Make a day trip to Chinatown! Chicago’s first Chinese immigrants arrived in the late 1860s and settled in the South Loop. By 1912, Chinese residents began to shift to the community’s current location around Armour Square. With deep roots and delicious cuisine, if you haven’t visited this vibrant neighborhood recently, it’s time to enjoy the best of what summer brings to Chinatown. Namely, the Water Taxi. Board in the Loop and float southwest on the Chicago River through world-class architecture on your way to the charming landing dock at Ping Tom Park. When you deboard, bring a picnic blanket and lounge in the sun, or hurry over to one of Chinatown’s most fabulous establishments.
Cai: This enormous spot feels like a formal banquet hall. Most weekends, large parties happily work their way through dim sum on rotating lazy susan-style tables. Diners can select the freshest seafood from aquariums near the kitchen.
Chiu Quon: Fancy an egg tartlet, bruléed perfectly on a buttery crust? Or an almond cookie? How about a delicate rice ball filled with sweet bean purée? Pop into Chiu Quon, an unassuming bakery with a legion of devoted customers.
Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings: This haunt launched as a basement walk-up stand and—through consistently delicious fare—grew into a full-fledged, sit-down establishment. Try the xiao long bao or the lamb-and-coriander dumplings.
Go 4 Food: Trendy and Michelin-noted Go 4 Food offers gourmet fusion in addition to classic dim sum. Think: taco bao, chili crab with catsup and onions, or salted egg yolk lobster.
MingHin Cuisine: Did someone say dim sum all day? Almost! Sleek and contemporary MingHin serves small plates from early in the morning through late at night. For an interesting treat, taste the Macanese crispy pork belly, served with a bowl of sugar. MingHin was recently awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the second consecutive year.
Lao Sze Chuan: Feelin’ hot hot hot!? Chili lovers will embrace the spicy dishes at this famous spot. Try the mapo tofu or the dry chili chicken.
If your amazing meal weighs you down, nap on the grassy knoll at Ping Tom—or rent a kayak from the riverside kiosk for a calorie-burning paddle. You’ll wonder why you don’t come down to Chinatown more often. If you’d like to stay awhile, check out CONLON / Christie’s International Real Estate’s listings in the neighborhood.