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  • Chinatown Help

    Post #1 - June 11th, 2012, 2:03 pm
    Post #1 - June 11th, 2012, 2:03 pm Post #1 - June 11th, 2012, 2:03 pm
    I need some fairly last-minute help, please.

    I feel like I know Chicago area food rather well at this point--aside from Chinatown, where I still can't get my bearings at all.

    Putting aside Little Three Happiness and Lao Hunan, where I have eaten a number of times, for dinner tonight does anyone have any recommendations? Looking at the LTHForum map I saw Double Li, Spring World, Shui Wah and Lao Sze Chuan. Any of those, or others? Also, any recommended dishes?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!
  • Post #2 - June 11th, 2012, 3:10 pm
    Post #2 - June 11th, 2012, 3:10 pm Post #2 - June 11th, 2012, 3:10 pm
    At Lao Sze Chuan, I have enjoyed the twice cooked pork, lamb with cumin, Tony's chicken with three chili, dan dan noodles, and chengdu Dumplings.

    Not sure how large a party you'll have, but if it's only 2 people, don't miss out on the dan dan noodles or the chengdu dumplings.
  • Post #3 - June 11th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    Post #3 - June 11th, 2012, 3:49 pm Post #3 - June 11th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    Each of the places you've cited from should have recommended dishes in their threads.

    At Spring World, which is now named Lao MyNextPlace or something or other -
    Shredded Chicken in House Spicy Vinegar (or something very similar) and the Fried Hunanese Ribs (or something very similar) are exceptional choices, in my opinion. Depending on party size, I'd get those, some chengdu dumplings, a chow fun, and then roll the dice with some interesting things that don't sound too Cantonese-ish.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #4 - June 11th, 2012, 5:52 pm
    Post #4 - June 11th, 2012, 5:52 pm Post #4 - June 11th, 2012, 5:52 pm
    seebee wrote:At Spring World, which is now named Lao MyNextPlace or something or other -
    Shredded Chicken in House Spicy Vinegar (or something very similar) and the Fried Hunanese Ribs (or something very similar) are exceptional choices, in my opinion. Depending on party size, I'd get those, some chengdu dumplings, a chow fun, and then roll the dice with some interesting things that don't sound too Cantonese-ish.

    Lao Yunan is the new name at the same address as Spring World.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - April 12th, 2013, 9:00 pm
    Post #5 - April 12th, 2013, 9:00 pm Post #5 - April 12th, 2013, 9:00 pm
    Looking for some advice on a new Chinatown joint. What I'm looking for is a place that does a respectable job with both Cantonese and Szechwan (generally speaking) stuff. I know, a lot of places might have both on the menu, but it seems that they really mostly specialize in one or the other, and I totally get that. We normally take a group to Chinatown, however, that includes kids and adults who are chili-challenged, and some of the group want some real deal Szechwan peppercorn goodness, and other stuff smothered in chili oil. Our happy medium lately has been Lao Beijing, and I'm actually surprised at how decent it has been. I'd say it leans more towards the Cantonese side of the spectrum, but the spicier stuff we order has been good enough to keep us coming back. At the other joints we've tried, the Cantonese stuff has just been so gross, that we can't really go back and keep everyone happy. Lao Beijing's Cantonese has actually been pretty good, and their Szechwan stuff is totally acceptable, which makes it rate highest so far for our ordering.

    General order pattern:
    spicy dumplings like Chengdu
    Spicy noodle dish like dan dan
    Dry Chili chicken like dish
    Spicy beef dish
    Some random adventurous dish with szechwan heat

    Orange Chicken
    Moo Shu something
    Chow Fun of some sort
    Sweet N sour something.
    Pot Stickers or other dumpling type thing
    Some standard fried appetizer things

    So, Spring World/Lao Yunan kinda fell out of favor recently. Their Cantonese was never really as good as Lao B's anyway, IMO.

    Lao Sze was never as good as Spring World for the Cantonese offerings, IMO.

    Double Li's Cantonese was laughable the one time we tried. It was so gross we were actually laughing at it at the table.

    Are there any places anyone knows of that do the whole Szechwan/spicy and Cantonese "standards" quite well in Chinatown? Since finding Lao Beijing, I'm wondering if we could do better, but I'm pretty happy with it as is. There are just so many joints tho -any advice would be great.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #6 - April 13th, 2013, 12:51 am
    Post #6 - April 13th, 2013, 12:51 am Post #6 - April 13th, 2013, 12:51 am
    A low-risk proposition for you: check out Emperor's Choice for lunch, at $7.95-10.95. My recommendation would be the beef with orange peel, the hot and sour soup, and the fried rice. While you're there (they're often slow mid-day), have some straight talk with the owner, who watches television at the bar, often over a plate of greens and some soup, and ask him about which nights / chefs can really rock the few Szechuan items for you.

    There aren't many foodies or Chinese patrons in there, I'll grant, but these guys know and have survived in Chinatown for a long time, and their premium prices reflect some really good ingredients and technique (for Cantonese, American-Chinese, all the disclaimers) in my experiences over the years. I was just there last week after a pause, and regretted not being back sooner. Hot and sour soup was gelatinous and flavorful, eggplant was full of toasty peanut flavor, and their fried rice with the cabbage and really dark soy is something comforting. If it's not the style of Cantonese you're after, you'll only be out a Hamilton (which is still double the tab you could admittedly score at Spring World, RIP).

    Hoping this thread gets some views, I'd also love updated recs on other places in Chinatown with a good set lunch / pick A-B menu. Too many of the Tony spots are hard to solo these days.
  • Post #7 - April 13th, 2013, 7:19 am
    Post #7 - April 13th, 2013, 7:19 am Post #7 - April 13th, 2013, 7:19 am
    Santander wrote:A low-risk proposition for you: check out Emperor's Choice for lunch, at $7.95-10.95. My recommendation would be the beef with orange peel, the hot and sour soup, and the fried rice.


    Nice call, Mr. Santander!

    Trix & I went there recently for a midweek lunch and couldn't have been happier for a low impact, high-value Chinatown Cantonese lunch. Haven't been to Emperor's Choice in years (mid-90s?) but was pleasantly surprised. A good rendition of hot n sour soup and a respectable nicely filled egg roll to boot. The place is clean as hell too. I've always thought that you can tell a lot about a restaurant overall by how clean they keep their aquarium-s. And the one at Emperor's Choice is squeaky clean!

    Warning: This post is valid Monday thru Friday 11-2pm for the lunch special only.

    A nice option.
  • Post #8 - April 14th, 2013, 8:01 am
    Post #8 - April 14th, 2013, 8:01 am Post #8 - April 14th, 2013, 8:01 am
    I've always liked Lee Wing Wah in the Chinatown Square. Their Honey Walnut Shrimp is the best in the business, next to Little Three Happiness' version.
  • Post #9 - April 21st, 2013, 9:09 pm
    Post #9 - April 21st, 2013, 9:09 pm Post #9 - April 21st, 2013, 9:09 pm
    What are people's favorite restaurants/dishes in Chinatown?
  • Post #10 - April 21st, 2013, 11:54 pm
    Post #10 - April 21st, 2013, 11:54 pm Post #10 - April 21st, 2013, 11:54 pm
    Famous Hunan Chile in Black Bean Sauce and Jade Tofu at Lao Hunan. Salt and Pepper Three Delight at Lao Sze Chuan...
    "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity."
  • Post #11 - April 22nd, 2013, 8:18 am
    Post #11 - April 22nd, 2013, 8:18 am Post #11 - April 22nd, 2013, 8:18 am
    backorforth wrote:Famous Hunan Chile in Black Bean Sauce and Jade Tofu at Lao Hunan


    What he said. Also makes great leftovers; I made that exact to go order while we were walking around Chinatown after dim sum a few weeks ago.
  • Post #12 - April 23rd, 2013, 8:12 pm
    Post #12 - April 23rd, 2013, 8:12 pm Post #12 - April 23rd, 2013, 8:12 pm
    Well, I'm going to C2E2 this weekend with three friends, and we're hoping to lunch at LTH, and do some late night dim sum at Triple Crown after Reggies. From what I've been reading here, we want to get LTH crispy noodle/duck/bbq and crispy salt and pepper head-on shrimp; anything else? And, any suggestions for Triple Crown would be appreciated. Thanks -- BobbieK
  • Post #13 - April 23rd, 2013, 9:02 pm
    Post #13 - April 23rd, 2013, 9:02 pm Post #13 - April 23rd, 2013, 9:02 pm
    bobbiek wrote:... we want to get LTH crispy noodle/duck/bbq and crispy salt and pepper head-on shrimp; anything else?


    Half a crispy skin chicken would be a good choice.
    JiLS
  • Post #14 - April 24th, 2013, 5:53 pm
    Post #14 - April 24th, 2013, 5:53 pm Post #14 - April 24th, 2013, 5:53 pm
    Santander wrote:A low-risk proposition for you: check out Emperor's Choice for lunch, at $7.95-10.95. My recommendation would be the beef with orange peel, the hot and sour soup, and the fried rice. While you're there (they're often slow mid-day), have some straight talk with the owner, who watches television at the bar, often over a plate of greens and some soup, and ask him about which nights / chefs can really rock the few Szechuan items for you.

    There aren't many foodies or Chinese patrons in there, I'll grant, but these guys know and have survived in Chinatown for a long time, and their premium prices reflect some really good ingredients and technique (for Cantonese, American-Chinese, all the disclaimers) in my experiences over the years. I was just there last week after a pause, and regretted not being back sooner. Hot and sour soup was gelatinous and flavorful, eggplant was full of toasty peanut flavor, and their fried rice with the cabbage and really dark soy is something comforting. If it's not the style of Cantonese you're after, you'll only be out a Hamilton (which is still double the tab you could admittedly score at Spring World, RIP).

    Hoping this thread gets some views, I'd also love updated recs on other places in Chinatown with a good set lunch / pick A-B menu. Too many of the Tony spots are hard to solo these days.


    Santander, I just have to say your handle is the same as the name of my Mexican bank into which my paycheck is deposited twice a month. Tickled my fancy, although I have heard CNN International reports that it is in trouble like the Greek and Cypriot banks. I hope not but they don't pay me enough to really worry. Unfortunately there is no good Chinese food here at all, except supposedly in Mexicali to which I have never been. Something about railroad laborers there. I really miss Chinatown, more than anything else.
    trpt2345
  • Post #15 - April 25th, 2013, 7:05 pm
    Post #15 - April 25th, 2013, 7:05 pm Post #15 - April 25th, 2013, 7:05 pm
    My favorite Cantonese, hands down, is Go 4 Food. I know, I know, the name is a turn off. How can anyplace with a name like that be any good. Well, Go! My favorites are the appetizer oysters with garlic sauce, and the French Style Beef. Skip the dumplings (dumplings aren't a Cantonese thing anyway), skip the soups. Whole crab with garlic sauce is messy but wonderful. Also like the 100 Flavor Chicken. BYO.
  • Post #16 - April 25th, 2013, 8:40 pm
    Post #16 - April 25th, 2013, 8:40 pm Post #16 - April 25th, 2013, 8:40 pm
    bsnprf wrote:My favorite Cantonese, hands down, is Go 4 Food. I know, I know, the name is a turn off. How can anyplace with a name like that be any good. Well, Go! My favorites are the appetizer oysters with garlic sauce, and the French Style Beef. Skip the dumplings (dumplings aren't a Cantonese thing anyway), skip the soups. Whole crab with garlic sauce is messy but wonderful. Also like the 100 Flavor Chicken. BYO.


    Go4Food is a newly minted GNR. Here's the main thread. I'd agree with a lot of what bsnprf said, except that in terms of soup, don't miss the seafood hot & sour soup. It's perhaps my favorite version of this all-to-frequently over corn starched soup. Not so at Go4Food. This version is perfect for my taste.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #17 - July 25th, 2013, 4:26 pm
    Post #17 - July 25th, 2013, 4:26 pm Post #17 - July 25th, 2013, 4:26 pm
    What is a happening spot* these days in Chinatown on a Thursday night for a 9:15 PM arrival? Has anyone run into a place (other than the snack shops) really happy to receive a group after 9 lately?

    Last few times I've been there on a pre-Friday weeknight Lao Hunan and Lao Ma La were winding down and didn't really want to seat us. Yan Bang Cai seems to close early. Ga Ga Taste is still not answering their phone. Go 4 Food has been closed at 9 even when it's listed as 10 in several places on line.

    LTH, Seven Treasures, and LSC are the fallbacks, but we are hoping to try something new to most of us. Thanks for any thoughts.
  • Post #18 - July 25th, 2013, 4:28 pm
    Post #18 - July 25th, 2013, 4:28 pm Post #18 - July 25th, 2013, 4:28 pm
    Can you call ahead? Because if you can, I'm pretty sure that Milo at Go 4 Food would be happy to see your group--they just probably need a heads up that you're coming so that they stay open.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #19 - July 25th, 2013, 5:05 pm
    Post #19 - July 25th, 2013, 5:05 pm Post #19 - July 25th, 2013, 5:05 pm
    Isn't Lao You Ju pretty much designed for late-night debauchery?
  • Post #20 - July 25th, 2013, 11:25 pm
    Post #20 - July 25th, 2013, 11:25 pm Post #20 - July 25th, 2013, 11:25 pm
    Ming Hin is open late. They have a live tank, private dining and do late nite dim sum.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #21 - July 25th, 2013, 11:38 pm
    Post #21 - July 25th, 2013, 11:38 pm Post #21 - July 25th, 2013, 11:38 pm
    All great suggestions - much appreciated! As Jen predicted, Go 4 Food was warmly receptive via phone, and we had a great meal there of ong choy, hot and sour, chili fish fillet, and Cantonese crispy chicken (with no salt bowl, but killer pickles reminiscent of what has been long missing at Katy's).
  • Post #22 - July 26th, 2013, 7:48 am
    Post #22 - July 26th, 2013, 7:48 am Post #22 - July 26th, 2013, 7:48 am
    Milo is a great host--did he give you any home brewed ginger beer this time?
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #23 - October 6th, 2016, 10:41 am
    Post #23 - October 6th, 2016, 10:41 am Post #23 - October 6th, 2016, 10:41 am
    Finally got to Go 4 Food last week. It absolutely lived up to expectations, and with only 2 people, we ordered for 4 and had great leftovers.

    The hot and sour soup is worth the trip alone, but we also had millionaire rice (a favorite), crispy silver fish, salted egg yolk tofu (highly recommended) and the "french style" beef, which was unusual and tasty.

    Planning to return with a larger group for more ordering power, since there is much seafood to be tried, along with squab (do they mean quail or pigeon? Assume the former).
  • Post #24 - October 6th, 2016, 12:49 pm
    Post #24 - October 6th, 2016, 12:49 pm Post #24 - October 6th, 2016, 12:49 pm
    swingbossa wrote:Planning to return with a larger group for more ordering power, since there is much seafood to be tried, along with squab (do they mean quail or pigeon? Assume the former).


    Squab is (usually) a young pigeon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squab_as_food
    Leek

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  • Post #25 - October 23rd, 2016, 9:13 am
    Post #25 - October 23rd, 2016, 9:13 am Post #25 - October 23rd, 2016, 9:13 am
    leek wrote:
    swingbossa wrote:Planning to return with a larger group for more ordering power, since there is much seafood to be tried, along with squab (do they mean quail or pigeon? Assume the former).


    Squab is (usually) a young pigeon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squab_as_food


    That's what I thought too. Will have to try it next visit to find out. It looked very good on another's plate.
  • Post #26 - April 15th, 2018, 12:47 pm
    Post #26 - April 15th, 2018, 12:47 pm Post #26 - April 15th, 2018, 12:47 pm
    The standard ping.
    Anything new poppin' lately?
    Heading to Chinatown tonight. Last visit a few months ago netted the best Dan Dan from Lao Sze Chuan I've ever had. (Stupid little bowl! I had to share) It may have been knocking on Katy's in Westmont's door as best I've ever had.

    Tabe of 6, possibly 8, mostly digging on ma-la, but we'll need a sesame chicken and a moo shu as well. Lao Sze Chuan will probably be the default choice. If it's way crowded, the default will be to go see what's up with Lao Beijing (or whatever it's called today.)

    You ppl have no idea how much I miss Spring World.

    Any place poppin' lately?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #27 - April 15th, 2018, 1:04 pm
    Post #27 - April 15th, 2018, 1:04 pm Post #27 - April 15th, 2018, 1:04 pm
    Numerous places in Chinatown have garnered a lot of attention lately (click below for links to restaurant websites and reviews/discussions):

    Dolo (Chicago magazine review)
    Qing Xian Yuan
    Xi'an Cuisine (LTH discussion)
    Sze Chuan Cuisine (LTH discussion)
    China Café (LTH discussion)

    The recent Chinatown dining guide in the Tribune is also helpful.
  • Post #28 - April 15th, 2018, 2:38 pm
    Post #28 - April 15th, 2018, 2:38 pm Post #28 - April 15th, 2018, 2:38 pm
    Try Dongpo Impression, which took over from Yan Bang Cai, which was one of my favorites. They have many of the same menu items and their mala definitely pops. I don't think they've gotten enough love. Haven't dined in, but ordered delivery a few times and have been quite happy.
  • Post #29 - April 15th, 2018, 2:39 pm
    Post #29 - April 15th, 2018, 2:39 pm Post #29 - April 15th, 2018, 2:39 pm
    seebee wrote:If it's way crowded, the default will be to go see what's up with Lao Beijing (or whatever it's called today).

    That would be MCCB Chicago.
    Here's the thread:
    MCCB LTH discussion
  • Post #30 - April 15th, 2018, 9:44 pm
    Post #30 - April 15th, 2018, 9:44 pm Post #30 - April 15th, 2018, 9:44 pm
    Dead in Chinatown tonight. Opted for MCCB. Tofu with flank steak was the clear star of the show. I took the leftover broth home to grill some critter up and then soak it in that stuff.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.

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