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Hidden Vietnamese Food Gem 2 Hours from Chicago

by Corey Buckner in Places to Eat
March 26, 2021

Just outside of the heart of Downtown Rockford, IL and mere minutes away from the Rock River sits a hidden gem of Vietnamese dining. Nustled in an unassuming storefront on a rather unassuming street sits Hai Qyunh, a small and cozy Vietnamese dining experience waiting to be had. Don’t be fooled by the restaurant’s exterior. Hidden behind its bodega-like exterior, Hai Quynh is an unexpectedly amazing and authentic Vietnamese dining experience. My wife and I found this restaurant while in Rockford for a weekend getaway and it became one of the highlights of our visit as their freshly served vegetable-laden dishes were both nutritious and delicious; and left us wanting more even upon our return home.

My Mrs. had the beef pho and I had the vegetable pho. The veggies were fresh, and our leftovers covered our suite in a thick garden-like scent due to their freshness. The broth was full of flavor, and the combination of vegetables blended perfectly into a symphony of taste playing masterful melodies upon my tastebuds. I am not a big fan of tofu, but in their vegetable pho it served to provide a nice complimentary texture to the lettuce, beansprouts, mushrooms, carrot slices, onions, broccoli crowns and the other vegetables sprinkled about my plate. My wife’s beef pho was similarly arranged, with the addition of the side of beef; and instead of being served with vegetable broth hers was served with meat stock. She enjoyed her meal as much as I enjoyed mine; and we both were more than sufficiently satisfied with the taste.

The portion sizes were more than generous, as one serving provided both of us with multiple meals over the weekend for the both of us. The food was served promptly and the service was polite and prompt. All-in-all; if you live in or near Rockford, IL or you find yourself in the area visiting the Nicholas Conservatory, the Burpee Museum of History or any of the other in-town attractions; I recommend that you look up Hai Quynh and stop in for a meal.

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