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Sticky Rice: Adventurous Eaters Welcome

By Victoria Wiedel | Monday, August 30, 2010
Address: 4018 N. Western Avenue
Phone: 773-588-0133
Website: www.stickyricethai.com

Northern Thai Sausage and Fried Caterpillars at Sticky Rice. Photo by Victoria Wiedel.

The friendly waitress at Sticky Rice, 4018 N. Western Ave., assured us that the fried bamboo caterpillars we ordered as an appetizer were “clean worms” since they never touched the ground. Surprisingly, the worms turned out to be the least exciting thing we ordered.

Sticky Rice specializes in Northern Thai cuisine, but their huge menu encompasses other familiar Thai dishes. The bustling BYOB cafe is the kind of place to bring several friends so you can sample other dishes. And their prices are so reasonable, our group feasted on a variety of appetizers, curries, and noodles for around $15 per person.

Our fried worms were accompanied by curry-spiced Northern Thai sausage, a memorable “salad” of preserved duck eggs with ginger and onion in lime dressing, and forgettable crab rangoon.

Once we got past the disquieting visual image of the caterpillars we found them to be crunchy but bland. The sausage and duck eggs were consumed with greater enthusiasm.

Even though it was a busy Friday night, our entrees soon arrived. We conservatively ordered mild and medium levels of spiciness, and we had to request some extra chili garlic paste to ramp up the heat. But every dish had enough flavor that no one was disappointed.

You don’t need to order the omelet with ant eggs or any of the dishes made with intestines to sample some of the Northern Thai specialties.

The folks at Sticky Rice know how to get the most out of coconuts—from curries to soups to shrimp with green curry served inside a fresh coconut. They also offer the option to order glutinous sticky rice (as opposed to jasmine rice), which is perfect for dipping in sauces and soups. It’s also great for dessert, especially when fresh mangoes are available.

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