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More than Noodles and Dumplings

5 best Chinese restaurants in Chicago

By Featured, News

Illustration by Aditi Singh

Chinese food is the most Googled cuisine in the United States, with over 3.35 million average monthly searches on Google in 2022. As Chicago’s Chinese population rapidly increases, the city is home to several Chinese restaurants — and Chinese SAIC students have opinions about which ones are best.

Da Mao Jia

Da Mao Jia tempts discerning palates with its captivating textures. In this unassuming store, pans beneath the glass case proudly show an array of tasty street-style delicacies, Chengdu Famous Hotpot Mix, handmade bell dumplings nesting in a flavorful broth, special spicy noodle soup enriched with braised beef, and many more dishes. Among the options, Fiona Qiao (BFA 2025), recommends the soft, spicy bean curd, a luxurious indulgence that transports diners with each velvety bite. Clouds of tofu glide down the throat, while crunchy soybeans introduce a delightful contrast, and cabbage and onion provide another layer of complexity, harkening to the bustling lanes of Sichuan.

Address: 2621 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608

Website: damaojiausa.com

Price Range: $11 – $30

TSAôCAA

The story of this little cafe begins with their philosophy of “a pure cup of good tea.” Qixin Chen (BFA 2024) said, “The must-try, undoubtedly, is the Grape Green Tea Slush with Milk Foam. It’s a star of the show, a perfect blend of juicy fruit and the rich fragrance of milk foam. With every sip, your tongue is coated in a sweet aftertaste, motivating you to return for another encounter.”  TSAôCAA takes you back to your high school days with their emphasis on bubble tea flavors, and their delightful after-school desserts like the matcha tofu and egg waffle that will make your heart sing. You can almost feel the weight of your backpack as you hear the joyful laughter of your friends. 

Address: 2026 S Clark St unit g, Chicago, IL 60616

Website: tsaocaail.com

Price Range: $11 – $30

Ken Kee Restaurant

Recommended by Boning Yan (BFA 2025), Ken Kee Restaurant is renowned for its delectable offerings, including Cart Noodle, traditional Cantonese cuisine, and milk tea. Located in the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown, it is Chicago’s first restaurant dedicated to Cart Noodle, which is a beloved dish with over twenty toppings and an array of noodle varieties that originated with street vendors in the 1950s, and later became a classic cultural icon. This eatery has also garnered a devoted online following, thanks to its distinctive neon-style decor, which evokes the charm of old Canton. With its warm and inviting atmosphere, Ken Kee offers more than just a dining experience but a journey through time and culture that captures the essence of Cantonese traditions.

Address: 2129 S China Pl, Chicago, IL 60616

Website: kenkee.com

Price Range: $11 – $30

Grand Palace

Located a bit farther south, this hidden gem may be unassuming, but it has an ever-present warmth. Despite the quality of the dishes, the prices remain modest, ensuring that a family dinner doesn’t break the bank. There is always the option to reserve a large round table, perfect for hosting or gatherings. The gracious lady extends her warmth to patrons, offering sweet oranges to cool off on sweltering summer days, and comforting bowls of warm chicken soup to ward off winter’s chill. Nanyu Jiang (BFA 2024) said, “The dining experience here strikes a harmonious balance in taste — neither overly salty nor bland. Among the standout dishes, the fried soft-shell crab with salted egg yolk is the most remarkable, delivering a harmony of crispy exteriors and soft interiors, rated as the finest in Chicago. Equally delightful is the oxtail stew.”

Address: 225 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60616

Price Range: $11-30

Shoo Loong Kan Hotpot

Shoo Loong Kan Hotpot stands out as one of the top destinations in Chicago for those seeking a comforting and authentic Chinese hot pot. Whether you are looking for a spot to hang out with friends or a place for a hearty family dinner, it will fit the bill. Yixuan Liu (BFA 2024), said, “Shoo Loong Kan holds a special place in my heart as the ultimate Sichuan cuisine. Each bite offers a fiery kick. For those who love bold and spicy flavors, this is the place to be.” The design of Shoo Loong Kan is just as enchanting as its food. Stepping inside is akin to stepping back in time, with its ancient-style decor that takes diners on a visual journey through history. Dining here is an immersive experience in Chinese culture.

Address: 2201 S Wentworth Ave 1st Fl, Chicago, IL 60616

Website: hotpotchicago.com

Price Range: $31 – $60

 

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