Sabai Sabai in Germantown, MD You would think that DC area hitting around the 90 degrees I would go for a cold soup or some salad, but instead I got an invitation for six people to go and visit a Thai Restaurant and I said, why not.
We drove all the way to Germantown from Arlington and when we arrived I noticed that it is such a pretty town I would love to visit it again. Arriving around 12:15 we thought it was going to be crowded since one of us have tried this place already and she mentioned how busy it gets around lunch time.
The lady at the door smiling all the time let us choose our own table. The bar and the darkness of the place made me think of one of those restaurants people go when they’re hiding from someone, but the warmth of their service made me forget about that once they gave us the Menu.
So there we were four people very hungry and going through every single item on the Lunch Menu and the Dinner Menu, one of my friends “John” asked the waitress if she had a Thai written menu because many of these restaurants usually have another menu in their own language just for whoever asks for it, she said they just had the lunch and the dinner menu and in that moment the two people missing arrived and so we started ordering.
As many other restaurants their menu is very uncomfortable to read, it was a huge laminated menu and then a smaller one for the lunch. The place was pretty empty so I would like to come back to check if the service is as good as when they are crowded. Also I really wanted to order the Papaya Salad but nobody else was interested so that’s something for the next time.
First the Lahb, minced chicken cooked with herbs & limejuice. This was fantastic, by far my favorite dish, at first I wasn’t too interested because of its appearance, for some reason it made me think of my mom’s scrambled eggs, and then I thought eggs and lime this is going to kill me. But then I gave it a try and it was fantastic, it kind of reminded me of the flavors in ceviche but with a different texture and plus there is a seasoning to it with the herbs that makes you want to keep eating spoonfuls of it.
The Crying Tiger is a grilled marinated beef served with a spicy sauce, John mentioned it was like a Fajita Thai version, yes it had a strong flavor, it was well grilled and it was just a very safe dish so if you go to this restaurant with a friend who won’t do curry, noodles or other Thai spiced strong dishes, this is it.
Our third starter was the Street Grilled Pork on skewers, well done, they served it with sticky rice and a sweet sauce, just as the Crying Tiger it was a well prepared dish, but this one brings out more the Thai flavors.
The last starter we ordered, because I insisted, something about the word “corn” on description of dishes that I feel an urgency to try, this was a Sweet Corn cake, it was lightly fried and they served with a sweet and sour cucumber sauce, the cake itself had a nice crunchiness on the outside and soft inside plus the texture of the corn worked very nice, on the flavor side there was nothing amazing about it but if you decide to order this you must certainly use a lot of the sauce. Someone at the table mentioned that it didn’t seem like a Thai dish and we asked the waitress and she said it was an option for vegetarians, instead of fish cakes that people would find rather spicy or something like that. It didn’t make too much sense to us and now that I googled it appears that yes it is a Thai dish so I guess she was just overwhelmed by all the questions we were asking.
As I mentioned before names on dishes are something that get my attention, in the case of “Floating Market Noodle Soup” I was very excited and it’s so sad but it was a completely forgettable dish, it had slices of beef and meatballs with thin noodles, even the broth was rather bizarre, is a dish John mentioned is worthy to try at the Thai market but not at Sabai Sabai now that we did.
Another miss were the Sizzling Mussels and the Spicy Sour Curry. The mussels were battered with eggs, bean sprouts and scallions, it was served as a pancake and for half of the table was overall good, but for the other three including me it was just plain.
The Sour Curry wasn’t too spicy and it had chunks of white fish (properly cooked) served in a sour curry soup with string beans, I’m not ordering this dish again, it didn’t taste bad, it didn’t taste period.
There was also a Green Curry dish which name I can’t recall, it had pork, coconut and Thai eggplants, I didn’t care for it, I tasted coconut and after that the curry was pretty mild, non-spicy and watery consistency.
The Pad Kra Pow is a must in this restaurant, a chili basil paste stir fry with finely chopped, almost minced, meat, I thought the basil was going to be too much for this dish, boy was I wrong this was so tasty we were fighting over this dish, I wish they would have given us more than just 2 bowls of rice for 6 people, specially for this dish, but at the end we managed around to share the Pad Kra Pow (I just love to say it’s name over and over again).
We usually never order dessert, but after so many savory flavors I insisted if I could finally try a signature dessert of Thai Cuisine, I always take a look at it on menus and never order it, it’s just always there, but today I convinced everyone and boy was I right! Yes Mango Sticky Rice, the mango in season, I haven’t had good mango since my last trip to Panama, it is very difficult to find just the perfect ripened mango in DC markets, and the rice, so good, the rice was amazing, the sauce totally immersed in the rice, the coconut, the sweet and salty flavors all combined with toasted mung beans, which gave the perfect crunch to this dish, it was just fantastic. I think I found a new favorite dessert and something I promise will try to recreate so I can share the recipe with you.
Everyone should try Mango sticky rice at least once in his or her life.