Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

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Before its move into more spacious digs just down the road in Wheaton, Nava Thai was everyone’s favorite hole-in-the-wall, that secret little place in the back of a cramped parking lot where natives and foodies alike went for an authentic taste of Thailand. These days at the new location, the waits can stretch to 30 minutes or longer, as if Nava had somehow morphed into the Cheesecake Factory. Some, in fact, will tell you that the place might as well call itself the PadThai Factory. Don’t believe it. While the space may seem flat, Suchart and Ladavan Srigatesook’s cooking remains vibrant. The floating market noodle soup still sends my mouth to the burn unit. The tom kha soup still curls my tongue with its sharp galangal sourness. And the sweet heat of the panang curry still makes all other versions seem like children’s plates. The wait, in other words, is worth it.

11301 Fern St., Wheaton, Md., (240) 430-0495

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