UPTOWN — Second Friday on Argyle returns this week with a trip to Pho 777 highlighting what President Barack Obama "ate in Vietnam" — Bún Chả Hà Nội.
Pho 777, 1065 W. Argyle St., is one of the first restaurants on Argyle Street focusing on Northern Vietnamese cuisine. The cuisine is unique because of its accessibility in Vietnam. Items from its menu can be found anywhere from indoor restaurants to sidewalk restaurants, co-owner Linh Thị Thùy Nguyễn said.
"The dishes themselves are for the common people; it is simplistic and not fancy, people of all classes enjoy these dishes," she said.
The monthly event will not only showcase food at a local business, but also bring the community together to talk safety and improving the community. It's the newest addition to a lineup of events "designed to improve our neighborhoods overall," said Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).
"In our efforts to improve safety in and around Argyle, it is important to bring people together. The opportunity to bring neighbors to restaurants on Argyle, to enjoy each other's company and dine together seemed like a great idea. Our goal is to continue this once a month and grow the number of neighbors that will be joining us," Osterman has said about the event.
Nicholas Nguyễn bought the restaurant in 2003. In 2011, he married Linh, of Hanoi, and they've been serving Northern Vietnamese cuisine since, according to a press release for the event.
Bún Chả Hà Nội, "a rustic vermicelli noodle dish paired with char-grilled pieces of sweet and savory pork belly and patties basking in a light fish sauce broth" hails from Hanoi. The dish, which is topped with pickled daikon and radish, was eaten by Obama when he dined with Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam. The President's meal reportedly cost $6.
“There was a wave of excitement when President Obama visited Vietnam and ate Bún Chả Hà Nội. Young, old, all generations not only in Vietnam, but also in Singapore, in the U.S. and other parts of the world were intrigued by the fact that a president from one of the strongest, most powerful countries in the world would eat not only one portion, but two of this commoner Hanoi dish; so it must be exquisite," Linh said.
Other highlighted menu options include: Nem Cua Bể, Bún Đậu Mắm Tôm, Bún Ốc Hà Nội, Bò Sót Vang and Bánh Mỳ Bít Tết & Trứng Óp La.
The BYOB event is from 6-9 p.m. Friday.
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