After 6 months in Chicago, the conclusion I came to is that I simply could not get used to an American diet. I need either Chinese or Southeast Asian food, with the saltiness, spiciness, soupiness and definitely without the cheesiness.
Therefore I finally headed to Argyle, commonly known as Little Vietnam or the new Chinatown with plenty of pho restaurants and a huge Southeast Asian supermarket Tai Nam.
Thankfully, Little Vietnam is just right beside the Argyle station on the CTA red line which makes it very convenient for someone like me without a car.
It was a really cold afternoon and was even snowing a little even though it was already April! But this also makes it a an ideal day for piping hot pho!
After checking out all the Yelp reviews, I decided on Tank Noodle , which is often reported as a must-go for pho and has been ranked as one of the top 3 Vietnamese restaurants in Chicago.
The interior of the restaurant was nondescript, which makes me feel that the food must be very authentic, to be able to attract so many customers in spite of the not very cozy ambience.
There were lots and lots of food on the menu, and just the pho itself has about 10 variations. Omg, how to choose?
In the end, I just got a basic pho with beef flank which costs about 10 dollars.
Not bad, wasn’t salty, in fact it even feels quite healthy cos it wasn’t oily. It is a pretty satisfying lunch but I have to say that I wasn’t impressed. Cos even a random pho restaurant that I went to in San Diego tasted better. And this is ranked as top 3 in Chicago!?! Chicago is totally missing out on good Southeast Asian food then.
Then I headed to the Southeast Asian supermarket Tai Nam to stock up on some groceries and Asian spices.
It is more spacious than the usual supermarkets I go to in Chinatown and I like that it sells more variety of food, more tailored to the southeast asians. Over here, I found packets of pho spices where they mix all the spices for you to cook a pho bowl, and even kangkong!
After 6 months here, I can finally eat Kangkong!
Well, I just stayed about 2 hours in Argyle, 1 hour for lunch and 1 hour for grocery shopping. Nowadays I know how to manage my expectations. As long as I can find good food and one shop that interests me, I am happy enough. Cannot keep comparing to Asian cities whereby there are shops EVERYWHERE. I miss Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.Sobs.