With more than 65,000 Chinese residents, Chicago's Chinatown is one of the largest neighborhoods of its kind in the United States. Located on the city's near South Side, Chinatown has a vibrant culture and, of course, bursts at the seams with authentic Asian cuisine. When it comes to discovering a dim sum feast or a sweet treat, this place has you covered.
Dim Sum: Cai (2100 S. Archer Ave.)
When you go out for dim sum, you'll fill your table with lots of small plates of Cantonese food, many of which have just a bite or two. At Cai, check off which dishes you want from a list, and they'll be delivered to your table on small plates or in bamboo baskets. Try the xiao long bao, which are dumplings filled with crabmeat and a bit of broth, and the pan-fried pork buns stuffed with preserved vegetables.
Restaurateur Tony Hu's many restaurants focus on different Chinese cuisines, and Lao Hunan features spicy dishes that use lots of chilies and garlic. The dishes are large, so get a few to share with the table. Try the "home fed chicken," which features chicken that has been aged for two days then smoked. The meat is tossed with leeks, peppers, celery, and chilies. The green choy sum with thousand years egg tops a brothy bowl of wilted greens with shards of garlic and preserved eggs, which take on a jelly-like consistency.
Dinner: Go 4 Food (212 W. 23rd St.)
If you love seafood, then head to Go 4 Food. But don't wear a nice outfit - you're going to get chili sauce all over yourself. The chili crab dish consists of giant Dungeness crabs that are fried in a wok with onions, curry powder, soy sauce, and other ingredients. The crabs are crispy and coated in a sauce that you'll wish you could eat on everything.
Dessert: Saint Anna Bakery (2158 S. Archer Ave.)
End your day of eating by going crazy at Saint Anna Bakery, where small treats will set you back about 80 cents apiece. The bakery is known for its egg custard tart, which is an oval-shaped pastry shell filled with a slightly sweet custard filling.
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