Welcome to Chinatown

That is what the English translation of the Chinese sign said. The exploration of a huge city like Chicago must begin someplace. So, on an unexpectedly cold Saturday morning in September, Aniket, Federico, Jen and I landed in Chicago’s own corner for the Chinese community, Chinatown.

As usual the first order of business was food!! We went into this cool looking place called Phoenix [website], which serves classical Chinese food both as main dishes or Dim Sum style [wiki], which has small portions of various preparations served in a bowl or basket. This place appeared to be quite popular and we had to wait for half an hour before getting seats.

The first thing we got served was some refreshing chá, Chinese tea. Next we started picking up stuff from the Dim Sum carts. The servers would push their carts to our table and asked politely ask us if we want to have something from their cart. Since, Jen is of East Asian-origin, they would start speaking in Chinese but soon saw the utter lack of comprehension on our faces and gave us the English translations. Apart from a very usual platter of fried chicken wings, we got some real "exotic" Chinese food.

The first thing we got was a plate of some beef slices in a delicious gravy. It was quite an innocent dish. The next thing was a preparation of some cow stomach or intestine (basically some component of the digestive system). It has to be the weirdest thing I have tasted. It had two different flavors at the same time; one was very delicious and the other was a bit pungent and slightly nauseating. The third item we picked were some classic Chicken feet. That was the first time I had had that part of a chicken. We finished lunch with one of Jen's favourites, some cha siu baau or barbecued pork buns.

After, lunch we roamed around Chinatown, just loitering around. We also stopped at the local Chinese market and I picked up some frozen cha siu baau for myself. All in all a saturday well spent.

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