Sabuy Sabuy II, Berkeley

This has been my regular Thai mainstay for the better part of a decade. The good news is that the food is always, at a minimum, good, and very good to great most of the time. The bad news is I really can’t tell you what I eat, at least by a traditional menu name. Burt (owner) is there most dinnertimes, and his wife is usually in the kitchen cooking. He likes to put together meals and we always take his suggestions. He’ll ask if we feel like fish, shellfish, beef, pork or whatever we might be in the mood for. When dining with others, he asks for food restrictions, and the level of spice. I find their “medium” to be a good level of heat, and spicier than every “spicy” request I ever made in Berkeley and surrounds prior to first visiting Ruen Pair.

Last weekend, we ate:
A crepe of sorts, made of rice flour, filled with shredded coconut (marinated in something) and tofu. It was fantastic. Then came two salads - a papaya salad and a beef salad. Standard but delicious fare. Then arrived a plate of grilled pig neck and chicken, with two dipping sauces - one thick chili sauce and one sweet chili sauce. Yum. Along with some sticky rice.

Over the years, we’ve been served everything from frog legs to pig ear salad, to pork liver. I’ll try most everything once. If Burt is there, he’s happy to put together a menu for anyone, and whatever it is, the prices are fair. On a previous recent visit, when he had gone out for a bit, the waitress called him so he could suggest what we should eat.

What started out as a visit about a decade ago for a lunch plate that was “fine enough but no rush to return” turned into “let’s try it for dinner” (based upon the recommendation of someone else) has become a regular favorite, so much so that we’ve had them cater.

I must have had 100 different things over the years, including a series of repeat items. I just don’t know what they are called!