Lady of the nabe
Miss Chinatown takes us to her five favorite neighborhood spots.
The 24-year-old reigning Miss Chinatown, Anna Chiem, doesn’t actually live in the neighborhood she represents. But although she resides in Andersonville, North Sider status doesn’t stop her from frequenting places in the area where she’s considered royalty.
Bark Lee Tong (229 W Cermak Rd, 312-225-1988) “I take a weekly calligraphy lesson with renowned artist Andy Hoi-Csiu Chan in the basement of his wife’s herbal store. My talent in the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, where I placed third, was brush painting that Andy taught me.”
Lao Sze Chuan (2172 S Archer Ave, 312-326-5040) “Sad to see there was a fire recently at my favorite restaurant in Chinatown. I love to go there for the hot dishes, especially dry chili chicken. But during renovations, you can order off the Lao Sze Chuan menu at nearby Lao Beijing [2138 S Archer Ave, 312-881-0168].”
Good World Noodle (2522 S Halsted St, 312-326-0441) “My dad runs this business. They make all kinds of egg noodles and wonton skins and distribute them to a lot of the grocery stores and restaurants in and beyond Chinatown. If you’ve had pad si-ewe in Chicago, you’ve probably eaten these. Though he caters to wholesale customers, anyone can walk in and buy fresh noodles.”
Ping Tom Memorial Park (300 W 19th St, 312-746-5962) “If you want to take a stroll in Chinatown, there’s no better option. It’s really peaceful and sits right along the Chicago River. Check out the pavilion that’s built in a traditional pagoda style. It’s not a fancy park, like Millennium Park, where there’s a ton to do. It’s just good open green space to relax.”
Chinatown Square zodiac statues (2100 S Wentworth Ave) “I remember frolicking here as a little girl, between all 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. Up until I was nine, I thought I was a tiger because I was born in January 1986. But according to the lunar calendar, that’s the tail end of the preceding year, so I’m really an ox. Definitely not as cool!”