-Grubbing in ChicagoInteresting Thai Food in Old Town
Sometime in the last calendar year I saw some really good looking Thai food featured on ABC7's the 'Hungry Hound' segment. Not only did it look good but it looked unique by Chicago Thai food standards. As confirmed by Steve Dolinsky this is a Thai restaurant pushing some dishes like none other you will find in Chicago or the rest of the Midwest region. It's the product of Hom Mali Thai & Sushi. If not for Steve's excellent coverage of Chicago's food this one may have slipped by me. I know I'm not the only one who gets scared off by Asian spots pushing sushi among other cuisines. It's not a guarantee they wont be good it's just less likely they will be when focused on so much.
Newly Opened in Old Town and Ukrainian Village
Hom Mali Thai opened a second location quickly so they now have spots on North avenue in Old Town and on Chicago avenue in the Ukrainian Village. The menu is basically the same at both of them. When browsing said menu it's the chefs specials you want to keep your eye on. It's that section where you will find quite a few dishes that are basically new to Thai restaurants in Chicago. One of those that stood out right away for me was the Chor Muang Dumplings aka purple dumplings. This is a popular appetizer in the Thai Royalty food genre of Thai cuisine. These delicate dumplings are purple from butterfly pea flower-dyed steamed wrappers filled with ground chicken and garnished with roasted garlic. Not only are they instagram worthy but they taste great too. Not always the case.
Chor Muang at Hom Mali Thai
Another item you wont find anywhere else in Chicago (to my knowledge) is the Pad Thai Koong Sod. This is not the Pad Thai of my Midwest upbringing. Thin rice noodles are stir-fried fresh with head on jumbo shrimps, egg, bean sprouts, and chives mixed into a house tamarind sauce and served with crushed peanuts, chive, and lime. If you've ever been to Thailand you probably learned that the Pad Thai is different over there for the better. It's not as sweet as it is over here being geared towards the American palate. Tamarind sauce makes this version more sour than sweet. I found a Pad Thai I like.
Pad Thai Koong Sod at Hom Mali
Khao Soi is an item you can find in Chicago. The popular Northern Thai coconut curry noodle soup is served at a handful of spots around town. It's something I'll try if I see a spot serving it. Hom Mali has it available with a variety of meats including seafood, pork belly, beef, and chicken. They make a really nice rendition but when served out of a shallow bowl with only a few noodles it leaves you wanting more. They basically turned it into a pasta more so than a soup in serving it in a random piece of chinaware. I've been to the Old Town location twice and on one visit got to try their seafood custard which is a red curry served out of a coconut shell. It was really good. I'd like to try the whole fried snapper but the $35 price seems a bit high compared to other spots in town. Hom Mali makes mention that they buy many of their ingredients from local suppliers. All in all it's a worthy spot for a Thai dinner out on the town. Just focus in on the more unique offerings so that they stick around.
Khao Soi at Hom Mali Thai
Hom Mali Thai
1546 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642