First Look

First Look: Sabaidee Gives Central Dallas a Takeout Taste of Laos

Sakhuu Express, a Thai takeout standby on Lemmon Avenue, has reinvented itself as something a little more interesting. The newly rebranded Sabaidee Lao & Thai Cuisine still carries a full list of Thai favorites, but the main focus is on food from Laos, which, despite being wedged between Thailand, China and Vietnam, hasn’t reached the same kind of culinary fame as its neighbors.

One must-have from Sabaidee’s Lao menu is the sticky rice ($2.99). The manager gave me no choice about this. Aside from the crispy rice wrap, “everything needs sticky rice.” It's eaten with fingers and in big clumps that can soak up the sauces. 

The menu features two Laotian staples: green papaya salad with carrots, tomatoes and lime, and beef larb, which tastes like nothing else in Dallas. A diced beef salad with onions and strong hits of mint and cilantro, larb can smell kind of off-putting, but the taste buds overrule any objections from the nose.

I ordered two meaty courses: spicy Lao sausage ($7.99) and pork short ribs ($8.99). The sausage flirts with the perfect sweet-spicy balance, but the short ribs are a standout, grilled until crisp and topped with garlic and chopped peanuts. (Watch out for bones.) Orders come with a “Lao salsa” which is not a misnomer, since aside from a dash of bright acidity, it would feel right at home surrounded by tortilla chips. Dip the sausage in the salsa and let the good times roll.

The sausage and rib dishes are meat-only at Sabaidee, so to assemble a balanced meal for under $10, opt for sticky rice and one of the salads. The whole Lao menu, combined, would make for a pretty awesome March Madness party spread, especially since it includes chicken wings.

It’s a joy that Lemmon’s neighborhood takeout place now specializes in cuisine from Laos, and according to the staff, the area is embracing it. Since roll-out of the new menu on Feb. 29, more customers have been ordering directly from the Lao menu and trying new flavors instead of good old green curry. Sabaidee’s experiment may be a success.

Sabaidee Lao & Thai Cuisine, 5200 Lemmon Ave., Suite 100, 214-520-6868, sabaideedallas.com
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Brian Reinhart has been the Dallas Observer's food critic since spring 2016. In addition, he writes baseball analysis for the Hardball Times and covers classical music for the Observer and MusicWeb International.
Contact: Brian Reinhart