Category Archives: Chicago

Pho 777

1063-65 West Argyle,
Chicago IL 60640
773-561-9909

Additional Comments: Closed on Tuesdays

When in Chicago, people think of having Deep Dish Pizza, or Italian  Beef  Sandwiches, or dine in one of the many fine restaurants Chicago has to offer. For us, all we wanted was a bowl of hot Pho. I guess travelling in a foreign land and eating food that is so far removed from your culture makes you really crave some simple comfort foods. Noodle soups are a huge part of our culture, and this was the one thing we craved more than anything else. Our first meal in Chicago was hence a very unlikely one – Pho in Pho 777, a little restaurant in Little Vietnam.

This wasn’t our first choice of restaurant in Little Vietnam. Our host, SY wanted to bring us to Tank, a restaurant she had eaten at. Sadly, it was closed, and it was only a couple of days later that we realized that it had, (excuse the pun), Tanked. Turns out they had failed a health inspection and was forced to close down.

But back to Pho 777. All 3 of us had the Special Pho, which was a bowl of pho noodles with lots of different cuts and variations of beef – tripe, beef balls, sliced beef etc. The broth was very tasty and the noodles were perfectly cooked. This was a very satisfying bowl of Pho. Our one and only complaint would be that they didn’t have any fried calamari on the menu!!! Our all-time favourite Vietnamese restaurant, Viet in London serves this wonderful out of this world fried calamari, and we so wanted to have some form of that dish, but alas, they don’t serve it at Pho 777. (Now, obviously, we’re really nitpicking here…)

Service: 5.5/10
Food: 7/10

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Penang

This was our last night in Chicago, and we were considering dinner options when SY remembered this restaurant, Penang, that serves Malaysian/Singaporean food. Problem is it’s an hours’ drive away. I suppose living in London has really spoilt us, because distances between places we hang out are never very far. We’ve never had to travel for an hour to get our dinner, so we were quite hesitant to go ahead with the suggestion to go to Penang and having SY take an hour driving us there, and another hour driving us back. It just seemed like a real waste of time. However, it seems that going to such extraordinary lengths to get dinner isn’t uncommon around these parts, so after a lot of reassuring on SY’s part, we finally agreed to go.

It wasn’t a difficult drive, but then again, we weren’t the ones driving in the dark and the rain. When we got to Penang, we saw a board listing the daily specials, and knew instantly what we were going to order.

We had a serving of roti cannai, which was far better than any we’ve had in London – crispy and tasty. Unfortunately, there was only one piece per portion, definitely not enough to satisfy the craving of 3 roti-prata-starved Singaporeans.

For our mains we had a fish head curry, which was really good. (For one, the fish wasn’t salmon – take that Malaysian Kopitiam!)

We also had a sambal stingray, and it was also fantastic – very aggressively seasoned and well cooked, with a ton of sambal, just the way we like it. The side of sambal kangkong we ordered was also one of the best we’ve had outside Singapore.

Overall, we really enjoyed our meal in Penang. This is easily the best restaurant serving South East Asian food outside of South East Asia that we’ve been to so far. There was one very glaring unauthentic aspect of the meal unfortunately – the fortune cookie given to us at the very end. Tsk tsk tsk.

Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10