There’s a tiny slice of Thailand in Sterling. Buddhists are likely already familiar with Wat Yarnna Rangsee Buddhist Monastery, tucked away from the road on Glenn Drive. But just a tenth of a mile from the house of worship, a new market is completing the (very) Little Thailand picture. I was alerted to the recent opening of RiceBerry Market by reader Paul Lin. He told me that he was impressed with a range of dishes that he tried.
But when I arrived to pick up my dinner at the takeout restaurant (there are a few tables, but masked customers seemed to be using them just to wait for their orders), I was wowed by the market itself. The store has all the basics to create a Thai meal at home, but more importantly to me, it also has a well-stocked fridge filled with everything from sugar cane juice to Yen Yen herbal tea. There are currently four varieties of Lay’s potato chips in Thai-exclusive flavors, including hot chile squid and a Thai snack called mieng kam krob ros, which features betel leaves, shrimp, and coconut. I tried the relatively conservative sweet basil flavor, which tastes as advertised, with a burn that builds across each bite.
Since I spent $25, I was treated to a free Thai iced tea, which is strong, creamy, and not excessively sweet. It pairs ideally with the pad Thai rolls, fried egg rolls filled with the tamarind-sweet noodles. A peanut dipping sauce combines with the rolls to really make it pad Thai. Chicken larb at RiceBerry Market has less chile and lime than I’m used to and more mint and onion. Still refreshing, but not my preference.
But the star of my meal at RiceBerry was the mango sticky rice. Mint-green pandan both scents and colors the aromatic rice. A tiny cup of coconut milk goes a long way to adding its own distinct flavor to the dish. The mango included in my takeout container was warm when I got it home. It melted in fruity ecstasy with each bite. If you’re near Sterling, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the faultless fruit. It’s all that and a bag of (sweet basil) chips.
22034 Shaw Rd., Ste. 114, Sterling
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