Chicago's Chinatown is one of the best culinary assets of our city. If you have never been, please do so even if just to walk the streets. I've enjoyed regular family dinners in Chinatown ever since I can remember. There are two places we always visited, Emperor's Choice and The Phoenix. Since it had been an unusually long time between Chinatown visits, we made Emperor's Choice the destination for dinner with Erica and her her mother Jean.
I could end the review now and simply say if you want great Chinese food go to Chinatown and enjoy. We all have our favorite spots and our favorite dishes, but now you can see mine.
Ask my friends and you'll hear that each meal with me must start with pot-stickers, the doughy dumpling filled with pork (or chicken or veggies depending on location). I have always loved the pot-stickers at EC, and especially love the dipping sauce. I prefer mine steamed, some choose pan fried.
Since there were only three of us, we limited our ordering to three dishes (with healthy leftovers). My family Chinese dinners normally involved a serious dose of over-ordering because we love our Chinese food. The staples at EC are schezwan string beans and kung pao chicken, and then any other dishes that spark interest. That night we ordered a tasty and healthy scallop and vegetable dish.
The string beans are one of my all time favorites, especially from EC. They were on the spicy side this time, unfortunate for Erica, but I loved them. Kung Pao Chicken is also a go-to, and they did not disappoint with little pieces of chicken in a moderately spicy peanut kung pao sauce. There are lots of vegetables too. Our scallop dish was the nice complement to all the other flavors. It was a flavorful but subtle garlic sauce, scallops and steamed veggies. Everything was great, especially the next day at home.
If you want delicious and authentic (Americanized) Chinese food, head to Chinatown and look up Emperor's Choice. It's nice to order from your local delivery guy, but every once in a while it's worth the trip for the best.