One of my favorite shows on Food Network is Throwdown with Bobby Flay. In each episode Bobby, of Iron Chef fame, challenges chefs from around the country who are the “best” at their dish and tries to make it better. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he looses, but always the food looks amazing. I’ve tried many recipes from the show including the best Mac and Cheese (Bobby lost) and the Best Sticky Buns (Bobby lost that too). I’ve even been to the home of the best chocolate chip cookies (beat Bobby too). I added one more destination to my list this weekend when Marc and I went to Thai Basil in Chantilly Virginia to try the best Pad Thai around.


Last week Bobby challenged Nongkran Daks to a Pad Thai throwdown. I’ve always loved Pad Thai, so the episode was exciting, but it got even better when I found out Nong’s famous Pad Thai hails from Northern Virginia! Chantilly is about a 25 minute drive from my house, close to Dulles airport. Once I told this to MZ, the deal was done, we had to go try her dish.

On the episode we learned that the key to a good Pad Thai is in the sauce and the noodles. Noodles must be correctly cooked, not to mushy not too hard, so that they will absorb the sauce. A lot of Pad Thai’s out there really aren’t very saucy, nor do the noodles really absorb the taste. Needless to say, Nong’s dish beat Bobby’s attempt, and I can tell you, it was well deserved.

After a drive through Northern Virginia traffic in which MZ whined like a 5 year old (because he was so hungry and forgot his coloring book/juicebox) we arrived at Thai Basil. It’s in a pretty normal looking strip mall right on Route 50. The restaurant itself isn’t anything exciting, simple decor, seats about 60, and has awesome pictures of the recent Throwdown and Thai scenes.

We started with some Thai spring rolls and a spicy papaya salad that was a little to spicy for me before the main event.


Then (sound the drums) we ordered Shrimp Pad Thai, Nong’s signature. She did not disappoint, words cannot even describe it’s perfection, so I’ll just show you in pictures.




We wolfed it down, I in it’s pure form, and MZ with a plethora of hot sauces. His favorite sauce was some dried tamarind pepper spiciness to the dome (as he put it), it’s the one on the bottom right.


If you live in DC and have nothing to do on a Saturday it’s a great road-trip, plus it’s right near the Fairfax Wegman’s, which makes the perfect pit-stop on the way back. Wegman’s is almost as good as Nong’s Pad Thai.

Marc also covered this event on his blog, you can see his take on the meal here. If he challenged me to the blogspehere throwdown who would win? You be the judge…

Photo Credit: MZ Dibujo’s Inc.