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PNA : The Thai "Convenience" Store [Pics]

PNA : The Thai "Convenience" Store [Pics]
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  • PNA : The Thai "Convenience" Store [Pics]

    Post #1 - September 13th, 2006, 10:41 pm
    Post #1 - September 13th, 2006, 10:41 pm Post #1 - September 13th, 2006, 10:41 pm
    PNA occupies a very unique place in Chicago's retail landscape, catering as it does to an almost exclusively Thai consumer base. Conveniently situated next to one of the city's oldest and most authentic Thai restaurants, PNA is a regular pit stop for many members of the local Thai community, and it serves as a vital conduit for the media, culture, and foodways of the Motherland.

    When it comes to food, PNA offers an ever-changing assortment of fresh, locally made (and imported) snacks, sweets, cakes, salads, dips, side dishes, and entrees. A good portion of these items cannot be found anywhere else in Chicago, and the rest often compare favourably to—if they don’t flat out best—their local grocery and restaurant counterparts. Most importantly, though, this is wholesome, earnest, handmade food, and just the kind of “convenience” that you too might enjoy.

    In starting this thread it is my intention to introduce (and inventory) some of the culinary offerings at PNA, making additions as time goes on.

    The following items were all purchased in the first week of this month (09.03-09.09):

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    1. "plaa nãem" @ $2

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    plaa nãem : 'nãem'-style shredded pork skin

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    2. "súp nàw mái" @ $3.50

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    súp nàw mái : pickled bamboo shoot salad

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    3. "mũu thâwt" @ $3.75

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    mũu thâwt : fried pork patties

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    4. "phàt krà-phrao lûuk chín plaa kraay" @ $5

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    phàt krà-phrao lûuk chín plaa kraay : holy basil stir-fried with homemade fishballs

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    5. "phàt phèt plaa dùk" @ $4

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    phàt phèt plaa dùk : spicy curry fry with catfish

    6. náam phrík àwng : Northern Thai-style minced pork and tomato "dip"

    7. náam phrík plaa yâang : Central Thai-style grilled fish "dip"

    PNA
    2310 W. Leland Ave.
    773.784.1797

    E.M.
  • Post #2 - September 14th, 2006, 8:19 am
    Post #2 - September 14th, 2006, 8:19 am Post #2 - September 14th, 2006, 8:19 am
    Great pictures. This has been one of my favorite stops since I moved into the Lincoln Square neighborhood a year-and-a-half ago.
  • Post #3 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:06 pm
    Post #3 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:06 pm Post #3 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:06 pm
    motivated by Erik's posts, I've tried a few things at PNA the last couple weeks. Judging by the phone numbers on the containers, there are a number of different vendors of food items and quality seems to vary a little. All the sweet items I've had had been very very good, especially a dense, chewy mung bean custard topped with fried shallots. Of the savory items a pork in red curry with green beans was excellent, a nam prik was among the funkiest, spiciest prepared food items I've ever bought, and a southern yellow curry of catfish and bamboo shoots was ok, but not great (this last one came from a restaurant, but unfortunately i can't remember which at the moment)
    Last edited by zim on October 3rd, 2006, 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #4 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:38 pm
    Post #4 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:38 pm Post #4 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:38 pm
    zim wrote:[...] and a southern yellow curry of catfish and bamboo shoots was ok, but not great (this last one came from a restaurant, but unfortunately i can't remember which at the moment)


    Siam Country, on Damen, would be my guess.

    E.M.
  • Post #5 - December 22nd, 2012, 6:11 pm
    Post #5 - December 22nd, 2012, 6:11 pm Post #5 - December 22nd, 2012, 6:11 pm
    I frequently visit PNA. It's a bit of a Thai treasure trove and you never know exactly what prepared foods you'll find, but there are always quite a few, some of which you will not find at any Thai restaurant in town. Today, I was fortunate to find nam phrik noom. Funky and phet phet, it's as good as you would find in Chiang Mai and better than I've tasted anywhere in Chicago. While some of PNA's prepared foods are prepared by Thai restaurants and labeled accordingly, this nam phrik noom was not labeled that way so I don't know where it came from. In any event, I suggest picking some up, and serving with crisp vegetables and pork rinds. You won't be sorry.
  • Post #6 - April 23rd, 2017, 9:40 pm
    Post #6 - April 23rd, 2017, 9:40 pm Post #6 - April 23rd, 2017, 9:40 pm
    Bump...because this place is an absolute gem and a totally ignored one at that, at least among most non-Thais. Thai home cooks and restaurants bring an almost endless array of prepared foods here. Some have English labels, some don't, but the always helpful staff will assist with explanations. But you can pretty much expect to find close to 100 individual items at any time, and more catered to the tastes of Thai folks than us farang.

    The other day, I picked up a wonderful hor mok pla, along with a couple of Thai sweets. The woman who runs PNA asked me if I liked hot or mild, and when I said hot, she guided me to a different hor mok pla than the one I had picked up. It's phenomenal, better than any hor mok pla I've tasted in Chicago. Pretty much everything I get from PNA is that good. The elusive nam prik ong and nam prik noom are almost always found here. Some of the food tells you who made it, but much is a mystery.

    The Thai dessert selection is spectacular. If you remember the old PS Bangkok buffet and their incredible sweet table, well . . . this is now the only place in town with Thai sweets at this level. Many are the kinds you'll find on the streets of Bangkok but would never, ever find at Thai restaurants here.

    So head to PNA, bring your own bags, bring lots of food home and have yourself a Thai feast. You will be absolutely blown away. That this place remains largely a secret is just shocking to me. It's like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, hiding in plain sight. Oh, and while they're closed on Mondays, they otherwise keep lengthy hours.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #7 - July 11th, 2017, 4:13 pm
    Post #7 - July 11th, 2017, 4:13 pm Post #7 - July 11th, 2017, 4:13 pm
    This place is a treasure. While I still miss Thai Grocery and its steam table, PNA currently boasts a massive variety of prepared Thai home style grub that would make it noteworthy if it were sharing a strip mall with Jumbo's Clown Room. This includes 2 separate khao man gai preps from different Thai grannies. Different sauces, condiments, and one comes with livers. That and a terrific nam prik kapi (shrimp paste dip) with a little whole mackerel, cha om (acacia) omelette, and fried Thai eggplant made for my best lunch in a long while. That just scratches the surface. A massive hor mok filling a Chinese soup container looked good, as did many soups and curries. They still have a strong selection of fresh Thai sausages in the fridge and rustic naem. This place should have a line out the door. It's hidden in plain sight like the man said - next door to Roseded and its rare delight, khao mok gai - Thai "biryani".
  • Post #8 - April 5th, 2018, 5:15 pm
    Post #8 - April 5th, 2018, 5:15 pm Post #8 - April 5th, 2018, 5:15 pm
    By the light of Dear Sweet Carol Channing's ghost I have been remiss, a complete doufus, sleeping the last few years even when I knew better as I've been to PNA in the past. Anyone who loves, likes, has even a passing interest in Thai food should RUN not walk to PNA, it is a wonderland.

    Thanks for the PNA push go to Mike Sula's in-depth article Bury Me in Nam Phrik: in Dill Magazine Issue 2: Relishes for jogging my PNA memory. Both issues of Dill are well worth buying/reading and make me miss Lucky Peach just a little less.

    PNA paired with lunch at Rosded makes for a mind mindbogglingly terrific 1-2 punch.

    PNA, Count me a Fan!

    PNA
    2310 W. Leland Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60625
    Noon to 10pm (possibly open even later)
    Closed Monday

    Roseded
    2308 W Leland Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    11:30am to 9pm
    Closed Monday
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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