Sunday, January 1, 2012
When I leave town for several day, I generally work things out so I have all of my perishables eaten before I leave. The major advantage to this is that I don't have to worry about anything spoiling when I am gone but the disadvantage is that if I don't have the time to shop before the next time I work, I will have to eat out. This isn't really that bad because there are several places close to where I work that are pretty good and I enjoy going to. I invited a couple of co-workers to join me to both celebrate the end of the year and to kill time because the time between Christmas and New Year's is generally pretty dead. We went to a small Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Des Plaines called Dung Gia which while it doesn't look like much, really puts out some good food. The tables were covered with vinyl tablecloths with an Asian design, there were some Vietnamese styled design accessories (bamboo, bead wall hanging, etc.) and there was some Vietnamese music playing softly in the background. The menu is pretty accessible and affordable. There is a lunch deal that includes soup for $6.95 but as I generally also order an appetizer, my bill costs a little more. I unfortunately forgot to take pictures so I had to rely on pictures taken by others. I started with a Vietnamese Crepe which is big enough to be a meal by itself unless it's shared. It is a crispy rice flour pancake filled with bean sprouts, shrimp, and pork and served with a lime dipping sauce. Our crepe was also served with a side salad of leafy greens and carrots. It is really good without the lime sauce but the lime sauce puts it over the top.For my main course, I had a Beef Curry. It was very liquid and served in an unevenly shaped bowl with rice on the side so the diner could combine them to his desired consistency. In addition to the curry spices which made it both sweet and spicy, and the beef, the stew included coconut milk, potatoes, carrot, and taro (a root vegetable that is starchy and kind of tastes like a potato). It is all very good and while similar to Thai curries, has a flavor all it's own.
I like Dung Gia. The service is friendly, the food is good and affordable and while the food is different from the Chinese and Thai with which many people are familiar, it isn't so different that it would alienate anyone. It is an easy step to take if you want to explore and I would gladly go back for lunch.