Asian Kitchen in Hammond, IN

Yesterday I was doing some readings of my new children's book, Waffle Likes Falafel, at a couple local schools. I had just enough time in between to grab a bite to eat. And not a quick, drive-thru, eat in the car meal, but enough time for something I could go in and order and enjoy. 

I was in the mood for Asian and wanted to find something nearby that I had not tried before. When I asked Siri for suggestions, one of the first to come up was Asian Kitchen in Hammond, Indiana. I'd come across in on Facebook not long ago and had it on my list of places that I wanted to try. So I drove over and had a seat and perused the menu, which is a combination of Vietnamese and Chinese specialties.

I'm not very familiar with Vietnamese food. There was a restaurant near where my sister used to live that had Vietnamese specialties that I'd been to for a cooking demo where we made cold spring rolls. We tried a few dishes there, too. And my sister had a Vietnamese foreign exchange student, Nala, living with her for a year or so who used to make these wonderful stir fry meals. Everything she made was just so fresh and tasty. I remember her using fish oil for flavor and I noticed some menu items at Asian Kitchen mentioned fish oil, as well. I have a bottle in my cabinet that I bought after one of Nala's visits that only got used once or twice and has been sitting there ever since. I'm just not sure what to do with it. Anyway, that's about the extent of myVietnamese food adventures.

Anyway, as I flipped through the menu I just got more ambivalent. The waitress must have seen that I was a little overwhelmed and asked if I'd like recommendation. I stopped on the page with Bun Kho and she pointed out a couple popular dishes. I settled on the one with grilled pork, shrimp and egg roll. It's piled on a bed of lettuce, various shredded veggies, peanuts and vermicelli rice noodles with a tangy dressing. It's designed to be all mixed up together, but I kinda liked eating the hot stuff on one side - noodles and meat and the salad on the other side separately. It was super tasty and light and didn't leave me feeling stuffed. I'm so excited about this place and looking forward to going back to try additional dishes that are new to me as well as some of my favorite Chinese dishes.

The place is located in a strip mall on Calumet Avenue, but the inside is sleek and modern, clean and cozy and it filled up quickly at lunchtime.