Have a Dragon-sized Appetite? Head to Chinatown!

The Lunar New Year was Monday, January 23, and people are getting ready to celebrate The Year of the Dragon parade on January 29. Great food, of course, is central to any celebration and knowing where to find it is key. Here are a few of my favorite places to stop in Chinatown:

Scrambled eggs, shrimp and yellow chives from Chi Cafe | Photo courtesy of Tammy Green

Comfort food from Chi Cafe

Chi Cafe (2160-A S. Archer Avenue) looks like a mod cafeteria, but the food is authentic and homey. Don’t be afraid of dishes with fried intestines, duck’s tongues, tripe or kidney on the menu; they’re made with just as much love as yellow chives and shrimp with scrambled eggs. Admittedly, most of us would be more comfortable with congee (pure comfort food dish made with rice and broth) or stir-fried veggies like the green beans. Everything comes out fast and tasty, and the food is reasonably priced. Bonus? If you find yourself craving fried rice in the middle of the night, they’re open until 2a.m. during the week and until 5a.m. on the weekends.

Lao You Ju | Photo courtesy of Tammy Green

Enjoy Tony Hu's newest restaurant

Lao You Ju (2002 South Wentworth Avenue #100) is the latest spot by restaurateur Tony Hu to open in Chinatown. The modern, inventive interior is reflected in the menu choices, too. I like the comfort of the Fluffy pancake, elegance of the Honey Lotus Roots with Sticky Rice, and the fire of the Dragon Beard Beef. It’s a great place to bring a large group of people and order a wide range of items from the menu or to settle into a comfortable booth and make a meal of appetizers.

Ming Hin | Photo courtesy of Tammy Green

Dim sum at Ming Hin

MingHin Cuisine (2168 S Archer Avenue) is another late night spot in Chinatown! If you want reasonably-priced dim sum, they serve it until 2a.m. I prefer MingHin to more popular spots like Phoenix because the atmosphere is elegant, and it’s not nearly as crowded. Plus they photograph every single thing on the menu, so I can be more confident about what I’m ordering. Fish balls, siu mai, and egg yolk buns are all delicious though I also enjoy the sesame balls and various steamed dumplings.

Whether it’s dim sum, stirfry or BBQ… however you choose to celebrate the Year of the Dragon, Chinatown is the place to go!

About Tammy Green, Chicago Bites

Tammy Green is the co-founder of restaurant review site, Chicago Bites, a local and independent collaboration of talented people interested in eating well. She’s been eating for years, but didn’t discover her professional fascination with food until she started talking about it every week. As a result of Chicago Bites, she has expanded her interest in food policy, gardening, canning, composting, organic issues, slow food, local producers and chefs and how these all impact the Chicago dining experience.
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