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.
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 blogback to top