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American-Cantonese Egg Rolls

American-Cantonese Egg Rolls
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  • Post #91 - October 22nd, 2014, 7:16 am
    Post #91 - October 22nd, 2014, 7:16 am Post #91 - October 22nd, 2014, 7:16 am
    PIGMON wrote:
    stevez wrote:If I'm remembering correctly, the batter dipped egg roll served at Kow Kow is a relatively recent addition. I remember non - battered egg rolls being served there when I was a kid; similar to those still being served at Mee Mah (owned by members of the same family).


    We just came back from Kow Kow to procure an order of egg rolls and my old college friend, Wendy Moy, who's family has owned Kow Kow since 1949, happened to be behind the register. We asked her when Kow Kow began serving their battered egg rolls and she said they've been doing it that way since their inception.


    I have no reason to doubt your friend's memory of the egg rolls at Kow Kow, but with all due respect, my memory ain't so bad, either, and I definitely recall non-battered egg rolls at Kow Kow. My memories go way back to when Kow Kow was located in a small storefront on Devon and may even predate Wendy's birth. Maybe she meant to say that they've been making them that way as long as she can remember, which makes more sense to me.

    Note: There was a period of time from the mid to late '60s until a year or two after they moved onto the former Billy's location (their present home) when I didn't visit Kow Kow. I suspect the change in the egg rolls came sometime during that period; perhaps coinciding with the move to the Cicero Ave location, though I have no evidence of that.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #92 - October 23rd, 2014, 6:03 pm
    Post #92 - October 23rd, 2014, 6:03 pm Post #92 - October 23rd, 2014, 6:03 pm
    Been stopping in at randomly passed spots that look and fit the role of a classic Chinese-American dining option, and trying out their egg rolls while doing so. I think these type of spots are your best bet if you prefer a touch of peanut butter, as opposed to the strip mall stops, but thats just off the ones I've tried. Also for the most part, the bigger sized rolls seem to always be better, in value and taste.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Young's Chinese Restaurant

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    Glenview

    Classic old school stop in the middle of an area with many options of this style. Young's has been serving the Northshore for over a half decade. I decided I had to stop in and try something based on the sign outside, it's definitely a classic. Inside is a time warp as well and the Young's Lunch plate Special will get you a soup, egg roll, spare rib, Cantonese shrimp, crispy wonton and a scoop of pork fried rice for $6. Nothing special, egg roll included. While it was well sized and extra crispy with hints of peanut butter the rest of the filling was average at best, though the house hot mustard was fire.

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    The insides
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Chef

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    Wheeling

    Another classic old school spot. The couple here used to own another popular Chinatown spot until moving out to da burbs. I guess consistency can play a key in the scoring of egg rolls because what I got were not what online reviews had described. While there was a nice amount of shrimp and some pork too with hints of peanut butter throughout, the filling was dry and the first and last bites were doughy. Packet mustard wasn't helping.

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    Bad Batch?
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Heng Wing Restaurant

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    Palatine

    Had to stop when I saw the sign riding by. After pulling into the lot I checked what people were saying about it online. Lots of mentions for their egg rolls which was all I needed to read. These guys were medium sized with shrimp, pork and peanut butter. The cabbage and green onion mixture was finely chopped and the house hot mustard was thicker than the norm with extra kick to it.

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    Very good, but not enough to crack the top five to date
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Peking Express

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    Elk Grove Village

    I really wanted an egg roll after a meeting out in Elk Grove and decided to seek out a stop. I ended up being unable to choose between two separate spots that came with praise so I just decided to try them both. First stop up is this stripmall spot with a few tables to sit at. The family was dining at one of the tables but one of them jumped up to take my order when I entered. I learned thru a picture on the wall that the family behind this place used to run the now for sale Lin's Garden Restaurant on Milwaukee near the Chicago/Glenview border. These were smaller than most of the other ones tried and while they did have plenty of peanut butter, it was in clumps and the cabbage was roughly chopped making it hard not to pull it all out during a bite. A tad below average.

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    Smaller sized and not chopped enough insides did this one in
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Ma's Oriental Express

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    Elk Grove Village

    Another stripmall stop. Lots of mentions for their egg rolls over on Yelp which doesn't mean they're good but could at least be a clue. These were as big as they're cracked up to be. One of these was like two from the above spot. While I didn't taste nor find much peanut butter inside, the filling was loaded with shrimp and pork and managed to stay extra crunchy as opposed to mushy which can sometimes can be the case. These were pretty damn good, only thing missing was house hot mustard.

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    The biggest egg rolls in the business
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Young's Chinese Restaurant
    1744 Waukegan Rd
    Glenview, IL 60025
    (847) 724-7611

    Golden Chef Restaurant
    600 S Milwaukee Ave
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (847) 537-7100

    Heng Wing Restaurant
    121 Palatine Rd
    Palatine, IL 60067
    (847) 358-3061

    Peking Express
    576 E Devon Ave
    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
    (847) 956-1020

    Ma's Oriental Express
    1141 E Nerge Rd
    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
    (847) 301-1988
  • Post #93 - October 24th, 2014, 7:36 am
    Post #93 - October 24th, 2014, 7:36 am Post #93 - October 24th, 2014, 7:36 am
    My researched places are running thin - but finding new ones each day. This one has been around since the mid 1980's - previously across the street in Summit. All I had to read about this spot was housemade egg rolls and I was down for a visit.

    The Original Big 4 Chop Suey on Harlem Ave. - Chicago:

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    Might be one of the best egg rolls I have had of the 23 or so I have snarfed in the past couple weeks.

    lacquered finish:

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    tasty - crunchy - greasy- cabbage/pork/peanutbutter -faboo.

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    The Original Big 4 Chop Suey
    5411 S. Harlem Ave.
    Chicago, IL.

    773-586-6688

    http://www.big4chopsuey.com/
  • Post #94 - October 24th, 2014, 2:29 pm
    Post #94 - October 24th, 2014, 2:29 pm Post #94 - October 24th, 2014, 2:29 pm
    What about Wing's Chinese in Cicero? Anyone try the eggrolls or food there?
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #95 - October 24th, 2014, 2:35 pm
    Post #95 - October 24th, 2014, 2:35 pm Post #95 - October 24th, 2014, 2:35 pm
    toria wrote:What about Wing's Chinese in Cicero? Anyone try the eggrolls or food there?


    I have the Wings in Cicero and Alsip on my list - just a little to far for me to hit at lunch.. so far.
  • Post #96 - October 27th, 2014, 9:16 pm
    Post #96 - October 27th, 2014, 9:16 pm Post #96 - October 27th, 2014, 9:16 pm
    stevez wrote:
    PIGMON wrote:
    stevez wrote:If I'm remembering correctly, the batter dipped egg roll served at Kow Kow is a relatively recent addition. I remember non - battered egg rolls being served there when I was a kid; similar to those still being served at Mee Mah (owned by members of the same family).


    We just came back from Kow Kow to procure an order of egg rolls and my old college friend, Wendy Moy, who's family has owned Kow Kow since 1949, happened to be behind the register. We asked her when Kow Kow began serving their battered egg rolls and she said they've been doing it that way since their inception.


    I have no reason to doubt your friend's memory of the egg rolls at Kow Kow, but with all due respect, my memory ain't so bad, either, and I definitely recall non-battered egg rolls at Kow Kow. My memories go way back to when Kow Kow was located in a small storefront on Devon and may even predate Wendy's birth. Maybe she meant to say that they've been making them that way as long as she can remember, which makes more sense to me.

    Note: There was a period of time from the mid to late '60s until a year or two after they moved onto the former Billy's location (their present home) when I didn't visit Kow Kow. I suspect the change in the egg rolls came sometime during that period; perhaps coinciding with the move to the Cicero Ave location, though I have no evidence of that.

    Look, there’s no accounting for every egg roll to ever come out of the Kow Kow kitchen. But Wendy (Moy), has been involved with the Kow Kow family business, in one capacity or another for over 40 years. When I spoke with a slightly exasperated Wendy this afternoon, she felt compelled to put her father slash original owner of Kow Kow (c.1949) on the phone to set the record straight. He, too, stated emphatically that the restaurant has always made battered egg rolls, and has never at any time, at any Kow Kow location sanctioned (or seen) a traditional, non-battered egg roll.

    Unless proof of a secret batterless egg roll scandal and subsequent Moy family cover up surfaces, I hope this puts the Kow Kow egg roll matter to rest.
  • Post #97 - October 27th, 2014, 10:34 pm
    Post #97 - October 27th, 2014, 10:34 pm Post #97 - October 27th, 2014, 10:34 pm
    I demand a long form affidavit of batteredness!

    Unless you've got something to hide...







    (Do I really need to put a smiley here:))
  • Post #98 - October 28th, 2014, 7:03 am
    Post #98 - October 28th, 2014, 7:03 am Post #98 - October 28th, 2014, 7:03 am
    The egg roll search is something near and dear to my heart. For a while now, I’ve been chasing the memories of egg rolls past. I have two favorites, both from now defunct Chinese restaurants and I’m always on the lookout for worthy replacements.

    My all-time favorite egg roll, the “ne plus ultra” of egg rolls, were those served by the long shuttered Abacus, a restaurant owned by someone named Dr. Shen (from what I remember, not a medical doctor, but a PhD in food science), formerly located on the northeast corner of Clark & Wrightwood. The Abacus egg roll was relatively fat and included king crab along with pork shrimp and peanut butter. I’ve never had another egg roll that even came close to this beauty.

    The Abacus was pricey and not an everyday destination, but in those days Lincoln Park boasted quite a collection of good Chinese restaurants fit for every day consumption. Among them was Far East who, along with sister restaurant Pekin House on Devon, boasted what was for me the ur-peanut butter tinged egg roll. Now, both of those places are gone, but my search for egg rolls that are just as good continues.

    Here are a few places that I’ve been to. There are more to come.

    Orange Garden
    First up is long time board favorite Orange Garden.

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    Does the excellent mid-century neon sign and exterior design of the place go hand in hand with a quality egg roll? Yes, it does.

    Orange Garden Egg Roll
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    These egg rolls were nicely crisp with just the right amount of grease. Egg rolls here are served with squeeze bottle sauces. The mustard was nice and pungent and the sweet sauce, while obviously homemade, was completely clear, with no little bits in it.

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    The filling had a tinge of peanut butter and shrimp. There was no discernible pork in this egg roll, but the cabbage was blanched so that it combined nicely with the rest of the filling and wasn’t too crunchy or dry, though it retained a nice texture. I liked these quite a bit.

    Golden Chef
    Next, a repeat of one that Da Beef posted about. At a recent LTH North Group Lunch at Golden Chef, I had a chance to try their egg rolls. I was excited to try these because of the restaurant’s lineage to Hi Howe, which is another long gone favorite of mine.

    Golden Chef Eggroll
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    The owners of Golden Chef go out of their way to prepare food that is both tasty and healthy. These egg rolls were crispy and greaseless…almost too greaseless. They tasted almost “clinical” in their healthfulness. There was a small bit of peanut butter taste, but overall, I didn’t enjoy these as much as some others that I’ve tried recently.

    Palace Restaurant
    When I was at Orange Garden, I met a couple of guys who were culinary adventurers checking out old school Chinese restaurants. We struck up a conversation and when I told them I was on an egg roll quest, they highly recommended checking out Palace Restaurant in Morton Grove. When I got to Palace Restaurant, I realized it was a place that I had been to before with Pigmon and Trixie Pea. Not only that, but it appears that Palace Restaurant has already been profiled in this thread. In fact, it’s the very first place mentioned.

    Palace Restaurant Egg Roll
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    As described upthread, these egg rolls were a little on the greasy side, but still retained some crispness. There was a little bit of peanut butter taste, but the veggies were a little limp. The menu claims both shrimp and pork are in the egg rolls, though both items are so well homogenized into the filling that I didn’t see any (though I could taste them). Sauces were house made and served in those particular metal containers that one frequently sees at Chinese restaurants. The sweet sauce was oddly light colored.

    As a side note, the “#2 Palace Delight” lunch special, consisting of an egg roll, BBQ pork, two crispy fried wonton skins (these were fried very hard), a fried shrimp, two large chicken wings (fling portions) that were fried very crispy and rice. I actually thought the chicken wings were the star of the show, with the egg rolls relegated to a supporting player. Still, for $7 it’s a hell of a deal at lunch.

    Sun Wah

    Next up, another board favorite that is not normally thought of as a destination for egg rolls; Sun Wah.

    Sun Wah Egg Roll
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    These egg rolls were perfectly fried, with just a hint of peanut butter. The distinguishing factor for Sun Wah’s egg rolls is that besides containing both pork and shrimp, they also contain duck; which lends a unique and excellent flavor. Sauces served in squeeze bottles. The mustard is nicely pungent and the sweet sauce is good.

    It’s hard to remember to order egg rolls when visiting Sun Wah, but if the urge strikes, they are well worth it.

    Hong Kong Chop Suey
    Acting on a tip from my brother, I schlepped out to Mundelein to try the egg rolls at this innocuously named strip mall joint. Upon arriving, I found a place with a much more complex menu than the name would indicate.

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    Hong Kong Chop Suey Egg Roll
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    These egg rolls achieved the platonic ideal of the peanut butter egg roll for me. The filing consisted of pork, shrimp and chicken along with perfectly braised cabbage and more than a little taste of peanut butter. If, like me, your egg roll memories include Pekin House or Far East, these are the egg rolls for you. Make the trip to Mundelein!

    Exploring the menu will have to wait for another day. I was there for the egg rolls, but an honorable mention has to go to the $2.75 bowl of won ton soup that I ordered to accompany the egg rolls.

    Hong Kong Chop Suey Won Ton Soup
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    I’ll let this picture do the talking, but if the rest of the food delivers as well as the egg roll and soup did, I’ll be making that 40 minute trek on a regular basis.

    That’s it for now. More later as time permits.

    Orange Garden
    1942 W Irving Park Rd
    Chicago, IL 60613
    (773) 525-7479

    Golden Chef
    600 S Milwaukee Ave
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (847) 537-7100

    Palace Restaurant
    9236 Waukegan Rd
    Morton Grove, IL 60053
    (847) 966-2231

    Sun Wah BBQ
    5039 N Broadway St
    Chicago, IL 60640
    (773) 769-1254

    Hong Kong Chop Suey
    316 N Lake St
    Mundelein, IL 60060
    (847) 949-9019
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #99 - October 28th, 2014, 9:42 am
    Post #99 - October 28th, 2014, 9:42 am Post #99 - October 28th, 2014, 9:42 am
    stevez wrote:. The Abacus egg roll was relatively fat and included king crab along with pork shrimp and peanut butter. I’ve never had another egg roll that even came close to this beauty.


    damn.. sounds like the holy grail of egg rolls to me.
  • Post #100 - October 28th, 2014, 9:54 am
    Post #100 - October 28th, 2014, 9:54 am Post #100 - October 28th, 2014, 9:54 am
    stevez wrote:Next, a repeat of one that Da Beef posted about. At a recent LTH North Group Lunch at Golden Chef, I had a chance to try their egg rolls. I was excited to try these because of the restaurant’s lineage to Hi Howe, which is another long gone favorite of mine.

    Hi Howe >sigh<
  • Post #101 - October 30th, 2014, 8:20 pm
    Post #101 - October 30th, 2014, 8:20 pm Post #101 - October 30th, 2014, 8:20 pm
    Hong Kong Chop Suey
    Acting on a tip from my brother, I schlepped out to Mundelein to try the egg rolls at this innocuously named strip mall joint. Upon arriving, I found a place with a much more complex menu than the name would indicate.

    These egg rolls achieved the platonic ideal of the peanut butter egg roll for me. The filing consisted of pork, shrimp and chicken along with perfectly braised cabbage and more than a little taste of peanut butter. If, like me, your egg roll memories include Pekin House or Far East, these are the egg rolls for you. Make the trip to Mundelein!

    Exploring the menu will have to wait for another day. I was there for the egg rolls, but an honorable mention has to go to the $2.75 bowl of won ton soup that I ordered to accompany the egg rolls.

    I’ll let this picture do the talking, but if the rest of the food delivers as well as the egg roll and soup did, I’ll be making that 40 minute trek on a regular basis.

    That’s it for now. More later as time permits.

    Hong Kong Chop Suey
    316 N Lake St
    Mundelein, IL 60060
    (847) 949-9019


    Steve Z's great photos and descriptions, especially of the Won Ton Soup, prompted me to go there today for lunch. Arriving just before 1:00 p.m., only one of the 16 four-top rectangular tables was taken. The waitress told me that they had quite a lunch rush but most were gone, most likely working people, perhaps some who had read Steve's review. Even after the lunch rush, the tables had all been cleared, the place was very clean. The decor was minimalist modern. Only the three Chinese pictures on the walls gave a hint to the type of cuisine featured. Nowhere in sight were the ubiquitous paper place-mats with the Chinese calendar, no large round tables for 8 to 10 with the lazy susan in the center. Two of the four-tops had been slid together to seat eight. Both the server and the woman I assumed to be the owner made sure my table was cleaned again before seating me. Nice!

    The Won Ton Soup was stellar! It has gone up to $2.95 but still a bargain and the best soup of that kind I remember having. Loaded with strips of white meat chicken, barbeque pork, mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onion slices - I loved it.

    Mind you, I don't have a high tolerance for spicy heat, so my order from the lunch specials was Beef Chop Suey which came with Pork Fried Rice and Egg Roll or Pork Egg Foo Young. Of course I chose the Egg Roll. It was everything Steve said it was. The Chop Suey was excellent with tender, nicely trimmed beef in a richly flavored sauce and a nice variety of chopped cabbage, celery, onions, sprouts, etc. When eaten with the Pork Fried Rice, it was exceeptionally rich and flavorful. The portion was huge. After the soup and Egg Roll, I had to take some Chop Suey home. I seldom do that! A pot of very nice Oolong Tea was only $1.00.

    I need to remember that this thread is about Egg Rolls and this one is at the top of my list. Thanks Steve Z!
  • Post #102 - October 31st, 2014, 3:38 pm
    Post #102 - October 31st, 2014, 3:38 pm Post #102 - October 31st, 2014, 3:38 pm
    Thanks, Eddie. I'm glad you liked the egg roll at Hong Kong Chinese as much as I did. Here's one more spot.

    Mee Mah is located across the street from my office. While I can't really recommend anything else on their menu, their egg rolls are well worthwhile. I've been led to believe that there is some sort of family connection between the owners of Mee Mah and the owners of Kow Kow, and I think that family connection shows up in the egg rolls.

    Mee Mah Egg Rolls
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    While these egg rolls are not breaded like those at Kow Kow, they are very much like the old time Kow Kow egg rolls that I remember from the 50's (evidently in error :wink: ). The filling is pretty homogenized, but there is definitely both pork and shrimp in there along with tender, but not mushy, cabbage. The taste is very close to that of Kow Kow's egg rolls. The sauces are house made when eating in, but in pouches when taking out. It's a devil's bargain, since the rest of the food on the menu is not all that wonderful, but eating in is the only way to get decent sauce to go with the world class egg roll.

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    Mee Mah
    4032 W Peterson Ave
    Chicago, IL 60646
    (773) 539-2277
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #103 - November 1st, 2014, 12:00 am
    Post #103 - November 1st, 2014, 12:00 am Post #103 - November 1st, 2014, 12:00 am
    The Piggy and I stopped by a couple more spots at random the other day during lunch. For random pop-ins both places were surprisingly decent, they were “Plenty” at Montrose & Damen, and Lo’s at California and Irving Park.

    Plenty’s egg roll was very good, a solid B+ in my book, even with the more prominent cinnamon flavor than I have encountered elsewhere.

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    Lo’s egg roll was of the thinner more wrapped variety. I would have guessed I’d dislike that type, considering the larger carb to filling ratio, however it really worked for me. The exterior was extremely crisp but the inner wrapping layers were chewy, this created a nice compliment of textures. When it comes to the flavor of this thing, it is quite the oddball, unique to say the least. It contained beef and shrimp, no pork, and there was a strong artificial maple syrup flavor to it. I liked it, even the maple syrup flavor which was quite strong

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    PIGMON was so sure there was some Aunt Jemima in it that he told the owner he knew their secret, only to be met with utter confusion and what appeared to be disgust at the idea of putting syrup in an eggroll. She told us there was raw cane sugar in it. Upon further reading about what makes artificial maple flavor I learned a few things. 1. It is a from an aroma compound called sotolon, which is a major flavor and aroma component of fenugreek. 2. There is a condition called maple syrup urine disease which causes people to pee the stuff. 3. It is in fact in raw cane sugar, so the owner was likely telling the truth.

    Plenty Chinese Restaurant
    2002 W Montrose Ave
    Chicago, IL 60618

    Lo's China Kitchen
    2800 W Irving Park Rd
    Chicago, IL 60618
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #104 - November 1st, 2014, 11:14 am
    Post #104 - November 1st, 2014, 11:14 am Post #104 - November 1st, 2014, 11:14 am
    laikom wrote:2. There is a condition called maple syrup urine disease which causes people to pee the stuff.


    Is this related somehow to uromysitisis poisoning?


    The highlight of the Lo's egg roll is that they fully integrate (blend) the beef throughout the filling, containing no chunks of meat whatsoever. By doing so, this gives every bite a uniformly pleasant meaty profile but, unfortunately, also gives it an unattractive brownish-gray appearance. The owner was adamant that egg roll's made exclusively with beef instead of pork are superior.

    I dislike this type of all-too-commonly found wrapper, being of the flavorless cardboard-dry variety (matzoh-esque).

    This egg roll isn't a showcase effort but in pinch would suffice if you're in the neighborhood.
  • Post #105 - November 3rd, 2014, 9:55 am
    Post #105 - November 3rd, 2014, 9:55 am Post #105 - November 3rd, 2014, 9:55 am
    wasnt on my list but im always game for giving a spot near my work a try -

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    colorfull effort - lacked flavor - cabbage was really plentiful and crunchy.

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    -1 point for carryout fried rice served in plastic "glad" container vs old school chinese carryout carton. :wink:

    Malahini Terrace
    321 75th Street
    Willowbrook, IL.

    http://www.willowbrookmalahiniterrace.com/

    I got a round to a few spots last week - Dug Jade Garden over in Lyons:

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    good version - crunchy

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    Solid eggroll - Should have gotten my fried rice here as well. - next stop wasnt strong at all.

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    Jade Garden
    8703 Ogden Ave.
    Lyons, IL.

    708-447-4900

    I have refrained from putting bad eggrolls on here(ive had a few) - but the next spot in Hinsdale was pretty bad - only ate 1/2 on the eggroll before I put it down. Jade Dragon

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    Downtown busy Hinsdale- Good looking eggroll - interior fell flat:

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    just missing something - flavor - just really bland:

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    terrible fried rice - first place Ive come across - thankfully - that was putting peas and carrots in the fried rice -

    Jade Dragon
    43 S. Washington
    Hinsdale, IL.

    http://www.jadedragonhinsdale.com/

    Ive had pretty good luck east of where I work - especially the Midway area - Wing Wah on 63rd street in Chicago

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    no sun - and lost my whole pic- top notch egg roll though:

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    very good fried rice as well.

    Wing Wah
    6452 W. 63rd Street
    Chicago, IL.

    773-788-1933

    Last one of the week was another Midway area spot - 1st Chop Suey - on Archer Ave.

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    ground pork filling - lots of flavors..

    bout the best I have pic wise of this one:

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    1st Chop Suey
    5845 S. Archer Ave.
    Chicago, IL.

    773-767-0060

    Pretty sure its eggrolls and fried rice for lunch again today -

    Been enjoying the search - I could always go back to Fabulous Noodles or Chinese Kitchen in the area but I know what theirs are like(good). The only place I have been back to a 2nd time is Ings over on Harlem ave. The only place I ate 2 eggrolls was Tong's in Villa Park. A couple I plan to go back to when my list drys up: Hong Min, and China Chef.

    edited to add pic and commentary
    Last edited by jimswside on November 7th, 2014, 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #106 - November 6th, 2014, 11:11 pm
    Post #106 - November 6th, 2014, 11:11 pm Post #106 - November 6th, 2014, 11:11 pm
    Had kind of a nostalgic week, with this thread being a major inspiration behind it. On Tuesday, I met some buddies from high school over at Palace Cantonese (very near our high school) for some egg rolls . . .

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    Egg Rolls from Palace Cantonese

    Great stuff and very much as I'd remembered them, though I don't remember ever going there until a few years after high school.

    The very next day, after hearing about my Tuesday lunch, one of my workmates had a hankering. Rather than repeat Tuesday's lunch, with Kow Kow just a few minutes from my office, I decided to take him over there for some lunchtime eggrolls . . .

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    Egg Rolls from Kow Kow

    They were excellent and really satisfied the craving. After our visit, I realized that it had been nearly 7 years since my last visit to Kow Kow. That's a long time for something that felt so incredibly familiar. I guess that just speaks to how iconic Kow Kow's egg rolls have been in my life. Thanks, Pigmon, for stirring up some great food memories getting me back over to these spots again.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #107 - November 7th, 2014, 2:37 pm
    Post #107 - November 7th, 2014, 2:37 pm Post #107 - November 7th, 2014, 2:37 pm
    What this thread needs is Pizza Boy --> Egg Roll Boy!

    I really thought that little distinguished one strip mall chop suey storefront egg roll from another across this great Chicagoland, but now that I've perused the thread and seen the photos, I am sure of it. Most interesting is that the received wisdom of LTH has been largely proven right - it seems that, with a few exceptional new finds, the Kow Kows and Orange Gardens and Sun Wah Wah Suns that we thought were the old-school egg roll champs are the old-school egg roll champs. But I'll definitely get to that place by Johnnies too. No telling how many LTHers saw New Star's Chinese-place-on-small-town-Main Street atmospheric facade and hesitated, only to be pulled back by the influence of sausage smoke.
  • Post #108 - November 7th, 2014, 3:04 pm
    Post #108 - November 7th, 2014, 3:04 pm Post #108 - November 7th, 2014, 3:04 pm
    JeffB wrote:What this thread needs is Pizza Boy

    One month of nothing but egg rolls?
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #109 - November 10th, 2014, 8:05 am
    Post #109 - November 10th, 2014, 8:05 am Post #109 - November 10th, 2014, 8:05 am
    "there's a man going around taking names....... everybody wont be treated quite the same.":

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    had time for 4 this past week - took it easy, 2 repeats(Ing's and China Chef -both upthread) - both good - Ing's is one of my fav's:

    Image

    Image


    New spot # 1 - another good one up on North Ave. in Villa park - Wing Ho Chop Suey:

    Image

    been running into good eggrolls at all the chop suey spots as of late -

    Image

    im up in this area often - 2 solid spots right down the the road from each other with Wing Ho & China House.

    Wig Ho Chop Suey
    1017 W. North Ave
    Villa Park, IL.

    630-629-9886

    Spot # 2 was an easy hike from work down to Alsip - The Goody Goody Wings:

    Image

    Another good one from a chop suey spot - fresh, :

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    The Goody Goody Wings
    12213 S. Pulaski
    Alsip, IL.

    708-371-0455

    Always a little tougher to find a spot on Monday - but I think Ill get one in today.
  • Post #110 - November 10th, 2014, 12:42 pm
    Post #110 - November 10th, 2014, 12:42 pm Post #110 - November 10th, 2014, 12:42 pm
    jimswside wrote:"there's a man going around taking names....... everybody wont be treated quite the same.":

    Image

    Love this!!
    -Mary
  • Post #111 - November 17th, 2014, 9:34 am
    Post #111 - November 17th, 2014, 9:34 am Post #111 - November 17th, 2014, 9:34 am
    Enjoying adding to this collective database of egg rolls in Chicagoland. Something sorely needed and really not out there. Finding out there are alot of good egg rolls - some better than others, but alot of good.

    I got out for 3 new to me ones last week.
    Stop # 1 is in LaGrange - Magic Wok - large restaurant downtown LaGrange off the main drag.
    Image

    Started the week out good:
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    Chock full of shrimps and pork - this is a good one:

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    Fried rice here was a miss. - just a heads up

    Magic Wok
    23 W. Harris
    LaGrange, IL.

    708-352-2341

    http://www.mymagicwok.com/

    # 2 - next day - had Wings in Cicero on my list and finally got there on Tues. really far east from the work area:

    old school:
    Image

    just another good eggroll:
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    small - but poppin' - :

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    solid fried rice.

    Wings Chinese
    5143 W. 25th
    Cicero, IL.

    708-652-1090

    #3 - Darien Chop Suey - needed a spot close to my bank this past Fri - this spot worked:

    Image

    Strip mall spot been here since I started working in the area in '05. Never popped in. But with my recent revelation that, random chop suey spots can/might have a good egg roll theory, I made a visit.

    looks good -

    Image

    turned out to be a good one - pork was a little more coarse grind than some - cabbage was thin strands - all good:

    Image

    solid fried rice

    Darien Chop Suey
    7516 S. Cass
    Darien, IL.

    630-852-8899

    http://www.darienchopsuey.com/
  • Post #112 - December 10th, 2014, 10:48 pm
    Post #112 - December 10th, 2014, 10:48 pm Post #112 - December 10th, 2014, 10:48 pm
    Got another handful from the past couple months, all of these were spied and then tried after driving by. Mostly due to their old school looks, though a few were recognized from previous posts in this thread and elsewhere. It's interesting how the egg roll is made with basically the same ingredients at all these places yet each one has their own flavor profile. Let's roll.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Gen Hoe

    Image
    Geneva

    If not feeling like modern Mexican then this old school stop is your spot for a roll in the pretty little town down on the river. I guess they have a few locations and as was evidence on the weekend I rolled in they can get packed, however unlike Bien Trucha they seem to have unlimited amounts of space. This one had both a crunchy interior and also exterior with lots of BBQ pork and a couple tiny shrimps inside. Just packet mustard so I cant call it great but it was pretty good.

    Image
    Very good, 6th man type product
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Sea Chop Suey

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    Aurora

    Following Jim's lead of visiting strip mall spots with "chop suey" in the name I decided to try this place tucked in on Ogden. From the feel of the inside they've been there for a while and their egg roll is probably part of the reason why. This was described as having pork, shrimp and peanut butter and each of them were present. Even with a high cabbage to meat ratio and hot mustard packets this was one of the better ones I've had to date. Must be the peanut butter.

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    a worthy roll
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Hong Min

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    Palos Hills

    I've been meaning to try this place since it got the TP seal of approval and my time came when riding by last month. I was in a rush to get home and catch a game so I decided to get an order of their lauded beef chow fun to go along with an order of egg rolls which I ate in the car before the ride north. The cabbage in these had crunch and there was plenty of bbq pork but something was lacking, at this point I'm used to most places serving packet mustard so I doubt it was that. It wasn't bad but it's not making the final cut as far as I can taste. The Chow Fun was pretty damn good though I forgot I prefer it served dry (no gravy).

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    Just average compared to the better ones I tried thus far
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Ing's Palace

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    Bridgeview

    I think I got an off batch from here, while there was a slight detection of peanut butter the egg rolls were over-fried while still managing to be limp. On top of that they gave me this generic packet of hot mustard that I've never seen (every other place uses the same brand) and it was hideous. All that said this is a really cool old school spot, the type that's fading fast.

    Image
    One was better than the other but they wont be contending for a starting spot
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Tony's Chinese & American

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    Chicago (Near Grand and Fullerton)

    The inclusion of American in the name caught my eye and then I spied they make their own egg rolls so I rolled on into this old school spot with a very modern interior. I guess they redecorated few years ago but they've been there since the early 80's. On the wall to your right as you enter there's a bunch of pictures of the food, which are actually enticing well shot photographs. Along with those are some old nostalgic pictures from one of the spots the owner Tony used to cook at in Chinatown.

    Image
    Tony's old stomping grounds

    I'm glad I found this place because they make some solid stuff, I've been back a couple times since first trying them, but I haven't tried the egg roll since the first time in. It was awful, the interior layer was rubbery. Had I not tried their Tiki chicken plate which got me nostalgic for this place from college I wouldn't of ever gone back. But I'm glad I did, their fried rice rocks and everything else I've tried has been better than average. It's a well run machine.

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    Not Good
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Sharona wrote:This thread has been making me salivate for the past couple weeks, but my choices are severely limited here in Central Illinois. There are a whole lot of bland egg rolls down here. But I decided to give the egg rolls at the Grand Cafe a try. It is the oldest restaurant in Bloomington-Normal, having celebrated its 90th anniversary somewhat recently. The egg roll is pretty dang tasty, with BBQ pork and shrimp and cabbage as filling, with a hint of peanut butter. It was fried well and survived my 10 minute car ride home in the styrofoam container. I ordered it as part of the "PC Tray", which included fried wontons, house fried rice, and 4 slices of their sada steak.

    Now it just may be the 6.5 month pregnant me talking, but this meal really hit the spot today. Dumbed down American-Chinese food? Yes. But it was pretty delicious today. Jimswside, if you haven't already, check it out on your next visit down here!


    The Grand Cafe

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    Bloomington

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    Old Entryway

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    a peak inside

    I've always wanted to stop in if for a peak inside more than anything and it's what you'd expect from the oldest restaurant in the area which happens to also be an American-Chinese restaurant. Cool place, the locals were pouring in as they were just opening for dinner. I was originally just going to try some egg rolls but the PC tray caught my eye and I was with my cousin who presented eating power so I dropped the $10 on the tray. The egg rolls were the best thing off of it, though nothing special on this day. That said I totally understand a case of the craves, though not with a baby on board. Haha.

    Image
    PC Tray
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Gen Hoe Restaurant
    537 East State Street
    Geneva, IL 60134
    (630) 232-8350

    Golden Sea Chop Suey
    2908 Ogden Avenue
    Aurora, IL 60504
    (630) 851-7997

    Hong Min Restaurant
    8048 West 111th Street
    Palos Hills, IL 60465
    (708) 599-8488

    Ing's Palace
    8900 Harlem Avenue
    Bridgeview, IL 60455
    (708) 598-9555

    Tony's Chinese & American Restaurant
    6347 W Grand Ave
    Chicago, IL 60639
    (773) 637-2221

    The Grand Cafe
    615 North Main Street
    Bloomington, IL 61701
    (309) 828-0324
  • Post #113 - December 11th, 2014, 5:05 am
    Post #113 - December 11th, 2014, 5:05 am Post #113 - December 11th, 2014, 5:05 am
    Interesting lineage re: Tony's owner. I used to eat at Chiam back in the mid 1980's a good place to grab a drink when one was 17... Like most of Chinatown was now that I think of it, got a nice intro to Scorpions, hurricanes and gimlets..

    Some might remember the Jimmy Wongs downtown Chicago on wabash. I have hit a carryout place in Homer Glen a couple times and noticed numerous photos of Jimmy Wongs, and the celebrities that would eat there. I had heard there was a connection. Turns out the owner is Jimmys nephew who started cooking at JW back in the early 1970's. Joint is profiled upthread - First Wok II
  • Post #114 - December 11th, 2014, 7:08 am
    Post #114 - December 11th, 2014, 7:08 am Post #114 - December 11th, 2014, 7:08 am
    The Grand Cafe was the first Chinese restaurant I ever went to. And I just went to Gen Hoe last Saturday for lunch!

    Sometimes you just need some Cantonese food...
  • Post #115 - December 11th, 2014, 12:41 pm
    Post #115 - December 11th, 2014, 12:41 pm Post #115 - December 11th, 2014, 12:41 pm
    I thought maybe folks had lost their enthusiasm for the egg roll diet. How wrong I was!

    Da Beef wrote:The inclusion of American in the name caught my eye and then I spied they make their own egg rolls so I rolled on into this old school spot with a very modern interior. I guess they redecorated few years ago but they've been there since the early 80's. On the wall to your right as you enter there's a bunch of pictures of the food, which are actually enticing well shot photographs. Along with those are some old nostalgic pictures from one of the spots the owner Tony used to cook at in Chinatown.

    Image
    Tony's old stomping grounds

    Very interesting, thanks. I might have to pay Tony's a visit. That's the original Chiam before it moved to its swanky new home (now a bank) in 1967.

    Chiam Restaurant, 1950
    Image

    Da Beef wrote:I've always wanted to stop in if for a peak inside more than anything and it's what you'd expect from the oldest restaurant in the area which happens to also be an American-Chinese restaurant. Cool place, the locals were pouring in as they were just opening for dinner. I was originally just going to try some egg rolls but the PC tray caught my eye and I was with my cousin who presented eating power so I dropped the $10 on the tray. The egg rolls were the best thing off of it, though nothing special on this day. That said I totally understand a case of the craves, though not with a baby on board. Haha.

    Image
    PC Tray

    What the heck are those two thin slabs at the lower right? I went to Grand Cafe's website to see what comes on the PC Tray (answer: it's "a delightful combination of sada steak, S.F.W.T's [stuffed fried won tons], fried rice and a[n] egg roll"). Might that be the Grand Tray ("Egg Rolls, Sada Steak, Chicken Wings, Pork Tidbits and S.F.W.T.") instead of the PC? So maybe those slabs are a pork tidbit and a sada steak. That would still leave the question, what the heck is a sada steak? Have you come across that before? It's new to me. Is that like a Chinese carne asada?

    If you liked Grand Cafe, you might enjoy Chinese Tea Garden in Decatur, from the same era.

    Image

    Image

    Let me just say, one doesn't go to Chinese Tea Garden primarily for the food.
  • Post #116 - December 12th, 2014, 11:54 am
    Post #116 - December 12th, 2014, 11:54 am Post #116 - December 12th, 2014, 11:54 am
    Rene G wrote:Very interesting, thanks. I might have to pay Tony's a visit. That's the original Chiam before it moved to its swanky new home (now a bank) in 1967.


    Image
    Here's a picture inside Tony's on the building I think you speak of.

    Rene G wrote:
    Da Beef wrote:I've always wanted to stop in if for a peak inside more than anything and it's what you'd expect from the oldest restaurant in the area which happens to also be an American-Chinese restaurant. Cool place, the locals were pouring in as they were just opening for dinner. I was originally just going to try some egg rolls but the PC tray caught my eye and I was with my cousin who presented eating power so I dropped the $10 on the tray. The egg rolls were the best thing off of it, though nothing special on this day. That said I totally understand a case of the craves, though not with a baby on board. Haha.

    Image
    PC Tray

    What the heck are those two thin slabs at the lower right? I went to Grand Cafe's website to see what comes on the PC Tray (answer: it's "a delightful combination of sada steak, S.F.W.T's [stuffed fried won tons], fried rice and a[n] egg roll"). Might that be the Grand Tray ("Egg Rolls, Sada Steak, Chicken Wings, Pork Tidbits and S.F.W.T.") instead of the PC? So maybe those slabs are a pork tidbit and a sada steak. That would still leave the question, what the heck is a sada steak? Have you come across that before? It's new to me. Is that like a Chinese carne asada?

    If you liked Grand Cafe, you might enjoy Chinese Tea Garden in Decatur, from the same era.

    Image

    Image

    Let me just say, one doesn't go to Chinese Tea Garden primarily for the food.


    Yes thanks for clarifying, we did get the Grand Tray. Sada Steak? I wondered the same thing, it reminded me of the teriyaki beef sticks from the place I mentioned a fondness for from college. Lets just say they were boring. Same for the Pork Tidbits which were just slices of pork, meh. As far as the Chinese Tea Garden in Decatur goes I drove by on a different trip down there and remembered your review from the dedicated Decatur thread. It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement so I proceeded to take a picture before heading over to Paul's for some chili. Haha.

    Image
    Chinese Tea Garden in Decatur
  • Post #117 - December 12th, 2014, 5:32 pm
    Post #117 - December 12th, 2014, 5:32 pm Post #117 - December 12th, 2014, 5:32 pm
    Da Beef wrote:
    Rene G wrote:Very interesting, thanks. I might have to pay Tony's a visit. That's the original Chiam before it moved to its swanky new home (now a bank) in 1967.

    Image
    Here's a picture inside Tony's on the building I think you speak of.

    That's it! How about that sign?

    "Chiam" 2011
    Image

    The exterior is remarkably well preserved. One of these days I have to step inside to see if anything was saved.

    Da Beef wrote:As far as the Chinese Tea Garden in Decatur goes I drove by on a different trip down there and remembered your review from the dedicated Decatur thread. It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement so I proceeded to take a picture before heading over to Paul's for some chili. Haha.

    You probably made the right choice. I enjoyed my visit, though much more for the old dining room than for the food.
  • Post #118 - December 16th, 2014, 9:05 am
    Post #118 - December 16th, 2014, 9:05 am Post #118 - December 16th, 2014, 9:05 am
    eating while walking wrote:When I was studying in Beijing I seldom saw any kind of egg roll on a menu. I saw a lot more egg rolls in southern China and they were more like what we might call a spring roll: deep fried thin flaky wrapper and veg-heavy fillings. Sometimes they would have taro in them.


    That's what my Mom's egg rolls are like, and what I still crave when i think of home. The fillings are primarily cabbage or bean sprouts, with the occasional shredded carrot, with the occasional hot pepper, and some ground pork or beef sprinkled in. I actually wasn't even familiar with the term 'spring roll' until I went to college, and had my first thick-skinned, American egg roll.

    I hated it at first, but eventually grew to appreciate it for what it was. It's not Mom's, but like classic red-sauce Italian-American, it's still pretty darned awesome in its own way. I also developed a taste for the fluorescent sweet & sour pork (it just needs some chilli flake to put it over the edge).

    I love the photo gallery in this thread.
    "I've always thought pastrami was the most sensuous of the salted cured meats."
  • Post #119 - December 16th, 2014, 9:14 am
    Post #119 - December 16th, 2014, 9:14 am Post #119 - December 16th, 2014, 9:14 am
    Few months ago, I spotted this fan in a museum of hand fans in Healdsburg, California (http://www.handfanmuseum.com/):

    Image

    What was once a marketing give-away (likely free to customers) is now a museum piece, exhibited under glass.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #120 - December 16th, 2014, 7:46 pm
    Post #120 - December 16th, 2014, 7:46 pm Post #120 - December 16th, 2014, 7:46 pm
    De Rice

    Image
    (Photo by OEE)

    If you’re a big peanut-butter-in-your-egg roll lover, go check out De Rice on the South Side. You can literally see the PB oozing out of the seams of the eggroll wrapper! The filling contains chunks of pork and shrimp but, surprisingly, this eggroll is only slightly better than decent due to its ultra-dry wrapper.

    Image
    (Photo by OEE)

    *

    Lotus Chop Suey

    I know absolutely nothing about this old school Cantonese place except for one thing – it’s got one of the greatest Cantonese storefront signs in town. Unfortunately, business hasn’t been booming recently and they vacated half of their storefront place. Their glorious sign now hovers over a furniture store.
    My recollection of this nondescript egg roll was that it is mostly filled with poorly seasoned cabbage.
    The prudent thing to do here would be to just drive by and take a look at their classic sign.

    Image
    (Photo by OEE)

    *

    House of Bing

    Trix and I once had ambitions of doing an extensive egg foo yung (BBQ pork only) project years ago. But the idea died a miserable death once we ate at our first data point – House of Bing. Don’t get me wrong. The egg foo yung here was more than adequate but we both looked at each other afterwards and thought “if many/most of our future attempts at these things fall anywhere near this quality level, we’re in big, big trouble.” We bagged the concept immediately.

    I don’t remember anything notable about HOB’s egg roll. So, I’ll lean on Rene G to give the details. The thing I do remember, though, is their 25-year anniversary Ticonderoga (i.e. huge) shrimp EFY/ER/shrimp fried rice/pop special for $3.95 (carryout only). None of the components will blow your socks off. But I do believe that the three of us enjoyed it well enough to make a pretty good dent on our 2 hefty orders.

    Image
    (Photo by Rene G)



    De Rice
    920-918 East 47th Street, Chicago
    (773) 268-6868

    Lotus Chop Suey
    814 East 79th Street, Chicago
    (773) 488-2728

    House of Bing
    6930 South South Shore Drive #1, Chicago
    (773) 363-5400
    Last edited by PIGMON on January 14th, 2015, 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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