DEE’S CHINESE CUISINE KEEPS ON KEEPING ON
Today, five out of 10 three-star restaurants in the 2021 Michelin guide are Chinese. No doubt about it, Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. For a good many years, Dee’s Chinese Cuisine in Lincoln Park has been a local favorite for food from China.
Owner Dee Kang was born in Korea to Chinese parents who relocated to Korea in the 1940s. Dee moved to Osaka, Japan, when she was 13, and having experienced Korean, Chinese and Japanese cultures, she was well suited to opening her own pan-Asian restaurant in Chicago.
Dee’s Chinese Cuisine started serving the public in 1983, and it quickly became a very popular place for traditional Chinese food – egg drop soup, shumai, sizzling rice soup, you get the picture -- as well as Japanese sushi. Not long ago, the menu came to focus on mostly Chinese cuisine, and Dee then decided to concentrate her efforts on carryout and catering.
Now, there are even bigger changes afoot…perhaps even the return of sushi. Dee’s brother James is the owner of Sai Café, which the Chicago Tribune called “an unadorned sushi taste fest”; in other words, it wasn’t a super fancy place, but it punched way above its weight in terms of the high-quality fish and seafood served there.
It was recently decided that Sai Café, which used to be right around the corner from Dee’s Chinese Cuisine, would move into Dee’s, on the same property, under the same roof. Word on the street is that James was unable to renew his lease, but for whatever reason, James and Dee are together again. Perhaps, just perhaps, Dee’s will now go back to offering dine-in service.
Dee loves her work and her customers. She wrote on Facebook that “Throughout the years, my customers have become my family. I have seen generations of families come in, entertained countless kids while their parents ate, and even facilitated marriage proposals by placing engagement rings in fortune cookies.”
One gets the feeling that Dee's Chinese Cuisine will be in Lincoln Park for a long time to come.