Though we are still mired in some of the coldest weather Chicago has seen in years, don’t forget that today is the Chinese New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Hare. That means that it is time for nearly every Chicago publication to talk about Chinese food. Here are some of our favorites of the day.
• Phil Vettel uses the occasion to review two newcomers on the Chinatown scene, which have “flaws, but considering their tender age, they are very much worth your attention.” He notes that Lao You Ju is Tony Hu’s “most ambitious restaurant yet.” The dishes have “confounding names,” but the “extremely friendly staff members” provide enough help to get by. MingHin has Macau-style roast pork belly, which is the one “must-order dish on the menu.” Unfortunately, “things quickly get less amazing” after that. [Trib]
• Steve Dolinsky celebrates the occasion by picking his top five Chinese restaurants in the city. It’s no real surprise that Lao Sze Chuan nabs the top spot thanks to its “spicy, piquant, crunchy and aromatic dishes that don’t hold back the heat levels for amateurs.” But we’re also happy to see Tasty City taking the number four spot. [WBEZ]
• Zagat released its own list of the top five Chinese restaurants in town, and Lao Sze Chuan took the number one spot. Phoenix came in at number two with its “‘large variety’ of ‘daily dim sum,’” while Emperor’s Choice took the third spot with “Sound Cantonese cooking.” [Zagat]
• Judith Dunbar Hines from the Sun Times visited Phoenix Bean to see how the company produced its tofu, soy milk, tofu noodles, and soy and mung bean sprouts. It’s a much bigger operation than she realized, as it kicks out “more than 1 million pounds of tofu” in a year. [Sun Times]