Serious Eats Looks at Chinese Food Not By Tony Hu and Named Lao

Egg custard at Cai.
Egg custard at Cai. Photo: Nick Kindelsperger courtesy Serious Eats

Chinatown, any Chinatown, is simultaneously the most fascinating and frustrating of ethnic neighborhoods. The food is well-liked overall, but finding the best stuff off catalog-sized menus often requires both cultural knowledge and language skills beyond most non-Chinese. At most you can find someone else’s guide to a few discoveries, and hope to work from there to expand the base of knowledge. Serious Eats Chicago’s Nick Kindelsperger tackled Tony Hu’s Chicago Chinatown empire a few months back, and now he returns to scope out some of the other 40 restaurants within a few blocks in Chinatown and turn up star dishes. From salt and pepper shrimp at “Little” Three Happiness (which we’d agree is the one star at that otherwise wildly overrated spot) to great baked egg tarts at dim sum spot Cai to the Portuguese pork chop sandwich at weirdly space-age Sweet Station; he even finds something worth eating at the usually forlorn food court in the Richland Center. [SE: Chicago]