by Fred C. Wilson III
May 16, 2012
“Pet missing? No blame us! Blame hurricane.”
-sign in front of Florida’s ‘Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant-
Ever since I was a 6th grader I’ve always had a special interest in Asia. Its’ people, Asian arts, its’ colorful cultures, and of course the food; oh how I just love the many delicious dishes that continent has created through the ages. What better way to celebrate our planet’s largest continent than by sampling the menus of local Asian restaurants. With our large APA population Chicago and neighboring suburbs has plenty to choose from. How do I know-that’s easy; you don’t get to be a big guy like me dieting. I’m on a diet (doctor’s orders) since I want to live longer. Reader when you’re over 66 and weigh as much as I do you’re just a chicken leg away from the ‘big one’ (massive coronary). GOD willing I’d like to write this column for a few more years. To make this desire a living reality, I have to diet or die. As good fortune would have it, most Asian foods are ideal for my slimming down process.
I don’t have to list Chicago’s Asian restaurants. I assume you’ve lived here long enough to know some of them. If you’re a first time reader continue reading. I’ve listed some of what I consider to be among the better Asian eateries you might want to check out:
* Little Quiapo in my opinion is by far Chicago’s premier Filipino eating establishment. Located at 6259 N. Mc Cormick Rd. where the city meets the suburbs, my wife and I consider this restaurant a must do whenever we’re celebrating something. Birthday parties, an anniversary, graduations, First Communions, Confirmations, or anything else I heartily recommend this folksy little restaurant. If you just want some good eatin’ whenever we’re in the neighborhood give ‘em a call. For more on Little Quiapo call: 773-279-8861 (www.littlequiapo.com).
* If you have out-of-town guests, on a tight budget, hate long lines, the Evergreen’s the place for you. Give ‘em a call at 312-225-8898 (www.evergreenchicago.com). They’re in China-town on the city’s South Side. Parking is usually available depending on what time of day you’re there. We generally go at night since Chinatown parking is at a premium especially during daytime.
* Want the best for less; go to Sun Wah B-B-Q where you get big bowl portions at affordable prices. The menu is varied and it’s damn good eating! This friendly family-style restaurant has all that and more. They’re at 5041 N. Broadway at 773-769-2171 (www.sunwahbq.com). Parking is limited.
* Rival Furama Restaurant, also Chinese, is across the street. Like Sun Wah Furama’s not pricy, has a varied menu, friendly service plus in-house free parking the latter a rarity in any city. Furama is at 4936 N. Broadway. Give ‘em a call at 773-272-1161 (www.furamachicago.com). Since Furama’s a franchise there’s another one in Chinatown.
* Into Korean cuisine but live in the suburbs; no problem. When my wife and I lived in Schaumburg we used to dine at the BBQ Hut located at 1147 N. Roselle Rd in nearby Hoffman Estates. The food’s good, plentiful, superbly prepared, and affordable. Call 847-882-9292; sorry no website.
Reader I’ve listed a pitiful few of the many excellent Asian eateries in Chicago and nearby suburbs. For a wider assortment use the Internet to search Chicago area Asian restaurants. You can’t miss. These are usually people friendly restaurants. I wouldn’t recommend any place where I thought you’d be treated badly, besides who do you trust on food matters some skinny little anorexic whose idea of fine dining is two pieces of lettuce dipped in vinegar or a fat man like me who knows good eating when he sees it? Reader your answer is obvious. (laughing!)
There are numerous cultural events held this month. Space and time don’t permit elaboration. You might want to go to the websites I’ve listed below and do the ‘leg work’ (research) yourself:
These sites list hundreds of Asia-related citywide events. As the old Yellow Pages jingle once said before the advent of the home PC, “let your fingers do the walking.” APA heritage month is more than ‘feeding your face’ (eating), dancing, and listening to pretty speeches at cultural affairs. This is the month for remembering the many achievements the APA community has contributed to global society.
For a taste of the macabre what better way to connect culturally than a trip to the Genghis Khan exhibit held in the Field Museum of Natural History? Reader I’m not one to glorify genocidal killers, but the exhibit is interesting and educational. The Field Museum is at: 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. (www.fieldmuseum.org). Call the museum at 312-922-9410. Unless you possess a strong pair of legs and wanna’ ‘hoof it’ all the way to these museums I strongly recommend you take the 146 bus. Why drive? This bus runs along North Lake Shore Drive. You catch it on Michigan Avenue the section that runs through the ‘Mile’ (Magnificent Mile) to the river. Once the 146 cross the Chicago River it detours along Wacker Drive and runs up State Street from Lake Street to Roosevelt Road where turns left to make the museum campus run.
WARNING! Due to the NATO conferences scheduled for May 20th and 21st I sternly advise you steer clear of Downtown two days before, event days, and after NATO leave town. I was Downtown during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Things can get ugly.
* There are a number of places uniquely Fil-Am in Chicago. There’s the statue honoring Philippine founding father Dr. Jose Rizal that stands in a small public park along North Lake Shore Drive. You know the flag flanked statue of a man with his butt facing the highway? This monument is situated between Lawrence and Ainslie Streets on the North Side.
* The Bataan-Corregidor Bridge is on North Lake Shore and Wacker Drive.
* The Filipino-American Historical Society of Chicago is located at 5472 S. Dorchester Avenue in Hyde Park (South Side). I once served as recording secretary during that organization’s nascence. To contact it regarding Fil-Am cultural events, dinners, and other occasions call 773-941-8696 (www.fahschicago.org).
Reader that’s it; we’ll discuss Science and Religion from a Fil-Am perspective next time. It slipped my mind that May is APA Heritage Month so I temporarily nixed that article. GOD bless you and drive carefully.