Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining - Chicago
Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining is one of the few places serving Cambodian food in the Midwest, and they do a wonderful job of it. Starting out as a popup, Khmai is earning a reputation as one of the finest places to enjoy Southeast Asian cuisine in Chicago.
By now, most of us have had Thai food, and Vietnamese food, but Cambodian food is still largely unknown territory, though if you like the food of these other Southeast Asian culinary traditions, you're sure to like Cambodian food. Mona Sang and her mother (who was terrorized by the Khmer Rouge and fled Cambodia) started cooking the food of their homeland in a pop-up restaurant, but have now moved into their own place and are doing a marvelous job of introducing us to the food of Cambodia. Pahut Sach Morn is a great starter, crispy fried chicken patties marinated in garlic and spices and topped with herbs (a Southeast Asian tradition that adds a fresh crunch to every bite). Pahkea is shrimp marinated in garlic and shallots and enjoyed in a spring roll. You like a good steak? Check out the Bai Sach Koh, a ribeye in a sweet and tangy Khmer sauce, topped in savory shallots and crisp garlic. Nom Bah Chok is one of the classic dishes on the menu, and you are going to love it: vermicelli noodles in Khmer fish broth, fresh herbs and chili peppers, just incredibly delicious. Kaw Ko is made for the more carnivorous: braised beef and *meatballs" in a sweet and savory sauce of star anise and lime leaves. As you can tell from these descriptions, these dishes are somewhat similar to -- but deliciously different than -- other Southeast Asian food you might have enjoyed. Eating at Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining is an adventure.