Posts Tagged ‘bahn tet’



As some of you may know, I am the obnoxious dude from the Checkplease episode that featured ElevenCity Diner, Atwood Cafe and Cafe Hoang. I thought it appropriate to start off my blog on food with a shout out to my homeboy Jason Tran at Cafe Hoang on 232 W. Cermak. I’m not going to go into huge detail about the restaurant, you can watch Checkplease for that (royalties please David). I do want to tell you about my last experience there however, as it was the first time I got to meet Jason, the chef/owner of Chicago’s best value in dining.

It was Thursday night and my wife’s and my stomachs were pining for Hoang’s vittles. We stopped in there and were glad to see that even after the hoopla from the Checkplease episode died down they still had more business than before. I hope that continues so that Hoang stays put and doesn’t leave my restaurant rotation.

At any rate, we ordered a typical meal for us. Spring rolls, crab rangoon (I know, it’s not a Vietnamese dish, but they’re so friggin good there’s no way I can resist the sweet allure of smooth cream cheese and luscious crab meat with scallions deep fried to perfection), followed by #26 (vermicelli noodles with grilled beef, shrimp, an eggroll, lettuce, sprouts, basil, cucumber and carrots with nuac cham sauce) and ginger beef. We usually order two apps with two entrees and still have enough for us each to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Well, we’re sitting there eating and out walks Jason. “Dan, it’s great to finally meet you”. “Yeah, you as well Jason”. We chitchat for a few minutes, he’s a super nice guy, real genuine. Turns out, we couldn’t have picked a better day to have stopped in for some grub. He had just made that morning some Bahn Tet, a traditional Vietnamese dish served on Tet, the Vietnamese new years holiday (as in the Tet Offensive in ’68). It’s sticky rice with pork and sprouts rolled up, wrapped in banana leaves and then slow cooked for hours on end. Sounds delicious to me! So he brings out this thing and puts it on our table. I couldn’t believe it’s size! He gave us a friggin Duraflame log of sticky rice! That thing must have weighed damn near 10 pounds. I no longer use weights, I work out by lifting Bahn Tet. I’m gettin buff! That stuff is so heavy, you can only eat a little at a time as it expands in your stomach. Too much in one sitting and it’s constipation time!

But I digress. We rap a little more. He tells me, “Next time you stop in call me first, I know you love to drink and I want to have a drink with you.” Eh? He knows I love to drink? Where did he get that idea? I mean, I do, but is it that obvious?

Anyway, it was another fantastic meal at Cafe Hoang. When all is said and done my wife and I each got dinner and enough for lunch the next day for $25 total, or about $6.25 per meal. You can’t beat that for fresh flavorful food. Col. Sanders eat your hormone and anti-bacterially pumped (and rather decomposed at this point) heart out! Not to mention all of the Bahn Tet. I still have some left if any of you want some. It’s damn good, but shit he gave me a lot of it!


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