Thai 55 just collected the prize for Best Asian Lunch in Chicago in the 2016 Best of Fooda Chicago Awards. Thai 55 is a classic and casual neighborhood Thai BYOB restaurant featuring bubble teas and live music. As the oldest authentic Thai restaurant in Hyde Park, Thai 55 is confidently sharing their lively and spicy cuisine with Asian-food-craving Chicagoans.
Why do you think consumers voted you best Asian in Chicago?
We love our customers! I think they voted for us because we listen to them. They’re kind enough to make suggestions, and we take their feedback and adapt as we keep trying to get better and better.
What’s dish would you call a masterpiece?
Basil chicken is my favorite and also a customer favorite—I eat it basically every day. We serve customers the same traditional Thai food we eat every day.
What is your favorite dish to make and what’s your favorite food to have someone else make for you?
It’s very simple, but I love making stir fry for myself—there are so many variations. Sometimes I start cooking without even having a plan. Starting with oil, some hot pepper flakes, or garlic and adding in flavors as I feel inspired like basil or Thai chili.
Basil chicken and our curry dishes are fun to make. We make everything mild and serve the hot sauce on the side so customers can adjust the heat to their comfort level.
Can you share a simple Thai recipe with us?
Here’s our recipe for basil chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon chicken stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 large onion, cut into thin slices
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Chili sauce to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the fish sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock, and sugar.
- In a large nonstick frying pan or a wok, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the chili sauce if using and garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds longer.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add it to the hot pan. Cook until almost done, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the marinade and cook 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the basil. Serve topped with the remaining 1/2 cup basil.
What are some food trends you’re seeing in Chicago?
Chicago is a great market because there are no boundaries. We can bring something new to any neighborhood and people are excited to try new things.
What are your future plans for Thai 55?
We’re going to keep focusing on quality, and what we’re doing well. We’re also looking into a downtown location.
Vince, thank you for sharing your love of curry and all things spicy Thai with us. The full and happy have spoken and they’ve named Thai 55 the Best Asian Lunch in Chicago.