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Chinese / Taiwanese Restaurants in Greater Chicago Area

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bearmi Sep 8, 2012 04:56 PM

Hi Guys,

I will be moving to Chicago soon, after many years in the NYC/NJ tri-state area. Although I visit Chicago often, I haven't really explored the Chinese restaurants there. Do you have any suggestions for authentic Chinese / Taiwanese restaurants in the Greater Chicago Area? Also, how is that Taiwanese place in Evanston (called "Cafe 527"? I think ). I walked past it a while ago but didn't get a chance to eat there. If anyone knows about it, please let me know what you think.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. camusman Sep 8, 2012 05:26 PM

    I like Cafe 527. The niu rou mian there is very respectable.

    5 Replies
    1. re: camusman
      nsxtasy Sep 8, 2012 06:01 PM

      I like it too. I'm no expert on Taiwanese food, but I've liked what I've eaten there.

      Oh, and it's called 527 Cafe, after its address at 527 Davis Street. They had a website at www.527cafe.com but it now appears to be gone.

      1. re: nsxtasy
        camusman Sep 8, 2012 06:43 PM

        They are overhauling their website and have a temporary website up at 527cafedavis.com until they get the upgrade done.

        Note: I've heard good things about their weekend Taiwanese breakfast, but I have not tried it.

        1. re: camusman
          nsxtasy Sep 8, 2012 07:23 PM

          I ate there on a weekend morning. I got the impression that the menu is the same as the rest of the time, with a few added dishes - something like fried dough and also something like a custard, IIRC.

          1. re: camusman
            ipsedixit Sep 8, 2012 08:28 PM

            They have diou-jiang (soy bean milk -- sweet and savory versions), yiou-tiao (crullers), radish cakes and fan-tuang (rice rolls) for weekend breakfasts.

            A better option for Taiwanese in Chicago would be T Tasty House.

            1. re: ipsedixit
              camusman Sep 9, 2012 04:56 AM

              I used to like T Tasty, but I had a couple of disappointing meals there earlier this year after they changed owners. I hope they have been able to turn things around since then.

      2. b
        bearmi Sep 9, 2012 08:24 PM

        Thank you for the recommendations! I will have to check out 527 Cafe. I went to Joy Yee last time instead and the food was just so so...I got takeout and actually didn't finish some of it :(

        Is the T Tasty House in Chinatown? I can check it out when I am in the area.

        Also, has anyone been to the Taiwanese food court at Pasquinelli Square in Westmont? It was popular years ago. Is it still open? If so, is it any good? Just curious.

        Thanks again!

        3 Replies
        1. re: bearmi
          camusman Sep 10, 2012 08:09 AM

          Yes, T Tasty House is in Chinatown.

          As far as Westmont goes, try Oriental Food House.

          1. re: camusman
            b
            bearmi Sep 16, 2012 03:49 PM

            Thank you. Lots of places to try. I go to Du Page County often...will check out Oriental Food House too!

            1. re: camusman
              b
              bearmi Jan 2, 2013 02:04 PM

              I went to the Orienal Food House a few weekends ago and it was good. I ordered the "red tofu" (pig blood tofu) soup and pork pie (ba -wan) and both were good (I didn't like the sauce they used on ba-wan but I got a few to go and used my own sweet/hot sauce at home). I also ordered rice sausage, stir fried/boiled intestines and Su Sem Soup (pig stomach soup with herbs and pearl barley). They were all pretty authentic and the owners didn't skimp on the key ingredients. It is a little far from where I live but it was not too bad of a drive via the highway. I plan to go back to stock up on Taiwanese snack items and soups on a regular basis. Some items such as pork pie and rice sausage freeze pretty well so I don't have to go every weekend :)

              Thanks for the reco!!

          2. d
            deesher Sep 9, 2012 08:36 PM

            Mei Shung has both Chinese and Taiwanese dishes. I've had a few things there that were pretty good. Here's a link to their web site. It's at 5511 N. Broadway.

            http://www.meishungtogo.com/

            2 Replies
            1. re: deesher
              huiray Sep 15, 2012 09:07 AM

              "Mandarin" dishes does not equal "Chinese" (in toto) dishes. "Taiwanese" is a subset of "Chinese", in a CULINARY sense. Political affiliations are NOT being considered here.

              1. re: deesher
                b
                bearmi Sep 16, 2012 03:44 PM

                Sounds good to me. I will have to check it out. Exactly what I am looking for!!!

              2. camusman Sep 15, 2012 08:36 AM

                Yu Ton in Westmont is hit and miss, but their stinky tofu and breakfast items are pretty solid.

                1. m
                  mountsac Sep 10, 2012 03:30 PM

                  For Taiwanese food, I like Mei Shung and Great Wall (2759 Maple Ave, Lisle, IL). International Mall in Westmont is a food court that offers Taiwanese tapas (小吃) and weekend breakfast (it's okay; so go when you're desperate).

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mountsac
                    TonyC Sep 14, 2012 03:21 PM

                    Despite the rather large Taiwanese population in Nappyville/Downers Grove, etc.,International Mall is still the ONLY place to get Taiwanese breakfast in all of Chicago.

                    Great Wall is Taiwanese owned/operated, but despite having lived only 1 town over, I've been exactly .. twice. Food isn't quite sex. If it's not good, it's just not good.

                    I've been told T Tasty's NRM borders atrocious.

                    So the answer is: abstain til you graduate from NU, then move back to NJ or move to LA. If you're moving there, shit, sorry, better start buying ingredients.

                    1. re: TonyC
                      s
                      shorty123 Nov 9, 2012 05:52 PM

                      It seems like International Mall has been getting more and more run down over the years. It is a hole-in-the-wall type of place. I used to work in the mall. The only restaurant I thought was worth going to was Chinese Cafe. Back then, the cafe was only open on weekends. I don't know their hours these days.

                    2. re: mountsac
                      b
                      bearmi Sep 15, 2012 05:17 AM

                      Wow the International Mall is still operating? My first time there was like 1986!!

                      Oops, I am moving to Chicago for work not for school. I think you guys have given me some good tips already. I do plan to visit NY / LA on a regular basis so it will be worked into my relocation :)

                    3. s
                      shorty123 Nov 9, 2012 05:48 PM

                      Try Katy's Dumpling House in Naperville or Westmont if you are in the western suburbs. Here is their menu: http://katysdumpling.com/Katys_Dumpli...

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: shorty123
                        b
                        bearmi Nov 9, 2012 08:29 PM

                        Thank you! I think I have been there. The food was pretty good. I have family in the western suburbs so it will work out well for me! What are their signature dishes? I noticed they sell frozen dumplings on the menu from their website. Are they any good?

                        1. re: bearmi
                          s
                          shorty123 Nov 10, 2012 04:35 AM

                          I am meeting my Taiwanese relatives at Katy's Dumpling house for lunch next weekend. I hear that they have a good beef tendon noodle soup. We had a couple of really good noodle dishes and an excellent walnut shrimp dish. Here is a link to a long thread on this restaurant:

                          http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

                          I live too far from Katy's Dumplings to buy the frozen dumplings.

                          1. re: shorty123
                            b
                            bearmi Nov 10, 2012 09:17 AM

                            Thank you! This looks great! If you order anything worth noting next weekend with your family, please keep us posted. I look forward to visiting this restaurant soon myself :)

                            I have an insulated cooler in my car so I am planning to buy some of their frozen dumplings to try. I am sure they taste better than the mass produced ones sold at Asian Markets :)

                            1. re: bearmi
                              camusman Nov 10, 2012 12:37 PM

                              Bearmi, have you had a chance to try any other restaurants mentioned above? Feedback is always very helpful.
                              Thank you

                              1. re: camusman
                                b
                                bearmi Nov 11, 2012 04:03 AM

                                Thanks for the follow up. Not really. Believe it or not, I just arrived in the area very recently so I am still settling down (I have been coming to get ready for my move but because of work hours I have only been to Joy Yee in Evanston and was a little disappointed)! However, I was able to make it to 527 Cafe in Evanston last night and it was pretty good. I ordered the Taiwanese pork with rice ( didnt get the noodle soup since I had a 30 min drive back and it was a takeout) I noticed a lot of people ordering noodle soups and shaved ice so thats what I will try next time when I dine in.

                                By the way, I have been to the Great Wall before. Forgot exactly what I have ordered but when I visited with my relatives out in Du Page cty a couple of years ago, we went there as a group. I had to confirm the Chinese names of some of these restaurants (including Katys Dumpling) because they are a little different than their English names. Nontheless, over the next few months, I will keep exploring and share my thoughts :)

                                1. re: camusman
                                  b
                                  bearmi Jan 2, 2013 02:08 PM

                                  I have reviewed Oriental Food House above. Also wanted to let you know that I went to a Sichuan place in Naperville called "Yu's Bistro" (not related to Yu's Mandarin). Their Sichuan dishes were pretty hot and spicy and the servers were pretty friendly. Still haven't been to Katy's and Great Wall because my relatives don't quite like the ambiance there. However, I might go on my own just to check them out in the future..

                                2. re: bearmi
                                  s
                                  shorty123 Nov 19, 2012 04:56 PM

                                  Yesterday we ordered the following at Katy's Dumpling House: Potsticker, Dan Dan Noodle, Combo Fried Noodle with hot pepper (not on the online English menu), honey walnut shrimp, and fish fillet with spicy bean paste & tofu.

                                  The waitress recommended the beef noodle soup, the Korean noodle soup, Dan Dan Noodle, and the fish fillet with spicy bean paste & tofu. The best dish which we ordered was the fish fillet dish. All the dishes were good. If you can read Chinese, they have a menu in Chinese (which appears to contain dishes which are not on the English menu). On the English menu, I did not see yiou-tiao, but the table next to us ordered that dish. It is probably on the Chinese menu.

                                  If you are in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, you might want to consider going to Yu's Mandarin (in Schaumburg) or Chef Ping in Rolling Meadows. I think that the chef at Chef Ping's came from Yu's Mandarin. A lot of the dishes tastes the same at the two restaurants. My favorite dish at Yu's Mandarin is Noodle Platter. The noodle platter contains homemade noodles and a lot of seafood. At Yu's I also really like the Eight Treasure Tofu Pot dish (from the Traditional Chinese menu).

                                  1. re: shorty123
                                    b
                                    bearmi Nov 19, 2012 08:58 PM

                                    Thanks for the info. I will try Katys when I am in that area. I was at Chef Pings its pretty good. I had the seafood noodle too.

                                    1. re: bearmi
                                      b
                                      bearmi Sep 16, 2013 02:27 PM

                                      Quick update for you. I went to Katy's Dumplings a few weeks ago and bought their frozen dumplings. They were pretty tasty. (I got Pork and Cabbage).

                                      I also bought smoked chicken (flavor was good but a little dry) and spicy beef tendon (very good). I will have to go back and try other dishes.

                          2. s
                            shorty123 Nov 10, 2012 06:13 PM

                            Here is a thread on Cafe 527:
                            http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: shorty123
                              b
                              bearmi Nov 11, 2012 04:07 AM

                              Thanks. This will give me some ideas on what to order next time.

                            2. j
                              joeljcj2 Nov 24, 2012 05:03 PM

                              chinatown---cermak road=22d street, just west of clark , is an active chinese colony. there are sevral variations, on wentworth, in the "new" chinese center on the north side of 22d there are several restaurants each pertaining to the cuisines of a specific region. ( i.e. -mr LI has LI szechuan, LI mandarin, LI cantonese...etc, plus there are several "hong kong" styke restaurants, a couple of bbq's, a couple of dim sum's etc. chines customers we once did usiness with, liked teh "Li" restaurants, and also liked Phoenix ( south side of 22d).

                              1. s
                                shorty123 Jul 16, 2013 01:16 PM

                                After trying out the various restaurants, which restaurant would you say has the best traditional Taiwanese breakfast?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: shorty123
                                  b
                                  bearmi Aug 9, 2013 03:42 PM

                                  Sorry for the last response. So far, I think the "Chinese Cafe" ("Nan-Bei-He" or 南北和 in Chinese) at the International Mall has the best weekend breakfast item. Their Dou-Hwa / Dao-Huay(Tofu Jelly), which was made with carmelized sugar syrup, was pretty good.

                                  How about you? What's your favorite go-to place for Taiwanese Breakfast? Overall, I have to say NY has better Chinese food but I didn't move to Chicago for Chinese food so I will work around it by visiting NY and Calif more frequently :)

                                2. s
                                  sunbrace Aug 9, 2013 09:18 PM

                                  Has anyone tried the newly opened Vora downtown? They seem to specialize in Taiwanese dimsum based on their menu.

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