I love the fact that I live so close to Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. It’s such an interesting and fun place to meander around, while exploring various types Asian cuisine and culture without a passport. Last Friday, I headed over to MingHin Cuisine for a lovely solo lunch.
MingHin is located just
a couple of blocks west of the Cermak-Chinatown ‘L’ stop, along the CTA Red Line and the McCormick Place ‘L’ stop, along the CTA Green Line. The #62 Archer bus will take you directly there as well.
The focus here is on Cantonese cuisine and they have a fabulous dim sum service. Since I was dining alone, I decided to leave the many dim sum options for a return visit with a few friends. That way, I can justify ordering several items at once 🙂
Here’s how my lunch went down:
I arrived at 1pm and MingHin was packed. I was greeted immediately with a smile and asked how many people were in my party. When I mentioned that I was a party of one and that I would like to sit by a window, the host did not balk at all. He swiftly eyeballed the available table options in this rather large space and escorted me to a large window booth. I really appreciate it when a restaurant welcomes solo diners without stuffing us in a dim corner 🙂
In less than a minute, my server appeared and helped me through the large menu and specials. Since I was committed to eating strictly vegetarian that day, I began with this spicy Szechuan eggplant dish with sweet and hot peppers which comes with a side of white rice.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a really good version of this eggplant dish and MingHin’s really satisfied my craving. It was delicious. The eggplant was cooked perfectly. So often when restaurants attempt Szechuan eggplant, they overcook it, until it’s a pile of mush. Minghin got it right! It will become a staple here for me.
Next, I decided to get my protein on by ordering a simple, pan-seared tofu in soy sauce. My server explained that I would have to wait 10-15 minutes for this dish because they make it “to-order.” This was a very good sign. It informed me that I was not getting some stale tofu dish like so many busy Chinese restaurants prepare in advance. When it hit the table, I was not disappointed. The tofu was medium-firm and perfectly crispy on top. The soy sauce was the perfect seasoning. This tofu dish was a great follow-up to the super spicy eggplant, as it helped to cool down my palate.
The space at MingHin is huge, bright and decorated very nicely. A departure from the somewhat plain environs usually found in many Chinatown restaurants, regardless of the city.
MingHin was awarded the 2016 Michelin Bib Gourmand distinction which means that it is a great bang for your buck. This should keep your wallet happy 🙂
MingHin Cuisine is located at 2168 S. Archer Avenue. It is open 7 days a week from 8am – 2am. There is new location near Grant Park at 333 E. Benton Place. Click here for more information.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Red/Green Lines or the #62 Archer bus to MingHin Cuisine. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!