Nha Hang offers Vietnamese dishes in Uptown

July 21, 2012 (CHICAGO) When faced with a menu featuring literally dozens of items, many with ingredients that seem positively foreign (unless you're from Vietnam), take comfort in knowing that when you visit the tiny, family-run Nha Hang Vietnamese Restaurant in Uptown, beginners only need concern themselves with a couple of items: a vibrant and crunchy shrimp salad, a mammoth platter of stir-fried crab and the claypot catfish.

"First it was cooked in the regular pot. And then later on they found out it tastes better when it's cooked in this kind of pot," said Alina Pham, a friend of the restaurant's owner.

They begin by sautéing pork belly and catfish with chilies and coconut soda, as well as salty soy sauce.

"If it's salty enough to eat with rice, it brings out the taste," she said.

Fried garlic adds an earthy note and the entire pan is transferred to the clay pot, along with lots of black pepper and sliced jalapenos, where it must cook - covered - for another 10 minutes.

"See Vietnamese food is basically strong taste. It's salty and it's sweet," she said.

At the table, Pham says there is a certain protocol that takes place, including the addition of not only rice, but a plate of pickled vegetables, including mustard greens, lettuce, carrots and scallions.

"Well first you would serve over rice. So after you have your rice, you eat the rice first with the fish. And then you can also eat that with pickles. Always comes together," she said.

Well there are literally dozens of items on the menu here at Nha Hang Vietnam, which translated means "Vietnamese Restaurant." And it's a shame we don't have time to talk about all of them today. But when you do come, you gotta try the crab and the salad and of course the claypot catfish.

Nha Hang Viet Nam
1032 W. Argyle St.
(773) 878-8895

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