The Clarion

Sa-Bai Thong has some great pad-thai

Sa Bai Thong's Pad Thai is one of the favorites from the menu.

Sa Bai Thong's Pad Thai is one of the favorites from the menu.

Rachel Fancsali

Rachel Fancsali

Sa Bai Thong's Pad Thai is one of the favorites from the menu.

Spice Phongthiengtham, Staff Writer

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With 20 years of operation, Sa-Bai Thong is one of the most well-known Thai restaurants in Madison and is located at two locations, on University avenue and Odana Road.

They offer various Thai foods, including popular Thai dishes like pad-thai, tom yum, and Papaya Salad. For someone who have been to many Thai restaurants both in Thailand and the United States, I find that Sa-Bai Thong, while expensive, has some of the best pad-thai. Their other dishes, however, turned out to be nothing but a disappointment.

As soon as I walked in, I was immediately impressed by their Thai style decoration with paintings and statues. The atmosphere was good and relaxing as I walked into the diner. Sadly, things started to go downhill as I sat down at my table.

Apparently, the booth table has little to no leg room. Considering myself as a medium size Asian lady, and the size of an average American, I still felt utterly uncomfortable sitting there.

Now let’s get to the food. The first thing that I got was an appetizer called Guichai, which is basically a steam dumpling stuffed with Chinese chives. The dumpling itself was poorly made with very thick flour and little stuffing. It was disappointing to say the least.

The next dish was Tom ka soup. For being a Tom ka Lover, I confidently say that the essential ingredient for Tom ka soup is coconut cream. Sa-bai Thong’s Tom ka, however, was made with milk instead of coconut cream. This made it not as creamy as it should be and lacking the distinct taste of coconut cream. To make it worse, the soups don’t come with rice like most Thai restaurants do, you have to order an additional cup on the side.

As I was about to give up any hope that I had left for this place, the hero named pad-thai came in and saved the day. In the past, I have seen some Thai restaurant that mix some rice noodles with ketchup and sriracha, and call it pad-thai (yikes!). Luckily, this was not the case at all at Sa-Bai Thong.

I can taste a sweetness from cane sugar which goes well with nicely cooked rice noodle. The only thing that was missing unfortunately was a dry baby shrimp. Despite of this, I can still say without any hesitation that their pad-thai was one of the best that I have ever had.

I also ordered a glass of Thai ice tea. It was fairly nice though tasted pretty much the same as one in a can that you can get from most Asian grocery stores. It is worth giving a try but nothing special.

At the end of the day, my experience at Sa-Bai Thong was saved by their pad-thai. I won’t hesitate to recommend Sa-Bai Thong if you that’s what you’re craving.

If you are a sucker for a delicious pad-thai, and happen to have some extra cash, then Sa-Bai Thong is definitely a place for you.

However, if you are just someone who is looking for a place that offers nice Thai foods for a reasonable price, you might want to consider somewhere else.

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Sa-Bai Thong has some great pad-thai