CHINATOWN — A new family-run restaurant has opened in the heart of the neighborhood, offering Northern and Northeastern Chinese cuisine.
The New Chinatown Restaurant, 207 W. Cermak Road, was opened Jan. 18 by Wei Zhang and Ling Yan Zheng, with help from the couple's two children.
Zhang grew up in Harbin, a town in the northeastern part of the China known for cold, harsh winters and for the spicy, satisfying cuisine that helps make them bearable.
With help from chef Han Qi, many of those items have made their way to the restaurant's five-page menu, which the family said remains a work in progress.
On the menu, there are a handful of traditional breakfast items like steamed buns and dumplings filled with pork, boiled mutton and scallions, and pork sauerkraut. All can be washed down with sweet soy bean milk or eggshell tea.
The extensive lunch and dinner menu offers a broad range of beef, lamb, poultry, pork, seafood and vegetable entrees, as well as hot pot soups and noodle dishes.
Among the most popular so far, Chen said, are a spicy prawn dish served in a hot mini wok, a beef and onion dish served sizzling at the table and the "Squirrel Fish" entree — a piece of fresh Tilapia decoratively fried, then topped with a tangy, sweet and sour glaze with carrots, garlic, ginger and peas.
Fans of "Americanized" Chinese food won't feel out of place, either. Chen said they're happy to whip up dishes like egg fu yung and General Tso's chicken.
The restaurant has seating for about 50 people and offers carry-out and delivery service.
Xiao Chen, 18, is a UIC student who's helping her parents run the restaurant. She said they're new to the business and learning as they go.
"We're still making changes with every meal," she said.
New Chinatown Restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. seven days a week, offers free WiFi for diners and can be contacted by calling (312) 225-333.