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Best of Chicago 2009: Best Bang for Your Buck

Best Bang for Your Buck



The Reader's Choice: Sun Wah Bar-B-Que

With a few hours' advance notice, four people can eat like emperors for less than ten bucks apiece at family-run Sun Wah Bar-B-Que, which offers a multicourse Beijing (aka Peking) duck dinner for $30. Tart, lightly sweet house-pickled daikon radish kicks off the extravaganza, and then the duck, bronzed and glistening, rolls out of the kitchen, to be carved tableside and served with warm steamed buns, shredded scallion, and hoisin sauce. The leg, thigh, and wing are carved with flair, and then the still-meaty carcass goes back to the kitchen to reappear as duck-bone soup—rich broth, tofu, and Chinese greens—and a steaming-hot mound of duck-fried rice. House-made sorbet provides a refreshing end.

Not in the mood or don't have the company lined up for a blow-out meal? Five bucks gets you your choice of succulent, crisp-skinned Hong Kong-style roast pork, deep-flavored soy sauce chicken, or barbecue ribs, each with rice, greens, and half a brined egg. Or if you're really broke, a belly-filling bowl of plain congee (rice porridge) you can dress with toasted hot chile oil or punchy hot-pepper vinegar is a flat $2. Sun Wah is closed on Thursdays.  1134 W. Argyle, 773-769-1254. —Gary Wiviott

Best Bang for Your Buck: Beijing duck dinner at Sun Wah Bar-B-Que

&Our readers' choice: Sultan's Market

 2057 W. North, 773-235-3072; 2521 N. Clark, 312-638-9151;

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