Irish Parade in Chicago’s Southsi— Okay no, we’re leaving.

“What?” I asked. Renee was staring at me as if she had something to say.

“Just wondering how I let you talk me into these situations.”

We were riding the Red Line down to 95/Dan Ryan to try to catch the Southside Irish Parade. The train was packed with more sketchy characters than usual. I had had a 15 minute conversation with an old man who was advertising his YouTube channel, and now our attention was being turned to a loud argument. A man who was selling chocolate bars was being shrieked at by a man/woman(?) who may have had schizophrenia. Things were getting so heated that Renee and I were hoping to get off the train as soon as possible, but were stopped by the fear of getting involved.

While I hear the Irish Parade went pretty well (save for one arrest on grounds of public urination), Renee and I didn’t leave the train stop. We looked around, turned our butts around, deciding that visiting Chicago’s charming Southside may best be experienced with a male escort, a few ninja stars, and pepperspray.

So we took the Red Line to Chinatown, and ended up in a restaurant which I will highly recommend to you now.

Won Kow is not very far from the Cermak-Chinatown stop. Just steps from the Chinatown arch, it is the oldest restaurant in Chinatown. It opened in 1928 and has been running ever since. I was highly impressed by Won Kow for these reasons:

  • Ample sitting room– The restaurant is spacious and beautiful, which is a breath of fresh air here in Chicago.
  • Efficient servers– After mere sips from your water glass, they’ll fill it up again. They’re all over the place but get your food out fast.
  • Good, cheap food– Order the potstickers. They’re not your typical, flimsy, soggy lumps. These are wrapped in a hearty, breaded shell, packed with pork, and fried to perfection. A plate (~5 pieces) of these could actually constitute a meal. The prices are phenomenally low, especially at lunchtime (11 AM – 2 PM). Won Kow has a rep of having the  “Best Fried Rice in Chicago” (and yes, it is pretty good).
  • Cheap drinks. I’m talking a variety of mixed drinks under $5! If you’ve got a low budget, you can eat until you’re full and still have enough money to get yourself buzzed.

Pickled Unicorn horns. This is why all Asians have magical ninja skills.

I’m also thrilled that I’ve found at least 5 locations to buy the 25 lb Jasmine Rice bags I like! It was quite the experience to walk into the groceries in Chinatown. There are all sorts of vegetables that you most likely can’t identify (see picture above– I still don’t know what those really are). There is fresh seafood, spices, curries, noodles, and more. I was even able to find the salted duck eggs and the eggroll wrapping I was looking for. If you need ANY ingredients for cooking Asian cuisine, wander into any of these groceries. It’s a lesson in culture and fun guessing games 🙂

Look, eels!! 😀

So overall, attempting experience the Southside Irish Parade was a failure, but we did have a great time enjoying Chinatown, its cheap prices, and some gorgeous, gorgeous Spring weather.

Won Kow Restaurant
2237 S Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL

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