Thai Restaurant ‘Bodhi Federal Hill’ Opens on Light Street

| October 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

The team of Nikki Stevens and Jack Wongchalee of Khun Nine Thai in Mount Vernon and Bodhi Corner in Hampden opened Bodhi Federal Hill last month. The Thai restaurant takes over the former home of Liv2Eat and In Bloom at 1444 Light St. in Federal Hill.

Stevens and Wongchalee are natives of northeast Thailand. The menu will feature cuisine from this area, as well as specials and dishes from all regions of the Southeast Asian country. Northeast Thailand is in the mountains and away from the ocean, so the region specializes in dishes with less coconut milk and seafood.

Bodhi is named after the Bodhi Tree which is a sacred Buddhist symbol.

An advisory group to Stevens and Wongchalee purchased the building in recent months. The team took on a cosmetic renovation of the space to give it a “New York City-style contemporary feel,” according to Stevens. The new design features dark wood floors and accent woodwork. The color scheme is dark gray, navy blue, and gold. There are also gold touches throughout in the silverware and hardware. Ornate light fixtures have been added and the team cleaned up the landscaping on the existing outdoor patio.

Bodhi Federal Hill seats about 80 customers, which is more than double the size of Bodhi Corner and much bigger than the 10-seat Khun Nine Thai. The beer and wine license has not yet been activated at Bodhi Federal Hill, but Stevens expects to begin serving alcohol in the next couple of weeks. They are also adding a beer, wine, and liquor license in the coming weeks at Bodhi Corner. The outdoor patio is not yet open at Bodhi Federal Hill, but two of the dining rooms look out to the patio.

Bodhi Federal Hill’s menu is headed up by Chef Molsin “Mouy” Hauchauna. Stevens said the goal of Thai food, which his known for engaging the senses, is to taste three distinct flavors in every bite. She noted Thai food has influence from India with the curry dishes, influence from Laos with the use of many vegetables, and influence from China with the use of noodles. Thai food’s goal is to enhance the flavors of all these dishes, according to Stevens.

The menu has popular Thai noodle dishes such as Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles as well as a large selection of noodle dishes, rice dishes, curry, entrees, soups, salads, vegan dishes, and desserts.

Appetizers include spring rolls, basil rolls, fried wontons with chicken and shrimp, and Thai sausage served with cabbage, cucumbers, and pickled and fresh ginger.

Bodhi Federal Hill has smaller soups including Tom Yum and Tom Kha, along with entree soups including Teow, which has similarities to pho, and Kai Soi, which is a type of ramen soup. Stevens said the broths are cooked for more than six hours.

Salads include payday salad, eggplant salad, and larb with chicken.

Entrees include stir fry dishes; fried rice dishes; and Curry dishes using Panang curry, green curry, red curry, yellow curry, Massaman curry, and duck curry. Customers can pick their own meat or vegetables for many dishes which includes tofu/vegetables/mushrooms, chicken, pork, beef, crispy pork belly, shrimp, mock chicken, seafood, and salmon. Additional entrees include orange chicken, teriyaki chicken, and duck kra prow.

Bodhi Federal Hill does not use any dairy products in its food, so any dish can be vegan with the addition of mock chicken, crab, or duck. It also has a section of items already prepared vegan.

There will be daily specials on the menu as well.

Customers are given spices and sauces so they can add extra heat, saltiness, or hot and sour to their dishes. Stevens said in Thailand people become accustomed at a young age to spicing dishes to their liking. Customers can also order dishes mild, medium, or hot from the kitchen.

Bodhi Federal Hill will serve beer inducing Thai beer Singha, wine, and soft drinks. It will also have Thai iced coffee, Thai iced tea, and a large selection of hot teas.

Desserts include mango sticky rice, Thai coconut custard, and pumpkin custard.

Stevens said business at Bodhi Corner, which opened last fall, is going really well. She said they were interested in Federal Hill because of the younger population which she feels is drawn to Thai and vegan food. She also said the space is “very charming.”

Bodhi Federal Hill has a dining room that can be used for private dining and events such as Thai food, beer, and wine pairings.

Bodhi Federal Hill is open Monday to Friday from 11am to 3pm and 430pm to 10pm, Saturday from 11am to 1030pm, and Sunday from 11am to 10pm. It has 15 employees.

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.