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Fat Rice (photo credit: Jason Little)

Chicago's best dim sum for under $20


Tradition may suggest that Chinese dim sum should be served for brunch, but when it comes to dumplings, cakes, and buns, we could eat them all day, every day. Of course, Chinatown is an easy target when looking for some of Chicago's best dim sum options, but there are other hidden gems sprinkled throughout the city, too. These dim sum dishes we've found at seven Chicago spots that will leave you asking for sum more.

Fat Rice adds brunch to the list of reasons to visit this Logan Square hotspot
This Logan Square spot has been getting rave reviews since it opened in 2012, and it finally started serving brunch in 2014. The selection of boiled dumplings (seven for $8) includes options like pork and ginger, and the list of ingredients for the Portuguese egg tarts includes puff pastry, egg, love, and secrets. Whatever those secrets are, we want to know.

Take a short trip off the mainland and experience the Tawainese take on dim sum at Vora
Gold Coast spot Vora is actually Taiwanese, to be specific, but there's no shortage of dim sum options here. Listed on the menu as "Taiwanese Market" items, Vora’s offering includes some more traditional items like BBQ pork buns, and some Taiwan-specific dim sum dishes, like ba-wan, a type of pork meatball. The best part? Each option on the “Taiwanese Market” is just $6.

MingHin Cuisine—a pictures is worth a thousand bites, or something like that
A menu with photos is a menu we can get behind. At MingHin Cuisine—with locations in Chinatown, the Loop, and Naperville—you can choose from seafood, pork, vegetable, beef, and chicken, plus cake, bun, and dessert dim sum categories. Try most for under $7 each, including shrimp crepes, puffy egg custard tarts, and baked BBQ pork buns.

Lao Sze Chuan is brilliant with the basics
Although their dim sum menu is less extensive than many, both locations of Lao Sze Chuan offer the best of the basics. Chow down on appetizers like pork pot stickers, vegetarian spring rolls, and steamed ribs, or make a meal out of dim sum by ordering a few of each. You can enjoy each traditional Chinese dish for less than $6.

Cai—the places to go for a classic dim sum experience
If you're looking for a traditional dim sum menu, this is your spot. Head to Chinatown and enjoy a brunch of pork buns, dumplings, and even beef tripe—for those of you brave enough to stomach some actual stomach before noon. Each dim sum item here is under $5, and most ring it at less than $4, so your wallet won’t pressure you into limiting your feasting experience.

Joy Yee's Noodle Shop brings together flavors from all over Asia
The advantage of visiting Joy Yee's Noodle Shop is that its pan-Asian theme allows you to combine and enjoy the flavors of many different Asian cuisines. Everything from the traditional fried shrimp shu mai to the Korean-influenced spicy kimchi vegetables here is delicious —and affordable. Better still, most options are less than $8. Splurging on a sampler platter of egg rolls, spring rolls, chicken wings, and more for a group will still only run you $18.95 per person.

Hit up for Roy's for a tropical, Pacific Rim cuisine splurge that you won’t regret
While Roy's is a bit more upscale, their best-kept secret is their Aloha Hour, which puts some of their delicious dim sum options at just $6 until 7 p.m. Grab a table and try the Szechuan spiced pork ribs and the lobster pot stickers with miso butter sauce. Dim sum with a tropical twist means this is a restaurant special not to be missed.

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