Foodies in the southern part of Saipan rejoiced after Zaabder Thai Snack Bar recently opened across Hannam Supermarket in Koblerville.
The island’s newest snack bar serves authentic Thai food like pad Thai, gaeng daeng (red curry with choice of chicken or shrimp), sua rong Thai (Thai-style barbecue beef with homemade sauce), khai jiao (Thai-style fried egg), kuay tiew tomyum (savory noodle soup with a choice of pork or seafood topped with peanuts), and todd moo (Thai-style fried pork)—all at affordable prices.
Owner Monita Phonsan Paul, a graduate of Saipan Southern High School, said she opened the new business out of necessity after the COVID-19 pandemic rendered her parents jobless.
“Right when I turned 19, I started to build this business with the help and advice of my parents. This business is like savior for our family because both of my parents don’t have jobs due to the pandemic,” said Paul, a first year BS Biology major at the University of Guam who is currently on Saipan due to the pandemic.
The term “zaabder” means “delicious” in the Thai-Isaan language, hence the name of her business. Paul said their location in Koblerville is ideal because there’s not much businesses selling food in the southern part of Saipan.
“The community has been thrilled and excited because we are one of the first restaurants to open in the southern end of the island. Now residents of the southside don’t have to drive across the island to get delicious food,” she said.
Paul admitted that juggling school and operating a new business has been a challenge, but it’s something she’s willing to tackle head on.
“It has been hard and stressful. But this is part of life. It is part of growing up and stepping into the real world. It is the reality of ‘adulting.’ I’m 19 and currently an amateur in almost everything that deals with ‘adulting,’ but I can’t let that be a setback and the reason why I won’t persevere,” she said.
Zaabder Thai Snack Bar, which opened last May 31, currently only has take-out service. In addition to their usual snack- and meal-size offerings, they also accept platter orders. Their most popular dish is the sua rong Thai and they also serve shakes, smoothies, Thai milk tea, and Thai green tea. Zaabder Thai Snack Bar plans to open for dine-in at month’s end.
Zaabder Thai Snack Bar is open every day, Monday-Sunday, from 10am to 2pm for lunch and from 5pm to 8pm for dinner, take-out only. For more information or to order, call 285-4481. They can also be found on Facebook under “zaabder snack bar.”