BANG CHOP THAI KITCHEN

When you hear that the owners of SAIGON SISTERS are opening up a new restaurant, you know it’s going to be authentic and delicious. Owners, Mary Nguyen Aregoni and Theresa Nguyen, along with their mother, Mama Suu, successfully run Saigon Sisters (3 locations!), and are now opening up a new restaurant just steps away. The Nguyen family migrated to Thailand after the Vietnam war… so it only makes sense to honor both cuisines between their two restaurants.

BANG CHOP THAI KITCHEN will be a 25-seat, BYOB fast-casual spot featuring authentic Thai cuisine. The menu focuses on Thai classics that we’ve all come to love, as well as some Thai street foods that we’ll no doubt also love. I interviewed Mary years ago for CHAT CHOW TV, and just love her, so was quite excited to hear about the new restaurant. This week, they hosted a preview dinner, “One Night In Bang Chop” at their existing restaurant, Saigon Sisters. There were about 30 of at the 8pm seating for this intimate 4-course dinner with optional wine/beer pairings.

The first two courses were served individually, while the entrees were served family style at our tables of 4.

AMUSE BOUCHEMIANG KHAM (เมี่ยงคำ)

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Miang Kham translates to “eating many things in one bite” and this one bite was a STANDOUT! It consisted of toasted coconut, peanuts, lime, dried shrimp, ginger, palm sugar, Thai chilis, galangal, and nam phrik sauce. Add a squeeze of lime, roll it up, and enjoy it in one bite. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t know what to expect, or because I was expecting something very.. leafy tasting, but this single bite was somewhat of a flavor revelation for me. It was the perfect balance between sweet, spicy, salty. A wonderful start to the meal.

FIRST COURSE THAI FRIED CHICKEN WINGS (ไก่ทอด)

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This was presented as it would be on the streets of Bangkok, to be eaten with your hands. Crispy fried wings, served with papaya salad (som tam ส้มตำ) and sticky rice (ข้าวเหนียว), plus a vinegary/spicy dipping sauce. First of all, how cute is the sticky rice presentation!? The rice was slightly sweet, which was a great bite between the tangy wings and bright papaya salad. I’d gladly have this snack at any given time.

SECOND COURSE | TOM YUM SOUP (ต้มยำกุ้ง)

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Classic Thai Hot & Sour soup with shrimp, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, cilantro. The broth of this soup is so complex and warming. The shrimp were also perfectly cooked (not overcooked as it could easily be).

THIRD COURSE (shared family style)
GREEN CURRY CHICKEN (แกงเขียวหวานไก่) | Thai eggplant, green curry paste, bamboo,Thai basil, coconut milk
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THAI FRIED RICE (ข้าวผัดกุ้ง) – Thai basil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, garlic, shrimp paste, lime, egg
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KRABI PAD THAI (ผัดไทย) – rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, egg, tamarind sauce, bean sprouts, chives, peanuts
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I eat Thai food often, and have my favorite dishes. Curries are at the top of that list, and this Green Curry was delicious.. and quite spicy, might I add! Let the white rice soak up some of the curry and it’s just yum. Pad Thai is usually not on my list of favorites, because with most of the ones I’ve had, all I taste is strong fish sauce flavor. Bang Chop’s Pad Thai, however, is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of tamarind, palm sugar and fish sauce. The boyfriend and I loved it, and almost wished we had an entire serving to ourselves 🙂  And of course, the fried rice is a staple.
FOURTH COURSE | COCONUT STICKY RICE with custard (ข้าวเหนียวดำสังขยา)
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Overall, every single dish was so well researched, created and executed. That kitchen was cranking out authentic dishes to a dining room filled with discerning palates, and they knocked it out of the park. We had a great dinner, among friends and peers, and all thoroughly enjoyed our meals. The restaurant is scheduled to open mid-December and it will be a hit.
Congrats to my friend, Mary, and her family, on another great restaurant serving amazing food! Can’t wait to bring my bottle of Pinot to sip with some delicious curry and rice.
BANG CHOP THAI KITCHEN | 605 W Lake St, Chicago IL
All photos by the boyfriend ❤
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