There’s a new restaurant that opened a few months back in Chinatown, in the new Chinatown area (where all the Chinese zodiac statues are located). And although I was hesitant to try their dim sum (everyone has a favourite dim sum place to go to, and mine was Furama), the experience turned out to be much better than I’d anticipated.
This place was hopping on a Saturday afternoon, around 12pm. The waiting area is small, too, so some people were forced to wait outside in the cold. Must have been worth the wait, and their turnaround time was pretty fast. They have two floors’ worth of seating, so that helped shorten the wait. Unfortunately, they don’t have an elevator to the 2nd floor, so people who have trouble with stairs would have to wait for a table on the 1st floor. But other than the non-disability friendly thing, the place’s interior was well-lit and designed with traditional Chinese patterns in mind, although with a modern twist which included glass panelling and back-lit pictures of birds on the ceiling. Weird, but it works somehow.
So MingHin boasts having the “best Hong Kong style dim sum in Chicago” – a very bold claim. While I did like many of their dishes, only a few really stood out while others fell flat for me. The dishes that stood out were:
- The stuffed bean curd with pork and shrimp (always a favourite of mine, so I may be a bit biased here)
- House Special siu mai (more unique than the regular siu mai, and very flavourful. Pity that it’s not a permanent menu item)
- Turnip cake and taro cake (I could actually bite into and taste the turnip/taro pieces instead of eating a mouthful of floury mush)
- Sesame ball
- Sticky rice in lotus leaf
- Baked BBQ pork turnover (the pastry was done just right – flaky and falls apart in your mouth)
- Baked creamy egg yolk bun (I usually don’t like this because of the runny insides, but MingHin makes it really well).
The dishes that were good, but not spectacular:
- Baked BBQ pork bun
- Deep fried spring roll
- Siu mai
- Shrimp dumpling
- Chicken feet (although kudos to MingHIn for actually having this on the menu)
- Pork feet with ginger and vinegar (pork was a little overcooked and tough, while the egg was too dry)
Dishes that need improvement:
- The noodle crepes. The rice noodle wrapper was too thick and a little dry, although the filling was ok
- Pork spare ribs – overcooked so it was too tough
- Their noodle dishes. They were a little overseasoned (too salty) and the noodles were slightly overcooked as well
- Mango pudding – where’s the mango?!
Service was very average. In fact, I’d say the service was more ‘Hong Kong style’ than the food!! But it was fast, so it’s not like we had time to complain. The conclusion? Perhaps not the “best in Chicago”, but still a good, solid place to bring your friends to for a cheap lunch (about $10-$15 per person). 6.5/10, and I’ll let you in on a secret – make sure you go in a large group; that way you get to try many different things. And never, ever have dim sum if there are less than three people going.