Most diners walk into TAC Quick Thai and are handed a standard trifold 
menu. But the informed request something else: a single sheet of authentic 
Thai specialties reserved for those in the know.

It holds some of the restaurant's most addictive dishes, like chewy beef 
'jerky' (neua dad deaw, $6) marinated in sweet soy sauce until almost 
candied and served with a vinegary chile sauce. Nuggets of deep-fried 
marinated chicken (kai thawt, $7.50) are flavored with soy and lime, and 
peppery Vietnamese-style pork meatballs (nam nuang, $8) come with plum 
sauce, herbs and rice paper for wrapping.

Fish maw salad (yum kra por plaa, $8; pictured) is a delicious jumble of 
cashews, onions, mint, and puffy, fried dried maw (a fish's air bladder) 
dressed with a sweet-hot chile-lime sauce.

TAC's 'boat noodle' (kuay teaw reua, $6.50) has a cult following; the deep 
bowl of dark, murky broth flavored with star anise holds vermicelli, beef 
and greens, and is at once savory, sweet and spicy.

Kra phrao kai khai yeo ma ($8; just point to the menu--don't try to 
pronounce) is an aromatic stir-fry of minced chicken and fried Thai basil, 
with fried preserved eggs. The eggs are an intimidating sight, with 
blue-black yolks and tea-colored whites, but rest assured, they taste tamer 
than they look. And leaving pad thai far behind is the point, after all.

TAC Quick Thai, 3930 N. Sheridan Rd.; 773-327-5253
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Wed. 08 Jul '09
Dining | CHICAGO
 
A Tale of Two Menus
TAC's secret menu holds a world beyond curry and pad thai
 
TAC Thai
 
Most diners walk into TAC Quick Thai and are handed a standard trifold menu. But the informed request something else: a single sheet of authentic Thai specialties reserved for those in the know.

It holds some of the restaurant's most addictive dishes, like chewy beef "jerky" (neua dad deaw, $6) marinated in sweet soy sauce until almost candied and served with a vinegary chile sauce. Nuggets of deep-fried marinated chicken (kai thawt, $7.50) are flavored with soy and lime, and peppery Vietnamese-style pork meatballs (nam nuang, $8) come with plum sauce, herbs and rice paper for wrapping.

Fish maw salad (yum kra por plaa, $8; pictured) is a delicious jumble of cashews, onions, mint, and puffy, fried dried maw (a fish's air bladder) dressed with a sweet-hot chile-lime sauce.

TAC's "boat noodle" (kuay teaw reua, $6.50) has a cult following; the deep bowl of dark, murky broth flavored with star anise holds vermicelli, beef and greens, and is at once savory, sweet and spicy.

Kra phrao kai khai yeo ma ($8; just point to the menu--don't try to pronounce) is an aromatic stir-fry of minced chicken and fried Thai basil, with fried preserved eggs. The eggs are an intimidating sight, with blue-black yolks and tea-colored whites, but rest assured, they taste tamer than they look. And leaving pad thai far behind is the point, after all.

TAC Quick Thai, 3930 N. Sheridan Rd.; 773-327-5253
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