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In Key Ingredient Wave’s Kristine Subido cracks open and deep-fries the infamous Filipino drinking food balut, fertilized duck eggs. “I’m not a big fan,” she says, though she remembers liking them when she was growing up in the Philippines. After struggling to get down a bite of her finished dish (pictured) she managed to say “Good,” then “Can I have my water, please?” Next up is Ariel Bagadiong of Aja, working with haggis, the likewise infamous Scottish sausage made from sheep’s liver, heart, and lungs. “It’s an acquired taste,” says Subido.
Mike Sula ventures back down to Chinatown’s Richland Center, where the subterranean food court has grown to include not just teppanyaki but a banh mi purveyor, a noodle stand, a cafe serving coffee and Hong Kong-style waffles, and the subject of his column: Snack Planet, which offers a long list of cold dishes, noodles, soups, and “shashlik,” skewered meats and vegetable bits.
The owner, Mon Liang, has brought in a chef who’s a native of Chongquing to make the full-flavored Sichuanese-style food she grew to love while in business school. It’s all fresh, tasty, spicy, and an outstanding value—there’s nothing on the menu that’s more than $3.50, and the shashlik top out at a buck.
In the listings are seven recently opened restaurants, among them the recommended Dante’s Pizzeria and Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe, both serving New York-style pizza (and the latter New Orleans-style beignets as well), and the Growling Rabbit, a BYO cafe and bakeshop in the former Cafe Ennui space up in Rogers Park.