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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:00pm
Mon–Fri 5:30pm–9:00pm
Sat 5:30pm–9:00pm

Features Kid-friendly
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Not accepted

East Houston
736 1/2 Telephone Rd.
Houston, TX
(713) 923-4230
Strong Thai that’s a little overrated, and a little less fun without its resident grouch

Kanomwan (popularly known as “Telephone Thai” because of its location on gritty Telephone Street, near the University of Houston) acquired cult status among fans who deemed it some of the most vividly flavored Thai food in the city. Its critics, on the other hand, pointed out that it was more expensive and less authentic than Vieng Thai. But there’s one thing everyone agreed on: the owner, affectionately referred to as the “Thai Nazi,” who took (and gave) orders and worked the cash register, had to be the surliest dude in the Houston restaurant business. When he passed away in 2010, Houston found itself grieving at the loss of one of the world’s great colors.

But fear not, the back of house continues unscathed by the loss of its front-of-house personality. Cashew chicken is more commonly known as “crack chicken” because, apparently, when you combine shrimp paste, red chilies, and sugar, it makes people go crazy. The ubiquitous tom kha gai soup and shrimp soup have more flavor than at most Thai-American joints. But curries are where Kanomwan really kicks ass: green chicken curry is one of the hottest dishes in Houston. Ask for it spicy, and get ready for tears. (Sadly, they’re no longer caused by the lovably gruff Thai Nazi.)

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