Long ago when I first moved here to Chicago, Aroy Thai was the first restaurant that I sat down at for a delicious dinner. I still remember what the dishes were we had that night: Thai Wings, Papaya Salad, Grilled Pork Neck Salad and Spicy & Sour Pork Rib Soup. My first bite that night was of the Spicy & Sour Pork Rib Soup which brought me back to a picture of back when I was at University in Bangkok. One restaurant used to serve this spicy sour soup for me. Since then I've become obsessed with this restaurant. I would say Aroy Thai is my top list Thai Restaurant you must try.
You need to be up for Aroy Thai, because their authentic Thai dishes deliver sharp and funky flavors to the heart of the menu. The restaurant features a wooden art piece with a gold leaf design by Geng (Son of the owner). It is the ambiance highlight and provides a welcoming atmospheres.
Aroy Thai has a bold flavor dishes like blistering Pad Prik Pao, tasty Pork Rib soup, a bracing stir-fried Chinese broccoli, one of a kind Northern Larb fried rice, earthy Thai pickled bamboo salad with ground pork as Nor Noom or smoky stir-fried Thai chili paste like Pad Prik Pao.
Time to Meet The Chefs:
Pha-Jeaw is the head Chef and Owner of Aroy Thai. She was born in the Sukhothai Province of Thailand and has 2 kids. One of them is Geng who helps her mother run the restaurant.
Pha-Jeaw started off her career as a head chef 22 years ago at Bangkok Grocery. Her beef Jerky was well known with Thai people here in Chicago back in the day. After 2 years of great experience, she transferred to Siam Noodle and worked there for 10 years. Pha-Jeaw has a deep love for cooking; she taught herself while she worked at Bangkok grocery. And from there she kept building her fans from the restaurant, including her side job as making extra Thai food to sell at Thai grocery before she opened Aroy Thai in 2006. The restaurant easily became famous in a short period of time.
Now let’s get to know the Aroy Thai menu:
**The Sausage Combination:
A combination with both, Issan and Sai Ua sausage served with a side of ginger, fresh Thai pepper and salted peanuts.
Northeastern Thai fermented sausage that has a unique fermented flavor from ground pork mixed with salt, chopped garlic and steamed glutinous rice.
**Sai Ua sausage:
Northern Thai Sausage made from minced pork with a variety of herbs and spices such as lemongrass, turmeric, coriander and kaffir lime leaves.
Crispy perfection deep fried chicken wings with Asian house marinated sauce. This menu you simply must try!!!! I would say it still tastes the same from 10 years ago..... Never Changed..... Soooo Good!
Thai Fish Cakes **(Tod Man Pla):
These little munchies combined the flavors of Thai curry, white fish and packed of Thai herbs as kaffir lime, and lemongrass. Served with a side of cucumber salad.
**Grilled Pork Neck Salad:
This salad has a few key ingredients: thinly sliced shallots, green onion, fish sauce, roasted rice powder, and lime juice. For the key ingredient that makes this whole dish change into the mouthwatering dish they house marinated and grilled pork neck.
**Pork Rib Soup:
This stunning complexity of Tamarind soup based sour and spicy soup, viscous layer between lemongrass, onion, lime leaves, and galanga root, with rich flavor from pork ribs.
Grilled Rib Eye marinated with a secret house sauce from Pha-Jeaw. The marinade provides Asian savory flavor with a hint of soy sauce, and smoky flavor from charcoal. Served with a house cucumber salad, sticky rice and a side of homemade dipping sauce.
This smoky and fiery Northern larb stir-fried minced pork and offal, with green onion, Thai chile, and Northern larb powder.
**Chou Chi Ground Pork:
Must-Try Item** This Chou Chi curry, commonly cooked with shrimp in coconut milk based, but Aroy Thai makes a twist by using ground pork. The semi-sweet and spicy is perfect especially topped it on the fried sunny side eggs.
**Mango Sticky Rice:
Dessert for a hot summer day, delicious sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice, hold together with creamy coconut milk.
Atmosphere: Thai Contemporary
What to eat:
Appetizers: Crab Rangoon (8), Thai Grilled** (9), Thai Wings** (9), Sai Ua Sausage** (9), Crying Tiger** (14.50), Issan Sausage (9)
Soup: Tom Kha (6), Pork Rib Soup** (11), Tom Yum Beef Ball & Tender (11)
Salad: Grilled Pork Neck Salad** (10), Northern Larb(10), Grilled Rib Eye Salad** (14)
Noodle: Pad Thai** (9.5), Pad Woon Sen (9.5), Aroy Noodle** (10), Boat Noodle** (10)
Entree: Northern Larb Fried Rice (12), Sour Ham Fried Rice (11), Crab Meat Fried Rice** (11), Pad Prik Pao** (10.50), Basil Duck** (14), Chou Chi Ground Pork**(13), Phrik Khing Crispy Pork** (14), Chinese broccoli With Salty Fish (13), Nor Noom** (13)
Dessert: Mango Sticky Rice**
What to Drink: Thai Ice Tea**(3.5) , Thai Ice Coffee**(3.5)
**Note - Here are my top recommendations for you to try.
Thank you for stopping by and checking out the review.
Japanese cuisine is in bloom and it seems like every corner in Chicago has a great selection of Japanese restaurants, from sushi to ramen to the izakaya to tonkatsu. Out of all Japanese food, one of my favorites is "Robatayaki (炉端焼き)" style cooking. There is something fascinating about fresh ingredients grilled on top of charcoal that makes it tastes amazing.
As you walk up to Chicago Street in the Ukrainian Village, there are a few Japanese restaurants to pick from. Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill is one of the places I recommend for you to try.
Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill opened their first location on May 27, 2011, and is the first place that introduced Robatayaki (炉端焼き) to Chicago. It has an intimate space enough to seat comfortably 35. In February of 2015, Chef Yoot the owner decided to move Yuzu into a bigger space just a few doors down. This new location still keeps the same concept with comic-inspired walls, a fun system that's full of energy, and a trendy soundtrack playing in the background.
At the front area, there is a commercial table made up into a party table. It is a 2x4 studded table with a wood top that "inspires" forth folks to strike up with fun conversation.
Time to Meet The Chefs:
First, we have the owner Chef Yoot, who has worked at the Sushi Wabi for over 7 years. Following that experience, Yoot continues with the delectable dish that has the potential to transform food into a piece of art.
Chef Pamela Cariquitan, a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, began her culinary career young and humble. Cariquitan started work as a garde manger chef at the Takashi for 2 years and then continued her work on at The Arami as a Sous Chef for 2 years.
In 2015, she made another transition to Yuzu as the Executive Chef. With Cariquitan Japanese background and inspired with spicy Korean cuisine, Yuzu is a concept that makes big bold flavors in every dish.
Chef Tammasorn Sunsan, maybe better known as Tob, has more than five years of experience as a sushi chef around the city. Behind the sushi bar, he knows his fish just well as he knows his knife skills. While he was showing me how to cut Salmon and Hrame, he said: "This is the best part of Hirame called Engawa." Tob let me taste some Green Negi Engawa: Engawa sushi top with ponzu sauce. It is crunchy and a little chewy for me with a very bright flavor from ponzu sauce.
Chef Tob said, "We cut 25 salmon (the whole salmon) per week." As I have been coming to Yuzu for years, I know this place has fresh fish and chef Tob confirmed that it is the truth and how fast they rotate the fish.
This is a chewy part (katai), is known as Sashimi inside the Japanese Flounder Fin. Hirame is one of the fish (white fish) that you begin to warm up the palate.
Chef Worawit Boonyapituksaku, Ray, who shows how to cut the whole tuna in the back of the sushi bar, so every bite has a fresh taste from the sea. Ray is packed with experience as a sushi chef over 8 years.
Chef Sunijit Srilcaew, Nine, is one of the sushi chefs that put art on the plates. Before being handed across the bar, most of the sushi plates are decorated with art that comes with an iconic cartoon theme. He took my breath away when I saw the Chicago roll; The Chicago skyline above the Chicago Signature roll and a nice touch of Yuzu Chicago Sushi. This menu speaks for itself that if you are in Chicago, you have to take a trip to Yuzu.
Let’s get to know Yuzu's menu:
There is nothing traditional about Yuzu; they spin the food into a piece of art that associates with creativity. From the Izakaya menu to Robata to Yuzu rolls to the Special menu, each menu changes every 4 to 6 months (you can stay tune at Yuzu.com). It is well worth it for you to make a plan and stop by.
Tuna Poke: Fresh Hawaiian Tuna marinated in soy sauce and house special spices adorned with fancy thinly sliced avocado. I order this item every time I stop by and suggest you try the tuna and avocado all in one bite. The creaminess of avocado balances out the tangy taste of the marinated sauce.
Avocado Mango Salad: They create a completely satisfying salad with avocado, mango, spring mix and a vibrant, spicy ponzu dressing and plenty of delightful.
Chicken Golek**: Chicken is grilled on top of charcoal that makes it taste amazing with southern Thai curry sauce. For a curry lover, this is an item you must try!!!
Pork Shoulder**: Juicy pork shoulder is marinated in a Thai special sauce, grilled on the skewers, and served with sweet chili sauce. I would say the idea is similar to that of the Thai Grilled Pork on Skewers (Mooh-Ping/หมูปิ้ง).
Rib Eye** Beef is marinated in a house special sauce with a nice touch of Thai herb sauce.
Shishito**: Whether eaten as an Izakaya or joined into the main dish, these sweet and crunchy shishito peppers are delicious. This charred shishito is served with a Teriyaki sauce that gets a salty and a hint of tangy taste from ponzu sauce.
Hustler Lamb (2pcs): These delicious imported Aussie lamb is served with a luscious black garlic chutney sauce.
Asparagus: Care for some grilled asparagus and ponzu? Yes! Especially for a special occasion and a glass of wine must be involved.
Nasu: For these, a charcoal vision of Japanese eggplant served with a Thai favorite, peanut sauce.
Yuzu Rolls :
Chicago Spring**: This jumbo roll comes with crunchy shrimp tempura, avocado, and cream cheese inside, topped with red Tobiko, masago, chili sauce, wasabi mayo, sweet soy sauce, scallions, and more crunchies from tempura bread crumbs.
Dragon: There is a perfect marriage with Japanese style shrimp tempura, Unagi, and avocado; nothing to go wrong with these 3 together. With fresh cucumber balancing out the saltiness from Unagi, crunchy tempura crumbs add more texture to the roll with spicy mayo and Unagi sweet soy sauce. With these, 2 dragons are flying around the roll, made me feel like watching an old school Chinese movie.
River Walk**: 3 kinds of my favorite fish appear here as Salmon, Tuna and Super White Tuna are all on parade in the roll with avocado, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno, scallions. Topped with crunchy tempura crumbs, wasabi, Tobiko, a kick of chili sauce, wasabi mayo and sweet soy sauce. I vote for that Darn Cute Snail!!.
Sorry, I Am Drunk**: Unagi and cooked shrimp are combined with a tasty array of flavors, from spicy mayo, massago, sesame oil, avocado, and both black & red Tobiko.
Shrimp Tempura: An amazing crunchy shrimp tempura, cucumber, tempura crumbs, tasty spicy mayo and sweet soy sauce.
Yakuza Mussel**: Andrew Zimmern recommends to Food and Wine Magazine to use plump, wild Mediterranean mussels! Here the juicy plump Mediterranean mussels are imported and combined with amazing alternative flavors of garlic, ginger, yuzu juice, dashi, and gochujang. Served with Asiago Batard bread grilled with chili pepper flake.
Killing me Softly**: This luxurious green frisee is tossed with mint sauce, asparagus, and sautéed Maitake mushroom with red pepper coulis. It is a delightful accompaniment to a pan-fried imported Hokkaido Scallop.
Hamachi Collar**: The Hamachi collar is simply the section just behind the head and gills, or the best part of the Yellowtail. It is not on the menu, but you can ask the server if it is available for you to order.
**Note - Here are my top recommendations for you to try.
Atmosphere: Japanese Industrial-Rustic Sushi Bar.
What to eat:
Izakaya - Avocado Mango(6), Grilled Squid (10), Sweet Potato Fries (6), Tuna Poke (11)
Robata- Pork Shoulder (3.5), Chicken Golek (3.5), Beef Short Rib (4), Rib Eye (4), Shishito (3), Bacon Scallop (4)
Yuzu Roll- Born to Chill (17), Chicago Spring (16), Breaking Bad (17), Riverwalk (16), Sorry I Am Drunk (11)
Special- Yakuza Mussel (18), Killing Me Softly (22), Dope (22), Hamachi Collar (12)
What to drink: BYOB
Thank you for stopping by and checking out the review.
Dec 20th, 2015
"Immm Rice & Beyond": A new restaurant opens up in the uptown area, with the unique concept in Khao-Rad-Gaeng (Rice topped with Thai comfort meals/ Rice and Thai comfort meals).
One thing I love about Thailand is ข้าวราดแกง /kâao râad gaeng ( Thai-Street-food), and it’s abundance of scrumptious comfort food that is prepared and ready to serve. The customer point to the dishes they want and they will be serve over rice. One common way of enjoying the dining experience is to try Thai street food where the vendors line up on the street as kâao râad gaeng. This is a must for you to try!
I remembered when growing up my Grandparents were running a cafeteria shop, and we were one of the most famous kâao râad gaeng in my hometown. I used to be around and saw locals get some good food. Even though on my regular weekends for breakfast my dad used to take my sister and I out to try other kâao râad gaeng shops in my home town. I have to admit I love it, and this is my kind of comfort food. I am proud to say I have had this type of meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This what makes my heartbeat.
For a Chicagoan, you don't have to travel 18 hours to Thailand. Now you can make a quick trip to “Immm Rice & Beyond” (4949 N. Broadway, in Uptown) for some real Thai comfort food.
The partners behind “Immm Rice & Beyond” are Dew Suriyawan, who is a business owner from Spoon Thai, and Noon Tosakulwong, a foodie girl who has a passion for food and wants to present Thai Street Food to Chicago.
As you first walk into “Immm Rice & Beyond”, the spectacular art exhibit wall warms you up and gets you ready for some Thai foods. The Chicago skyline and Chicago River are up front, with a man in national formal Thai costume who comes with delicious Thai Comfort foods on his boat ready to serve you.
Let me give you a tip of what ข้าวราดแกง /kâao râad gaeng means:
ข้าว /kâao/ means “rice.”
ราด /râad/ means “to pour over.”
แกง /gaeng/ means “curry." ( not just only curry it is including Thai comfort dishes).
You shall find a variety of dishes from the North to South regions of Thailand that are ready on the steam table of which patrons pick their own single dish or combination to pour over rice. The menu rotates every day of which some main items will be served every day: Kaɛ̄ng tāi plā (แกงไตปลา), MHOO WHAAN (หมูหวาน), Pāā Lo (พะโล้), Panang Mhoo (พะแนงหมู) and Pad Pak (ผัดผัก). And for the other 5-7 dishes those will be rotating every day. I suggest you check out their menu before and visit on Facebook/immmchicago.
Here are my top dishes from Immm:
- *Pad Phed Pla Dook Krob (ผัดเผ็ดปลาดุกกรอบ / Central Region) is common Thai dish; you can see everywhere in kâao râad gaeng shop. The crispy deep fried Pla Dook ( Clarias is a genus of catfishes steak ) stir-fried with red curry paste, lemongrass, galangal, and fresh kaffir lime leave, topped with crispy Thai basil leaves.
*** This order you must try, check their menu daily on FB: Immm Rice & Beyond ****
- Gaɛ̄ng tāi plā (แกงไตปลา / South) is a southern Thai curry dish. The name tāi plā is taken from fermented internal fish organs which give a strong smell, salty and nutty flavors to the curry.
This dish is a big hit for the Thai community in Chicago. Everyone has been talking about how great they make as an authentic Gaɛ̄ng tāi plā dish. It’s a thick, spicy mixed vegetable turmeric curry, a sauce made from fish tāi plā, shrimp paste, roasted fish, bamboo shoots, and eggplant.
- *Pāā Lo (พะโล้, 拍滷 / Central Region) is a famous soup from China made of braised pork belly, boil eggs and puff tofu in 5-spice base soup.
This dish is a one of a kind dish with 5-spice, light soy sauce, caramelized brown sugar (gives dark brown color to the soup), cilantro, and black pepper giving a unique flavor to the soup base. The sweetness from brown sugar with a nutty flavor from light soy sauce and the pork belly that has been cooking down in its own fat, make this soup a comforting bowl.
- *Mooh Whan ( หมูหวาน / Central Region ) is caramelized pork belly with soy sauce, brown sugar, and black pepper. The saltiness and sweetness meet in the middle with pork flavor; ridiculous good when you serve over the rice.
- Kaeng Kua Sub Pla Rod ( แกงคั่วสัประรส ) is red curry infused with turmeric, mussels, and pineapple.
Gaeng Kua / แกงคั่ว is one type of Thai curry which uses a larger amount of turmeric in red curry paste. A popular dish in Thailand prepares this kind of curry with prawn, shrimp or mussel.
- *Kaeng Phed Ped Yang (แกงเผ็ดเป็ดย่าง / Central Region) is red curry with roast duck, tomato, pineapple, lychee, basil leaves, and grapes.
This dish is a combination between Thai (red curry) and Chinese (Roast duck).
- Kaeng Om ( แกงอ่อม/ North Region ) is a spice "Lanna" curry with meat, mixed vegetable (dill, bamboo shoot, Thai eggplant ), and without coconut milk base.
- Kaeng som Ma-Ra-Gor Goong ( แกงส้มมะละกอกุ้ง /Central Region ) is a spice and sour soup made of: red curry paste, big amount of turmeric and shrimp (some use roasted white fish to mix with curry paste), raw papaya and shrimps.
- Guai Tiao Ruea (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ/ Boat noodles) is Thai style noodle bowl, rice noodle (pick your own:wild noodle, thin noodle or angle rice noodle), fresh bean sprout, Thai basil leaves, pork or beef stew meat, Chinese pickled cabbage (ตังฉ่าย), meatballs, cilantro, crunchy pan fried garlic bits, light soy sauce, black pepper, and sugar in pork or beef broth. An authentic style is to add fresh pork blood ( 1 tablespoon ) into the boiling broth to create a meat flavor and make it thicker; as you see the broth is not clear that is from the blood.
- Tum Pol La Mai ( ตำผลไม้ ) is a papaya salad style that adds more elements to the dish as grapes, carrot, apple, pineapple instead of papaya.
Atmosphere: Contemporary cafeteria design.
What to eat:
Kâao râad gaeng: Pick your own Plate
1 Entree 8$
2 Entree 9.5 $
3 Entree 11 $
Order from the kitchen: Guai Tiao Ruea ( ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ/ Boat noodles ) 5$, Khao-Mun-Gai (Hainanese Chicken / ข้าวมันไก่) 9$ and Khao-Mooh-Deng ( BBQ pork and Chinese sausage over rice with 5 spice-Gravy / ข้าวหมูแดง ) 9$
What to drink: Cha-Yen (Thai Ice Tea / ชาเย็น)3$, O-Liang (Thai Ice Coffee/ กาแฟเย็น) 3$, Daily Fountain Selections (Check the menu on Facebook ) 3$ and BYOB
Thank you for stopping by and checking out my review.
Broadway Street in Lakeview has several good sushi options. A year ago, an interior design George P. decided to throw his hat into the ring by opening a sushi restaurant name Shiawase which means Happiness in Japanese. Co-owner Wany Phuang, has worked in the restaurant industry for over ten years and opening the restaurant was her dream. George P. interior design aesthetic is found in the contemporary Japanese design.
The wooden tables, luxurious booths, and contemporary curved wooden chairs encourage interaction between patrons. Bar seats in front of the sushi bar offer a great view of the centerpiece which is the custom built sushi bar. It is made from Pecking Cypress wood from Florida. The lighting is enhanced by pink/purple pendant lights. The natural wood feels in the overall interior has been centered around the simple, clean lines of contemporary Japanese design.
I started my Saturday brunch with the robata platter serve. It is the perfect size to eat alone or to share. The owner said it was popular to order with rice. I agreed to eat it with rice if I wasn't planning to order ramen after.
The Robata Platter comes with shishito pepper, eggplant, chicken, pork, ribeye, bacon asparagus, bacon cherry tomato, shrimp miso and I added Bacon Scallop. Robata or Robatayaki is a Japanese method of slow-grilled over hot charcoal.
My top 4 items robata menu you must try are:
- Bacon Scallop Robata
Bacon Wrapped Large Scallop. I can capture the distinct aroma flavor of charcoal from this giant scallop.
- Ribeye robata:
the perfect portion of meat on the skewer that has been marinated in house special sauce and are flavorful and nutty with a hint of the charcoal flavor.
- Bacon Cherry tomato:
I never thought grilled cherry tomato and bacon would work, but Shiawase proves that Bacon can make magic with every food. I love the tomato juice that comes out after you bite into the bacon wrapped red tomato cherry. Simply delicious.
- Escolar Robata:
Escolar is well known for being fatty and creamy and is served with ponzu sauce to compliment the fish.
For the second appetizer, I had the Sashimi Matsu set that was absolutely fresh and well presented and decorated on a rectangular glass plate. This set comes with 20 pieces of sashimi; salmon, tuna, super white tuna, yellowtail, ame-Ebi, Ika, Tako & ebi.
For the main course, I had Lobster Signature Maki, Sakura Signature Maki, and Combination Spicy Miso Ramen Soup.
I heard so many good things about the ramen here. So It was a time to come by and taste some for me . I ordered the Combination bowl which served in a traditional ramen style bowl with ramen base topped with marinated chicken drumstick, Cha-Shu pork, Grilled Shrimps, sweet corn, boiled egg, and seaweed, in a spicy miso broth. The broth itself had so many different dimensions of flavor. It wasn't overly spicy but give a little hint of heat from the chili which was complemented by the creaminess from the sweet corn. The owner said the broth took three days to cook to reach its perfect flavor. I think the star of this bowl was the marinated drumstick chicken which was so tender. The marinade sauce came through in each layer of the meat. I could eat this bowl Every week for the entire winter. It is the perfect comfort food.
Lobster Signature Maki: served on bamboo sushi board with a stunning lobster tail as decoration. It was a version of lobster roll but in a deep fried sushi rice roll (instead of bread) topped with spicy lobster mixed, black tobiko and radish sprout.
Sakura: for someone who want to go light on the carbs try this roll. It is rice-free with salmon, tuna, yellowtail, kankama, masago, asparagus, mango, spring mixed, ponzu sauce
Atmosphere: Contemporary Japanese design.
What to eat: Robatas- Robata Platter ( 13 ), Escolar ( 4 ), Bacon Scallop (4), Ribeye robata (3)
Vegan option- Eggplant Miso Robatas (1)
Sashimi Set - Sashimi Matsu ( 35 )
Signature Maki-Crystal (14), Lobster (15), Four Seasons (15)
Veggie Lover Maki - Yasai (7), Garden (7)
Ramen - Ramen Noodle Miso-Spicy Miso Soup (12-18)
What to drink: BYOB
Thank you for stopping by and checking out the review.
Hi, I am Natty! And Thank you for stopping by!! I am a foodie girl who has a passion for cooking, exercise and photography. There are so many favorite recipes from my family and friends I have tried throughout my journey that balances out and makes a healthy meal. I would like to take you on a journey to a different pantry around the world to share my favorite stories and recipes. My hope is that they inspire and benefit you.
"You love someone, you open yourself up to suffering, that's the sad truth. Maybe they'll break your heart, maybe you'll break their heart and never be able to look at yourself in the same way. Those are the risks. That's the burden.Like wings, they have weight, we feel that weight on our backs, but they are a burden that lifts us. Burdens which allow us" Bones
Don't wait for the perfect moment,take the moment and make it perfect. - Zoey Sayward-