From my perspective…
— Amy Schulman
Tucked away in an unassuming building on Queen Street in downtown Lancaster, Sa La Thai specializes in Thai fare, serving up everything from soups to salads to traditional noodle and Thai entrées to alligator, if you dare. The restaurant also serves bubble tea and dessert and is BYOB. The space, occupying the first floor of a two-story building, stretches out into the back where the room is dimly light aside from some dull florescent lights and a tiny, useless candle on each table.
Booths line the walls, while square tables are peppered throughout the middle, topped with plastic, floral tablecloths and crowned with a bright red paper napkin, the likes of which you’d stumble upon at a five year old’s birthday party…not that I’d expect anything else from a Thai restaurant in Lancaster.
Aside from the décor, or lack thereof, my party was greeted hospitably, as the hostess immediately sauntered over to us and brought us to a booth in the back corner. Our water was poured instantly (as well as consistently throughout our dinner), and we dug into the thick menu, heavy with pages upon pages of dishes.
Along with traditional soups and salads, Sa La Thai’s appetizers feature several different dumplings, summer and spring rolls and chicken satay, among others. They offer several different noodle entrées, such as Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles, and Pad Se Ew, with the choice of vegetables, chicken, mock duck, shrimp or seafood to be added in. Furthermore, there is a selection of Thai entrées, fried rice and curries to choose from, accompanied by your selection of meat or vegetables.
We ordered, starting with chicken satay with a side of peanut sauce, that came out soon after the initial order. The chicken was neither hot nor crispy, as I generally like chicken satay, and the pieces were on the smaller side. Nevertheless, even with the lackluster appetizer, the entrées definitely made up for it.
I had Drunken Noodles with vegetables and tofu, served with wide egg noodles, peapods, egg, broccoli and carrots, the carrots arranged on the side designed to look like flowers. The portion was on the bigger side, the jumbo noodles heaped on top of each other in the center of the plate. One of my friends got the enormous Singapore Noodle, a vermicelli noodle dish with huge pieces of pink shrimp and vegetables, while my other friend stuck with Thai Basil Chicken with rice and vegetables, which surprisingly came with only a couple of pieces of chicken, a disappointing revelation.
Throughout the meal, the staff was consistently pleasant but not overbearingly so, bringing out food and refilling our drinks at a steady pace without hovering over us.
Overall, the prices are reasonable, the appetizers ranging from $5 to $10, and the entrées from $11 to $20. The final tally came out to around $15 a person without tip, a good deal to anyone, but more importantly a good deal for a college student on a budget.
Sa La Thai has a gluten free menu as well, for anyone who is Celiac or has a gluten allergy. Most of the items on the menu are spicy, but the kitchen can cater to your needs if you’d prefer your dish to be mild rather than hot.
They have take-out as well as delivery in the downtown area. No need to call ahead and make a reservation—the place is generally empty on weeknights and even on the weekend there’s always a table available.
Junior Amy Schulman is the Opinion & Editorial Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.