Sa-Tang is a new Thai restaurant in Wakefield owned by Nina Conklin. Her and chef Khomkhai Cimini have been delighting locals with their authentic cuisine and have turned this restaurant into a neighborhood favorite.
How would you describe the food at Sa-Tang?
Our food is authentic northern Thai. My chef and I are both from the northern part of Thailand and want to share our food and culture with the people here. Everything is made fresh, and we get our vegetables from local farms during the summer growing season.
Where did you learn to cook Thai food?
I learned to cook from my family in Thailand when I was young. I learned almost everything I know about cooking at home and the recipes we use at Sa-Tang come from our families.
What is it about Thai food that makes it so unique? Why do you love it?
Thai food is very unique compared to other cuisines. There are a lot of herbs and everything must be fresh. The food is spicy and based on the balance of different flavors. Thai food balances sweet, spicy, salty and sour. The food varies depending on where you are in Thailand, but we focus on food from northern Thailand. I grew up eating these dishes and that’s why I love this food. There aren’t a lot of authentic Thai restaurants in the area and I wanted to show people that this food is delicious.
Do you have a favorite dish?
I love cooking curry dishes. Thai cur- ries are spicy stews with vegetables and meat, served over rice. There are a lot of different types of curries and they are a big part of Thai food. My chef loves cooking noodle dishes like Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mow. Thai cui- sine also has a lot of noodle dishes, including both stir fried noodles and noodle soups.
For someone who isn’t familiar with Thai food, what is a good dish to get introduced to the cuisine?
We would recommend Pad Thai. Pad Thai is a good first Thai dish because it’s not too spicy and it’s so yummy. It has Thai rice noodles with peanuts, vegetables, meat and Pad Thai sauce which is a little sour and a little sweet.
What inspired you to open Sa-Tang?
My chef owned six restaurants in Thai- land and then one in Massachusetts before opening Sa-Tang, and I owned one in Cape Cod as well. We’ve always loved cooking Thai food and wanted to continue working in restaurants, so I opened Sa-Tang.