Hungry in Harrisburg: A community blog

Join recent transplant Joelle Shea as she discovers food in central Pennsylvania for the first time. Get information on the restaurants she tries, as well as recipes and cooking tips.

  • Reader Recommendation: Tasty Thai

    Written by Joelle Shea, Community blogger

    Reader Recommendation: Tasty Thai

    How many times have you thought to yourself, “You know, I bet the best Thai food in Central PA can be found in a strip mall between a discount carpet warehouse and a women’s-only gym.”

    None? Me neither. But one of the reasons I started this blog was so that I could learn about food in Central PA from WITF listeners and readers (I spoke about that last week on Scott Lamar’s Radio Smart Talk - click here to listen).

    And you have not disappointed. Chalit’s was one of the first recommendations I received. Opened in 2009, Chalit’s (pronounced sheh-LIT-s) is a strip mall gem.

    I’ve been twice now, once with my two-year-old niece and once with family members who had never had Thai food before. The staff was beyond accommodating, taking ample time to make recommendations and explain the menu.  Given the friendliness of the staff, if you’ve never tried Thai before, Chalit’s is a great place to start.

    As for what to order? Pad Thai is a good first foray into Thai dining, since it is the national dish of Thailand. It’s as common on Thai menus as hamburgers are on American ones.  Pad Thai consists of rice noodles with eggs, bean sprouts, scallions and your choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.  You can also indicate how spicy you’d like your Pad Thai (or any dish at Chalit’s) using a scale of 1 to 4 stars. The Husband went for 4 stars when he ordered Green Curry and lived to tell the tale. Dishes are served with white or homemade brown rice – go for the brown rice and thank me later.

    Based on what I tasted (thanks to obliging family members who let me eat off their plates!), I’d recommend the steamed Thai pork and shrimp dumplings or Thai calamari to start. For your main course, go with the Catfish Cha Cha (tapioca breaded catfish with a delicious house blend sauce), Green Curry (with eggplant and sweet Thai basil) or papaya salad (with shrimp and a yummy lime dressing).

    Chalit’s is a BYOB, but go ahead and try the Thai iced tea or iced coffee. Located at 5103 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, be sure to make a reservation if you are going for dinner. There is ample parking in front of the restaurant.

    I am so grateful for this recommendation - it’s one of those places I may never have found on my own. Where should I head next? What restaurant do you recommend to visitors and newcomers to the area?

    (Picture taken from Chalit's website- I tried to take one of our food, but it disappeared too quickly!)

    Published in Hungry in Harrisburg: A community blog

    Wednesday, 18 Jul 2012 14:37

  • Central PA food and fun limericks

    Written by Joelle Shea, Community blogger

    Central PA food and fun limericks

    Maybe I have been overcome by heat. Maybe I’ve been so busy lately that I can’t come up with a coherent blog post. Maybe the worm is just turning in my brain. Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to come up with a few limericks about eating and having fun in Central PA.

    See if you can figure out the last word(s) of each limerick. Leave your answers in the comment section and I’ll comment with the answers in a few days!


    The Carrousel! The Convoy! Kids do gush

    Riders scream loudly, don’t tell them to hush

    It’s all part of the fun

    Days spent out in the sun

    See me 200 feet up, riding _________



    DC transplant, I thought I can’t get by

    Without cookies and sweets I’d surely cry

    Alas, not to worry

    Grab molasses, hurry

    The Amish can bake up a _________



    Imbibe this and your cheeks might get flushy

    A cool drink with ice, decidedly mushy

    Bizarre pairing no doubt

    Hershey Vineyards, the route

    Go there this summer to try a wine ______


    PS- You would know the answers if you followed me on twitter, since I’ve talked about each of these Central PA highlights there!

    Published in Hungry in Harrisburg: A community blog

    Monday, 9 Jul 2012 21:02

  • Get Fresh: Sushi in Central PA

    Written by Joelle Shea, Community blogger

    Get Fresh: Sushi in Central PA

    Sushi can be the third rail of dining, especially for non-adventurous eaters (you know who you are, don't be shy). I can understand it, really, with the mostly urban legends of sushi leading to parasites, food poisioning and other gastronomical pleasantries. Perhaps your only exposure to sushi was when Molly Ringwald ate it for lunch in detention in The Breakfast Club. Even though it's become common fare, it's even available at most grocery stores, many people make the “your face will freeze that way” expression when sushi is mentioned.

    Sushi is delicious and fresh, so it is the perfect summer meal. If you stick to places that are recommended or packed with patrons, you really can't go wrong. Sure, hole-in-the-wall eateries are often fantastic (and suprising), but for sushi-shy eaters, just go by those that come recommended.

    Sushi was the first types of restaurants The Husband and I scouted out when we moved here from DC. We've had moderate success, and here are our finds:

    1. Miso – This has been our favorite pick so far. Miso Sushi Bar is located on Jonestown Road and carries traditional sushi, rolls and cooked Japanese dishes. The Husband likes their tempura veggies too. Miso hits all the right notes, so don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and try a dish with eel, sea urchin or squid. They also took the time to publish a useful history of sushi and nutritional information on their website. Parking can be a bear, with just a few spots located behind the restaurant. Check for spots in neighboring lots after business hours.

    2. Miyako – It has been several months since we tried Miyako, but I have to say that I remember the musty smell of the restaurant more than I remember the food. Perhaps we caught them on an off day, but I don't have plans to return to this Second St. eatery. I'd be interested to know if you've had a different experience.

    3. Sapporo East – Stay with me here, Sappora East is on the West shore. Geographically confusing name aside, the food here is spot on and fresh, getting fish in directly from Baltimore nearly every day. This place is always packed, which is a good sign.

    I have to say I wish these establishments offered brown rice or carrot wrapped options like our favorite places in DC (hey, its bathing suit season and I know some of you are doing the low carb thing). I am also looking for one that is not BYOB, so that we can enjoy sake with our meal (we usually forget to bring it).

    I'm hoping you guys have some recommendations for sushi bars in Central PA- where should we go as we continue our hunt for the freshest and most delicious sushi in the area? Do you know of any sushi bars that aren't BYOBs?

    Published in Hungry in Harrisburg: A community blog

    Tuesday, 3 Jul 2012 03:35

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