Yesterday’s lunch

Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) is a bit under the weather today with a cold, so posting will likely be light. Please enjoy photos of my lunch yesterday, though I suspect I enjoyed the lunch more than you will the photos.

Reader Simon and I met for our every-several-months lunch, in which we catch up over the food of other nations. Yesterday we went to “Little Vietnam” on Argyle Street on the far north side of Chicago. It’s a lovely little area packed full of both Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, grocery stores, and general stores. We chose a Vietnamese restaurant which is humble in appearance but of high repute: Nhà Hàng. It has a small kitchen but a huge menu, with over 200 dishes available (see menu here).

The outside:

The inside:

It’s well known for it’s pho, the perfect warming dish for yesterday’s weather, and so we each had a bowl. But we preceded it with two appetizers,

Vietnamese spring rolls with shrimp and peanut sauce:

And “Vietnamese pancake”, also with shrimp. I don’t know how it was made, but it was very tasty.

Both appetizers (and the pho) came with a lot of condiments and vegetables:

And pho (mine was beef).  Undressed:

And dressed with veggies, hoisin sauce, and hot sauce:


On the way home we stopped at a good Chinese bakery (the Chiu Quon), where I filled up a bag of goodies to take home: lotus cakes, bean buns, pork buns, ham and egg buns, and #15 on its list: the luscious “sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken, Chinese sausage, and egg”, which I ate for dinner. Here are three iPhone photos:

Dissected. I’m told these are called “joong” in Cantonese. The lotus leaf imparts a lovely vegetal taste to the rice.



  1. rickflick
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    These dishes are all pretty familiar as I am a Canadian born American of Irish/English decent and I married into a Vietnamese family. My wife is very fussy and condemns to hell any Vietnamese food that isn’t properly made. Great Vietnamese restaurants can’t be found everywhere. Mostly in larger cities. Denver has a wonderful district where you don’t have to worry about finding a good one.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I was impressed with Denver’s Vietnamese district and its cuisine. While visiting, a friend took me to his favorite and it was damn good. I live near Seattle, so I’m accustomed to good Vietnamese restaurants.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 16, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        We had a very fine Vietnamese meal in Seattle. Even my wife approved.

        • Mark R.
          Posted February 16, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          You remember the name? I’m always on the lookout, and trust your judgement.

          • rickflick
            Posted February 16, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            I checked Google Maps to see if I could locate it. It might have closed, but I don’t see it where I thought it was. But, The street view of Pike Place MarketFront looks very familiar. It might have been, Long Provincial Vietnamese, 1901 2nd Ave. Not sure. The place was in a 3 or 4 story structure that was maybe a brewery with shops, and a largish atrium with (rustic?) stairs. We just happened upon it at lunch time.

            • Mark R.
              Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

              OK, thanks.

  2. Posted February 16, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    It all looks good to me! Reminds me of Little Saigon which is a few miles from home. I love their food. I’d go their for lunch today but it is too crowded on weekends. As I’m retired, I can always go on weekdays when it is much easier to deal with.

  3. jhs
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    “Joong” or “Zong-zi” is the traditional food during the Dragon Boat Festival. Reminds me of my Grandma who always had mass production of holiday food for her 8 children’s family.

  4. Mark R.
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Hoisin and Sriracha sauces are a must!

    I’m actually making chicken pho tonight. I make around 4 quarts of broth and freeze it in 2-cup portions. So anytime I’m in the mood, I can have my pho and eat it too.

  5. michael martin
    Posted February 16, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the photos. They gave me my dinner selections for tonight. I’m going out this evening to enjoy some Viet noms.
    Thanks again.

  6. Posted February 16, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    My wife and I are going to one of our favorite Vietnamese places tonight: Chateau Brodard. I don’t know if your post inspired the visit as we go there 3 or 4 times a month but perhaps it did. It is much fancier than most Vietnamese places which are very casual. It is very nicely decorated and has a full bar, as can be seen on their website: They even have a room for private parties which my old company used twice. Being the boss, I got to pick the place. They appear regularly on the LA Times 101 Best Restaurants in LA list. It’s also very reasonably priced. I encourage anyone visiting our area to check it out, our host included.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Gotta say, Vietnamese cocktails (and Thai) are some of my favorites. They really know how to mix herbs, liquors, citrus and muddling towards excellence and delight. There is a cookbook by Charles Phan “The Slanted Door” that has some excellent drink recipes in the Vietnamese vein. San Francisco restaurant, never eaten there, but the cookbook (eponymous) is excellent.

      • Posted February 17, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Thanks, I’ll check it out. They have a bunch of specialty cocktails at Brodard Chateau but I’ve haven’t tried them. I do get their Lime Soda occasionally. That’s a common thing at VN restaurants. It’s very refreshing but non-alcoholic of course.

        There’s also their iced coffee with milk. It used to be served in personal drip devices at many restaurants but most seem to have moved to brewing it in the back now. Everything changes.

  7. Posted February 17, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Neat to see something familiar and yet different.

    I guess they don’t do the different sizes of soup like they do here: small is gignormous – I have always concluded that “extra large” at some of these places must come in a bathtub!

    I had a wonderful shrimp and lotus stems salad at a local Vietnamese (“Pho Viet Taste”) place a week or so with my musician friend.

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