Sawasdee Thai Restaurant

Sawasdee Thai Restaurant is a new establishment that opened up this past month on Franklin Street (Chapel Hill, NC) to the delight of nearby UNC college students. Everyone likes something new, right? The same location used to be known as Sakura Express, a Japanese-Chinese style fast food restaurant.

Being so new, I was excited to try Sawasdee out!

Woot woot! Grand opening!

Woot woot! Grand opening!

The location is extremely convenient for those who attend UNC – Franklin Street is basically college town. There are a multitude of competitors, however, so lets see how Sawasdee fairs.

When I entered the establishment, I noticed how the interior really hadn’t changed much from it’s Sakura Express Days. Sure, it was slightly updated, with the seating (an elevated level was added), but it was really just the same. Even the takeout counter looked the same.



My friend and I were escorted to our seats and took some time (as usual) to pick our food. The coconut desserts seem quite promising, but because I was pressed for time, I only ordered the lunch deal. It was simply a lunch dish with a choice of salad or fried veggie roll – provided you sat in and ate. I chose the Gouy Tiew Pad Kra Pow ($7.95) which was a tomato based rice noodle and veggie dish. My friend chose the regular Pad Thai and requested extra spice. When the

The menu

The menu

waitress came by to drop off our waters, we had already had our orders ready – but was promptly told, “Wait one second.” She left and never came back. We had to wait 10-15 minutes before we were gotten to – not by the waitress (I do cut her SOME slack, since she was the only one), but by what seemed to be the owner. He took our orders…and another wait came. Though this time, it didn’t take quite as long.

What did happen, unfortunately, was the owner forgetting that we had a free appetizer as per the lunch deal menu. Had to flag him down and ask for it, which he did go and get, but seemed not quite so happy to do it. The veggie roll was, well…a fried veggie spring roll. If you like those kinds of foods, then you’ll like this one.

Now, on to the food. My Kra Pow was quite good. Slightly spicy, a bit too oily, but taste-wise, not bad. There wasn’t enough broccoli in it for my liking, but the mix of veggies was still quite nice. The noodles were also cooked well, though I could see some areas in which the sauce was concentrated and clinging to some my noodles.

The Gouy Tiew Pad Kra Pow

The Gouy Tiew Pad Kra Pow

My friend had a worse experience. She was not a fan. I was fortunate enough to get to try some and….I agreed with her opinion. Not good. She requested spicy, but it was absolutely un-spicy. Instead, it was sweet. And pretty sweet at that. Not recommended.

I was in a hurry at the time to get to a meeting, and when I asked for the check….I got the wrong one! I didn’t check beforehand, so I paid…and THEN checked. They had to give me a refund before giving me my actual check. That was the first time I’ve ever experienced something like that before, and I can’t say I was happy about it.

And that about sums up my time at Sawasdee. Decent food, expensive prices (decent at lunch, though), but really terrible service. It could change in the future, provided they hire more waiters/waitresses, but in the meantime, I would avoid them, unless you’re looking for interesting coconut desserts.


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