Chicago may not spring to mind when you think about great food. Make no mistake, however. While Chicago is best-known for its local specialties, it is also home to world-class dining that rivals that of any great food city. While you may appreciate a classic Chicago-style hot dog, an Italian beef, or deep-dish pizza, there’s more to cuisine in Chicago than these well-known staples. For instance, Asian fusion in Chicago is – in a word – fantastic. These are our five favorites.
En Hakkore 2.0
The concept is simple, really, as they describe it, “Situated on a bustling strip of Milwaukee Ave in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, En Hakkore 2.0 serves up colorful sushi burritos, sushi tacos, poke bowls, and other tasty dishes.” They do it quite well and their food is not only delicious as its customers will attest, it’s satisfying. We’re partial to their Crunch+Fire burrito. Fall in love with the shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, cream cheese, jalapeno, mashed sweet potato, flakes, cucumber, guacamole, lettuce, avocado, soy glazed sauce, and spicy mayo sauce. That burrito pairs beautifully with the kimchi fries – though most of the menu does!
Born of a popular food truck, Saucy Porka focuses their cuisine on a fusion of Latin and Asian comfort food.
While navigating the food truck scene in Chicago, former DucknRoll Chef and owner Amy Le discovered a kindred spirit in fellow food truck Chef Rafael Lopez, formerly of Wagyu Wagon. Through Saucy Porka, the two aspiring chefs have recreated their childhood memories in blended dishes like the pork carnitas pho soup and arrozo con edamame. The recipes have been passed down from their grandmothers and mothers, but the most valuable lesson passed down is that a recipe is nothing without the spirit and soul one puts into it.”
Our advice? The Bacos are a perfect lunch.
With a menu focused on hot Asian steamed buns, potstickers, and rice & noodle bowls, Wow Bao will more than likely spread far beyond Chicago. They have an emphasis on a fresh and healthy menu as well as an upbeat culture, energetic service. In fact, their motto is that everything is served “at the speed of life”. With six locations in Chicago, one at O’Hare Airport and others in Washington, DC, Ohio, and Vermont, Wow Bao is becoming a favorite of locals and visitors alike. For us, it’s all about the Bao. We love the BBQ Berkshire Pork as well as the Thai Curry Chicken. The fusion of different Asian flavors in a delectable little bao is simply excellent. As they note, they specialize in “hot steamed buns, pan-seared potstickers, rice & noodle bowls, fresh salads, hot soups, and homemade ginger ale” and we think they do it extremely well.
Korean bibimbop fused with burgers defines Rice’N Bread.
Since 1959, Rice‘N Bread has been a Wrigleyville favorite offering all-American staples such as omelets and burgers with an Asian twist. Rice‘N Bread, formerly known to many as Hamburger King (or informally known as Sonia’s or Chester’s), now offers a wide variety of Korean-inspired flavors including Bulgogi, Bibimbop and of course, fried rice and the pickled spicy cabbage known as kimchi.
Our choice is the Galbi Burger which is a beef and pork patty with melted swiss cheese on a pretzel bun. We’re also happy to spring for the extra dollar to add the caramelized Kimchi on the burger.
Flat Top Grill
Operating under the tagline of “they grow it, you pick it, we cook it”, Flat Top Grill uses fresh ingredients that you choose to prepare custom stir-fry dishes and soups right in front of you.
At Flat Top Grill, we believe each meal should be memorable. Feisty flavors. Stand-up-and-shout textures with ingredients so fresh, your momma will smack them. You’re our guest. You decide. Shouldn’t your meal be prepared precisely to your tastes and preferences, whether you are paleo, vegan, nut-allergic, gluten-free or just plain hungry? We think so.
Start with the edamame or flat top quesadilla (or both) while you mull over your options for your main.
When you’re in Chicago, feel free to enjoy a classic deep-dish pizza, a Chicago-style hot dog, or an Italian beef. You will also want to be sure to experience their fun, creative, and utterly delicious Asian fusion cuisine as well. So, tell us, which one catches your eye or tempts your tastebuds? If you’re a lover of Asian fusion cuisine, you may also love these Four Michelin-Starred Fusion Restaurants.