Don’t let the low-key vibe at Siam Noodle and Rice fool you-the food here is great and there are many gems on the menu. While I have a handful of standby dishes and would gladly eat anything here, I seek this place out for the comforting, rich goodness of their Panang curry.
Traditionally, Panang curry is thicker and richer than red or green curry. It’s made with coconut cream and is best with beef. The beef should be a tender cut (like brisket or chuck), not quick cooking stir-fry slices. On all counts, Siam Noodle and Rice gets it right. The meat is fork tender, the sauce is intensely savory with a touch of sweetness to balance. Thinly sliced peppers and kaffir lime leaves are the only adornments, which fits this classic curry.
At Siam Noodle and Rice their Panang does not taste like the all the other Panang curries out there-primarily because they don’t use one of the same two brands of curry pastes used by 99.9% of Thai restaurants (there’s nothing wrong with these pastes, but they often result in many Thai curries having a uniform taste to the sauce). They’ve told me they make their own curry paste for the Panang. Curry pastes are labor intensive to make, so whenever a restaurant goes to the trouble to make it from scratch I make a point to seek those dishes out. I highly recommend you make a beeline over to Siam Noodle and Rice and try the Panang for yourself!
Siam Noodle and Rice: 4654 N Sheridan Rd Chicago, IL 60640
The Adventures in Eating in Chicago series is inspired by my love of ethnic restaurants in Chicago and the dishes I am most passionate about in particular. I get a lot of questions about what my favorite Thai, Indian etc. restaurant is, and the answer is never straightforward, as I will hit up one spot for the best panang curry and another for a great pad krao prow. I hope this series inspires you to get out and try some new dishes, and when you do, drop a comment here!