Good Chinese Restaurants in Chicago

After living in the US for more than 10 years now, I feel that I am also looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I am not religious, but I like the joyful, harmnious, and just plainly nice spirit these holidays bring. The Chinese equivalent version would be the lunar New Year holiday.

On Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve/Day, there is usually a feast for the whole family and people eat a lot. Therefore I thought it is a good time for me to share my favorite Chinese restaurants in Chicago with you.

As you can see from my first post, I grown up in a small rural village in Northern China. Nobody had refrigerators at the time, even for city folks. So to preserve food longer, we pickle vegetables and stir-fry meat, usually pork, with a lot of salt. Having pork in a meal was heaven on earth to me at the time. So I like salty, hot, and spicy food. I actually eat and enjoy the red, dried chili pepper that people use to cook a good Kong Pao chicken. However, the places I recommend all have many choices of different dishes. So don’t worry if you have mild taste. All places below offer authentic Chinese food, in my view.

1. Ed’s Potsticker House
3139 S Halsted
Chicago
312-326-6898
This place is located outside the center of Chinatown on Halsted. It serves a lot of North and Northeast Chinese dishes.

2. Mandarin Chef/Lao Sze Chuan
2172 S Archer Ave
Chicago
312 326 5040
Located in Chinatown, across the street from Walgreens, this place specialize in SiChuan cooking. It can be pretty hot and spicy. It also has one in Downers Grove.

3. Spring World
2109 A.S. China Place, Chicago, IL 60616
312.326.9966
http://www.springworldrestaurant.com/
Again, located in Chinatown, not too far from the square where they have statues of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, this place specializes in Southwest China cooking, YunNan and SiChuan style.

4. Dragon King
Dragon King Restaurant
2138 S. Archer Ave.
312-881-0168
Again, located in Chinatown, not too far from the square where they have statues of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, this place specializes in North and Northeast Chinese dishes. One particular thing I like is called Lao Hu Tsai. Consider it as a vegetarian salad with a punch.

Muzzy Is Great

I’ve heard from somebody that Muzzy, the BBC foreign language program, is great. She bought it for her grandson for German learning. Unfortunately, at the time, there was no Chinese Muzzy program.

Due to popular request, Muzzy finally got a Chinese program. I got it 2 weeks ago and it has been great. My son loves it and is learning.

I am a native Chinese speaker. Mom is a native Swedish speaker. So we speak English at home. Due to the lack of good Chinese program within close distance of where we live (10-20 minutes drive), we enrolled him into a bi-lingual Japanese Montessori program. Chinese and Japanese are somewhat close.

He loves the Japanese program. Yoko sensei is absolutely wonderful. I don’t know Japanese myself but I think Benjamin is pretty good at it. Yoko, please let me know if that is not the case;)

The good thing about Muzzy is that it is age appropriate and engaging. It tells a story of a few characters in a fictitious kingdom. Muzzy is an alien that is kind and good natured. The gardener of the kingdom falls in love with the princess, who is also courted by the evil butler(?) of the royal family. The story sort of revolved around that. It is full of repitition of important words and funny sketches to get the kids engaged. My son is learning but don’t even know it;) It also helps that the program has a lot of songs to help along.

I highly recommend it if you want your child to learn a second language. Other than Chinese, I believe they have German, Italian, Spanish. Rick, if you read this, they have it available in French;)

My Kinesis Ergo Elan Keyboard

I have had my Kinesis keyboard for over a month now. It is a good time to sum up my experience with it so far.

The model I have is called Ergo Elan with Swedish language layout. Overall, I like this keyboard because of its contoured design. The ergnomic design makes it easier on the hands. That is the main reason I got it in the first place. I figured that I will be spending a significant amount of time of my life in front of a computer. So it is important to have the tools that I feel comfortable with. As a matter of fact, when I use the traditional keyboard at home, I can feel the strain it imposes on my hands and wrists easily.

Another thing I like is the ability to remap keys, customize, and have your own keyboard macro. For example, I have remapped the Caps Lock key to :, since it never got used and I use : a lot because of VI. I also got my own macros going. Below is my mapping:

Caps Lock	: (Mainly for VI)
F6		Ctrl-A Ctrl-C
F7		Ctrl-C
F8		Ctrl-V
F9		Ctrl-T (Firefox new tab and Result in Text in SSMS)
F10		Ctrl-L (Firefox address bar)
F11		Windows key
F12		Ctrl-N (VI completion and Open new document in many apps)
PrintScr	Shift-Del (When I delete, I delete permanently)
ScrLock		Ctrl-A
PasBrk		Ctrl-X

My keyboard also comes with a foot switch. When you press it, by default, it turns on the Keypad, which is really a number pad under your right hand. It allows fast number entry. I don’t use it that much, probably because I am still getting used to it.

I don’t think I can type as fast as I can on a traditional keyboard. But typing productivity lost maybe made up by productivity increase due to the remapped keys and macros. In due time, hopefully my typing speed will increase.

One thing that affects my typing speed is that my desktop is a little too high for me. Therefore, I have to pull up my shoulders, so to speak. I will have an adjustable keyboard tray soon. It will be attached on the down side of the desktop surface. That will put my arms and shoulders in a more natural position. I think that will help my speed and make it less tiresome.

I am thinking of buying another one for home use. If I do, I think I will buy it from eBay. I will probably get it cheaper that way. I bought the one I have now from Kinesis website. It cost more than 300 dollars.