Subway: Red to Cermak/Chinatown(312) 842-781841.853166 -87.632889 228 W Cermak Rd (between Wentworth and Princeton Aves) Chinatown, Chicago
Lunch, dinnerAverage main course: $9
Amiable owner Mr. Li used to guide diners through specials written on the wall in Chinese only, but now those have made it onto the English-language menu, adding to the many fantastic Szechuan options available for those looking to get out of a fried-rice rut. Both the fish with cabbage in chili oil and the mapo tofu pack plenty of earthy spice via a fistful of Szechuan peppercorns. To balance the heat, order the sugar-cured housemade bacon wok-tossed with snow peas, leeks and hefty slices of ginger. And if soft-shell or blue crabs are on offer, get them.