Food & Drink

The Everyman's Guide to Great Asian Food in Chicago

Published On 07/08/2015 Published On 07/08/2015
Sean Cooley/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Mike Gebert/Thrillist
Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Cai 2100 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616 (Chinatown)

Chinatown’s Cai strays from other dimsum eateries by dodging the cart setup and offering a menu akin to your family photo album, but with portraits of ridiculously good-looking Chinese bites, and therefore the family you always wanted. The giant banquet hall is always packed, so embrace that you’ll be getting to know your neighbor’s elbow pretty well. Cai has some of the best shumai in the city; nibble on the har gow, or shrimp dumplings with paper-thin crystal wrapping.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Sun Wah BBQ 5039 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Uptown)

Nowhere on Uptown’s Sun Wah BBQ’s menu will you find its most sought-after dish, the three-course Beijing duck feast. The Chinese restaurant’s worst-kept secret, the duck is expertly carved, plated, and served to you by one of the chefs in a jazz-like rhythm of slicing and dicing as the bird’s tender, juicy meat falls off the bone and barely hangs onto its glistening, crunchy skin. The remainder of the duck is then syphoned off into duck fried rice and duck soup for subsequent courses. While you in no uncertain terms come to Sun Wah for the duck, there are other delectable options for those who duck meat altogether, like the Singapore noodles or black mushrooms with fried tofu.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Lao You Ju 2002 S Wentworth, Chicago, IL 60616

From Chinatown mainstay Tony Hu, Lao You Ju (which loosely translates to "old friends get together") does small plates China-style. The menu is expansive, and the xiao long bao -- soup dumplings -- are some of the best in the city, so get comfy in one their cushy, red booths and prepare to feast.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Go 4 Food 212 W 23rd St, Chicago, IL 60616 (Chinatown)

Do we really need to convince you to go to a stellar Chinese/Asian-fusion restaurant IN Chinatown... ?

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Furious Spoon 1571 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Shin Thompson's small-but-mighty Furious Spoon in Wicker Park stands well above the rest of Chicago's ramen shops for its bowls of handmade noodle soups. The menu features a few kinds of ramen with suggested toppings, like the house apple chili sauce. The signature Furious Ramen, a soul-warming blend of tonkotsu broth and spicy miso, pairs well with a Surly Furious Beer. The restaurant is sleek and narrow with a minimalist, artsy vibe that fits in perfectly with the trendy neighborhood.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Kai Zan 2557 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Humboldt Park)

With precision and technique, brothers Melvin and Carlo Vizconde create non-traditional, neighborhood izakaya at Humboldt Park’s Kai Zan. The sophisticated Japanese-style dishes and marble countertops -- where you can watch the mesmerizing knife skills in action -- are antithetical to the restaurant’s unpretentious, inviting atmosphere. Kai Zan is a 22-seat space on West Chicago Ave., where the seats fill up fast, no small thanks to the playful, composed dishes -- like oyster and uni shooters served in ponzu sauce and topped with a quail egg and caviar -- and $50 omakase menu.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Momotaro 820 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

Momotaro is Fulton Market’s 11,000sqft, three-story, high-end Japanese restaurant from Boka Restaurant Group. And it should come as no surprise that the menu, like the restaurant itself, is enormous: it is a daunting multiple-page list with myriad options (order with purpose) and obscure ingredients (pay attention, heed your server’s advice, and keep your smartphone handy). There are a dozen categories to navigate, among them Kushi Yaki, Rice and Noodles, Nigirizushi, Makimono, and Donburi Bowls. Decisions are best made over cocktails (or sake, wine, or Japanese whiskey), which are available both in the dining room and at Izakaya Lounge, the subterranean late-night bar below the restaurant. Momotaro is a destination for an immersive, modern Japanese experience; go hungry, choose wisely.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Cho Sun Ok 4200 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 (North Center)

This North Center restaurant is a quality spot to chow down on tasty Korean BBQ made grill-top style. Pro tip: try the short ribs, beef dumplings, or kimchi fried rice. Service is quick and prices are more than reasonable. Oh, and they're BYOB, so don't forget your favorite booze!

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. En Hakkore 1840 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Bucktown)

En Hakkore puts forward budget-friendly Korean cuisine with a twist: think tacos, paninis, and sushi. Their eclectic decor features communal tables, chandeliers made from repurposed materials, and antique books on the walls.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Gogi 6240 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60659 (West Rogers Park)

This Korean BBQ spot is not about drunkenly stuffing your face with meat. It's about perfectly balanced, sizzling slices of beef bulgogi that's some of the best you'll find in Chicago.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Rainbow Cuisine 4825 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

Rainbow Cuisine has some truly authentic and delicious Thai dishes, like boat noodles or nam tod (grilled beef salad), but the nam khao tod, a comfy mix of crispy fried rice, bright peppers and lime juice, and chunks of store-bought Thai ham, is something you just have to try.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Aroy Thai 4656 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Logan Square)

Lincoln Square is Thai food central and this veteran restaurant remains one of the best examples. The best cold remedy in town is a bowl of their pungently hot and sour beef ball (no, not that kind) and tendon (yes, that kind) soup.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Andy's Thai Kitchen 946 W Wellington Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (Lakeview)

It’s possible that Andy’s Thai Kitchen of Lakeview is BYOB because Chef Andy would rather you choose what potion you use to douse the Thai hot spice in your throat. Powerful flavors bathe Andy’s dishes, from the appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, curries, to, most of all, the slurp-worthy noodles. Speaking of noodles, hop the pad Thai fence and explore new noodle terrain, with the boat noodle, a dish complete with beef brisket, thin rice vermicellis, Chinese broccoli, bean sprouts, garlic, onions, pork skin, and cilantro.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. CoCo Vietnamese Sandwiches & Pho 1613 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 (Ravenswood)

CoCo does some of the best pho in the city. The Vietnamese national soup is a beef bone broth heavily perfumed with spices, but decidedly light in comparison with something like ramen: delicate rice noodles, fresh herbs, and thin slices of beef, fish balls, or whatever else you choose to be in it.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Nhu Lan Bakery 2612 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

This Vietnamese bakery churns out solid bánh mì options with all the fixings that make it a welcome departure from the standard lunchtime sub. The BBQ pork sandwich with crisp cucumber spears, sweet pickled daikon, shaved carrots, jalapeños, and fresh cilantro in a crusty baguette is a stand-out special. It's not always easy to find a table in either of their tiny, storefront locations if you're dining in, but it's well worth the wait.

Clickbait

close

Learn More