Wichita, thankfully, has no shortage of Asian cuisine. However, with such a variety, it can be easy to overlook some of the smaller restaurants with more to offer. Bann Thai has been in a strip mall on the southwest corner of 21st and Woodlawn since 2012. It offers a menu that includes popular Thai dishes from soups and salads to fish, pork and beef as well as vegetarian-friendly tofu dishes.
ON THE MENU: Bann Thai has a limited lunch menu that features an entree served with a salad, spring roll, soup and steamed rice for $7. The lunch portion was more than enough to feed an adult (or in our case, two children) and have leftovers to take home. The salad was a basic iceberg, but the dressing gave it life with its light texture and mild peanut-y flavor.
From the dinner menu, we ordered the Kang-Karee (green curry) and Panang curry (both $7.95) with chicken, both served with steamed rice. The Kang-Karee was rich and flavorful with chunks of tender potatoes in a green curry sauce. The flavors were fresh and spicy in the coconut milk base of the Panang chicken, and the bell peppers added extra flavor, but the dish was soupier than we would have liked.
Unless you’re a spicy-food connoisseur, you’ll want to be sure to order your food mild, as many of the dishes arrived much spicier than ordered. Fortunately, we also ordered Thai iced tea ($2). Served in a tall glass, the tea was mixed with sweetened condensed milk, served with ample ice, and countered the heat of the meal well.
DON’T-MISS DISHES: Our favorite flavors were in the noodle dishes. We tried two chicken Pad Thai dishes – one with with no spice and one with mild spice, and both were equally as enjoyable. The Pad Thai was served with a side of bean sprouts and lime and topped with chopped peanuts and green onions. Another noodle favorite was the Pad See-Ew. The dish was a generous portion of the chewy fried noodles with crunchy steamed broccoli and carrots. The portions were enough to share with a friend or to take leftovers.
AMBIENCE: It doesn’t look like much has changed since the previous restaurant, Siam Cuisine, vacated the space, but the dining area is comfortable. It has ample booth seating, and the tables are covered with decorated cloths. We visited the restaurant during the lunch hour and the crowd was a steady flow of diners who seemed to be regulars.
PRICE RANGE: Appetizers range from $4.95-$6.95. Entrees range from $7.95-$10.95. The lunch specials are $7.
SERVICE: Our server was very attentive and patient with our large party. He knew the menu well and answered all of our questions.