Sabaidee Lao & Thai Street Food, an authentic Asian restaurant in Dallas, has a new sibling that gives diners a roomier place to discover the joys of Laotian food.
The new restaurant is called Zaap Kitchen, subtitled "Lao & Thai Street Eats," and is located at 6107 Greenville Ave., in the space that was the short-lived Orange Chicken.
Like Sabaidee, Zaap aims to find a broader audience for Laotian food.
"Not too many people know about the country of Laos, and one of its best kept secrets is the food and cuisine," says spokesperson Latsanida "Cookie" Voralath. "We want to help put Laotian cuisine on the foodie map."
Sabaidee opened two years ago at 5200 Lemmon Ave., where it has found a loyal audience who love its authenticity and sharp flavors. The only shortcoming is that Sabaidee has limited seating.
Zaap, which means "delicious" in Laotian, is more spacious. It also has a greater variety of dishes, Cookie says.
There are Thai and Asian staples such as spring rolls and noodle dishes such as pad Thai. But even familiar items such as green papaya salad can be ordered "Lao or Thai style"; in the case of the salad, "Lao style" has crab claw and crab paste, and is also quite a bit spicier, as in hotter, as in wow, this food is spicy.
Fans who like it hot say that Zaap is the rare place that actually makes the food spicy when you ask for it to be spicy. Cookie's word for it: bold.
"Laotian flavors are more bold," says Cookie. "When customers come in, we let them know our food is quite bold, especially the Laotian dishes. They're more spicy."
There is sizzling Lao sausage, heavenly beef jerky, crispy wings, dancing garlic riblets, and juicy pork shoulder bites. Pineapple fried rice is a dish with ingredients that teeter between savory and sweet, with egg, cashews, pineapple, raisins, peas, carrots, onion, tomato, and garlic.
There's a Laotian fried rice with egg, white onions, green onion, tomato, and garlic, which you can get as-is or with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu.
"When you see Chinese fried rice, you see things like sausage, peas, and corn mixed together," she says. "Ours is more focused."
Zaap will also follow a fast-casual service model, to expedite those who are on tight lunch hours.
"We know everyone is on their lunch rush and we want to cater to that group," Cookie says. "We're catering to our customers' needs."