The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

Cha’ba Thai brings comfort to Portland

Emma Nodello
A zoomed in picture of the smaller Cha’ba Thai sign. The L.E.D. lights reflect off the windows.

The smell of sweet spices flooded my senses as I walked through the door of Cha’ba Thai. The deep orange-red walls felt quite comforting and the holiday decorations brought some warmth and a sense of community to the space. I heard people chatting and telling stories; people looked comfortable talking and eating as if they were in their own home. The place was quiet enough that I could overhear people’s conversations but not so much that I felt I wouldn’t be able to talk without it feeling awkward. This restaurant is located on Sandy and 58th, and with a colorful exterior, it is a neighborhood favorite.

I looked around and saw people eating dishes like pad Thai, different curries and plates with rice such as cashew chicken. As I opened the menu, I noticed how many options there are. I see this as a positive because it made it easy for me to find multiple things that I liked. 

As I sat down, the waitress came right away with a menu and water. I ordered the panang curry with chicken, pad Thai with pork and Thai tea. The wait for the food was short and sweet, maybe 15 minutes. The portions of both of the meals I ordered were big enough to share. The next time I’d go there I would probably bring some friends and order a few dishes to all share or order it in with family.

The panang curry had a good mix of spices while also being sweet. It was creamy and soothing, and it stayed warm the whole time I was eating it. I ordered it mild and was satisfied with the spice level, which was very relieving considering some places still hand out mild with a kick to it. The taste of it kind of stays in your mouth for a bit after you take a bite. I’m not a fan of fatty meats, so I appreciated that the chicken was leaner. I also liked that the curry came with rice on the side, and the restaurant doesn’t make you pay extra for it.

The pad Thai came with peanuts and bean sprouts as mix-ins, but the bean sprouts would be easy to keep out if you wouldn’t want many of them. I would advise that if you are allergic to peanuts or don’t like them you should order the dish without them since they are diced and you wouldn’t be able to pick them out. The noodles were sweet with a tad bit of a lime taste to them. What I really liked about this dish was that it didn’t have that ketchup taste like in other pad Thai dishes I’ve eaten.

The Thai tea was delicious. It might be the best I’ve had because of three reasons. For one, it was a pretty decent size. It leaves you wanting more which I feel is better than there being too much and just drinking it to finish it. Two, I hate it when you order a drink and it’s all ice, but I didn’t have that issue. The last reason was that it wasn’t overly sweet. Thai tea is already super sweet, so it can be difficult to drink if it’s over sweetened.

I ended up craving it and going again two weeks later, and I tried the pork belly appetizer. When they bring it out to you, it seems like a small dish, but there’s actually a lot more than you’d expect. It’s one of those dishes where it feels like more keeps appearing on your plate, which I won’t complain about. The pork was crispy and nicely salted. I would say personally it was a little pricey for an appetizer, but remember to take into account I’m a student without a job.

Overall, Cha’ba Thai is a great restaurant not only for getting to-go but also to order in with family. The portions are great, the taste is addicting, and the menu has lots to choose from. If you get the chance to stop by and are craving comfort food, I’d definitely recommend it.

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About the Contributor
Emma Nodello
Emma Nodello, Advertising Manager/Media Manager
Emma Nodello (she/her) is a sophomore who enjoys playing hockey and hanging out with friends. She loves working with others and talking to new people, and being apart of The Oracle is another way for her to do so.

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