As winner of the Feed mystery sign post, guest blogger Justin Hall of the Chicago-based Fig Catering shows his love for Chinatown’s Spring World restaurant:
“A hollowed out bamboo tube filled with braised chicken and mushrooms,” this is how El Panzone, a regular LTH Forum poster, described the meal I had to order at Spring World. Just down the mall from some of my regular Chinatown stalwarts (Lao Szechuan, Phoenix and Little Three Happiness), Spring World is an unassuming spot that specializes in Yunnan cuisine, unlike many of the Cantonese and Sichuan restaurants that surround their location (to be fair, they also do a great job with some Sichuan specialties including Kung Pao Chicken). When I looked through the menu I was given, it didn’t take long for me to find the chicken dish and point to the photo as a way of ordering (pronouncing it was another matter). Later I found out that this is not Spring World’s only menu; they have a “secret” menu dedicated to mushrooms with plenty of photos of the exotic varieties they offer (at least 50!). But ordering the chicken dish is a good way to start on your SW adventure.
Once the tube of goodness was delivered I was hooked. Huge chunks of strange looking mushrooms and braised bone-in chicken with a wonderful, spicy gravy. This is a meal that has no duplicate in Chinatown and, so far, continues to be one of my favorites on their menu. Their use of mushrooms and spices not typically associated with everyday Chinese fare (unless you live in China), including star anise and Sichuan peppercorns. SW also has a $3.95 lunch special, yes $3.95! You get to order two dishes for this price and they’re served with rice and soup. It’s an amazing bargain even though you can’t get the whole menu. Some of my menu highlights include the aforementioned chicken tube, steamed whole fish, tea-smoked duck, marinated and sliced pork belly and the mushroom hot pot. If you find yourself in Chinatown, give Spring World a try for something deliciously different. Spring World, 2109 S. China Place, 312.326.9966