Spiciest Thai Food 

Ruen Pair

We know you're tired of seeing the Express name Ruen Pair "Best Thai," but when we were trying to think of the spiciest restaurants we knew, our lips started tingling just thinking about the time we ordered our papaya salad with raw blue crabs "medium" instead of "mild." We certainly didn't suspect that crustacean meat and crisp green papaya threads could scorch our entire esophagus. Right as we recovered, our jungle curry arrived, and it was too late to change our request to "mild." What makes Ruen Pair's food so good, though, is that the chiles aren't there just to shock the palate. They're just one part of a constellation of strong flavors -- spicy, tart, aromatic, fishy -- that animates each dish. Don't expect those supersweet coconut-milk curries and sugary pad Thais typically found at Bay Area Thai restaurants. Food lovers come to Ruen Pair for a little pain with their pleasure.

Readers' Pick:
1096 Dwight Way, Berkeley, 510-843-3646

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