Food & Drink

Chicago's ultimate guide to Argyle Street Asian food

Published On 07/22/2014 Published On 07/22/2014
Sean Cooley
Tank Noodle 
Chiu Quon
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1. Lao Sze Chuan 4832 N Broadway Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Spice lovers and adventurous eaters alike rejoice at Uptown’s Lao Sze Chuan, a Sichuan mecca in Chicago. Begun by Tony Hu, the mastermind behind the Tony Gourmet Group and a graduate of China’s first culinary institution, Lao Sze Chuan promises authentic cuisine founded on high quality materials and ingredients, all prepared by chefs hailing from the restaurant’s regional namesake. With a diverse selection of saucy, hot dishes, you should top your table with Tony’s Chicken with Three Chili and one of the less conventional plates offered, like ginger pork stomach or pork intestine with pork blood cake. Not for the faint of heart (or faint of taste bud), Lao Sze Chuan will provoke you to expand your Chinese culinary horizons well beyond General Tso’s and white rice.

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2. Sun Wah BBQ 5039 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640

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.

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3. Ba Le Bakery 5016 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640

Family-owned and serving up traditional preparations of classic Vietnamese eats, Ba Le is your go-to for noodle salads, banh mi, and more.

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4. Chiu Quon Bakery 1127 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640

As the oldest bakery in Chinatown, having been started in the 1980s, this eatery has laid back, cafe filtered vibes. In addition to trying out the dim sum, turn your attention to the baked goods like sweet egg custard tarts and BBQ pork buns.

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5. Tank Noodle 4953 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640

One of Chicago's most popular spots for pho, this Vietnamese noodle shop's best-seller is a combination of sliced beef, brisket, flank steak, tendon, tripe, and meatballs, loaded with as much basil, bean sprouts, and jalapeños as you want.

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6. Furama 4936 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640

Uptown’s dim sum palace Furama is relatively unassuming from the outside, except, of course, for the sensational red and yellow sign marking the restaurant’s corner territory on Argyle, the same it’s maintained since 1985. Inside, avoid getting swallowed up by the dim sum pushcarts; they’ll whiz by to feed other hungry souls faster than you can say shumai if you miss them. Allow yourself a few minutes to ogle at the green and white-themed dining room, framed by mirrored walls with painted yellow designs; the décor is as authentic as the food. And though the wide selection of Mandarin and Cantonese small bites stays mostly within traditional bounds, the exceptional BBQ short ribs fall right of the bone. Come for brunch on Saturday and Sunday; why have last night’s coagulated Chinese food when you can have piping hot, mouth-watering, brand-new dumplings?

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7. Pho 777 1065 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640

The pho is the must-try dish here (hence the name). They make it similar to other places, but the broth is a little sweeter. They've got great apps too like Spring rolls and bánh xèo so don't miss those either.

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8. Hai Yen 1055 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640

Hit up Hai Yen for an encyclopedic Vietnamese menu filled with tasty salads, soups, pho, stir-fried noodles, and a plethora of traditional meat and seafood dishes.