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Which Thai Dishes In Chicago Are Worth Eating?

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 9, 2012 6:20PM

Photo by Leela Punyaratabandhu.
There are so many Thai restaurants around Chicago that it's often hard to keep track of them all. While the guidebooks suggest the same 3-4 joints over and over again (and don't get us wrong; the Tom Yum soup at Opart Thai house is genuinely amazing) we always are on the lookout for new suggestions. Thanks goodness for Leela Punyaratabandhu and her work over at Serious Eats Chicago. Not only does she regularly cover the Thai dining scene, she's put together a roundup of 10 overlooked Thai dishes every Chicagoan needs to run out and get.

In addition to her dish selections, Punyaratabandhu is transparent about her criteria - how did she go about picking her list? Well, they have to be dishes you can't make at home, true to their name and, most importantly, the dish is more important than the restaurant. Just like you probably shouldn't expect every generic Chinese dish on a Szechuan menu to be amazing, not every generic Thai dish will be great at every spot. You have to know where to look for what.

Her favorites actually include one dish from Opart Thai, as well as a couple from Tac Quick and one from Spoon. We are particularly excited to try the Squid Stir-fry with Salted Duck Eggs from Aroy Thai. She describes the strange-sounding duck eggs as "an umami-loaded source of salinity with a Midas touch," and insists she could eat it every time she visits. Take a look at the whole list, and try not to force your entire office to have Thai for lunch.