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Still mourning Chinatown's Hong Min

Hong Min was our favorite gem in Chinatown until it burned down a couple of years ago and never reopened. Help us get over our grief at its loss. We enjoy Emperor's Choice and Moon Palace and would love to hear about restaurants other people seek out.

Who has the best seafood? The best dum sum? The most authentic Chinese dishes (and what are they?)? What are the hidden gems in the little mall? What shouldn't we miss?

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  1. I liked Hong Min, too.

    I've found the seafood at Triple Crown Seafood (on 26th Place?) to be very good. People say that Phoenix has the best dim sum. I'm not an expert on dim sum (though I do love dumplings!) and I thought it was pretty good.

    I'm curious to see what others post on this topic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cipsi

      Triple Crown
      211 W 22nd pl
      Chicago, IL 60616

      (312) 791-0788

    2. Hong Minh was the best. When I first moved here, I had a friend recommend it. Then I had OTHER friends recommend it.

      Now, I like the fish in spicy black bean sauce at Lao Sezchuan. It's on the west end of the mall.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rubinow

        Where did you hear this? I don't believe they will ever re-open- how do I crave that lemon chicken.

      2. Rumor has it that Hong Min will return to Chicago's Chinatown soon...Triple Crown is good and is located on 22nd Place.

        ChicagoChinatown.Com

        1. If you're craving Hong Min, there is still one open in Palos, on 111th Street in Roberts Road. I was surprised to hear that it burned down though in chinatown!

          I forget the name of the one restaurant that I've been to, but it's right on the main strip of chinatown, on the east side of the street. In order to get there, you have to walk up this really long staircase to the second floor.

          The only other place I've been to is on cermak, and right where that main strip is. There's a restaurant on the north-west corner of the intersection. I forget the name of it, but it was on the second floor. I would NOT recommend going there.

          1. Long time Chinatown native. For our authentic meals, we prefer House Of Fortune on the south end of Wentworth. If you have a large party, get a prixfixe dinner with the Peking Duck service, lobsters & enough food for lunch tomorrow. Great lunch deals too with xiao long baos (steamed dumplings) that rival Moon Palace. For a smaller intimate dinner, try just ordering a steamed lobster with a Hong Kong steak (T-Bone that is pan fried) - oyster sauce on the side. Might not be Prime & aged, but I would put it up against a Morton's style steak any day! (strange but true for a Chinatown restaurant)

            Dim Sum in Chicago is still kinda sub-par to other major Chinatowns. Phoenix does offer the largest array of dimsum, but expensive and LONG lines on weekends.

            Inside Chinatown Square, just posted a small blurb on a new restaurant that opened up KS Seafood under the stinky tofu thread. Tried it for first time this weekend, & pretty impressed so far.

            1. If you don't mind me asking... what entrees did you get at Hong Min?

              I grew up eating their food and found they had a ton of authentic chinese dishes as well as some americanized entrees. I too miss it... still hoping they would open a new spot in Chinatown.

              Dim Sum - Phoenix is the best in Chicago. I've had friends comment that they prefer it to NYC's dim sum... and I do as well. If you don't see an item... just ask one of the servers and they usually will look for it for you or order it so that when it is done someone will bring it straight to your table. Just call them up for a reservation if its a big enough party.

              Triple Crown - love it. Great eats After 9pm they offer the same dinner entrees but in smaller portions. This is great for smaller parties that want lots of variety.

              Lao Sze Chuan - nice and spicy! http://www.laoszechuan.com/

              BBQ King House - my favorite for chinese bbq and rice dishes...

              Seven Treasures - great won ton soup - the only place I order from for that. The shrimp dumpling noodle soup is such a great deal.

              Ken Kee - I guess you could consider this a Hong Kong Cafe eatery... locals pack the place.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kykii

                we used to get the chow fun. we were too addicted to try much else. Oh, the eggplant stuffed with shrimp in black bean sauce, too.

                Also, they had something on the appetizer menu called an "onion puff" or something like that. I've never seen it anywhere else. Essentially, it was a puff pastry kind of thing stuffed with BBQ pork and onion deep fried.

                1. re: kykii

                  Just found this thread, I am pining for Hong Min- but from afar, now living in central Pennsylvania. Just made one of my favorite Hong Min dishes- the shredded boneless chicken (with "preserved vegetables"). Boy, did that ever bring me back. Every time I'm in a Chinese market, I look for cans of the sweet pickled vegetables, only occasionally can I find them and make the dish. Used to go there in the early-mid 80s through about 1998 when I moved away. The mixed seafood chow fun was utterly yummy, with "fish belly" and other marine things, playing off the crispness of the fried bottoms of the noodles which were also wonderfully chewy.

                2. i miss Hong Min so much as well. i went out to palos (so far!!) and it was not the same, very good though.

                  i use to go to Phoenix once a month and really enjoyed it, then i went to new york and san francisco and had dim sum a bunch of times in those places and phoenix has been a let down ever since.

                  i have been eating at Ken Kee for a few years now (shortly after I went down to Hong Min and discovered it was nothing more than a charred shell...) and while it isn't the most amazing place i have been it is VERY consistent and the food i order almost every time is really tasty. it is always packed with teenagers on their cell phones although i have tuned that out at this point.

                  i am really excited to try House of Fortune now!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: trentm

                    At House of Fortune, try the Beijing Pork Chop. Sauce is divine. Also, the pea greens (dao miu) sauteed in garlic.

                  2. I feel for you all. Hong Min's food was incredible. Luckily there is still 1 location that is super authentic and NOT burned down. It's the suburban location in Palos Hills, IL across from Stagg HS: 8048 W 111th St, 708.599.8488 .

                    It's as good as the old one. I still travel down there for special occasions, or when im extremely hungry. =)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: katalyst923

                      I like Shui Wah's for dim sum, which is next to Happy Chef and across from Joy Yee's. I was not a fan of Happy Chef, but I have some friends from China who like it. Shui Wah has high quality, but limited selection, and you order off a menu.

                      1. re: penguinista

                        Ok so heres the story... my parents where a couple through college at UIC and they ALWAYS went there... later my dad and mother got married and had my sister and I and we grew up eating there. I loved every item on the dim sum menu and as an entree enjoyed the Beef and Broccoli with foon noodles.

                        When hong minh burnt down we where on a desperate treasure hunt looking for a family style, dimsum serving restaurant... after a good hunt lasting about a year we found the mother of all dim sum restaurants:
                        Happy Chef Dim Sum House! It is located along the mall/plaza diagonal the wallgreens. You can look for a sign with Green Chinese characters along with the name (obviously) Here is a URL from mapquest:
                        http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Chi...

                        1. re: dimsumlover

                          I also have been in mourning for Hong Min's chow fun - have never found better. For dim sum I am a huge fan of Phoenix. The only place I have had better is in San Francisco. My NY friends prefer Phoenix for dim sum to anything in NY. And I recently was in Boston and went to the place most recommended for dim sum and, though good, it could not hold a candle to Phoenix. I haven't been to Happy Chef, but I have heard great things about it (including an insider tip from someone who works at Phoenix!). Now I'm looking forward to trying House of Fortune - thanks for the tip!

                          1. re: LisaSue

                            Hong Min's best dish - Mr. Weild's (sp?) Shrimp. That was a great dish. I haven't found anything close.