CoCo Vietnamese Sandwiches & Pho (address and info)
Vietnam’s national soup is a beef bone broth heavily perfumed with spices like clove and five-star anise, but where ramen broth aims to be substantial, everything about pho should be light -- delicate rice noodles, fresh herbs you toss in yourself, and thin slices of beef, fish balls, or whatever else you choose to be in it. P.S. It’s pronounced “fuh”; go ahead and start thinking up “Pho Q”-type jokes now.
Nhu Lan Bakery (address and info)
Other sandwiches seem cold and lifeless when you have a bánh mì, the French-Vietnamese hybrid of crusty bread, pork pate or lemongrass tofu, crisp vegetables, and bright, spicy jalapeño. They’re slowly becoming an American thing, but for Chicago, bánh mì pretty much started at this tiny, authentic-feeling Vietnamese storefront.
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Mike Gebert is a James Beard Award-winning food video producer and writer and founder of SkyFullofBacon.com. Follow him on Twitter: @skyfullofbacon.