Sap Lai | Photo by Rūta Smith

Laotian pop-up Sap-Lai has a new food truck with a six-month residency at 843 Korean BBQ & Sushi House at 6601 Rivers Ave., where Sap-Lai owner Tee Somsnith will serve the midday crowd Wednesday through Sunday. Now open, look for the truck to serve pad Thai, stir-fried noodles and spring rolls for lunch and a dim sum-style weekend brunch with steamed buns, soup dumplings and more.   

Sap-Lai started in a Charleston nail salon in 2018 when Somsnith, who moved to the United States from Laos at age 7, would make egg rolls for her coworkers, later bringing in more of her family’s Laotian dishes. She lugged her wok, fryer and steamer around the Lowcountry for nearly two years for pop-ups at local breweries before securing the funds to purchase a food truck, which hit the road just before the New Year. 

Somsnith | Photo by Ruta Smith

Somsnith does all her prep work at 843 Korean BBQ, so the decision was made partially out of convenience but also to provide lunch for the 843 regulars after the North Charleston restaurant was forced to suspend its lunch service post-pandemic. 

“My kitchen is based there now, which will make it so much easier,” Somsnith said. “We wanted to make it affordable for the lunch crowd.” 

The midday residency doesn’t mean Somsnith will be taking off the night shift. This Thursday, the Sap-Lai food truck will be at Hobcaw Brewing Company, and Friday it will head to Container Bar. Somsnith also has nighttime pop-ups planned at Low Tide Brewing, Estuary Beans & Barley and a few other local spots during the month of January. 

“Now that we’re getting more well known, I’m getting more events,” Somsnith said. “It feels like people are coming back after COVID.” 

For Somsnith’s full pop-up schedule, follow Sap-Lai on Instagram @saplaichs