Don’t know where to find a wallscroll for your favorite anime at a place that isn’t at a convention? Looking for the ingredients to make good sushi? Do you just want a really good bowl of shrimp fried rice? If you’re in the Chicagoland area, either living near or just visiting, here are some excellent places to find good Asian food and fun Asian things!
Chinatown (South Side, Cermak and Wentworth)
Located on the south side of Chicago along Cermak Avenue and Wentworth Avenue, a block away from the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line “L” stop, Chinatown is well known for its restaurants and shopping! There are lots of Asian themed items you can find, such as qipao/cheongsam (traditional Chinese garb), martial arts weapons, and tea/herbalism shops. Many shops also sell licensed Anime toys and collectables. You can find lots of plushes, wallscrolls, models, and toys at many of the shops along Wentworth Avenue such as Giftland! Don’t forget to visit the shops and restaurants at Chinatown Square Plaza long Archer Avenue as well. Try the bubble tea at Joy Yee’s! Many Chinese festivals are held along Wentworth Avenue throughout the year, such as the Chinese New Year Festival. For more info and a list of events, visit the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce’s site at http://www.chicagochinatown.org/.
New Chinatown (North Side, Broadway and Argyle)
There’s also New Chinatown (also known as the West Argyle Street Historic District, Little Saigon, or Little Vietnam), located on the north side of Chicago along Argyle Street and Broadway Street, right on the Argyle Red Line “L” stop. The Argyle stop was even remodeled with an Asian theme during the 1980s! New Chinatown is an excellent place for Asian dining and has many excellent Chinese bakeries.
H Mart (Niles and Naperville)
H Mart is a chain of Korean grocery stores with two locations in Chicagoland, one in the southwest suburb of Naperville and one in the north suburb of Niles. In addition to a large grocery selection, complete with fresh produce, butcher and seafood section, and a bakery, they have a selection of in-store shops selling, jewelry, Asian house wares, and toys and collectables. For more info about H Mart, visit http://www.hmart.com/.
Mitsuwa Marketplace (Arlington Heights)
Mitsuwa Marketplace is a chain of Japanese grocery stores with a Chicago location in the north suburb of Arlington Heights. Their grocery selection has some of the finest goods imported from Japan. They have an excellent seafood section, along with a large bakery and many restaurants. Their sushi section is always cheap, in large proportions, and delicious; but get there before the lunch and dinner rush otherwise a lot of it is gone! Gabatto Burger is known for their tasty burgers, but their stuffed pancakes are delightful! Their Asian house wares selection is excellent, well stocked with kitchen gadgets and Japanese flatware. There’s even a large bookstore specializing in Japanese books, with a small section of Japanese publications in English. For more info about the Chicago Mitsuwa location, visit http://www.mitsuwa.com/tenpo/cica/eindex.html.
Where have you gone shopping for Asian food and goods? Feel free to leave a comment!