Dim Sum at Ming Hin (Chinatown, Chicago)
Last night, my dad was trying to remember a specific dim sum restaurant he had heard about. He didn’t know the name of it, but knew that it was located in the 2-story building that’s locally referred to as “new Chinatown” – as it’s located across the street form the older Chinatown area.
Google Maps wasn’t a super help, but late last night they somehow found it while looking over a list of dim sum restaurant names. They placed a reservation for 11AM, and we all met up for a late morning dim sum meal.
One interesting thing about this place is the ordering process. Instead of roving carts that you’d call over to the table, there were mostly roving waitstaff. Your table gets a large menu with images of all the items, along with blank box in the corner of each. Fill out the quantities you want, and someone takes your order.
The restaurant is considered more of a “Hong Kong” style dim sum, in that the interior is much cleaner and more modern looking. Not sure if this ordering style is also part of that or not.
The nice thing here seems to be that the entire order can be done at once, and mostly done via pictures. So needing to know how to speak Mandarin/Cantonese is much less necessary (though Chinese does seem to be the dominant language with the staff).
A snapshot of some of our meal. It was really good. And I know that Liz and I are both excited to go back.
One of Liz’s favorite items is the steamed pork buns. My parents know she loves these, so they ended up ordering 5 of these guys (3 pieces per order). When I remarked that 5 was too many, my mom immediately responded with “but you can take them home!”
A view of the restaurant, as we were leaving. This place is absolutely massive. If I remember hearing correctly, it seats around 750. Liz and I wandered around the downstairs area, going into room after room, trying to find my family. After getting a text, we went upstairs and still had to do more looking before we could track them down.
In addition to the large, open rooms – there are also smaller, private dining rooms (with doors that you can close). These rooms had one large table inside, and could seat around 7-10 people. Pretty neat.
As we were leaving, I realized how lucky we were to get reservations and to have decided to show up at 11AM. This was closer to 12PM or 12:30PM, and there were tons of folks outside waiting to get inside. They were calling out numbers, as each table was ready.
If you’re thinking about coming here, especially on a weekend – I’d recommend reservations. Or try to get here before the afternoon rush (which starts around 11/11:30AM). Crazy thing is, this place is open from 8AM until 2AM. So if you ever have a dim sum craving, this is the place to go.
After lunch, we walked down to the older Chinatown area and hit up Chiu Quon Bakery. There were a steady stream of people, and for a while there – it got a little hectic inside.
No real order or queue – just the person behind the counter shouting out “Who’s Next?” and letting the throngs decide. I made a joke to my dad that it was like basketball players, jockeying for position under the basket. A lot of elbows and every person for themselves.
My mom, ordering up a large amount of pastries. I was too full to voice any preferences, but she still got me and Liz our own box chock full of stuff. I honestly don’t even know what all’s in our box – but it’s stuffed full.
A view of some of the bakery items. Most of this stuff here is made with bean paste, which I will never eat. Not my thing, but I know a lot of folks like it. I lean more towards the traditional bakery items (buns with sweet/coconut filling inside).
As Liz and I were waiting outside, we saw that Jasmine and Jahnu were inside, looking out the window. We started to goof around with one another, and I told Jasmine to try to do the “fake elevator” pantomime.
One of my favorite moments of our excursion, right here: