Best of the South Side 2014 | Chinatown | Uncategorized

Best Healing: Nam Bac Hang


I walked past a kind of fool’s gold in South China Plaza; plastic bobble-headed cats nodded ni hao in windows full of glittering souvenir kitsch, inviting my gaze to skim the surface. Crossing Cermak Road and feeling unnerved by the sense of culture up for sale, I spotted a blue-eyed Siamese cat peeking its head out of the shop door at 243 West Cermak. Above the cat was a sign: “Nam Bac Hang.” Entering the tiny shop, I saw rows of boxes with Chinese characters written on them, and glass jars filled with mushrooms and dried herbs. Locals were walking up to the counter asking for tea and formulas for their colds and allergies. Curious, I asked a young man standing nearby about the nature of the shop; he told me it was owned by his father, Long Huynh, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine whose family traces their healing lineage back to the days of the emperor in ancient China. Intrigued, I sat down with Long Huynh to ask him about his family’s history, qi, and his medicine. Continue reading

Bridgeport | Chinatown | Pilsen | Politics

Fight Over Flight

The vicious debate over the Halsted heliport



At 2420 South Halsted Street, a heliport is set to break ground. Perched on the border of Bridgeport and Pilsen, the project is not alone—less than two and a half miles away, a Vertiport has begun to sprout thanks to sponsorship from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. That port will be built near Stroger Hospital, and will be used mostly for medical needs, although the city plans on opening it to corporate charters as well. Continue reading

Chinatown | Housing

A Palace on South Louie

The origin story of Charlie Gu’s majestic Chinatown home



Chinatown’s South Louie Parkway—just one block long, located squarely between Ping Tom Memorial Park and the Chinatown Square shopping district—is, for the most part, a quiet residential street. The rows of plain brick homes, built by the Richland Realty Group in 2002 as affordable housing for workers and recent immigrants, sit at the lot lines of the narrow road, lending it the feel of a suburban alley. Continue reading

Chinatown | Focus

Chinese New Year

The year of the horse gallops in

Confetti fell at Cermak and Wentworth on Chicago’s annual Chinese New Year Parade last Sunday, which marked a raucous entry into the Year of the Horse.

Confetti fell at Cermak and Wentworth on Chicago’s annual Chinese New Year Parade last Sunday, which marked a raucous entry into the Year of the Horse.

Blurbs | Chinatown

Ping-Pong Diplomacy

Illustration by Isabel Ochoa Gold

Illustration by Isabel Ochoa Gold

Behind an ajar back door, two graying men play Chinese chess on a wooden board. The small room, held by a foam ceiling and walls of propped-up green acrylic boards, is the home of the Chicago Chinese Table Tennis Club, safely tucked away on West 23rd Street. Continue reading

Best of the South Side 2013 | Chinatown


Zoe Kauder Nalebluff

Zoe Kauder Nalebuff

Chinatown ostensibly retooled itself for tourism in the early nineties, with the opening of the two-story outdoor Chinatown Square over what used to be the Santa Fe rail. And with fresh blacktop being steamrolled onto Archer and Cermak and those shiny, new Red Line renovations optimistically nearing completion, the rush of visitors doesn’t seem likely to ebb anytime soon. Continue reading