Also known as Little Saigon, Little Vietnam or New Chinatown, West Argyle Street Historic District (Argyle) is the perfect Chicago neighborhood to explore if you’re in the mood for some authentic Vietnamese or Chinese cuisine, yummy baked treats and intriguing hole in the wall shops. In the 1970s Argyle attracted primarily Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian and Japanese businesses, transforming the three-block radius into a hotspot for many different Asian cultures. If you’d like to go explore this neighborhood for yourself, be sure to go with an empty stomach, as the restaurant options can seem endless and you may just want to try more than one!
Despite its unassuming exterior and casual atmosphere, Tank Noodle is regarded as one of the best purveyors of Vietnamese food in all of Chicago. Featuring a truly extensive menu of relatively low-priced items, the restaurant is a hit among locals and urban explorers alike. Tank offers many vegetarian options, such as the vegetable fried rice and egg noodle vegetable soup, though the lengthy menu also features more exciting dishes like pork innards for those with a more adventurous palate. The ambience was lively and the service was excellent; it was the perfect spot for a lunchtime trip.
Don’t be afraid of the tubs of blood for sale as you wander the aisles of Tai Nam Market. As Chicago’s largest Asian supermarket, Tai Nam Market is stocked full of exotic foods from Vietnam, China, Thailand, Japan, Korea and more. Strange spiky fruits and colorful rice candies galore, browsing the aisles of this Asian market is an adventure in itself. For the more daring you might just make an exotic purchase and try to find a fun way to incorporate it into a meal. For the less bold, the abundance of fresh ingredients available make it a one-stop-shop for creating the perfect Asian meal.
A one-of-a-kind blend of East and West, La Patisserie P is sure to delight your tastebuds and take your mouth on a cross-continental journey. The bakery may be sparsely decorated, but don’t let that fool you – these are some of the best baked goods Chicago has to offer. Owned and operated by Peter Yuen, a classically trained chef who has been educated in classical baking both in Hong Kong and Chicago, the bakery produces both traditional asian and european desserts, offering everything from croissants to pork buns to bao.
While exploring a Chinese herb shop may not seem like the most exciting thing to do with an afternoon, if you pop into this cozy enclave you are bound to find something worth your time. Upon entering you are immediately greeted with a pleasant aroma exuding from the endless jars of spices lining the floor to ceiling shelves. They seem to have a tea or an herb for every ailment imaginable; they even have a herb tea to get you to quit smoking. Whether or not you are going for a specific remedy, this herbal pharmacy is an intriguing look into the world of holistic health.
Offering everything from bonsai plants to home furnishings, Qideas is a prime destination for anyone looking to outfit their kitchen and home. There is a surprising amount of merchandise packed into this cute little gift shop, so you are bound to find a fun and unique gift for any occasion. Don’t miss the store’s super adorable canine greeters as you peruse their array of eclectic wares.