Until this trip we had never tasted Durian before. Its reputation as a horrendously stinky yet somehow delectable fruit, along with its spiky appearance, intrigued us. I mean, Durians are banned on the subway in Singapore, how could we not be intrigued?
Our first real experience with a Durian was at a hawker market in Singapore’s Chinatown. The whole bottom floor of the hawker market was dedicated to produce. At one stall there was a woman carefully cutting and slicing bits of a Durian, with its signature spiky skin and yellow fruit. Curiously, there was no smell as we approached. We steeled ourselves and bought a small section of Durian for a few cents. The flavor itself was nutty, creamy and papaya-like (almost). We were surprised to say we pretty much liked Durian!
Our second experience with a Durian was in Malaysia – we were at a big glossy mall in Kuala Lumpur and Durian gelato was for sale at a stand. However, we did not have the same experience as in Singapore – and this second Durian product had a knock-out aftertaste and a garlicky flavor. So our experience with the Durian was mixed, don’t know if we’ll be up for a third round – maybe the next time we are in SE Asia.
434 W. Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614
Miss Asia is a new North Side restaurant with some broad culinary ambitions – to cover nearly every country in Asia. Though the focus is on Thai food, Miss Asia boasts dishes from Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Laos, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Nepal, China, and Mongolia. Undeterred by Anthony Bourdain’s comment that “Asia is a big place, how are they going to do the whole thing?” (said on last season’s Top Chef) we decided that we were going to try some dishes off the non-Thai section. The size of the menu was daunting in itself, but all of the prices were very reasonable.
Anne ordered the Teriyaki Chicken off of the Japanese portion of the menu. The Teriyaki chicken ($9.95) was served on a bed of rice and veggies and was not too sweet (a good thing). I opted for the Indonesian Opor curry ($9.95). The curry itself was coconut milk-based and mild and was fragrant with lemongrass and cilantro. We were both pleased with our dishes. There is a lot of value for the price, as most dishes are under 10 or 11 dollars. Maybe we’ll be back to try some of the Thai dishes that are the restaurant’s specialty.
The place was trendy, and fancier than your typical corner Thai takeout, with bright orange walls, tables with linens and Buddha statues and wall hangings. However, when we arrived at 7, nearly the whole place was empty. However, it was the middle of a rainstorm, so that might have not been helping. Hopefully, they will be able to attract a steady clientele. Sadly, though, I don’t think I can count this restaurant on our official ETW map. Otherwise, most of Asia would be gone in one fell swoop!