photo credit: Sandy Noto

Ghin Khao Eat Rice review image

Ghin Khao Eat Rice


2128 W Cermak Rd, Chicago
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Sometimes a dish just speaks to you - like bacon-wrapped dates, or anything with fried cheese - but whether it really deserves your attention is another story. At Ghin Khao Eat Rice, “Grandma’s Pork Belly” is something that stands out on the menu, first because of its name, and then because it turns out to be so delicious. It not only makes us want to meet Grandma, but ask for her thoughts on everything from home cooking to love at first sight to the ethical complexities of the NCAA. While there are a number of other solid dishes here, this pork belly is why we keep coming back, and it’s good enough to make this one of our favorite casual spots in the neighborhood.

Ghin Khao Eat Rice review image

photo credit: Sandy Noto

Ghin Khao Eat Rice is a casual BYOB spot in Pilsen with a short menu of Northern Thai food like grilled meats served with sweet and spicy Jaew sauce. This is the kind of small restaurant where the owner will probably take your order himself and then fire up the grill. It’s definitely not the only place to find Northern Thai in the city, but you won’t find food like this anywhere nearby. Especially not that pork belly.

Most of the dishes here are large enough to split family-style, like a mountain of fried rice with hunks of crab meat, or the Krapow Gai, an excellent ground chicken dish with basil, garlic, and Thai chili. But you won’t want to share Grandma’s Pork Belly with anyone. It’s the perfect combination of crispy and fatty, and the saltiness basically demands you bring a case of light beer to wash it down. When you’re finished, you’ll have that same sense of surprise as when your fingers hit the bottom of a bag of chips you thought you only just opened.

Pilsen has a fair amount of great restaurants, but Ghin Khao Eat Rice is one that stands out. It’s not flashy, so it might not be the first place you think of for a weeknight date or a family meal - but keeping it in mind is as important as remembering to call Grandma, and slightly more rewarding.

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Food Rundown

Ghin Khao Eat Rice review image

photo credit: Sandy Noto

Tod Man Pla

These fish cakes are crispy on the outside, and savory all the way through - a great way to start your meal.

Chicken Satay Skewers

These won’t blow your mind, but at $1.75 each they’re a no-brainer.

Ghin Khao Eat Rice review image

photo credit: Sandy Noto

Grilled Pork Shoulder

Even if it ultimately can’t compete with our preferred pork dish here, we really like the way the grilled meat tastes with the Jaew sauce.

Thai Chicken Thigh

If you’re dining with a Chronic Chicken Orderer, they won’t be let down by the tender and juicy chicken at Ghin Khao.

Ghin Khao Eat Rice review image

photo credit: Sandy Noto

Krapow Gai

A mound of ground chicken seasoned with basil, garlic, and Thai chilies. Go for “Thai spicy” if you can really handle the heat, but either way it pairs well with an order of fried rice.

Nam Tok

The lime and salt here overpower the meat and leave your tongue feeling like you just sucked on a Warhead. If you’re looking for a salad, go with the som tum papaya salad instead.

Ghin Khao Eat Rice review image

photo credit: Sandy Noto

Grandma’s Pork Belly

This is what we’ve been raving about. Thinly sliced fried pork belly served with a sweet and spicy Jaew sauce. You’ve got to spend those $20 birthday checks from your own grandma somewhere, and we can’t think of a more worthy investment than a few orders of this.

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