Finding vegetarian options at Asian restaurants can be difficult. It usually involves substituting something for tofu or extra veggies (or coming across something you think is vegetarian but actually contains fish sauce because it’s not considered meat). But one local Thai restaurant, Siri’s Chef’s Secret, makes it unbelievably easy to have a full vegetarian meal without the doubts or the substitutions.
Located discretely on Greenbelt Road, there aren’t too many people who know about this place. Its sketchy appearance doesn’t really look as inviting as it should, but once you step inside, you are transported through a tranquil Thai journey. The walls are covered with beautiful pieces of ethnic art, and the booths and tables are interspersed with figurines of dancers and statues of various Thai symbols. The waiters and waitresses are very welcoming and are able to answer any questions regarding dishes and even Thai culture, if you’re interested.
Okay, so let’s get down to the meal. For an appetizer, the vegetarian spring rolls (about $7) are always a crowd favorite. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, the spiced vegetable filling along with the drizzled sweet and sour sauce provides a new taste experience that is unlike that of a regular spring roll. The carrot straws they are garnished with add a mildness that balances out all of the stronger flavors. They come in a serving size of six, which is enough to share or keep them all for yourself. Trust me when I say that no one will judge you.
Once you’ve devoured the spring rolls, the restaurant staff will almost immediately clear your plates and bring out the main course. Since it’s usually hard to decide between noodles or a tofu dish, the most reasonable compromise is the drunken noodles dish with tofu (about $10). This dish can be made very spicy or very mild depending on your taste, and it is always served piping hot. The noodles are smothered in a special sauce and are pan fried with Thai chili, tomatoes, and basil leaves. The combination of these three very different tastes makes it a different, delicious noodle dish that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
To finish off the meal, I had the the fried banana with ice cream (about $5). I know fried bananas may sound like a weird concept, but it is a popular Thai dessert that does not disappoint. Similar in appearance to a spring roll, the crispy outer shell instead envelopes warm, smushy banana. The rolls are arranged on a plate around a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, which complements the rolls as the warmth of the fried bananas mixed with the rich cold vanilla ice cream blends together (please contain the drools!) and creates a great, sweet and mild ending to a very flavorful meal.
Siri’s Chef’s Secret is a great place for all sorts of occasions from date night to dinner with the parents or a casual dinner with friends. So next time you’re craving Thai food or are just feeling a little adventurous, make the move to Greenbelt.
P.S. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this restaurant!
Location: 5810 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20770
Hours: Lunch: Mon-Fri: 11am-2:30pm. Dinner: Sun-Thu 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm