September 22, 2023

Elegant Cooking

Only Marvelous Food

The Street Food of Chicago – Indoors – Try These 3 on Your Next Trip to the Windy City

When it comes to Street food, Chicago is no Paris. Or Thailand. Or even New York.

But the street food in Chicago isn’t half bad either.

Even if it isn’t the best in the world, it’s certainly better than you will find in most Midwestern cities.

And some of the “street food” that is served inside restaurants is very good indeed.

Chicago Street Food Comes in from the Cold

Here are 4 of my favorite recent discoveries of some street-style food that is served indoors at the diners and delis around the Windy City.

1. Pheasant Hot Dog at Hot Doug’s

How could you not love a place called “The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium?” I was in love before I even tasted the dogs. After my first bite, I was in heaven.

One dog stands out from my…ahem…several visits on a recent Chicago trip. The Pheasant Dog is a killer. The meat is encased with goji berries and the dog is nestled on a bun with jerk mayo and cheese-stuffed sweet peppers. I recommend you also order a side of duck fries.

Doug only runs this dog on Fridays and Saturdays but has other specials everyday.

Hot Doug’s The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium – 3324 N. California Ave. Pheasant Dog – $7. Whoo-HOOO!

2. Sopes at Los Nopales

These cornmeal beauties look a bit like miniature pizzas. But don’t be fooled – the taste is totally Mexico.

You can pick the topping you want (rajas con queso, roasted poblano peppers) and also the cheese.

A nice change of pace from the usual taco/burrito/tostada combos in just about every “Mexican” restaurant north of Texas.

Find Los Nopales at 4544 N. Western Ave. and expect to part with 2.50 for the Sopes.

3. Vietnamese Pan-Fried Rice Noodles at Tay Do

These noodles are wide, flat and slightly chewy and left to saute until they are crisp around the edges. Exactly like the ones from the street stalls in Vietnam.

You can get one or more of several delicious and authentic accompaniments to go with them.

Just don’t try to order them by name – “hu tieu xao rau cai tau hu.” Though it is fun to ask your server to say it.;-)

Tay Do is at 1232 Bloomingdale Rd. in Glendale Heights and the Noodles run $7

4. Tropical Fruit Spring Rolls at D&J Bistro

Spring Rolls are a common street food in South East Asia — but you probably won’t see many like these.

This dessert roll contains passion fruit mousse rolled with fresh strawberries, kiwi and more. The whole thing is drizzled with raspberry sauce and it’s as delicious and it is unusual.

D&J Bistro is located at 466 S. Rand Road in Lake Zurich and the Spring Rolls are $6.50 per order.