Thai food is one of Chicago’s wonders, but also one of its mysteries; only with the help of a few Thai speakers and a few daring restaurants have foodies managed to unlock (or have unlocked for them) the less familiar dishes available, but rarely advertised, at local Thai places. Half a dozen years ago LTHForum, in particular a poster called Erik M., established a pantheon of restaurants serving authentic Thai and some top dishes to order there, but there’s been little advancement on that front in the years since. Now comes Leela Punyaratabandhu of the blog SheSimmers with a list of ten top recommendations for authentic dishes to order at local Thai restaurants. The good news is, nine of the ten dishes were new to us (the tenth, naem khao tawt at Spoon, is a longtime favorite).
The bad news is, only one of the ten comes from a restaurant new to us; the other nine prove that for all the Thai places around town, the most authentic and exceptional spots remain what they’ve been for years, the likes of TAC Quick, Spoon Thai, Sticky Rice and Aroy Thai. Given that the tenth is a real ringer— located in a gas station in Elgin!— we continue to hold out hope that there are undiscovered gems out there somewhere among the many Thai restaurants in town. But for now, at least you have nine or ten new dishes worth seeking out. [SE: Chicago]