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Phodega

Phodega - Chicago

Phodega is the seemingly inevitable union of a shop selling the immensely popular Southeast Asian soup, pho, and the Latin American bodega, or small grocery store, found in metro areas across the United States.

At first glance, Wicker Park’s Phodega may look like a small, um, bodega, with shelves lined with toiletries, Sriracha and bottles of hoisin sauce, and many tinned and bottled products. All the way in the back, however, is a small kitchen sending out a few starters and preparations of chicken, as well as, of course, pho.

Perhaps the most surprising menu item is the store-bought pizza puffs (!). For your starters, you can also have the house-made shrimp egg rolls, fried crunchy and stuffed with whole shrimp, or the crispy chicken skin, a luscious and spicy bite of the richest part of the chicken.

Phodega is the seemingly inevitable union of a shop selling the immensely popular Southeast Asian soup, pho, and the Latin American bodega, or small grocery store, found in metro areas across the United States.

At first glance, Wicker Park’s Phodega may look like a small, um, bodega, with shelves lined with toiletries, Sriracha and bottles of hoisin sauce, and many tinned and bottled products. All the way in the back, however, is a small kitchen sending out a few starters and preparations of chicken, as well as, of course, pho.

Perhaps the most surprising menu item is the store-bought pizza puffs (!). For your starters, you can also have the house-made shrimp egg rolls, fried crunchy and stuffed with whole shrimp, or the crispy chicken skin, a luscious and spicy bite of the richest part of the chicken.

The pho is, however, what brings most people back to Phodega. The pho is a deeply satisfying broth; you can get the beef pho, with slices of beef, or the less traditional but no less delicious chicken pho. Both kinds of pho are served with noodles, beansprouts, some fresh herbs and lime slices. If you’re not in the mood for soup, there’s also Hainan chicken, chunks of the bird poached in a flavorful broth and served over white rice with bowls of chicken-based sauce, as well as some garlic sauce and hot sauce: pretty simple but very good. You can also get marinated, deep-fried chicken, also very good.

Phodega is a fun place to go for a simple, and simply delicious, lunch or dinner. It’s the kind of unique place that you will remember.

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