For seriously spicy Thai at a great price, try this gem on Camp Bowie

Author: June Naylor; Special to the Star-Telegram, 5/18/2007

The cuisine: Thai and Chinese

The background: Tiny, nondescript shopping center space with loyal clientele and super-friendly staff feeds you good, fresh food at budget prices. And there's nothing wrong with that.

The food: Our favorites after two visits include the clean and sparkling ground chicken breast stir-fried with mint leaves and slivers of fresh, green and red Thai chiles; and the salad of tender, thinly sliced steak with cucumber and tomato slices, red onion slivers and cilantro tossed with lime juice and Thai chiles over lettuce leaves. Chicken satay skewers of marinated chicken served with spicy cucumber sauce and smooth peanut sauce proved a perfect appetizer, as did hot little bundles of steamed pot stickers stuffed with minced pork.

For timid palates, there's a good chicken-and-broccoli mix with flat noodles, as well as a sliced barbecued pork dish, which held nice flavor in the meat but was on the tough, dry side.

The caveat: Even the items requested at medium chile heat are pretty darn fiery, and the dishes ordered with full-on heat will take the top of your head off. That said, the curry dishes (red, green panang and mussaman) have good flavor, if you don't let the heat interfere.

The prices: All lunch specials are $6.35 and include steamed or fried rice, a perfunctory egg roll, green salad with either lemon or peanut dressing, and iced tea. Other entree items at lunch and dinner run $6.50 to about $9, with the spicy shrimp seafood hot pot (which feeds at least three) topping out at $12.75.

The baffler: Wings are surely taking over the world. Here you can have orders of 10 to 150 pieces ($5.25 to $77.85) in any number of flavors, from smoked BBQ to Thai sweet chile to peanut.

The details: Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Major cards accepted. No bar. Smoke-free. Wheelchair-accessible.

Rice 'n Noodle