LTH Home

Sun Wah

Sun Wah
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 28
  • Sun Wah

    Post #1 - November 23rd, 2004, 11:51 am
    Post #1 - November 23rd, 2004, 11:51 am Post #1 - November 23rd, 2004, 11:51 am
    I was surprised to not find a siginificant Sun Wah report here, so here's a recap of my recent experience:

    Recently, Ms. EatChicago and I found ourselves hungry and not too far from Argyle and Broadway. Everyone should be so lucky when meal-time rolls around. As many of you already know, the array of Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese options along that particular strip is impressive. Having recently slurped down big bowls of Pho, we decided to skip the Vietnamese spots and headed straight for Sun Wah BBQ. There is no better form of advertising than a roasted duck hanging in a window.

    We walked pass the cramped takeout counter and entered the barely-decorated dining room with our boisterous waitress who put two plastic menus in front of us. I didn't even need to open the menu before my head was spinning. I think they leave the dining room stark on purpose; it has a calming effect after the flood of choices on menu makes you dizzy. I barely made it past the cover which listed all of their BBQ specialties: three kinds of duck, various pork preparations, ribs, and more, most of which came in three different sizes.

    I asked for an estimate on the sizes and was told that "small is 1/4, medium is 1/2, and large is whole". This easily applies to chicken and possibly duck, and I was pretty sure that they weren't serving a whole pig for less than $10, so I got the idea. I proceeded to order for the two of us, and wound up ordering a meal for 5.

    Dishes were delivered staggered, as they were ready, which was nice. We could eat a little and then move on to the next hot item as it came out, sneaking back to previous dishes here and there. Here's a dish-by-dish recap:

      Roast Pig, Hong Kong Style (medium): If I had only eaten this dish, I would have left happy. Cubes of roast pork, some with bone and many with a layer of fat and crispy skin. The salty, crunchy pork skin must be what pork rinds taste like in heaven. When we ordered, the waitress asked if we wanted a "fat one" or a "skinny" one. We opted for lean, which had a layer of fat that was more than enough.
      Marinated Chicken (small) We originally wanted the house special salt-baked chicken, but they were out. The marinated chicken was mostly white meat, tender, and very juicy. It had a very fresh, mild flavor and was served with a really refreshing ginger oil. This would be a great summer-time dish. The chicken appeared to be steamed, which gave the skin a limp-rubbery texture, but easily removed.
      Roast Duck (medium) I asked the waitress which duck preparation was best and she immediately said "Roast". So, I went for a medium roast duck because the thought of a 1/4 duck seemed really meager to me. I think we were served a whole duck or at least 3/4. There were two legs and plenty of meat. The skin was nice and crispy and the meat had a nice flavor. Certainly up there with many other ducks I've eaten.
      Pan-fried Rice Noodles w/Mixed Vegetables (small)I forgot to ask for the noodles to be served extra-crispy, but this dish was very good anyway. The mixed veggies included carrots, bok choy, Chinese broccoli, mushrooms, and more (all the good stuff). The chili oil on the table, drizzled over the noodles, was a perfect accompaniment. Also, if this dish was the small, I'd hate to see the large. We still had more than half left over to take home.

    There were about 200 other items on the menu that we didn't order. Much of the menu seemed Cantonese with plenty of interesting Hong Kong-style items.

    The final bill for what you see above, plus a medium steamed rice, and a complimentary pot of tea was $24.80 (plus tip). We could have easily fed four people, possibly five. If I lived near Sun Wah, I don't think I'd cook very much. The option of grabbing a plate of plain roast meat and rice for a few bucks would be too tempting.

    Sun Wah BBQ
    5041 N. Broadway
    773-769-1254
    Chicago, Illinois 60640
  • Post #2 - November 23rd, 2004, 12:36 pm
    Post #2 - November 23rd, 2004, 12:36 pm Post #2 - November 23rd, 2004, 12:36 pm
    eatchicago wrote:
      Marinated Chicken (small) We originally wanted the house special salt-baked chicken, but they were out. The marinated chicken was mostly white meat, tender, and very juicy. It had a very fresh, mild flavor and was served with a really refreshing ginger oil. This would be a great summer-time dish. The chicken appeared to be steamed, which gave the skin a limp-rubbery texture, but easily removed.


    When done properly, the process involved in making "marinated chicken" is likely more complicated than you imagine. Proper technique yields meat which is soft and resilient--just as you describe--with some remaining pinkness at the bone. This recipe should give you some idea.

    Happy Holiday,
    Erik M.
  • Post #3 - November 23rd, 2004, 12:45 pm
    Post #3 - November 23rd, 2004, 12:45 pm Post #3 - November 23rd, 2004, 12:45 pm
    Erik M. wrote:When done properly, the process involved in making "marinated chicken" is likely more complicated than you imagine. Proper technique yields meat which is soft and resilient--just as you describe--with some remaining pinkness at the bone. This recipe should give you some idea.


    Thanks Erik, I had never had this dish before. While I suspected it was steamed, I could tell that the delicate flavors and very consistent tenderness indicated a more complex cooking process.

    Best,
    EC
  • Post #4 - November 23rd, 2004, 3:18 pm
    Post #4 - November 23rd, 2004, 3:18 pm Post #4 - November 23rd, 2004, 3:18 pm
    I don't have much to add to the Sun Wah writeup except an endorsement. I have a group of friends who get together from time to time. We always have Chinese food and often as not wind up at Sun Wah. Most excellent duck.
  • Post #5 - May 3rd, 2005, 8:43 pm
    Post #5 - May 3rd, 2005, 8:43 pm Post #5 - May 3rd, 2005, 8:43 pm
    I'm not sure why this is--maybe a few bad experiences years ago--but for whatever reason, I don't find myself eating very often on Argyle St. Late this afternoon, after having a drink at an unusually crowded Green Mill (Ben Folds and New Order concerts tonight), Pigmon and I headed over to Sun Wah for some Chinese roasted/BBQ'd meat.

    Some of the standard Chinese dishes that we ate were very special, due heavily to the fact that their star ingredients were roasted duck. The duck soup with dried scallop was so savory and rich and good. Roasted, skin-on duck meat and shredded, dried (funky) scallops flavored the already rich duck broth. Bits of ginger, garlic and cilantro did their best to try and cut through the unified fowl-fish flavors. The soup was made nearly perfect with a drip or two of chili oil.

    After having an atypical, lackluster crispy noodle dish at LTH this afternoon, Pigmon needed to give the crispy noodles at Sun Wah a try. Even though we specified that we wanted extra, extra crispy noodles--our noodles still arrived limp. A few of them looked like someone had made a feeble attempt at frying them, but they were even more pathetic looking then the rest. Like a peach fuzz mustache on an 12-year old man-child. The good news was that they tasted great. They slightly over seasoned the sauce so that when they added a healthy dose of noodles, the whole dish was perfectly seasoned. We ordered ours with strips of roasted duck and crisp-tender vegetables on top.

    Image

    To go with the noodles, we had a huge plate of pea pod greens that were a steal at $8.

    Image

    And we couldn't leave without ordering a couple rounds of roasted pork.
    Eatchicago's physical description of the Hong Kong style roast pig was dead on. But while he thought the skin tasted like pork rinds in heaven, I thought they tasted more like pork rinds in purgatory. They layer of fat between the overly salty (IMO), slightly watery pork and the crisp skin tasted a bit beat. Not spoiled, but not fresh either. It does look good though...

    Image

    And finally a small order of BBQ'd Pork - which when we ordered it, the waitress looked at our plate of uneaten Hong Kong pork and said, "Yea, I like the BBQ'd style better too."

    Image

    It was classic and delicious.

    A nice touch was the chili-laced dark soy that sat on all of the tables.

    Image

    Truly one of the great values in Chicago. Can't wait to get back there to pick up a whole duck ($11.50).

    trixie-p(igmon)
  • Post #6 - May 3rd, 2005, 9:16 pm
    Post #6 - May 3rd, 2005, 9:16 pm Post #6 - May 3rd, 2005, 9:16 pm
    Try the seawood soup, consult the server for size before ordering, they are quite sizable.

    Wonton soup with or without noodles are excellent. The noodles are house-made with perfect al-dente texture, which is not easy to achieve. The wontons are made with perfectly thin wonton skin to give them the 'cloud' (i.e. smooth) texture that 'wonton' are named after, and filled with perfect bite size shrimp and ground pork mixture. The broth do tend toward saltiness unfortunately, but very tasty with classic wonton broth aroma.

    Roast ducks are the best from the BBQ case.
  • Post #7 - May 4th, 2005, 12:51 pm
    Post #7 - May 4th, 2005, 12:51 pm Post #7 - May 4th, 2005, 12:51 pm
    trixie-pea wrote:Even though we specified that we wanted extra, extra crispy noodles--our noodles still arrived limp. A few of them looked like someone had made a feeble attempt at frying them, but they were even more pathetic looking then the rest. Like a peach fuzz mustache on an 12-year old man-child. The good news was that they tasted great. They slightly over seasoned the sauce so that when they added a healthy dose of noodles, the whole dish was perfectly seasoned. We ordered ours with strips of roasted duck and crisp-tender vegetables on top.


    I've not had good experience getting Sun Wah to crisp up their noodles, even slightly. I've since given up and I concentrate on other good stuff.

    trixie-pea wrote:And we couldn't leave without ordering a couple rounds of roasted pork. Eatchicago's physical description of the Hong Kong style roast pig was dead on. But while he thought the skin tasted like pork rinds in heaven, I thought they tasted more like pork rinds in purgatory.


    To quote G Wiv, who may have been quoting someone else, "I guess that's why Baskin-Robbin's makes 31 flavors." :D

    trixie-pea wrote:And finally a small order of BBQ'd Pork - which when we ordered it, the waitress looked at our plate of uneaten Hong Kong pork and said, "Yea, I like the BBQ'd style better too."


    My waitress at Sun Wah (I always seem to have the same woman) is very forthright about what's good and what's not. I've had her give me a look that says "think again" when I've ordered something. Upon changing it, she'll say, "Much better". Sometimes, if I just want some pork and a veggie dish, I'm happy to let her do the ordering based on freshness or what's good that day.

    Nice pics, thanks for the report.

    Best,
    Michael / EC
  • Post #8 - May 4th, 2005, 1:06 pm
    Post #8 - May 4th, 2005, 1:06 pm Post #8 - May 4th, 2005, 1:06 pm
    Regarding the white cut chicken. The recipe I have used for many years varies a bit in cooking time, basically it is simmered after being brought to a boil to remove any scum, for about 25 minutes and then steeped, covered, for about 45 minutes. The recipe suggests placing a metal spoon in the cavity to help conduct heat.

    After steeping, the chicken is plunged into water with abundant ice cubes for 15 minutes. This very quick chilling causes the skin to tighten and prevents juices from leaking, rather they jell just under the skin.

    It is exceptionally good with steamed buns and the sauces suggested.
  • Post #9 - May 4th, 2005, 3:21 pm
    Post #9 - May 4th, 2005, 3:21 pm Post #9 - May 4th, 2005, 3:21 pm
    eatchicago wrote:My waitress at Sun Wah (I always seem to have the same woman) is very forthright about what's good and what's not. I've had her give me a look that says "think again" when I've ordered something. Upon changing it, she'll say, "Much better". Sometimes, if I just want some pork and a veggie dish, I'm happy to let her do the ordering based on freshness or what's good that day.


    I think maybe we had your waitress...when our "small" soup came - we wondered if she had brought us a medium because it was so big. Her response was that if we would have tried to order a medium, she would have made us change our order--because we order too much. :lol:

    She speaks the truth.
  • Post #10 - May 4th, 2005, 3:49 pm
    Post #10 - May 4th, 2005, 3:49 pm Post #10 - May 4th, 2005, 3:49 pm
    The duck noodles that Trixie talks about above didn't suffer at all from lack of crispiness. In fact, I'm going to say that it didn't matter whether they were crispy or not. The noodles soaked up the wonderful flavors of the sauce so well that it was irrelevant. If you're a wide noodle lover, check these out.


    I Heart wide noodles
  • Post #11 - September 14th, 2006, 9:14 am
    Post #11 - September 14th, 2006, 9:14 am Post #11 - September 14th, 2006, 9:14 am
    LTH,

    Had a spot-on lunch yesterday at Sun Wah, the star being shrimp wonton soup w/roast duck and egg noodle. With the addition of a healthy shot of table chili oil and peppers a near perfect, if not remedy, temporary relief from my late summer cold.

    Shrimp Wonton Soup w/egg noodle and roast duck.
    Image

    Table hot sauce/soy with chili pepper
    Image

    In the above thread there are mixed opinions of the roast pig, count me among the Love It group. Drizzle of chili oil on crisp piggy skin, pure porky goodness on a plate. Though I often, or at least sometimes, remove the solid layer of fat just below the crisp skin.

    Hong Kong Style Pig
    Image

    I'm a sucker for the clear clean taste of Chinese broccoli, in particular when coupled with oyster sauce. Sun Wah does it well, in other words, simply.

    Chinese Broccoli w/oyster sauce
    Image

    Sun Wah does pan fried noodles quite well, my usual preference is pair them with fish filet or on their own as a solo starch. Mike G, with whom I had the pleasure of eating lunch, thought the pork and bean sprout sounded good, and he was right. Let me say, before there are comments, that this is one of those dishes that taste ever so much better then they look.

    (Small) Pan fried egg noodle w/bean sprout and pork
    Image
    Image

    Specials are on offer, Dover Sole filets are quite good, though I'd doubt true sole from Dover, pan fried smelt tasty, and baby squid are on my must try list. No idea on what the upper right or lower left might be.

    9.13.06
    Image

    Takeout wise Sun Wah, as Michael mentions, has a deliciously wide range of Chinese BBQ, roast duck and chicken three or four ways, BBQ pork and ribs, squid, offal, pretty much everything I've tried over the years has been good.

    If you haven't been I highly suggest a visit, though not today, Thursday, Sun Wah is closed on Thursdays.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Sun Wah
    1134 W Argyle St
    Chicago, IL 60640
    773-769-1254
    Closed Thursdays
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - September 14th, 2006, 9:59 am
    Post #12 - September 14th, 2006, 9:59 am Post #12 - September 14th, 2006, 9:59 am
    G Wiv wrote:Sun Wah is closed on Thursdays.


    Gosh, too bad. I am REALLY hungry; great pics.

    Can I re-start the Sun Wah house sauce query again?

    Does one eat use the chile flavored soy or the soy flavored chiles?


    I never know for sure.

    PS
    If my wife was around today, this would about be the time I would start complaining about how much I miss living by Argyle.
  • Post #13 - September 14th, 2006, 11:29 am
    Post #13 - September 14th, 2006, 11:29 am Post #13 - September 14th, 2006, 11:29 am
    G Wiv wrote:Had a spot-on lunch yesterday at Sun Wah, the star being shrimp wonton soup w/roast duck and egg noodle. With the addition of a healthy shot of table chili oil and peppers a near perfect, if not remedy, temporary relief from my late summer cold.


    Are the shrimp wontons there essentially all shrimp or is there some filler? Thanks!
  • Post #14 - September 14th, 2006, 11:30 am
    Post #14 - September 14th, 2006, 11:30 am Post #14 - September 14th, 2006, 11:30 am
    I've always been a big booster for the wontons at Sun Wah since they make them fresh upon ordering. I bore witness to this the many times I've ordered items to go while waiting in the front kitchen/butcher area. A bowl of wonton soup is ridiculously cheap (~$3.75) and quickly prepared to boot. Many a time I've found myself ducking (no pun intended) into Sun Wah on the way to Wrigley for a bowl of wontons simply because I didn't have time for anything else. I think I've previously posted that they use shrimp in their wontons, which is a plus.

    As for their other BBQ items, I have to admit that I'm fonder of the roast pork from Hon Kee down the street. It tends to be leaner (though I always order it that way) and less salty than Sun Wah's version. Peter from La Patisserie/Sweet Passsion agrees with me. Everything is a bit saltier at Sun Wah.

    I've tried to order pea pods from Sun Wah in the past as a side dish to my home-cooked dinners with a varying degree of success. They don't offer them consistently, which may depend somewhat on the time of year (or whether the waitstaff has had time to prune them). On the other hand, I've never had problems ordering pea pods from Honeymoon Cafe two storefronts down for about the same price (~$8.25).
  • Post #15 - September 14th, 2006, 11:47 am
    Post #15 - September 14th, 2006, 11:47 am Post #15 - September 14th, 2006, 11:47 am
    titus wong wrote:As for their other BBQ items, I have to admit that I'm fonder of the roast pork from Hon Kee down the street. It tends to be leaner (though I always order it that way) and less salty than Sun Wah's version. Peter from La Patisserie/Sweet Passsion agrees with me. Everything is a bit saltier at Sun Wah.



    You say that like it's a bad thing :?

    Tell Peter he makes some of the best croissants in the city. :!:
  • Post #16 - September 14th, 2006, 1:53 pm
    Post #16 - September 14th, 2006, 1:53 pm Post #16 - September 14th, 2006, 1:53 pm
    i find the restauarnt a bit uneven beyond the noodles/bbq items. the peking pork chops we recently had tasted of over cornstarched sauce while the fish fillet in wine sauce was excellent. the s&p shrimp was limpy but had decent flavor. i suppose one really must taste the entire menu to find hits.

    their char siu bbq is still a BIT more moist than that of Win Chan's but the duck's indeed too salty.
  • Post #17 - September 14th, 2006, 2:43 pm
    Post #17 - September 14th, 2006, 2:43 pm Post #17 - September 14th, 2006, 2:43 pm
    The top middle plate special in Gary's picture is my go to favorite at Sun Wah. Two large filets of (most likely) flounder with bits of ham, green onion, scallion, and (sometimes) yellow onion in a ginger garlic heavenly broth. I've eaten it many dozens of times and have only had one subpar example about three years ago.

    The hot sour soup, stuffed eggplant, and duck round out my usual ordering choices but I can promise you the peapod greens will be on my plate next time I go there.
  • Post #18 - September 16th, 2006, 8:15 am
    Post #18 - September 16th, 2006, 8:15 am Post #18 - September 16th, 2006, 8:15 am
    ChrisH wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:Had a spot-on lunch yesterday at Sun Wah, the star being shrimp wonton soup w/roast duck and egg noodle. With the addition of a healthy shot of table chili oil and peppers a near perfect, if not remedy, temporary relief from my late summer cold.


    Are the shrimp wontons there essentially all shrimp or is there some filler? Thanks!


    After being enticed by G Wiv's salivating pictures, I decided to try a bowl of shrimp wonton w/roasted duck last night. The portion was huge for $4.50! I omitted the noodles from my order, so there must have been 10-12 wonton, baby bok choy, and a couple of meaty duck breasts pieces. I found the wontons to be mostly filled w/ground pork and only 1-2 small pieces of shrimp. I would have to say that Seven Treasures/Wonton Gourmet has more shrimp and uses a thinner wonton skin, both of which I prefer.

    Alas, it's still nothing like the ones that I had at Jim Chai Kee in Toronto earlier this summer: They were the size of golf balls and filled w/nothing but shrimp!
    Image
  • Post #19 - September 16th, 2006, 9:31 am
    Post #19 - September 16th, 2006, 9:31 am Post #19 - September 16th, 2006, 9:31 am
    Pucca wrote:I would have to say that Seven Treasures/Wonton Gourmet has more shrimp and uses a thinner wonton skin, both of which I prefer.

    Pucca,

    Coincidentally, I had the Sun Wah vs Seven Treasures conversation with Evil Ronnie last evening. Evil is a Seven Treasures man from way back, though has never been to Sun Wah, and asked me which I thought better. Frankly, I like them pretty much equally, but I'd agree with you that shrimp wonton vs shrimp wonton the edge goes to Seven Treasures as the fresh shrimp wonton with black fungus, bamboo shoots and pork is killer.

    I should point out that I like them equally only as far as BBQ, soup, wonton and noodle goes. Many of Sun Wah's non BBQ/soup offerings are quite good, Seven Treasures are (mainly) of the too much corn starch Chinese/American variety.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - September 17th, 2006, 12:24 pm
    Post #20 - September 17th, 2006, 12:24 pm Post #20 - September 17th, 2006, 12:24 pm
    It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Sun Wah, and I am a huge admirer of the pix taken by the Imperious GWiv, as well as the food judgments of the August Vital Information, but I must say, those pix are strangely unappetizing.

    That broccoli, sauced in a Jackson Pollock-like splash, seems flat and sloppy. I say “seems,” of course, because I didn’t taste it, but I’m relying on appearances.

    Fan of fat that I am, that piggy is just a touch too glistening.

    And the pork on the noodles reminds me of Orwell’s description in 1984: “spongy pinkish stuff which was probably a preparation of meat.”

    Having said all that, I must reiterate: my faith in GWiv’s judgments are close to 100% -- so much so that last night I ordered the grilled mackerel at Matsuya, something I’d never thought to do in decades of going there. It was very fine, which leads me to believe my visual assessment of Sun Wah’s food must be wrong…but boy, those pix don’t do it for me (just goes to show how sometimes a picture can tell a 1,000 words, many of which may be an inaccurate reflection of reality).
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #21 - September 17th, 2006, 12:33 pm
    Post #21 - September 17th, 2006, 12:33 pm Post #21 - September 17th, 2006, 12:33 pm
    David Hammond wrote:It was very fine, which leads me to believe my visual assessment of Sun Wah’s food must be wrong…but boy, those pix don’t do it for me (just goes to show how sometimes a picture can tell a 1,000 words, many of which may be an inaccurate reflection of reality).


    Let me assure you that Sun Wah...especially in the area of their meats...as a great place that I'm sure you would enjoy. I would suggest going there with a list of dishes to try, because it's all too easy to just get some sort of combination meat platter (BBQ pork, duck & chicken, for example) and miss out on some of their very good prepared dishes.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #22 - September 17th, 2006, 1:19 pm
    Post #22 - September 17th, 2006, 1:19 pm Post #22 - September 17th, 2006, 1:19 pm
    David Hammond wrote:so much so that last night I ordered the grilled mackerel at Matsuya,

    Hammond,

    First off, glad you enjoyed the mackerel, I really like grilled fish at Matsuya. Next time you might try the pedestrian sounding, but delicious tasting, teriyaki trout.

    Far as the pan fried egg noodle w/bean sprout and pork, I believe I said in my post that it tasted much better than it looked. About the roast pork, skin is crisp, meat juicy, lots of flavor, damn good eating. Though no guarantee you will like it, especially if you have healthy eating on the mind lately.

    Far as the Chinese broccoli goes, part of the reason I like Sun Wah's version is it's simplicity, just a splash of oysters sauce and lots of crisp cooked veg.

    Hummmm, seems almost time to trot out, that's why Baskin-Robbins makes 31 flavors of ice cream. :)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - September 17th, 2006, 1:33 pm
    Post #23 - September 17th, 2006, 1:33 pm Post #23 - September 17th, 2006, 1:33 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Though no guarantee you will like it, especially if you have healthy eating on the mind lately.


    Joke, right? :)

    My point was really more that pix lie...except probably in the case of the new commerical for Quizno's Prime Rib Sandwich. The Wife and I saw the spot for this sandwich and looked at each other incredulously as though to say, "Holy crap! They can't even MAKE this sandwich LOOK good." Commerical food photos/video are notoriously doctored, of course, but it was amusing to us that some things just cannot be doctored enough to look edible.

    Hammond
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #24 - September 17th, 2006, 4:02 pm
    Post #24 - September 17th, 2006, 4:02 pm Post #24 - September 17th, 2006, 4:02 pm
    Hammond,

    Reminds me of the following picture of Hecky's of Chicago's ribs, which I labeled, in the original thread.

    (Warning: Image may be less delicious than it appears.)
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #25 - September 17th, 2006, 9:34 pm
    Post #25 - September 17th, 2006, 9:34 pm Post #25 - September 17th, 2006, 9:34 pm
    A side note: as you can see from the last picture in G.Wiv's above post, one of the current specials at Sun Wah is "Warsaw". This refers to a variety of Grouper which has been turning up on menus at a few chinese places recently, which I had not seen in Chicago before. Sun Wah offers theirs in a casserole with tofu or stir fried. I had a really good version at Kam Fong in Chinatown, done with bitter melon and black bean sauce, which I understand is the most traditional preparation. The owner at Sun Wah says he can do it that way too, on request. It's a very sweet white fleshed fish with a texture somewhat similar to Monkfish...well worth trying for those that might be interested. I think the contrast between the sweet fish/salty black beans and bitter melon is particularly good.

    By the way, on the Seven Treasures vs. Sun Wah issue... While it's true that Sun Wah's non-noodle main dishes are generally much better than those at Seven Treasures, there are some very good dishes to be found listed under"dishes on Rice" at Seven Treasures. This is basically a snack shop and this section of thier menu is the place to hunt for tasty, non Americanized items (shrimp and egg and beef stew are only two options here).
    Last edited by kuhdo on September 18th, 2006, 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #26 - September 17th, 2006, 10:39 pm
    Post #26 - September 17th, 2006, 10:39 pm Post #26 - September 17th, 2006, 10:39 pm
    As the guy that started this thread nearly two years ago (!), I'd like to add that Sun Wah remains one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I am constantly finding new dishes there that I love, including the fish fillet with ginger and scallion that Gary introduced me to.

    Sun Wah's House Special Salt-Baked Chicken:
    Image

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #27 - September 17th, 2006, 11:23 pm
    Post #27 - September 17th, 2006, 11:23 pm Post #27 - September 17th, 2006, 11:23 pm
    kuhdo wrote:Kam Fong in Chinatown, done with bitter melon and black bean sauce, which I understand is the most traditional preparation.

    Kuhdo,

    Thanks for the info on "Warsaw", I was wondering what that might be. The dish you describe sounds quite good as well, though I'm not familiar with Kam Fong in Chicago's Chinatown.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #28 - September 18th, 2006, 1:43 am
    Post #28 - September 18th, 2006, 1:43 am Post #28 - September 18th, 2006, 1:43 am
    Kam Fong is the current name of the little restaurant across from Triple Crown on 22nd place. It seems to specalize in very traditional "old school" Cantonese dishes. Lots of casseroles, organ meats etc. many prepared in a homey style. Mostly an older Chinese crowd. Unfortunately, it's one of those places where many of the best and most interesting dishes are not on the menu, but only listed in Chinese characters on little strips of colored paper hung on the wall. Although the service is very attentive, language is an issue. However, after some friendly pleading (and giving assurances that we didn't just want sweet and sour pork) I was able to get the waitress to translate some of these and this was how I found the 'Warsaw" and bitter melon dish.

    I had no idea what the fish was, and no one at Kam Fong could tell me the name in English so the dish remained a mystery... until a recent visit to Sun Wah, when I saw the ' Warsaw' and immediately realized it was the Kam Fong mystery fish (It's pretty distinctive, and its obvious from the size of the vertabrae that this is one big ocean going beast). I asked the owner at Sun Wah about this and he verified the same Chinese name that had been used at Kam Fong. Turns out Mr. Sun Wah is a fisherman and actually has quite an interest in these matters (he has pictures of his sltwater fishing trips up at the register, and lots more nearby he'd be happy to show you). He tells me the fish has only recently become available at Issacson and Stein, but is evidently prized in China. He was also aware of the Kam Fong style dish and told me that this was the traditional ' old style' preparation.

    There are a few other very good dishes I've come across at Kam Fong...including a very nice cold marinated chicken which our waitress tells me is something only they do....(if you order a half bird it comes with the head intact and very precisely sectioned in the sagital plane with the brain maintained in anatomic position, making for an interesting discussion at the table). Casserole of beef ( I assume rump of some kind from our waitresses somewhat embarassed attempts at explaining the dish with body language) along with baby bok choy and dried bean curd ,and shortribs with garlic are good as well as is the squid with spicy salt and pepper.

    Other dishes, sadly have not always been stellar. Some of this may reflect the fact that I have only dined here a few times, and am still in the process of convincing the staff that I really do want the more authentic dishes (in my expierience it often takes several visits to establish this).
    Given the language and cultural issues,I have found that the best strategy for finding good dishes here is to rely on the tried and true "point at interesting things at other tables, which look good and simply ask for the same" technique. Tho this might be considered really rude at Trotters, here no one seems to mind.
    Last edited by kuhdo on September 21st, 2006, 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #29 - September 21st, 2006, 6:46 pm
    Post #29 - September 21st, 2006, 6:46 pm Post #29 - September 21st, 2006, 6:46 pm
    kuhdo wrote: rely on the tried and true "point at interesting things at other tables, which look good and simply ask for the same" technique.

    Kuhdo,

    Ahhh, the Point and Plead method, I have it down to a science. :)

    I went to Sun Wah today to try the 'Warsaw', unfortunately I forgot they are closed on Thursdays. If I had time I would have gone to Kam Fong, but ended up across the street at Pho 888 for a #17 (eye round, well done beef, soft tendon, bible tripe and meat ball) egg noodle sub for rice noodle.

    Pho 888 #17
    Image

    It had been a while since I was at Pho 888 and I was pleasantly surprised at the pho, rich broth with subtle, yet not quite background, spicing, in particular a light lovely scent of star anise, and lots of little Head to Tail pieces.

    I should not have been surprised, and it's mostly why I went to Pho 888, as Evil Ronnie was telling me that it's his current favorite pho on Argyle, and Evil knows his way around a bowl of soup.

    Next week 'Warsaw', thanks again for the info Kuhdo.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Pho 888
    1137 Argyle
    Chicago, IL 60640
    773-907-8838
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #30 - September 21st, 2006, 7:40 pm
    Post #30 - September 21st, 2006, 7:40 pm Post #30 - September 21st, 2006, 7:40 pm
    Gary, Hammond (but not East Chicago), I just noticed the love for Matsuya's grilled fish in this thread. Hear hear. I've noted the same several times. While the always-crowded Matsuya doesn't need LTH love like some other spots, it reamins a personal favorite and a very homey Japanese place with plenty of character and Japanese families. Regarding sushi, you really need to go late in the evening when the big guy who is something of a Koizumi lookalike is there. No knock on the Latino bullpen, but they don't have nearly the skills or patience. Koizumi really works hard if you order "Japanese" items such as natto. The salt-grilled Mackerel is also a favorite. And the square oshi-sushi. Even the ramen can be pretty good.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more