Body numbing Soup in Bridgeport
Is it time to start differentiating between Chicago's two Chinatown's? We all know about the original one at Cermak and Wentworth but over the last five years the neighborhood of Bridgeport has transformed into Chinatown 2. Specifically Halsted street where handfuls of businesses have been opening up with the bulk of them being restaurants. I've driven by a few times this summer and all of the spots seem intriguing but anytime a place uses noodles (or dumplings) in it's name it's going to get my attention. So when I saw that Min's Noodle House had opened I decided to make it my dinner.
Newly Opened in Bridgeport
The menu at Min's is relatively small for a Chinese restaurant. Before you open it it talks about getting back to the basics. It then goes on to describe three different things, all of which we tried. First up is bao aka Baozi. These are mainstream enough these days that most anyone who takes interest in food knows what they are. Steamed buns stuffed with vegetables and or meat. They can be enjoyed any time of the day and Min's will explain how for those of you who've never baoed. I'm not the biggest bao guy but still found the pork option from here to be a decent way to start the meal.
Pork Bao at Min's Noodle House
Moving on the menu's front page then goes on to explain what bing is. This Chinese sandwich is less common than bao and not to be confused with the trendy jianbing that's pooping up around the US. Or at least I dont think it is as the bing on the menu at Min's is described as a baked flatbread, though it does also say pancake but this bing sandwich is different than the jianbing I've tried elsewhere. This comes offered in pork or beef and comes spread with a plum sauce on top of the room temp meat. This was like a Chinese version of a roast beef sandwich. Not bad. I liked the bread.
Beef Bing Sandwich
The last item described on the front page is Chungking Noodles. They're described as a popular spice numbing noodle dish that's popular in the Chungking (sp?) province of China. There's an overload of Szecuhan restaurants opening up and with that the food is kind of getting dumbed down so it's nice to see a place specializing in something regional and not just the usual suspects. For those of you that love the body and mind numbing wonders of the sichuan peppercorn you will no doubt catch a trip with this one. I opted for it with braised beef and basically started feeling weird after my first bite. Yet I couldn't stop after my first sip either. It was addicting. I couldn't tell if noodles were made in-house but they're there to enhance the broth which seems to be the focal point of this dish. That shit is gnarly.
Chungking Noodle Soup at Min's Noodle House
Min's Noodle House
3235 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608