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Omnibus Asian restaurant best worth seeking out for its hand-pulled noodles and xiao long bao, Chinese soup dumplings.

Our Review

The omnibus restaurant Hing Kee has a menu that's always been—and continues to be—worryingly all over the map: Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, a sushi menu that includes things like "sushi pizza" and "Double Punk Rock & Roll." So it surprised everyone a while back when it stationed a dedicated noodle puller in its front window, putting on a mesmerizing cat's-cradle act sure to draw in aimless wanderers of the Chinatown Mall. Then it topped that by hiring a specialist in xiao long bao, Chinese soup dumplings, something of a holy grail in Chicago. When they're prepared correctly—and nobody here really seems to do them correctly—they're parcels of delicate pleated dough containing meatballs suspended in piping hot broth. You pluck one from the steamer by its topknot and position it in a puddle of black vinegar on your soup spoon. Then you bite off the topknot and slurp up the precious liquor inside before consuming the remains. All too often the dough is too tough or springs a leak before you get it into position—or any of a dozen other things go wrong to spoil the pleasant anticipation. But the ones at Hing Kee, though suffering from some structural deformity that initiated leakage from the underside, still weren't bad at all: flavorful broth; tender, neatly pleated dough; available in pork or crab meat and pork at less than a dollar a pop. Put yourself at the right table at the right time and you can admire the skills of their maker, a woman from Guangdong who goes simply by the name of "Na." Read more >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa

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