Chicago Eats: Immm Rice & Beyond | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Immm Rice & Beyond

Located right off the bustling Broadway and Argyle intersection (a neighborhood known for some of the best Southeast Asian restaurants in Chicago), Immm Rice & Beyond is a casual BYOB spot specializing in Thai street food. Most known for their khao rad gang (which roughly translates to "rice lunch plate"), the restaurant boasts an extensive menu of fare most commonly found at Thai food stalls and street carts. Along with their popular lunch plates, they also offer several noodle soups and a rotating selection of kreung jim, relishes/dips typically eaten with vegetables and rice.

The moment you walk through the front door of Immm, you're enveloped in the tempting rich and pungent aromas of the stews and curries simmering on the steam table. The offerings include various favorites like Sliced Coconut in Panang Curry, Tamarind-Red Curry with Pork Belly, and a  5-Spice Stew with Braised Pork Belly, Egg, and Puff Tofu, as well as specials such as Mackerel and Veggies in a Southern Fermented Fish Entrails Stew. If you've never been to a place like Immm, the smells can be overwhelming (as you'll want to order *everything*!), but part of the fun is diving in and sampling their recommended favorites, as well as the ever-changing daily specials!

A fellow food blogger/friend introduced me to Immm roughly four years ago after learning that I was on the hunt for a go-to Thai restaurant in my neighborhood. Immm immediately moved into that number one spot (I must have visited/ordered at least seven times the first month!). Since then, I've recommended it to numerous friends and followers as one of my essential Far North Side restaurants.

Som Tum: Thai Green Papaya Salad with lime-fish sauce vinaigrette, garlic, bird-eye chili, tomatoes, and green beans. Immm offers four varieties of Som Tum, a staple of Thai street foods, each of which varies in heat and funkiness. The salads range from Tom Thai (known as a beginner dish), a slightly sweet and sour version, to Tum Puu Plah Rah, an extra salty, funky, spicy, and sour version that includes preserved crabs and fermented fish sauce.

Chicken Satay: grilled marinated chicken skewers, cucumber salad, and peanut sauce. This is probably the most famous/popular dish at Thai restaurants in America, and for a good reason. It has always been one of my favorites (as I'm a sucker for meat on a stick!). The chicken is perfectly grilled with just the right amount of smokiness, and the peanut sauce is thick and creamy. It's hard not to love it!

Tiger Cry: marinated beef served with jaew sauce (dried chili dipping sauce). Speaking of delicious meat, this is one of Mario's (aka my other half) favorites. Tiger Cry is a seemingly super simple dish, but thanks to the absolutely addictive spicy sauce, it pack a serious flavor punch.

Pad See Eiw: wide rice noodles, Chinese broccoli, egg, and see eiw sauce. My friend who introduced me to Immm referred to Pad See Eiw as a the "spaghetti and meatballs" of Thai food, as its thick noodles and savory-sweet flavors represent pure comfort food. It's also a safe dish if you're looking for something that's hearty and flavorful, but not spicy (as many Thai dishes tend to be). Whenever I'm craving these noodles but want a little more kick, I'll add some dried chili flakes and/or vingar.

Khao Soi with Tofu: traditional Northern-style curry with boiled and crispy egg noodles served with pickled mustard greens, fresh cabbage, and chili oil. This thick and rich soup is not only heavily aromatic but it's also beautifully balanced thanks to the creamy coconut milk-based curry that pairs perfectly with the heat from the chili oil. There are numerous variations (based on broth and noodles), but my all-time favorite is the traditional Northern version with its layers of flavors and textures.

Khao Niew Ma Muang: coconut sticky rice with mango and roasted beans. Hands down, this is my favorite dessert at Immm, as well as one of my favorite desserts *ever.* The ripe, sweet mangoes pair perfectly with their signature salty, creamy coconut rice. This dessert is pure heaven! Note: if you see it on the menu, be sure to order it, as they only offer it when the mangoes are in peak condition.

You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Immm Rice & Beyond: 4949 N Broadway, Chicago, IL.

Immm Rice & Beyond is a Thai SELECT Certified restaurant. Thai SELECT is a certification program funded by the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand. For restaurants to bear a Thai SELECT certificate, their menus must be comprised of at least 60 percent of dishes considered to be authentic: the restaurants employ the same or similar cooking methods as in Thailand and may import ingredients from Thailand as well. Currently, there are 542 restaurants in the U.S. that are certified with this distinction. For more information, please visit Thai SELECT.

Disclosure: I received compensation to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.

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