Sunday, August 1, 2010

Classic Chicago: Chinatown

One of my favorite places to explore is Chinatown. No matter how many times I have been there, I always track down new spots.
Today, I discovered a side of Chinatown that I never knew existed. Imagine, living here all these years and going one block out of your way to hit upon a whole new world.
In the newly discovered block north of Archer, Lao Sze Chuan has reopened and I wanted to check out their new digs. It was crowded at 11:30 AM. The menu was across-the-board and I stuck with one of my favorites - Kung Poa Chicken. What surprised me the most is that the food tasted so fresh and not your typical Chinatown cuisine. I have always loved the grocery stores in Chinatown but not so much the restaurants…until today.

What made it was the thick “gravy” that the Kung Poa was served in. Now, I have to work on my own Kung Poa recipe to achieve that same rich flavor.

Inside the Chinatown gate, there are noodle factories, grocery stores, restaurants and herbal shops that you can investigate. I shopped in the markets and brought home a bag full of specialty items for under $20.00. The prices alone always bring me here.

The water taxi now serves Chinatown. I couldn’t wait until the first one (10:15 AM) but will have to travel back to check out what is on the other side of the river. Never know a place until you go a block out of your way.

Bon Appetit!