I'm a wine professional, living in Bangkok and travelling frequently throughout South East Asia. I'm a huge fan of Laos and Cambodia and off the beaten track travel. Feel free to contact me at: www.facebook.com/mil.elephants
Raan Kan Eang sits just south of the Vic market on Elizabeth Street and is easily found with large yellow sign above the door. It's a little run down on the outside, and pretty much the same on the inside. It's quite plain inside, but with a few indicators that it's run by Thais. I only mention this, because many Thai restaurants in Australia are not. The sign above the door is written in Thai, and theirs has a typical Thai Buddhist Shrine at the back of the restaurant.
Ok, onto the main event, the food.
It's always a good sign when the restaurant is busy, and another if its full of Thais.
The menu is broadly westernised but not too much. Variation in ingredients means that the tastes may not be 100% genuine, but whats on offer here is pretty good.
Most Thai people love Som Tam, or green papaya salad. It's a daily staple for many Thais and comes in a vast array of types. I chose the Som Tam Pu, with salted preserved crab, and asked for it to be ultra spicy, which it certainly was. Even my Thai friends thought it almost too spicy.
Som Tam combines sweet (sugar), sour (lime or lemon juice), bitter (green papaya) and spicy (typically red chilis) and the balance is where the art comes in.
Raan Kan Eang's Som Tam was very good, a large serving and if you want it just a little spicy this would not deter from the quality. The second dish we ordered was Pad Bai Mu Growp, which consists of green vegetables cooked with dried, preserved pork. It's slightly sweet and salty, and is served with a side of rice.
Finally we ordered Gai Tawt, or Friend Chicken, in this case, chicken ribs. The serving was HUGE. The chicken had been coated in Indian or Malay spices before being battered, which is not common in Thailand. Nonetheless the batter was crispy and light and the whole dish was covered in chilli, garlic and sing onions, gloving of a terrific aroma.
All in all this was very good Thai food, with generous serving sizes and pretty good prices. Not 100% genuine Thai, but close enough to make me a little homesick.