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  • Post #31 - October 11th, 2018, 9:00 am
    Post #31 - October 11th, 2018, 9:00 am Post #31 - October 11th, 2018, 9:00 am
    Hey all - hoping the illustrious LTH crew can help out. I'm in charge of planning a couple's dinner in Chinatown next week, and feeling a little lost. I haven't been down that way in years, and back then it was mostly for Lao Hunan (RIP).

    Any current recommendations? Or places to avoid? I'm considering MingHin, only because of the Michelin Bib Gourmand designation.

    We'd prefer a slightly more upscale atmosphere (nothing fancy, just something along the lines of say Lao Sze Chuan) vs. a true hole in the wall. But other than that, pretty much open to anything!
  • Post #32 - October 11th, 2018, 9:39 am
    Post #32 - October 11th, 2018, 9:39 am Post #32 - October 11th, 2018, 9:39 am
    Possumlad wrote:Hey all - hoping the illustrious LTH crew can help out. I'm in charge of planning a couple's dinner in Chinatown next week, and feeling a little lost. I haven't been down that way in years, and back then it was mostly for Lao Hunan (RIP).

    Any current recommendations? Or places to avoid? I'm considering MingHin, only because of the Michelin Bib Gourmand designation.

    We'd prefer a slightly more upscale atmosphere (nothing fancy, just something along the lines of say Lao Sze Chuan) vs. a true hole in the wall. But other than that, pretty much open to anything!


    I haven't been yet (life keeps getting in the way) but this looks like another option (especially for the house specialties):

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html
  • Post #33 - October 11th, 2018, 2:18 pm
    Post #33 - October 11th, 2018, 2:18 pm Post #33 - October 11th, 2018, 2:18 pm
    Do you have any likes on cuisines? Do you want Cantonese? Taiwanese? Northern? Sichuan? Hong Kong diner?

    Ming Hin's Cantonese food is good and the room is nice. In the Cantonese bucket you can throw in Cai and Phoenix (I have not been there since they got new management awhile back). Dim Sum is good at all of these places.

    For Taiwanese, I'd suggest Taipei Cafe on Halsted (closer to Bridgeport than Chinatown). The room is OK. The food is excellent.

    I haven't been there in a long time, but Northern City on 31st and Halsted was excellent. Northern Chinese food is wheat based and mainly dumplings and noodles. Both were good at Northern City. The room reminded me of a suburban Chinese restaurant. slightly more spacious and dingy. I haven't been here in a few years and things may have changed. Ed's Potsticker House is also in this family.

    Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings is a nice room with good dumplings. There was some chatter they are renovating. Make sure you understand the menu, it's a dumpling joint.

    I'm not an expert on Sichuan food. It's too spicy for me and the Mrs. won't go near it. I remember Lao Sze Chuan being pretty good when I had a stronger stomach.

    There's also all those Chinese food diners at the "Chinatown Mall:" Ken Kee, Chi Cafe, My Place, Sweet Station, Joy Yee. My mom called them diners because they usually have 98 page menus with with infinite levels of customization. Mainly Cantonese food, but more emphasis on drinks and quick eats (bowls of noodle soup, X on rice, some dishes). Usually pretty stylish modern rooms.

    This is by no means exhaustive. It's hard to make a bad choice.
  • Post #34 - October 11th, 2018, 2:31 pm
    Post #34 - October 11th, 2018, 2:31 pm Post #34 - October 11th, 2018, 2:31 pm
    Another possibility, also near but not in Chinatown like a couple of the other suggestions above, since you want something upscale, is Han 202. It's in Bridgeport, and their menu reads like Chinese food with a French spin on some of the dishes. It's a terrific bargain, with a four-course prix fixe menu for $35, and BYOB with no corkage so you'll save if you bring your own. The food is very very good, albeit rather conventional.

    Han 202
    605 W. 31 STREET
    CHICAGO,IL. 60616
    (312) 949-1314
  • Post #35 - October 11th, 2018, 8:13 pm
    Post #35 - October 11th, 2018, 8:13 pm Post #35 - October 11th, 2018, 8:13 pm
    jacketpotato wrote:I haven't been there in a long time, but Northern City on 31st and Halsted was excellent. Northern Chinese food is wheat based and mainly dumplings and noodles. Both were good at Northern City. The room reminded me of a suburban Chinese restaurant. slightly more spacious and dingy. I haven't been here in a few years and things may have changed. Ed's Potsticker House is also in this family.


    Always wanted to try Northern City, but never did. We prefered Homestyle Taste nearby - their Dongbei menu (first page and a half) is pretty good.

    Also, not to nitpick, but "Northern Chinese food is wheat based and mainly dumplings and noodles. "...not true if you're talking about Dongbei food. Dongbei food is hearty food because the climate is cold (colder than Chicago). You'll find a lot of pickling too not unlike parts of Russia because they need to preserve the food during the winters. A lot of pork, potatoes, carrots, string beans, etc. My girlfriend makes a few things all the time from there especially in winter - one is a stew of pork ribs with star anise, ginger, potatoes, string beans, etc. The other is a sour cabbage soup with pork ribs. This soup could easily pass as some sort of Eastern European soup if the eater didn't know any differently. I showed a co-worker of mine from Poland and he said it sounds and looks exactly like a soup he grew up eating in Poland.

    Also, seafood is heavy in the diet in some of the more coastal cities like Yingkou (where my girlfriend's mom is from) and Dalian. When I was in Shenyang last year for a few days, I had some pretty hearty meals even though it was warm out - and also had one of the biggest fish served at a dinner ever. You'll also find that there's Russian influences in some of the food as well as Korean and Japanese (as it's very close to North Korea and the Japanese used to rule over the region awhile ago).

    One of the things that Homestyle Taste does that I like is their Iron Pot dishes with the brown sauce, which are very hearty. They have some cornbread cooking on the side which is great. Not sure if the other places do it - I'm sure some do.

    Anyway, I digress. Not to say they don't have dumplings and noodles and stuff, but NE Chinese food is a hell of a lot more than these things. It's mostly other things like pork, potatoes, carrots, lamb, etc. It's probably the heartiest/heaviest food in all of China along with Inner Mongolia (which is also cold).

    Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings is a nice room with good dumplings. There was some chatter they are renovating. Make sure you understand the menu, it's a dumpling joint.


    Just an FYI: QXYD is also Dongbei food - the owners are from Liaoning. The dumplings they serve are standard jiaoxi from Dongbei and their skewers are also pretty standard of what you'd find up there. QXYD is a great place for food if you love dumplings.



    Another place that might be good is Dolo. A little bit of a nicer atmosphere and also good food.
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing
  • Post #36 - October 12th, 2018, 8:25 am
    Post #36 - October 12th, 2018, 8:25 am Post #36 - October 12th, 2018, 8:25 am
    I don't know if you absolutely have to be in Chinatown, but if not, I highly recommend Jade Court. The owners used to own Phoenix Restaurant. It's near UIC Pavilion, with easy parking across the street. Amazing food and really nice atmosphere. They were just named on the 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand list for Chicago.

    Jade Court
    626 S. Racine Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 929-4828
    http://jadecourtchicago.com
  • Post #37 - October 12th, 2018, 9:30 am
    Post #37 - October 12th, 2018, 9:30 am Post #37 - October 12th, 2018, 9:30 am
    Lao Sze Chuan has been firing on all cylinders, imo, lately. They have new (er?), plastic, clear, shitty, chairs. Not sure if you've been since then. It seems a little nicer than it was before.

    MCCB is a relative newcomer to the area, and it's a tiny bit modern. It's in what used to be the Lao Beijing space. Pretty decent stuff.

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=44286
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #38 - October 12th, 2018, 9:38 am
    Post #38 - October 12th, 2018, 9:38 am Post #38 - October 12th, 2018, 9:38 am
    Lisa Sue wrote:I don't know if you absolutely have to be in Chinatown, but if not, I highly recommend Jade Court.

    So does Phil Vettel. (I haven't been there... yet.)
  • Post #39 - October 12th, 2018, 11:05 am
    Post #39 - October 12th, 2018, 11:05 am Post #39 - October 12th, 2018, 11:05 am
    Lisa Sue wrote:I don't know if you absolutely have to be in Chinatown, but if not, I highly recommend Jade Court. The owners used to own Phoenix Restaurant. It's near UIC Pavilion, with easy parking across the street. Amazing food and really nice atmosphere. They were just named on the 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand list for Chicago.

    Jade Court
    626 S. Racine Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 929-4828
    http://jadecourtchicago.com


    We enjoyed Jade Court. We enjoyed all the food, but especially the Peking Duck which, while not totally authentic was among the best we've had outside Beijing. The night we were there the parking lot was closed and chained off, but were lucky to find a parking spot on Racine. The place has been lightly remodeled at best since the last occupant but the chow and friendly staff make up for it.
  • Post #40 - October 12th, 2018, 11:08 am
    Post #40 - October 12th, 2018, 11:08 am Post #40 - October 12th, 2018, 11:08 am
    seebee wrote:Lao Sze Chuan has been firing on all cylinders, imo, lately. They have new (er?), plastic, clear, shitty, chairs. Not sure if you've been since then. It seems a little nicer than it was before.

    MCCB is a relative newcomer to the area, and it's a tiny bit modern. It's in what used to be the Lao Beijing space. Pretty decent stuff.

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=44286


    Interesting to know about Lao - we gave up after a series of bad meals but may give it a try again. I'm not sure how "nicer" combines with "shitty chairs".

    Our one experience with MCCB was delivery so not the full experience. We had a bit of sticker shock at the price and found the food OK but not exceptional. I should give the restaurant itself a try.
  • Post #41 - October 12th, 2018, 11:21 am
    Post #41 - October 12th, 2018, 11:21 am Post #41 - October 12th, 2018, 11:21 am
    seebee wrote:MCCB is a relative newcomer to the area, and it's a tiny bit modern.
    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=44286

    If you have a taste for spicy items, this is my recommendation.

    The Chengdu Spicy Dumplings are great stuff.

    http://www.mccbchicago.com
  • Post #42 - October 12th, 2018, 3:24 pm
    Post #42 - October 12th, 2018, 3:24 pm Post #42 - October 12th, 2018, 3:24 pm
    bweiny wrote:
    seebee wrote:MCCB is a relative newcomer to the area, and it's a tiny bit modern.
    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=44286

    If you have a taste for spicy items, this is my recommendation.

    The Chengdu Spicy Dumplings are great stuff.

    http://www.mccbchicago.com


    This place is very good. It's the same owner as GNR New China Kitchen, but considerably more upscale. They even have real dinner plates! ;-)
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #43 - October 15th, 2018, 8:49 am
    Post #43 - October 15th, 2018, 8:49 am Post #43 - October 15th, 2018, 8:49 am
    Thanks so much every one! Since the crew wants to be in Chinatown itself, I think we're down to either MCCB, MingHin, or Lao Sze Chuan. I'll report back!
  • Post #44 - October 21st, 2018, 2:57 pm
    Post #44 - October 21st, 2018, 2:57 pm Post #44 - October 21st, 2018, 2:57 pm
    Lao Sze Chuan has had those chairs for at least five years, since around the time of the kitchen fire that briefly closed the restaurant, which also prompted redecorating the dining room with a panda theme.

    Taking a cue from this thread, I ate at Lao Sze Chuan for the first time since the combination of the IRS raid, declining quality, and a health department closure made me shy away from Mr. Hu's restaurants for several years.

    Frankly, the meal was regrettable. Lao Sze Chuan (at least the Chinatown location) is now no longer the only place in the neighborhood to enjoy real Sichuan food, and in my estimation it is far from the best place.

    I attempted to order a number of dishes that I fondly remembered from years gone by, like the House Special Sea Cucumber, and was told flatly, "We don't do that anymore." Yet the dishes remain on the menu.

    Even basic dishes like the classic cold dish "Beef and Maw" (Fuqi feipian Chinese: 夫妻肺片 ) lack the ma-la appeal of yore, and better versions are found elsewhere in the neighborhood. Last night, it was so under-seasoned, tough, and off-tasting (the beef slices tasted bitter) that I could not finish it. That was the first time I was unable to finish the dish anywhere.

    The vegetables last night were little better: long beans looked a bit sorry, wilted, and had an internally slimy consistency. Perhaps I had the bad luck to get the last in a bunch, because I saw someone carry in two fresh bags from the front door to the kitchen, while I was dining.

    For a better experience, I'd suggest just any other Sichuan restaurant in town, where I have had better meals: the vibrant gem
    MCCB, the dry-pot-focused Sizzling Pot King 香鍋大王, the tiny but exacting Szechwan JMC, or the eminently serviceable Yan Bang Cai.
    Last edited by Cyriaco on October 21st, 2018, 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #45 - October 22nd, 2018, 11:33 am
    Post #45 - October 22nd, 2018, 11:33 am Post #45 - October 22nd, 2018, 11:33 am
    Cyriaco wrote:For a better experience, I'd suggest just any other Sichuan restaurant in town, where I have had better meals: the vibrant gem
    MCCB, the dry-pot-focused Sizzling Pot King 香鍋大王, the tiny but exacting Szechwan JMC, or the eminently serviceable Yan Bang Cai.

    I would throw Mala Temptation in that mix, too. Acutally, last time I was there with my family, we ran into Tony Hu as we were all leaving dinner.
  • Post #46 - April 20th, 2021, 1:14 pm
    Post #46 - April 20th, 2021, 1:14 pm Post #46 - April 20th, 2021, 1:14 pm
    Strings Owner Brings Hong Kong Cart Noodles to a Chinatown Favorite. Ken Kee is reborn in Chinatown Square and its new owners have plans for a Fulton Market ramen shop.

    https://chicago.eater.com/2021/4/20/223 ... -new-owner
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #47 - December 26th, 2021, 7:01 pm
    Post #47 - December 26th, 2021, 7:01 pm Post #47 - December 26th, 2021, 7:01 pm
    Anyone been to Ken Kee recently? Am considering going on New Year’s Day. Have not been to Chinatown in a little over a year and never on a New Year’s Day. Thinking my 9 year old would enjoy the atmosphere and food. Any thoughts on visiting this place, Chinatown in general on New Year’s Day, or other restaurant suggestions that would be fun for a kid would be appreciated…
  • Post #48 - December 27th, 2021, 8:24 am
    Post #48 - December 27th, 2021, 8:24 am Post #48 - December 27th, 2021, 8:24 am
    I'm still in the Lao Sze Chuan camp for what we like to order, BUT, for a 9 year old, I have suggestions that my kids would love if they were still 9, and would still love today. Possibly "outside of the box" but these are in Chinatown, and interesting.

    The sushi conveyor belt place: Sushi +
    https://www.rotarysushi.com/

    The korean bbq place with a robot server, and the ferris wheel presentation.
    https://www.jiangniubbq.com/

    The smoothie / bubble tea / ice cream/waffle place - I think it's "Joy Yee PLUS." Those waffles are as good as they look:
    https://joyyee.com/

    If they like noodle soup, then Daguan Noodle is an absolute favorite of mine. You order your soup flavor, and when they bring it out, they also bring a tray with a bunch of add ins you can choose, and they dump it in your soup for you at your table. But, the soup is really, really good, imo. It's not like a HUGE presentation deal, it's pretty fast, but that could be fun, and the soup is GOOD.
    https://www.daguannoodle.com/

    Plus, right next door to Daguan is Feida bakery (old school Chinese bakery - kinda grungy, but I love it,) and also Legend Tasty House for rolled ice cream, where they make your ice cream right in front of you. I've only been to Legend Tasty House once - it was the one in Berwyn. I honestly could not believe the music they were blasting, and I actually LOVE Gangsta Rap. I don't believe it belongs in an ice cream place with little kids running around. And yes, it was VERY R Rated. I have no clue if the Chinatown branch has the same thing going on, or if we just caught them at an awkward time. The Berwyn location only stayed open for a hot minute, it's closed now. I actually stood under one of their speakers and recorded with my phone for 15 seconds. Nwords, B words, F bombs galore. There were families with LITTLE kids just enjoying their tasty ice cream, maybe oblivious to the lyrics, but it was LOUD a.f.

    We also like to go into the grocery store on the East side of the mall on the south side of the walkway. I have no idea what it's called, but they have tanks with live fish in back. You never know what they might have swimming around back there. Our best sightings were hundreds and I mean HUNDREDS of live, big ass, frogs. MULTIPLE tanks full of them.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #49 - December 27th, 2021, 8:59 am
    Post #49 - December 27th, 2021, 8:59 am Post #49 - December 27th, 2021, 8:59 am
    LynnB wrote:Anyone been to Ken Kee recently?
    Over the summer I placed a carry-out order. The Noodle Cart menu (same idea as Daguan per Seebee, but you just pick in advance) ended up in a good dish - handmade noodle, laksa broth, and all the other toppings I like. I don't recommend the Hokkien fried rice, I don't know why I ordered it. The menu is vast, noodle cart good, so certainly opportunity.
  • Post #50 - December 27th, 2021, 9:55 am
    Post #50 - December 27th, 2021, 9:55 am Post #50 - December 27th, 2021, 9:55 am
    I did my regular version of Jewish Christmas and after my volunteer shift at the aquarium, went to Dongpo Impression for a repast.

    As is usually my case, I ordered 2 appetizers and two entrees and took pictures; so the waitress assumed I was some kind of food blogger/influencer! Service and conversation instantly improved from an already good level!

    Anyways; the food was excellent. Especially the Yushiang Eggplant; which I am assuming is the famous Fish Flavored Eggplant from Szechuan, as it tasted similar. Mapo Tofu was reliable favorite from my earlier trips, and did not disappoint. They made a vegetarian version of Dan Dan noodles on my request; and added chopped, sautéed Mushrooms instead of Pork. The only off thing was the Scallion Pancake as it was too oily for my taste.

    This, Sechwan JMC and Chef Xiong (although I go to the sister place in Evanston, Peppercorns Kitchen more often) have become my places to go to satisfy my spicy Chinese food cravings. Add Veggie House and Xian Cuisine; and I have real trouble choosing anyplace else to go to. These are reliable vegetarian friendly places in Chinatown and I have not been disappointed in any of my visits.

    That brings me to my question: How do my fellow forum members resist the urge to keep revisiting reliable favorites and try new places? Especially if you don't go as often to Chinatown?
  • Post #51 - December 27th, 2021, 10:33 am
    Post #51 - December 27th, 2021, 10:33 am Post #51 - December 27th, 2021, 10:33 am
    Indianbadger wrote:That brings me to my question: How do my fellow forum members resist the urge to keep revisiting reliable favorites and try new places? Especially if you don't go as often to Chinatown?


    It's tough, but it depends on who we're going with. Our issue is that the Dry Chili Fish, and Dry Chili Tofu at LSC is crave-worthy for our household, so it's hard not to choose the tried and true. Another issue is that we've found that it's hard to find a place that has a balance of Szechuan and Cantonese that will make the whole group happy. In our experiences, it's usually been one is good, and the other is honestly, trash. LSC is a happy medium for what we like to order. We can order something like Sesame Chicken there, and it'll actually be VERY decent for the folks that aren't too interested in ma-la goodness, and tendons, and sour pickles and stuff.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #52 - December 27th, 2021, 1:09 pm
    Post #52 - December 27th, 2021, 1:09 pm Post #52 - December 27th, 2021, 1:09 pm
    LynnB wrote:Anyone been to Ken Kee recently? Am considering going on New Year’s Day. Have not been to Chinatown in a little over a year and never on a New Year’s Day. Thinking my 9 year old would enjoy the atmosphere and food. Any thoughts on visiting this place, Chinatown in general on New Year’s Day, or other restaurant suggestions that would be fun for a kid would be appreciated…


    Ordered from it a few times - pretty good. They have pretty good congee we found. Looking forward to visiting the actual restaurant instead of just ordering.
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing
  • Post #53 - December 28th, 2021, 5:51 pm
    Post #53 - December 28th, 2021, 5:51 pm Post #53 - December 28th, 2021, 5:51 pm
    We hit up the 'new' Ken Kee a few days ago for light lunch. Definitely a cute space with lots of options from funky to friendly. Could see it satisfying adults and kids.

    Also had some stellar takeout from Four Seasons Dumplings on Halsted, they're really on fire we have found. They and Chef Xiong are our top two spots for delivery/takeout, but gotta get back to JMC once the spice-averse relatives head home.
  • Post #54 - December 29th, 2021, 7:53 am
    Post #54 - December 29th, 2021, 7:53 am Post #54 - December 29th, 2021, 7:53 am
    We have now been to Qiao Lin Hotpot 3 or 4 times, including once with a family with 3 boys ranging between 4th grade and high school age. The boys really enjoyed it. The process of cooking in the middle of the table and adding their own food to the broth kept them engaged. They also enjoyed going up to the large sauce/condiment table and mixing their own concoctions. Since you can have up to 3 broths per pot, different tastes and spiciness preferences can be satisfied. There is also a very large stuffed Panda in the entrance area where pictures can be taken. Aside from these considerations, it is very good hotpot in a very nicely built out space.

    I understand it can get very crowded at times. We have always arrived just when it opens and never had a wait. There is also a waitlist function through Yelp (no reservations). Qiao Lin is in one of the spaces below 88 Marketplace, so there is easy, free parking across the street.

    Qiao Lin Hotpot
    2105 S. Jefferson
    (312) 600 9779
    "I live on good soup, not on fine words." -Moliere
  • Post #55 - December 31st, 2021, 6:17 pm
    Post #55 - December 31st, 2021, 6:17 pm Post #55 - December 31st, 2021, 6:17 pm
    Thanks for all the responses! Given the weather forecast, we have decided not to venture out tomorrow evening. However, I have now added a few more places to my Chinatown-try list.
  • Post #56 - January 7th, 2022, 4:21 pm
    Post #56 - January 7th, 2022, 4:21 pm Post #56 - January 7th, 2022, 4:21 pm
    I am hitting all the Szechuan places in Chinatown.
    The winner til now is Chef Xiong -- extremely good, multi-layered, interesting Szechuan. I got the Dang Dang Noodles (called something else), the Lamb with Cumin, fantastic veggies (pea shoots?), popcorn chicken, yummmmm. Worth the drive.

    2143 S Archer Ave

    Fl 1

    Chicago, IL 60616

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