Chicago’s Chinatown restaurants that make you smile and sweat

Have you been curious about the restaurants in Chicago’s Chinatown?  I can help you!  There are so many choices representing different cuisine from all over Asia.  You can find places with traditional food and modest interiors to more modern restaurants with a swanky feel. Whatever your preference, do not miss out on spending some time in this part of The Windy City.  The delightful smells and colors will transport you, if you just take it all in.  Below are some of my top picks when visiting Chicago’s Chinatown.  Climb aboard the CTA Red and Green Lines or take the #22 Wentworth and # 62 Archer buses to get there.  It’s that easy!

 

Sichuan 

 

 

What better place to enjoy exceptional Sichuan cuisine than a restaurant named Sze Chuan Cuisine?! The food and the space here are great.  The restaurant is located on Wentworth, north and east of the main entrance of Chinatown, so it is easily overlooked.  However, you won’t find better food in Chicago representing the Sichuan region of China. 

 

 

Chicago's Chinatown Szechuan Cuisine

 

 

I love exceptionally spicy food, the kind that clears my sinuses, makes me sweat and wakes me up.  The food at Sze Chuan Cuisine ticked all of those sensory boxes for me.  

 

 

Fish entrees at Szechuan Cuisine in Chicago's Chinatown

I loved this spicy, steam fish with mushrooms and veggies!

 

 

The menu here is large and inviting.  Since I love fish and veggies, I chose the steamed Lake Superior white fish and veggies in a hot chili sauce.  Fabulous!  I will be getting this dish again.  It was hot, spicy and very fresh.

 

 

 

Ma po tofu at Szechuan Cuisine in Chicago's Chinatown

I love the silky, spicy ma po tofu at Szechuan Cuisine in Chicago’s Chinatown

 

 

I am also a huge fan of ma po tofu, a spicy tofu dish served with a side of rice.  The texture of the tofu here at Sze Chuan Cuisine was perfectly silky without falling apart between my chopsticks,  With each bite, I grew a brighter shade of red from the chili peppers.  Invigorating!

 

 

 

Spicy cold noodles in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

I rounded off my meal and my waistline (HA!) with a bowl of the spicy cold noodles.  This is one of my favorite dishes from the Sichuan region.  It’s a simple dish but it can be difficult to get right.  Sze Chuan Cuisine succeeded with the right ratio of peanut sauce to chili peppers to scallions.

 

 

 

Chicago's Chinatown Szechuan Cuisine

 

 

I like the clean space and attentive service at Sze Chuan Cuisine.  I am looking forward to digging into some of the dry hot pots on their menu.  –  2414 S. Wentworth Ave.

 

 

Chinese Bakery

 

Chiu Quon is Chicago’s oldest Chinese bakery serving up both sweet and savory items.  I love the BBQ pork buns and the egg custard tarts.  Grab a few items to-go or take a load off at one of the tables inside. – 2253 S. Wentworth

 

 

 

Chicago's Chinatwon Chiu Quon Bakery

 

 

Korean

 

 

Ahjoomah's Apron in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

I am not a fan of Korean barbecue places because I prefer not to cook my own food when I dine out.  Seriously.  What’s up with that?  Also, I don’t like smelling of smoke when I leave a restaurant.  Luckily, Ahjoomah’s Apron has me covered with a full service environment and a friendly staff.  A largely Asian clientele eats here and that is always a sign of great things lurking inside 🙂

 

 

 

Ahjoomah's Apron in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

I love the sizzling Dolsot bibimbop which comes with a nice array of accompaniments, including Ahjoomah’s tangy kimchi and crunchy bean sprouts.  I can never have enough kimchi.  It’s not only delicious but so good for a body.

 

 

 

Ahjoomah's Apron's menu in Chicago's Chinatown

So tasty but I couldn’t finish it all by myself 🙂

 

 

This version of bimbimbop is only available for dine-in patrons.   The beef is really flavorful and the rice is super crispy.  You won’t want to miss this steaming bowl that will have you feeling full the rest of the day.  Wear your big-boy (or big-girl) pants 😉

 

 

 

Bibimbop at Ahjoomah's Apron in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

Since you will definitely be in need of some exercise after a meal at here, I encourage you to take the local rails or buses.  Since Chinatown is super busy and parking is scarce, you’ll thank me. – 218 W. Cermak Rd.

 

 

 

CTA Red Line near Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

 

McCormick Place CTA stop near Ahjoomah's Apron in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

Japan

 

 

 

Strings Ramen Shop in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

One of the most authentic places in Chicago for ramen is Strings Ramen.  They are pulling fresh noodles daily on their Japanese noodle machine.  The space is super tiny and it is a BYOB destination, so bring whatever gets you buzzed!

 

 

 

Strings Ramen space Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

 

I love the spicy tonkotsu ramen with broth which is made for a couple of days ahead off time.  You can choose pork belly, pork loin or a combination.  You cannot go wrong.  It’s the perfect bowl of wonderful to dive into on a cool Autumn day.

 

 

 

Pork ramen at Strings in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

 

Chicago's best Asian Pork ramen at Strings Ramen Shop Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

 

If you are feeling adventurous and you have a high tolerance for pain, check out the Hell Ramen menu at Strings.  Choose the ring of Hell that suits your sweat glands and say a prayer!  You and your butt hole have been warned.  I have not made it past Level 3.

 

 

 

Hell Ramen menu at Strings Ramen Shop

Hell, yeah!

 

 

Cantonese

 

 

Minghin in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

Minghin is one of the nicest spots in Chinatown.  It is serving up Cantonese fare in a large and comfy space.  I love a perfectly executed spicy eggplant dish and Minghin certainly delivers.  It brings the spice with abundant color.

 

 

 

Asian Eggplant in Szechuan sauce at Minghin in Chicago's Chinatown

Nice and spicy Szechuan eggplant

 

 

How do you like your tofu?  Minghin has several options but I like to keep things simple with this grilled, firm tofu in soy sauce.  If you don’t come here with a crowd, you’ll have plenty to take home for lunch the next day.  That is always good news for me.  Nicely done!

 

 

 

Pan-seared tofu at Minghin in Chicago's Chinatown

Don’t let the simplicity of this dish fool you!

 

 

 

Chicago's best Asian Szechuan egglant at Minghin

Szechuan egglpant at Minghin

 

 

 

Minghin's dim sum in Chicago's Chinatown

 

 

 

You’re all set, folks!  Hop the rails and buses to Chicago’s Chinatown and check out these tasty eats.  How many have you tried?  Do you have a favorite spot here?  I would love to hear all about it!  Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

 

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to these tasty spots in Chicago’s Chinatown. Save on gas.  Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!