachawadee Cafe, Mt. Vernon, WA

Tucked away in old downtown Mt. Vernon is a small Thai Cafe.  The seating only accommodates eight people, but Rachawadee Cafe manages to impart a spicy Thai flavor that makes any wait worthwhile.  Avoid the lunch rush and visit in the early afternoon so you can truly appreciate the bar-style experience.  You’ll watch the chefs cook their spicy Thai masterpieces, which is entertaining and educational (for us foodies who love to experiment and replicate dishes at home).

The atmosphere is quiet and usually the the clacking of the woks can be heard bouncing off half-filled glasses of water in the traditional Buddhist offering. The aroma of Thai chilies and Thai basil drifts through the air.

Poor Tiger

I’ve been to Rachawadee Cafe dozens of times, and I am always amazed how their star heat index is based on the “Thai Spicy” level.  It’s definitely not your standard-American three or four star.  The flavor the spicy chilies imparts warms your soul, stomach, and leaves your lips with a beautiful red pout.

The “Poor Tiger” salad isn’t an ordinary beef salad.  Tossed with an abundance of lime juice, cilantro, sweet basil, packed full of spice and perfectly cooked slices of steak, the salad itself is crisp, and lightly dressed.

The “Phad kee Mao,” or as our server described drunken noodles, has wide rice noodles, broccoli, onion, red and green bell peppers, julienned carrots, and a stir-fried egg.  It’s absolutely delicious, the sauce isn’t overwhelming, slightly tart, yet not overly sweet.

The portions are perfect for two people to share two entrees and leave feeling content, with a spicy capsascin filled warmth settling in your stomach.

Phad kee Mao

There are several other dishes on their menu that I recommend though the aforementioned two are favorites.  The Rama Noodles have a heavenly peanut sauce, the Phad See Ew is slightly sweeter than the Phad kee Mao, their summer rolls are delicious and it’s entertaining to watch the chefs in action as they create the rolls using delicate rice paper wrappers.

Overall, for us Rachawadee Cafe is worth the 30 minute drive and possible wait.  By far the best Thai food North of Seattle, it’s a spicy paradise tucked away in old downtown.


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