There's Khmer food right under your nose at Googoo's Table | Food & Drink Feature | Chicago Reader

There's Khmer food right under your nose at Googoo's Table 

This Chinese restaurant in Hermosa hides a few Cambodian dishes on its broad menu.

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click to enlarge at Googoo's Table - MIKE SULA
  • at Googoo's Table
  • Mike Sula

This week I wrote about the extraordinary sandwich artist Ethan Lim and his efforts to "sandwich" dishes that aren't typically served between two slices of bread, particularly the Cambodian foods he grew up with.

Lim told me that part of the reason he's kept such a low profile over the last four and half years is because he didn't want to be seen as some kind of gentrifier in this working class neighborhood, serving expensive, cheffy fast food in a working class neighborhood that really just needed a reliable hot dog shop more than anything else.

But the Lim family has operated another neighborhood necessity in this very spot for the last 33 years, ever since his grandfather and parents opened Kim Long (a reliable Chinese restaurant). Lim's brother now runs a relocated Kim Long on Fullerton in Belmont Cragin (next to Somethin' Sweet doughnuts, run by a sister). In its place, three siblings run the newer Googoo's Table, a broader Asian restaurant with a core menu of Ameri-Chinese standards, but also a smaller component of Khmer dishes that, like Lim's globe-trotting sandwich experiments, don't call attention to themselves.

But they're definitely worth noting given the scarcity—rather total absence—of Cambodian restaurants in the city. First there's a set of lemongrassy, peanut-topped rice salads, customizable by protein, and then down near the bottom of a long column of noodles soups, you'll find a "beef stew" with potato, carrots, and egg noodles that is a thinner version of the ngau nam Lim grew up on (and which he transformed into a stellar sandwich). There's also a mild chicken curry noodle soup and a sour beef soup, known in Khmer as salaw machu kroeung, here's a thicker and more chillied version than I've tasted before.

Googoo's Table, 4356 W. Armitage, 773-227-3999

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