Explore Chicago CTA Edition: This is Cermak-Chinatown

Explore Chicago CTA Edition: This is Cermak-Chinatown

This is Cermak-Chinatown, doors open on the left at Cermak-Chinatown. Hey everyone and welcome to the first installment of Explore Chicago: CTA Edition. Today, we are going to be exploring one of the most fun and diverse neighborhoods in the city, Chinatown! So be sure to bring your ventra card (u-pass), a couple of friends, and an empty belly ; you are all ready to go!

Getting There:

There are three ways that I would recommend going to Chinatown, depending on where you live and with time considered. The first way is the easiest. You can take the CTA Red line down from Loyola straight into the Cermak-Chinatown station (toward 95th). This may take around an hour, give or take. Or, you can take the Intercampus shuttle from the Lakeshore Campus to the Water Tower Campus and take the El from Chicago and State toward Cermak-Chinatown. Lastly, you can always take an Uber or a Lyft, depending on the size of the group you are traveling with, and what time of day you are planning to visit.

Main Attractions: (Courtesy of TimeOut Chicago)

  1. Chinatown Square: This famous square is right outside of the station, across the street. Here you will find a two story mall of different shops offering food, drinks, and baked goods. However, the most prominent part of the square is the Chinese zodiac, represented by statues, on the perimeter. There is also a stage where performances are put on by traditional Chinese artists and musicians, these are popular during the summer months. According to TimeOut Chicago, the layout and design of Chinatown Square is based on a traditional Chinese imperial court.
  2. Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute: Close to Chinatown Square and the El Train is the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute. Here, a deep appreciation of the Chinese culture is instilled to promote an exchange of cultures, between the US and Chinese. There are many fun activities that you can do with your friends such as taking Tai-Chi lessons, going on Chinatown food tours, or even making dumplings dinners.
  3. Ping Tom Memorial Park: A little further than the two entries above, the Memorial Park is worth the walk. This area is a community space where people can take a break and relax on their busy day. If you are into kayaking, this is an ideal location since it is right on the Chicago River. They have also recently built a Field house for members of the community where there is an indoor pool, fitness center, and a gymnasium. This will allow you to work off an appetite for our next section…

Places to Eat: 

  • Joy Yee Noodles: For a true Asian gastronomic experience, Joy Yee is the place for you. Yes, they do have Chinese food but they also have Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian Japanese, and more! For this one, I would suggest splitting with your friends since the portions here are big and you are guaranteed leftovers. I would recommend trying the Beef Cubes with Tomato Java Rice; the Korean Chicken Chap-Chae or Short Ribs; Malaysian Fish Filet (which has bell peppers and basil); and a side order of their refreshing Japanese Seaweed Salad. Make sure you make room for dessert. Joy Yee is also known for their tapioca drinks that come with a wide variety of unique and tasty fruit. For this I recommend the mango, coconut, or if you are more adventurous, avocado! To check out their other locations and menu, check this link: (http://joyyee.com)
  • MingHin Cuisine: Are you looking for a restaurant that is slightly more authentic with your Chinese experience? Are you seeking for quality Dim Sum? Welcome to MingHin Cuisine! While the restaurant does not bring their food on carts anymore they do ensure that their food is freshly steamed and ready for your consumption. As with Joy Yee, eating with a bigger group is more fun and enjoyable, especially with this amount of food. This way you can try different dishes and always try more of what you enjoy eating. Here are my suggestions if this is your first time eating Dim Sum. I recommend getting their Siu Mai (a pork and shrimp dumpling), Pan Fried Pork and Vegetable Bun, and either their pork belly or roast duck. If you want more information on their menu and how to get there be sure to check this link: (https://www.minghincuisine.com/home) and (https://www.minghincuisine.com/dimsum-menu/chinatown) to plan your next meal! If you are still hungry and want more, check the next for dessert.
  • Saint Anna Bakery and Cafe: Seeking traditional Hong Kong pastries for the Lunar festival or just want to shove your mouth with savory pastries? Saint Anna is for you! A word of advice: Chinese pastries are not like American pastries as in they are not really sweet. Many of these pastries are more savory in nature and do not have as much sugar, butter, or any other sweetener. Here are some suggestions that I think you would enjoy. First is their egg tart. The egg tarts are an excellent custard surrounded by a soft and flaky crust that just melts in your mouth. If this isn’t perfection, I don’t know what is. They are also known for their sesame balls with red beans inside. These are airy sesame balls are super tasty with a stick rice exterior and a soft bean interior. Trust me on this one, they are delicious and delectable. For both of these desserts, you simply cannot just have one, or two, or three! A true excellent place for to round out your food trip/adventure/experience here in Chinatown. For more information and reviews check out the link. (https://www.yelp.com/biz/saint-anna-bakery-and-cafe-chicago)

Still hungry and looking for more? Be sure to tune in the week of October 24th as we go an explore Jackson and State on this edition of Explore Chicago CTA Edition. Doors closing.

Seeking more information, use this link to find suggestions for restaurants, hang out places, and more: (https://www.timeout.com/chicago/restaurants/cheap-eats-in-chinatown?package_page=20891) 

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