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Chinese food in Chicago 2018 [and Golden Bull]

Chinese food in Chicago 2018 [and Golden Bull]
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  • Chinese food in Chicago 2018 [and Golden Bull]

    Post #1 - October 17th, 2017, 12:14 am
    Post #1 - October 17th, 2017, 12:14 am Post #1 - October 17th, 2017, 12:14 am
    Hey all,

    First time posting, LTH has been a great guide for food in Chicago. Wanted to try exploring writing and in a fit of writer's block jotted down my notes on my experiences with Chinese food in Chicago. Hope it's helpful and a useful contribution. Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

    Draft

    Chinese Food in Chicago
    Chinese food in Chicago takes some work to figure out. It’s been very rapidly improving and diversifying the past two years. Chinese food is well priced, has deep and complex flavor, highly accessible(no waits) and is balanced and rarely decadent.

    Go 4 Food
    Potsticker House
    International Mall Food Court

    These are a cut above the good all-around restaurants I’ve found in Chicago. Go 4 Food is Cantonese style with focus on seafood. A unique Malaysian influence appears with their chili crab and other dishes. 
    International Mall has some great stalls for soup noodles, dumplings, breakfast and Taiwanese.
    Potsticker house serves Northern style cuisine(think like Beijing) like Jing Jiang Rou Si that’s hard to find anywhere else. Breakfast here is Youtiao, Jianbing, flatbreads, soy milk, dumplings and a wonderful flaky soft paratha-like bread that puts a lot of Indian-Pakistani restaurants here to shame.

    Richland Food Court — Dry chili pot, lamb skewers, Taiwanese street food
    Xian Cuisine— Handcut noodles and chili, Lamb flatbread
    Little Lamb + Little Sheep — Hotpot
    Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings — Boiled Soup Dumplings
    Saint Anna’s — Hong Kong style breakfast
    A Place by Damao — Sichuan street food

    These are off the path where you can get some more specialized stuff that’s great tasting. The value proposition here is often very high, reasonable prices, short waits, great food. Richland is criminally under-patroned and they have the best cumin meat skewers there. Xian Cuisine has a giant $3.5 Lamb flatbread that is better than most burgers in the city. The noodles are A-tier in the city and far beyond your friend’s favorite sorry excuse for ramen not named Santouka. 
    Saint Anna’s serves bakery and cha chaan teng nostalgia, which convinces you to eat spam and elbow macaroni. Avoid the temptation to get QXY dumplings fried. A Place by Damao serves up the very rare in Chicago Sichuanese small eats, where I’m in undiscovered country as any.

    Katy’s Dumplings
    Golden Bull
    Hon Kee
    Northern City
    Han 202

    Strong Reputation to try next and have heard good things. Katy’s is rumored to have a good Sheng Jian Bao and also a secretly popular fish dumpling. Golden Bull is supposed to be very good. A brand new building for Hon Kee is being built and we’re hoping to find some upgraded Cantonese BBQ there.

    MingHin
    Chengdu Impression
    Jade Court
    Lao Sze Chuan

    Your good all-around restaurants. Dim sum is just okay for me, but MingHin dim sum has been really good the past year or so. Jade Court serves Hainan Chicken rice based on availability. 

    Sheng Jian Bao
    Xiao Long Bao
    Cantonese BBQ
    American Chinese especially Egg Foo Young

    Wanted. Have yet to find a go-to for these. If your savvy you can find really nice Cantonese BBQ in the small grocers especially on Wentworth with some effort.
  • Post #2 - February 11th, 2018, 10:42 am
    Post #2 - February 11th, 2018, 10:42 am Post #2 - February 11th, 2018, 10:42 am
    Just want to second the vote for Golden Bull. Went there for the first time last night, and was impressed. Mapo tofu, lamb with cumin (outstanding), beef chow mein noodles with Chinese broccoli, steamed pork with salty fish (not for everyone but excellent, with just the right soft but not mushy texture), and salt & pepper smelts, which were honestly the best I've had.

    Plus, the prices are more than reasonable, and most dishes come in a half order size if you want to increase variety, although I still go for the full order and take leftovers.

    Next time, I'll be getting some of the various preparations of clams/oysters, which looked tasty. I like those at Go4Food, so will have to compare. I think there are no losers in that competition!
  • Post #3 - February 13th, 2018, 5:13 pm
    Post #3 - February 13th, 2018, 5:13 pm Post #3 - February 13th, 2018, 5:13 pm
    I would add Dolo in Chinatown to your to-try list. Had an excellent dinner there recently.

    Been to Hon Kee twice, very disappointing both times. Kind of a dump with shoddy food. Chengdu Imp. is solid, Lao Sze Chuan is inconsistent and has leadership problems (ahem).

    Report back!
  • Post #4 - February 15th, 2018, 3:36 pm
    Post #4 - February 15th, 2018, 3:36 pm Post #4 - February 15th, 2018, 3:36 pm
    I'm fond of Chi Cafe since they remind me of living in the San Gabriel Valley in LA.

    They're reminiscent of the HK cafes there with their menu offerings, low prices, and late night hours.

    I typically go there for congee, beef noodle rolls, and various brisket dishes (e.g., brisket noodle soup, brisket and vegetables over rice).

    For milk tea, I've been frequenting TBaar (green milk tea) and ChaTime (roasted oolong milk tea).

    Also, I haven't been to the Chicago location yet, but Meet Fresh just opened about a month ago, and they serve some great Taiwanese hot and cold desserts. I'm fond of their cold taro ball dessert with a side of egg pudding (at least from their LA locations).
  • Post #5 - February 18th, 2018, 12:46 pm
    Post #5 - February 18th, 2018, 12:46 pm Post #5 - February 18th, 2018, 12:46 pm
    FYI - Ed's Potsticker House is Dongbei food (NE China - i.e. Liaoning), not Beijing. Although it's not a huge difference distance wise (400+ miles from Beijing to the largest city in Liaoning which is Shenyang), the cuisine is still different. This is an important distinction if you want to talk about the cuisine of China - know these differences. Also, Qing Xiang Yuan do not serve soup dumplings. They serve jiaozi and the owners are also from Liaoning (Dongbei - NE China). My girlfriend is originally from this province and although she's never lived in Chicago (I don't anymore either - she used to come and visit. FYI I traveled every week between NYC and Chicago for 2.5 years before moving onto NYC. I still miss Chicago), she's raved about QXYD's dumplings on numerous occasions to her friends who also don't live in Chicago. She thinks they're the best dumplings she's had in the US and I agree. We both have pretty good access to these foods being in NYC, but QXYD easily beats out any place we've had here.

    As far as other stuff goes, I'd add Homestyle Taste in Bridgeport to the list. They are also Dongbei food and the Chinese name of the restaurant is actually something like Shenyang Restaurant. Only the first few pages of the menu are Dongbei cuisine - the rest is a mish mash of various other regions in China and American Chinese food. I've been here twice with my girlfriend, including one time when her parents (originally from Dongbei) visited from Shanghai. My girlfriend thought it was good enough for her parents to have especially since apparently this cuisine isn't very well represented in Shanghai even. Her parents agreed it was pretty good and some of the dishes were more authentic than any place they'd had in Shanghai. Unfortunately, the first time we went (without the parents), one of the main courses we ordered was actually much better. This was the Yi Guo Chu, which is in a large pot with Chinese corn bread cooking on the sides of the pot - still pretty good though. I wish they would have had that one instead (pork one was better than chicken one). I'd put the actual Dongbei food here on par with the best we've had in NYC or even better. Her parents were pretty happy with it and her dad even tried to pay in Yuan instead of USD LOL...

    I also did eat at a Dongbei restaurant in Shanghai last year near her parents' condo and agree Homestyle Taste was better.
  • Post #6 - February 19th, 2018, 9:18 am
    Post #6 - February 19th, 2018, 9:18 am Post #6 - February 19th, 2018, 9:18 am
    marothisu wrote:FYI - Ed's Potsticker House is Dongbei food (NE China - i.e. Liaoning), not Beijing. Although it's not a huge difference distance wise (400+ miles from Beijing to the largest city in Liaoning which is Shenyang), the cuisine is still different. This is an important distinction if you want to talk about the cuisine of China - know these differences.


    The name of Potsticker House in Chinese is Beijing Restaurant, and Beijing cuisine is definitely Northern food, if not exactly Northeastern food. Both Liaoning and Beijing cuisines are both, if anything, most heavily influenced by Shandong cuisine, one of the great classical cuisines. I had plenty of perfectly native northern/northeastern food when studying in Beijing, and I get many of those same foods at both Ed's and Homestyle (and Northern City, and Northern Taste...)
  • Post #7 - February 19th, 2018, 9:49 am
    Post #7 - February 19th, 2018, 9:49 am Post #7 - February 19th, 2018, 9:49 am
    mtgl wrote:
    marothisu wrote:FYI - Ed's Potsticker House is Dongbei food (NE China - i.e. Liaoning), not Beijing. Although it's not a huge difference distance wise (400+ miles from Beijing to the largest city in Liaoning which is Shenyang), the cuisine is still different. This is an important distinction if you want to talk about the cuisine of China - know these differences.


    The name of Potsticker House in Chinese is Beijing Restaurant, and Beijing cuisine is definitely Northern food, if not exactly Northeastern food. Both Liaoning and Beijing cuisines are both, if anything, most heavily influenced by Shandong cuisine, one of the great classical cuisines. I had plenty of perfectly native northern/northeastern food when studying in Beijing, and I get many of those same foods at both Ed's and Homestyle (and Northern City, and Northern Taste...)


    I'm sure you can get them there too - Homestyle Chinese has items from a lot of different regions, but the owners are from Dongbei and that's what they actually specialize in. Ed's is the same way and I believe the owners are also from Dongbei, though they do have more Beijing food there too than Homestyle.

    Regardless, it doesn't take away from the fact that Homestyle is pretty good if you are ordering off the first few pages only in what is mostly Dongbei food. Not including it in a list is not right.
  • Post #8 - February 19th, 2018, 9:53 am
    Post #8 - February 19th, 2018, 9:53 am Post #8 - February 19th, 2018, 9:53 am
    Yes, the Homestyle folks are from Shenyang, which indeed is its name in Chinese, but I don't think Potsticker House is a Liaoning restaurant--they definitely claim their Beijing origins right in the name.
  • Post #9 - February 19th, 2018, 10:15 am
    Post #9 - February 19th, 2018, 10:15 am Post #9 - February 19th, 2018, 10:15 am
    And yes--they absolutely both belong on the list of best Chinese restaurants here, as do Northern Style and Northern City. The former has Guo Bao Rou, which I don't think exists at either Ed's or Homestyle, and is a very Dongbei (but not necessarily Liaoning/Shenyang) dish.

    Another important update/addition is Yan Bang Cai, which has transmogrified into Dongpo Impression. The menus are apparently identical, with some noticeable dishes like fishmint still present. Additionally they now deliver via Grubhub, where Yan Bang Cai did not.

    Szechuan Cuisine is still tops in my book for that style of Chinese, though DaMao is a fantastic addition as well. I just find DaMao to be a bit expensive for what you get, but their menu is absolutely unique. A new place opened up in the same strip mall (in addition to the alright-not-great Taiwanese place) called Xiao Mei Xing, but we haven't been yet.

    It's hard to keep track of all the Chinese restaurants now--the food court, Old Chinatown/Wentworth, the Bridgeport places...truly, we live in wonderful times for Chinese food in Chicago.
  • Post #10 - February 19th, 2018, 12:01 pm
    Post #10 - February 19th, 2018, 12:01 pm Post #10 - February 19th, 2018, 12:01 pm
    mtgl wrote:Szechuan Cuisine is still tops in my book for that style of Chinese ...
    It's hard to keep track of all the Chinese restaurants now ... truly, we live in wonderful times for Chinese food in Chicago.

    With regard to Szechuan Cuisine, how recently have you been? I saw comments from an authentic Chinese source that the chef, or somehow else the prep, has changed for the worse in the last 2-3 months.

    Also curious if you or others have been to Min's Noodle House (3235 S. Halsted). I've been trying every rendition of Dan Dan Noodles I can the last 2 months, and theirs is at or near the top. Good pot stickers too.
  • Post #11 - February 19th, 2018, 12:31 pm
    Post #11 - February 19th, 2018, 12:31 pm Post #11 - February 19th, 2018, 12:31 pm
    I am sure you've read it, but the Chicago Reader (Mike Sula) did an article on Northern/Dongbei food in Bridgeport in 2012:

    https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/m ... id=7991594

    I remember about 3 or 4 years ago when QYXD was in the Richland Center food court. There was a restaurant a few stalls down that had an all Chinese menu, but my girlfriend pointed out it was Dongbei food. Lincoln Park has a Dongbei restaurant now too - no idea if it's good or not though.

    I took a visit to Shenyang last year while in China. It was only for a little bit, but the food was pretty great. My girlfriend cooks sour cabbage with pork rib soup at home quite a bit. It's a shame it's not more represented in the US, but I think Chicago is lucky that it basically has the largest representation in the country along with NYC on this cuisine (not saying much, but still..).
  • Post #12 - February 19th, 2018, 1:20 pm
    Post #12 - February 19th, 2018, 1:20 pm Post #12 - February 19th, 2018, 1:20 pm
    Interesting thread but I think the OP is MIA.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #13 - February 19th, 2018, 2:01 pm
    Post #13 - February 19th, 2018, 2:01 pm Post #13 - February 19th, 2018, 2:01 pm
    Panther in the Den wrote:Interesting thread but I think the OP is MIA.


    Maybe, but probably an increasingly important topic in the city. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of people born in China increased by over 8000 people in the Downtown area + Chinatown + Douglas + Bridgeport + McKinley Park (actually had 0 change specifically, oddly) + Brighton Park. There's now over 30,000 China-born people in this broad area - which is over 8% of all people. By 2020, don't be surprised to see this number near or over 35,000 people. The downtown area alone increased by over 3000 in this time period. Some of these people are bringing more legitimate and authentic cooking traditions with them, and some are bringing just higher standards.

    From the time I moved to Chicago and the time I moved away (semi recently), the quality of Chinese food had *definitely* improved.
  • Post #14 - February 19th, 2018, 6:20 pm
    Post #14 - February 19th, 2018, 6:20 pm Post #14 - February 19th, 2018, 6:20 pm
    We order from Sze Chuan Cuisine every two or three weeks--never actually dined in. Everything has been pretty good for us, though I did notice a bit of a change in the cooking. They have the absolute best authentic version of kung pao (Gong Bao) chicken I've had stateside, though it isn't terribly hard to make at home. Their green beans are also the best we've had delivered, though dining in I still give the edge to Homestyle. If you're not happy with Sze Chuan Cuisine, though, absolutely give Dongpo Impression a try--I loved Yan Bang Cai and frequently took guests there, and am ecstatic that they have online ordering now--much easier when you live on a weird, easily-missed street in the strange, non-rectilinear stretch of Bridgeport.

    Min's Noodles is pretty popular with my spouse and some friends. I prefer the dan dan mian at Sze Chuan as being much closer to the ones I ate in Chongqing, where it's perfectly okay to sweat your way through breakfast when they are typically consumed. I personally prefer Min's for breakfast, where they have not one but three kinds of Douhua, or realllly soft tofu--sweeter, more Hong-Kong style; spicy Sichuan style; and the kind I consumed most in Beijing, called tofu brains, with an umami, vaguely sweet-and-sour topping. As far as I know, they are the only place to serve it this last way in Chicago, and I was glad to see it. Their baozi are pretty solid as well, and I haven't been able to get past those two things for breakfast. Given the embarrassment of Chinese food riches we have on Halsted, it's hard to rotate everything evenly.

    Inspired by this thread, I just got back from visiting Xiao Mei Xing, which my wife and I loved. On the order of DaMao, and practically next door, this place is really snacks/street food, though here the bent is less Sichuan and more Dongbei. They have a few breakfast items served early in the day, but we just snagged a baozi, which I'd place above Min's and well above the typical Chinatown bakery versions (I am not keen on the sweet bbq pork versions).

    They primarily do skewers, located in a cooler to the right when you walk in. You grab a large wooden bowl, pick out the skewers you want, and they take them in back and either "mala tang" them or deep fry them. Here, post-cooking, the skewers are hit with a sweet/sour sauce of sorts and a bit of a cumin spice dusting, making for a really unique taste. We tried a number of things: beef, chicken cutlets, chicken hearts, some eggs, breaded eggplant (my favorite), green beans, potatoes, tofu skins.

    Additionally, we got a very Dongbei streetfood dish, called kao leng mian, or bbq cold noodles. Hard to explain--a similar sort of tart sauce applied to some egg-slathered noodles and SPAM-ish ham. It was straight off the streets of China. Portions were not exactly big for the price (my only gripe with DaMao), and the saucing/seasoning sorta runs together after a few skewers, but we devoured everything instantly. Super quick service, only open a couple weeks, and the fellow at the counter was very helpful and enthusiastic for more non-Chinese to try it. No website or printed menu yet, though I did take many pictures in the hopes that some day Google Photos will allow for posting to a message board (a sad fact that has kept me from posting a lot, alas). Still, the menu board is in English as well (unlike DaMao when it opened, which had nothing in English for at least a month or two). Great for a quick snack that won't leave you waddling out, I'd love to know what others think.

    Xiao Mei Xing
    2615 S Halsted St
    Chicago, IL 60608
  • Post #15 - February 19th, 2018, 6:26 pm
    Post #15 - February 19th, 2018, 6:26 pm Post #15 - February 19th, 2018, 6:26 pm
    swingbossa wrote:Just want to second the vote for Golden Bull. Went there for the first time last night, and was impressed. Mapo tofu, lamb with cumin (outstanding), beef chow mein noodles with Chinese broccoli, steamed pork with salty fish (not for everyone but excellent, with just the right soft but not mushy texture), and salt & pepper smelts, which were honestly the best I've had.

    Plus, the prices are more than reasonable, and most dishes come in a half order size if you want to increase variety, although I still go for the full order and take leftovers.

    Next time, I'll be getting some of the various preparations of clams/oysters, which looked tasty. I like those at Go4Food, so will have to compare. I think there are no losers in that competition!


    Golden Bull is a current favorite and an excellent value. Some of the half-orders are $4.95-5.95 for scratch cooking and I find myself putting something together here rather than rolling the dice with the pervasively indifferent dim sum at other spots (Dolo strongest among them but still imperfect).

    Image

    Fried rice with Chinese sausage in XO sauce, orange chicken, Chinese broccoli in black bean sauce (any vegetable can be made in four different sauces, all good, consistently heavy hand on the fresh ginger)

    Image

    Eggplant casserole with aggressively funky bamboo, hot & sour with shrimp and salty pickled veg, aforementioned lamb with cumin which has excellent flavor but can be gristly / watch for bone

    Potstickers are a strong showing, chicken skewers are flavorful (and real to the point of occasionally unplucked) but cooked to a jerky, barbecue pork fried rice one of the best around, ma po tofu served in a molten garlic gel, rather addicting.

    Some non-culinary cues make me feel at home at this place - the staff bowling shirts, always-full tables on weekends, remarkably well-kept leafy plants and succulents in niches around the dining room; it radiates competence. Call ahead or course things out if you want some of the more elaborate casseroles which take some time (some of which I've also seen at Sun Wah for special events).

    [mod note: if either branch of the topic achieves critical mass we'll split; wanted to keep things going for now]
  • Post #16 - February 20th, 2018, 1:58 pm
    Post #16 - February 20th, 2018, 1:58 pm Post #16 - February 20th, 2018, 1:58 pm
    bweiny wrote:
    mtgl wrote:Also curious if you or others have been to Min's Noodle House (3235 S. Halsted). I've been trying every rendition of Dan Dan Noodles I can the last 2 months, and theirs is at or near the top. Good pot stickers too.


    I've had Min's Dan Dan Noodles and they're near the top for me, too. However, their's is also the most genre-breaking since it's so nutty compared to other restaurants. Absolutely delicious, but it's almost a different flavor profile than what I'm used to.
  • Post #17 - February 20th, 2018, 10:40 pm
    Post #17 - February 20th, 2018, 10:40 pm Post #17 - February 20th, 2018, 10:40 pm
    Behavioral wrote:
    bweiny wrote:Also curious if you or others have been to Min's Noodle House (3235 S. Halsted). I've been trying every rendition of Dan Dan Noodles I can the last 2 months, and theirs is at or near the top.

    I've had Min's Dan Dan Noodles and they're near the top for me, too. However, their's is also the most genre-breaking since it's so nutty compared to other restaurants. Absolutely delicious, but it's almost a different flavor profile than what I'm used to.

    I agree it was unique, and maybe it was the amount of peanuts (I have a great photo w/ the peanuts on top, but this site says it's invalid). The noodles are thinner, ramen-esque, but the half hard-boiled egg adds richness to the dish. And I prefer their bok choy to the chopped scallions used in many versions. Just tossing it with some soy sauce, it really was distinguishable from my next favorite at Chengdu Impression.
  • Post #18 - February 20th, 2018, 11:10 pm
    Post #18 - February 20th, 2018, 11:10 pm Post #18 - February 20th, 2018, 11:10 pm
    bweiny wrote:I agree it was unique, and maybe it was the amount of peanuts (I have a great photo w/ the peanuts on top, but this site says it's invalid). The noodles are thinner, ramen-esque, but the half hard-boiled egg adds richness to the dish. And I prefer their bok choy to the chopped scallions used in many versions. Just tossing it with some soy sauce, it really was distinguishable from my next favorite at Chengdu Impression.


    Would love to see that, and I have a date at Min's later this week. When site image hosting doesn't work from whatever device or platform, I still suggest imgur.com: no registration, "new post" at top, drag-and-drop, "get share links" through arrow that appears when hovering on uploaded image, BBCode, paste, and it's there permanently (at least in terms of internet permanence). There are many higher quality services but this is wicked easy.
  • Post #19 - February 21st, 2018, 3:11 pm
    Post #19 - February 21st, 2018, 3:11 pm Post #19 - February 21st, 2018, 3:11 pm
    Santander wrote:When site image hosting doesn't work from whatever device or platform, I still suggest imgur.com: no registration, "new post" at top, drag-and-drop, "get share links" through arrow that appears when hovering on uploaded image, BBCode, paste, and it's there permanently (at least in terms of internet permanence). There are many higher quality services but this is wicked easy.

    Excellent recommendation. Imgur.com is also free, and likely to stay that way, including third-party linking (i.e. the ability to store photos on one site, e.g. imgur.com, and link to (and display) them from another site, e.g. lthforum.com). I've moved many of my photos displayed previously here from Photobucket, which recently implemented exorbitant charges for third-party linking.

    bweiny, give imgur.com a shot. If you run into any problems or have any questions, send me a private message through LTH and I'll be happy to help. Same offer of help applies for anyone else on LTH.
  • Post #20 - February 21st, 2018, 4:16 pm
    Post #20 - February 21st, 2018, 4:16 pm Post #20 - February 21st, 2018, 4:16 pm
    Well this thread went places I like. I constantly remark to my wife that the Chinese food in Chicago is freaking amazing and the quality of Chinatown and Bridgeport has risen markedly in just the last few years and appears to be continuing. It's pretty damn hard to get to all of the great restaurants regularly and a lot of places I would be ecstatic to have anywhere else I have lived in the country but here I have the luxury of ignoring.

    My top place is still Homestyle Taste. I think I have eaten a large portion of the the menu at this point and the consistency is really remarkable. I actually don't like the traditional Dongbei offerings (like the chicken cornbread stew) that much, but the place executes pretty much everything well. Also I believe they do have the neon orange sweet and sour pork. If it's not on the menu it is definitely on the wall.

    For Sichuan, I still prefer Szechuan Cuisine. I didn't notice any drop in quality last month when I went, but I exclusively dine in. I tried Yan Bang Cai once, it was good, but overly oily and salty (which is saying something!) and didn't seem superior in any way to justify visiting again. MCCB seems solid too on my two visits.

    Go4Food is in the rotation, but I find myself ordering the same things.

    I also really dig Chi Cafe for the cheap eats and amazing XO chili sauce on the tables. Get an order of fried noodles and add some of that stuff. Greasy carb heaven.

    Dolo is my favorite dim sim place and they do really good dinner service as well. I occasionally hit Cai for dumplings, particularly the XLB, which I find are weaker items at Dolo.

    Taipei Cafe does Taiwanese snack food pretty well in my novice estimation. I wasn't impressed with Min's Noodles, but I do want to get back for breakfast. I have a soft spot for well done Chinese breakfast that is hard to quench in Chicago.

    I love Qing Xiang Yuan's dumplings, but I hate their new setup so much that it is actively discouraging us from going.

    Finally, I am adding Golden Bull to the list, so thank you for that.
  • Post #21 - February 22nd, 2018, 3:36 pm
    Post #21 - February 22nd, 2018, 3:36 pm Post #21 - February 22nd, 2018, 3:36 pm
    Couple photos from places mentioned already (thnx to nsxtasy for imgur tips):
    Dan Dan at Min's
    Image
    Bon Bon at MCCB
    Image
  • Post #22 - February 22nd, 2018, 4:04 pm
    Post #22 - February 22nd, 2018, 4:04 pm Post #22 - February 22nd, 2018, 4:04 pm
    MCCB is hit-or-miss for me--some dishes just skew way too sweet, while others are spot-on. A Chinese colleague recently complained of this, too, and probably won't return after that one trip. We'll probably go back, but order more selectively--we've had it three or four times thus far.

    Qing Xiang Yuan is worth it for me despite the oddity of ordering--I've gotten over it, and the dumplings really are the closest to those in China.

    Min's is perfectly good, but just not what I remember having in Sichuan. Not as spicy, and I don't recall hard-boiled eggs in those (though certainly in my favorite Chinese noodle, re gan mian from Wuhan). Even peanuts are a bit unusual. Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe is pretty accurate, as a reference. Nothing against the product at Min's, just not my preference.

    If Yan Bang Cai was overly oily and salty (true for some dishes), try some of the more unusual preparations, which is what made them great. They have more off-beat Sichuan dishes that are excellent. We had an eggplant dish from Dongpo Impression that had this lovely diced, fresh green chili sort of salsa on top that was delightful, like the green sauce you'd get at Cafe Central or something. Also, fishmint! Though it does have an odd name on the menu now, methinks.
  • Post #23 - February 22nd, 2018, 6:59 pm
    Post #23 - February 22nd, 2018, 6:59 pm Post #23 - February 22nd, 2018, 6:59 pm
    BTW - Looks like West Loop may be getting/might now have a ma la xiang guo (dry pot) place on Jackson near Halsted at 769 W Jackson. Business license was issued yesterday for a place called Sizzling Pot King which is the same name as a ma la xiang guo place in San Diego, Sunnyvale (CA), and Seattle. This is on the other side of the bridge from the new H Mart.

    Found an article from a week ago from San Francisco's ABC affiliate saying they had a location in Chicago:
    http://abc7news.com/food/sizzling-pot-k ... a/3090620/

    I was able to find a picture of their menu in SF - their proteins are: beef tongue, catfish, cuttlefish, chicken wing, pig feet, bullfrog, beef, lamb, beef tripe, pig intestine, squid, rabbit, duck gizzard, beef tendon, pork ribs, chicken, hunan style duck, duck head, pork stomach, beef short rib, lamb short rib, shrimp, snails, and clam. Maybe crawfish too? They also have pig blood, shrimp balls, sausage, spam, etc with all the typical vegetables. Other dishes on the menu include duck neck, duck head, pig ear, etc. Drinks typical include "Beijing style yogurt", plum juice, etc. Menu looks pretty legit.

    I think it's pretty telling that somebody like this decided to open up in Chicago instead of even going to Flushing or Brooklyn in NYC (though those have more Chinese people, but hopefully you see my point).
  • Post #24 - February 23rd, 2018, 3:04 pm
    Post #24 - February 23rd, 2018, 3:04 pm Post #24 - February 23rd, 2018, 3:04 pm
    sounds cool^
  • Post #25 - February 23rd, 2018, 4:43 pm
    Post #25 - February 23rd, 2018, 4:43 pm Post #25 - February 23rd, 2018, 4:43 pm
    Hope everyone's been reading the Chicago Tribune, who has focused on Chinese food all month. Here's their latest: http://graphics.chicagotribune.com/chin ... ing_guide/
  • Post #26 - March 7th, 2018, 1:48 am
    Post #26 - March 7th, 2018, 1:48 am Post #26 - March 7th, 2018, 1:48 am
    mtgl wrote:Inspired by this thread, I just got back from visiting Xiao Mei Xing, which my wife and I loved. On the order of DaMao, and practically next door, this place is really snacks/street food, though here the bent is less Sichuan and more Dongbei. They have a few breakfast items served early in the day, but we just snagged a baozi, which I'd place above Min's and well above the typical Chinatown bakery versions (I am not keen on the sweet bbq pork versions).

    They primarily do skewers, located in a cooler to the right when you walk in. You grab a large wooden bowl, pick out the skewers you want, and they take them in back and either "mala tang" them or deep fry them. Here, post-cooking, the skewers are hit with a sweet/sour sauce of sorts and a bit of a cumin spice dusting, making for a really unique taste. We tried a number of things: beef, chicken cutlets, chicken hearts, some eggs, breaded eggplant (my favorite), green beans, potatoes, tofu skins.


    This is all right on. XMX is a different animal, really a street food experience with patrons paying with loose change for single skewers, dining tables in the storage / freezer area, and a remarkably engaging host. I felt like a glutton with my $12 order:

    Image

    Left to right are chicken cutlet, marinated beef, mushrooms in tofu skin, cilantro stems in tofu skin, and breaded eggplant. I have to say that the left plate - cutlet plus beef - if slapped on some Turano would be indistinguishable from a Ricobene's sandwich down the street. Chewy and bland and saucy but warming and filling.

    Right plate however was delightful - the tofu skins fry up perfectly, the mala tang brings out the depth of the mushrooms and cilantro stems, and the eggplant benefits much more from the breading and cumin than the chicken. A progressive with appetizers here, a main at Damao, and a matcha waffle with shaved snow at Taipei would run the tastebud gamut.
  • Post #27 - March 14th, 2018, 4:10 pm
    Post #27 - March 14th, 2018, 4:10 pm Post #27 - March 14th, 2018, 4:10 pm
    Santander wrote:
    mtgl wrote:Left to right are chicken cutlet, marinated beef, mushrooms in tofu skin, cilantro stems in tofu skin, and breaded eggplant. I have to say that the left plate - cutlet plus beef - if slapped on some Turano would be indistinguishable from a Ricobene's sandwich down the street. Chewy and bland and saucy but warming and filling.

    Right plate however was delightful - the tofu skins fry up perfectly, the mala tang brings out the depth of the mushrooms and cilantro stems, and the eggplant benefits much more from the breading and cumin than the chicken. A progressive with appetizers here, a main at Damao, and a matcha waffle with shaved snow at Taipei would run the tastebud gamut.


    Thanks for this intel! Looks like I'll be making a trip to XMX (and perhaps DaMao, too) within the next week or so!
  • Post #28 - March 14th, 2018, 7:58 pm
    Post #28 - March 14th, 2018, 7:58 pm Post #28 - March 14th, 2018, 7:58 pm
    Been to Golden Bull three times in as many weeks and I see more in my future. Favorites so far are the lotus root stir fry (comes with a fair portion of chinese sausage) and the beef tongue in XO sauce. Claypot rice, one of their specialties, was middling.
  • Post #29 - March 29th, 2018, 6:53 pm
    Post #29 - March 29th, 2018, 6:53 pm Post #29 - March 29th, 2018, 6:53 pm
    OP here, I'm very happy to see that this topic became popular!

    Tried Golden Bull on your recommendations, I thought it was solid, but still a cut below Potsticker House and Go 4 Food and about par with Jade Court. I will have to try again and order better.

    Thank you for the clarification on Dongbei cuisine and will have to try this supposed West Loop dry chili pot place
  • Post #30 - June 7th, 2018, 7:03 pm
    Post #30 - June 7th, 2018, 7:03 pm Post #30 - June 7th, 2018, 7:03 pm
    mtgl wrote:If Yan Bang Cai was overly oily and salty (true for some dishes), try some of the more unusual preparations, which is what made them great. They have more off-beat Sichuan dishes that are excellent. We had an eggplant dish from Dongpo Impression that had this lovely diced, fresh green chili sort of salsa on top that was delightful, like the green sauce you'd get at Cafe Central or something. Also, fishmint! Though it does have an odd name on the menu now, methinks.


    Putting a good word in for Dongpo Impression, which has a little bit of a mystifying Google / Yelp gap with positive experiences reported here. They have been one of the most unfailingly friendly, unphased / unattempting to talk patrons into tamer orders places along Cermak. For a takeout order this week I was given a plate of hot steamed salted pineapple and a Coke while waiting.

    The orange chicken has lots of tangerine peel bits in it like its Yan Bang Cai predecessor, and the twice-cooked pork is textbook. Zhong dumplings are sweet and the Dongpo sausage is like a ma la Isaan with peanuts and all. Szechuan string beans have nicely crisped ground pork. Things take a while to come out of the kitchen but I'd say they have at least one really expert cook there right now.

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