I’ve been to Sala Thai many times since that food tour with Rumen, who’s been driving a taxi in Berlin for 20 years, who describes himself as “a little gourmet” — and I have yet to find a better version of his favorite dish, red coconut milk curry with chicken, anywhere in the city.
Aside from its odd location, Sala Thai doesn’t look, or sound, like your average cabbie-recommended restaurant: the place is filled with the soft noise of fountains trickling into a series of indoor streams, and napkins are folded in the shape of lotus flowers. Besides that, prices on the regular menu seem a little high – I don’t know too many taxi drivers who can afford green curry with prawns for 17,80 euro or stir-fried lamb with ginger in wine sauce for 19,50 euro.
“But look the prices of the Mittagsmenu [midday menu],” said Rumen. “A complete meal, it’s five or six euro, from twelve to three pm.”
Besides the midday menu, Sala Thai also has a cabbie-friendly takeaway table where you can buy dishes like chicken with chili and basil and beef with green coconut milk curry for 4 Euros.
I appreciate the convenience of the takeaway buffet, and I’ve tried a few things on the regular menu, like lab ped (spicy minced duck salad with roasted rice, red onions and mint, 10,50 euro) and tom yam pla (spicy fish soup with lime, mushrooms and Thai basil, 4,30 euro). But from a price-quality standpoint, I still swear by the lunchtime specials on the midday menu, especially vegetable glass noodle soup (2,40 euro), stir-fried squid with garlic and green pepper (6,20 euro), duck breast with chili and basil (7,30 euro), and that formidable red coconut milk curry with chicken (5,80 euro).
If you know of any other place in Berlin that can cook a lovelier rendition of this curry, I’m all ears — and Rumen is, too.
Frankfurter Allee 73
10247 Berlin – Friedrichshain
Tel: (030) 42812020
Open: Daily, 12-15 and 17-23
Note: The lunch specials are available only from Monday-Thursday from 12pm-3pm.