I grew up going to Chicago at least a few times a year. It was (and still is to an extent) the closest Little Saigon to Ohio. This past week, I decided to spend New Year’s there and boy did it bring back memories.
I took my friends through the city that I knew – not as a local or tourist – but through my childhood eyes. Here is my list of must see and eat places.
Seven Treasures Cantonese Restaurant has the best roast duck and roast pork and wonton noodle soup. Feida’s Bakery for Chinese baked goods (like BBQ pork buns), which I always stop at since going to the source is better than picking it up at the local asian food mart days or weeks after it’s made. Then, have some traditional dim sum at MingHin Cuisine. Be prepared to fight the crowd but sit down for a great meal.
The “Bean,” Buckingham Fountain, and Grant Park. If you can get to Chicago in the summer, the “Taste of Chicago” event is not to be missed. After that, head down to the other end for the shopping. Yes, the taxes are high – but you can experience everything from stores that takes you from bargain prices to high-end couture and even a little eccentricity if you steer off the main road a couple blocks.
I have been to the museum campus and outlier museums in Chicago more times than I can count. They probably should just hire me as a tour guide at Shedd. I loved them as a child and I still love them now going back as an adult. If you’re short on time (or money), I suggest getting a CityPass which will get you into all the important ones.
Asia on Argyle (aka Little Saigon)
Ba Le is a must. I can’t come to the city without stopping for an iced coffee and hoard of banh mi sandwiches to take home with me (it’s buy 5 get 1 free!!). I’ve had sandwiches in the Westminster area of Califonia and they don’t compare. If my recommendation isn’t enough – how about stopping in because Zagat told you too, or because it as a MICHELIN star? 🙂 If you’re looking for more of a sit-down – or a healthy bowl of Pho – stop into Pho 777.