Be A Tourist In Your Own Town: Chinatown Walking Food Tour
The iconic gate of Chinatown welcomes you.
Many of the buildings are intricately decorated with lions, peacocks, or dragons.
Before the tour begins, you get an outline and a food tasting guide. This includes a map of China, showing each region you will \"visit\" on your Chinatown food tour.
This is Dim Sum from Triple Crown. In Dum Sum dining, most of the dishes come in small bamboo containers, and are meant for sharing.
The tour guide explains Canton cuisine and this Hong Kong style of cooking and eating.
As the Dim Sum bamboo containers are passed around the table, your plate begins to fill with a variety of textures and shapes.
Chicago\'s Chinatown celebrates it centennial anniversary this year.
Chinatown has architecture that you will not see elsewhere in the city. Here is the Pui Tak center, once home to the On Leong Merchants Association.
This is a peach iced tea from the Ten Ren tea shop.
Ten Ren sells tea by the box.
Ten Ren also sells tea by the pound. If you love tea, you can set up a private tea service at the shop for you and a few friends.
Your guide will explain the importance of tea to Chinese culture. Please take note of Chicagoist\'s own Rob Christopher, enthralled and really enjoying that tea.
The tea shop still has its hand-painted sign above the door.
If the temple is open during your tour, you may stop in to see Buddha.
You can see the statues quite close up.
North of the Chinatown gate, on Archer Avenue, you glimpse a more modern Chinatown.
In this modern area you will find Lao Sze Chuan, owned by celebrity chef Tony Hu.
The food is quite flavorful and spicy. This is typical of Sze Chuan cuisine. These are eggplants.
The food is served family-style with white rice. You pass and share the dishes.
During the tour, you will take a walk to the Ping Tom Memorial Park to see the river and the pavilions.
We were lucky - on the day of our visit, there were dragon boat races!
Grab that flag, little guy!
Another stop on the tour is Lao Beijing for some Peking Duck.
I\'ve got your Peking Duck right here, lover.
On the tour, you\'ll share the Peking Duck with the other guests. The tour guide explains the history of this dish and how it is made.
You wrap the duck in a flat shell.
Our group enjoyed the duck, and especially enjoyed the presentation.
The last stop on the tour is the Saint Anna Bakery. This is a custard pastry that tasted quite strongly of egg.
Want to feel like a tourist in your own town? Try one of the Chicago Food Planet walking food tours. Chicago Food Planet offers tours of the Near North neighborhood, Bucktown/Wicker Park, and Chinatown.
Chicagoist recently took the Chinatown tour, and we want to take you along. Most of the guests on the tour were from neighboring states Michigan and Wisconsin, but a few locals tagged along to see a different side to the city and get a taste of Chinatown.
The tour stops at five tasting locations and covers a range of types of Chinese cooking: Triple Crown (Hong Kong-style Dim Sum), Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co., Lao Sze Chuan (family-style Szechuan dishes), Lao Beijing (Peking duck!), and Saint Anna Bakery. The tour includes explanation of the different styles of Chinese cooking as well as some of the history of the Chinatown neighborhood itself. On the right day, the tour may also stop at a Buddhist temple.
This tour is a good way for Chicagoans who are not familiar with Chinatown to acquaint ourselves with this interesting and vibrant neighborhood. It would also be a fun way to spend a day with a visitor from out of town. Prepare to walk a lot - you are advised ahead of time to wear comfortable shoes. They aren't kidding.
Check out our pictures of the food and the tour. Details are in the captions.
Chicago Food Planet food tours run Friday-Monday, April through November. You can buy tickets online. The Near North tour is $45; the Bucktown/Wicker Park tour is $45; and the Chinatown tour is $60.