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Argyle Street. Photo: IBL
Argyle Street. Photo: IBL

Places

Chicago’s Argyle Street – a taste of Southeast Asia

Chicago is home to nearly four million people, but on a smaller scale, it is a city of distinct neighborhoods – small “villages” where the bartender and barista know your name. Argyle Street is one of them.

For a taste of Southeast Asia in Chicago, there’s nowhere better to head to than Argyle Street, which has been home to a large predominantly Vietnamese community for decades.

Get off the Red Line at the pagoda­styled Argyle stop and you enter a world of Southeast Asian sights, smells and flavors. This small section of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood has been home to mostly Vietnamese, but also Chinese, Cambodian, Laotian and Thai, immigrants for more than fifty years.
A recent streetscape project beautified the three-block area of Argyle turning it into a plaza­like street where cars share the space with pedestrians.

‘We are hoping that the beautification of the neighborhood will draw more people here’

Peter Yuen’s family moved here from Hong Kong, which is now a part of China, when he was a boy. He worked alongside his father at the family bakery, which was downstairs from their apartment. Yuen’s seen the block grow into what it is today.

“It has changed a lot,” he says. “We are hoping that the beautification of the neighborhood will draw more people here.”

Peter graduated from Chicago’s French Pastry School and became a pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in the city. In 2004, he took over the family business and rebranded it as La Patisserie P. “The P stands for passion for pastry,” Yuen explains, “not for my name, as many think. I am obsessed with good French pastry.”

You can get everything from Asian classics like pork buns, melon cake and sesame balls to French pastries like croissants and tarts. Today, Peter teaches pastry courses all over the world, but still likes the simple joy of making his customers happy.

“I love the instant gratification,” he explains. “To see the face of a child light up and they say ‘oh, it’s so good.’ That brings me joy.”

Thing to do on Argyle Street

Miss Saigon

Newly-opened restaurant with a modern style and deliberately slimmed down menu.

Miss Saigon

1129 W Argyle Street, Chicago

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La Patisserie P

Artisan bread and French pastries made by classically trained baker Peter Yuen.

La Patisserie P

1050-52 W Argyle Street, Chicago

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Ba Le

Vietnamese-French fusion famed for its banh mi sandwiches.

Ba Le

5014 North Broadway, Chicago

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Argyle Night Market

Bustling mainly Southeast Asian market.

Argyle Night Market

W. Argyle Street, Chicago

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Pho 777

Renowned for its specialty, pho. Bring your own drink.

Pho 777

1065 W Argyle Street, Chicago

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Noodles – a Vietnamese staple and never hard to find in the Argyle Street district.

Tank Noodle

Voted one of the top three Vietnamese restaurants in Chicago for its traditional, well-priced menu.

Tank Noodle

4953-55 North Broadway, Chicago

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Last edited: March 13, 2018

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