A native of Hong Kong, Chef Brian Eng masterminded a menu of healthy family recipes infused with fresh, handpicked ingredients and devoid of MSG. A smattering of starters, such as a duo of crispy egg rolls ($3.25) and hot-and-sour soup ($2.95–$4.75) prevent mouths from chugging a bottle of soy sauce. Made-to-order mains include the beef in a nest, sliced beef doused in onion-infused gravy nestled in a soft bed of Cantonese pan-fried noodles ($7.25–$10.75), and the empress chicken, a jewel-encrusted chicken frolicking with peppers and onions in a barbecue sweet-and-sour sauce ($7.00–$10.50). Diners can cast a net around the silver shrimp and scallops served on broccoli next to a pool of cream sauce ($10.45–$15.50). A quintet of almond cookies ($1.25) rounds out the meal more eloquently than a soliloquy from a bilingual Shakespeare impersonator.
Twin Dragons Restaurant's chefs prepare a sprawling menu of Chinese cuisine without the use of MSG, lard, or butter. Using high-flame woks, they stir-fry their entrees with very little oil, ensuring that their meals—made with hand-trimmed lean beef and 99% fat-free chicken breast—do not carry greasy residues. They also gladly keep out specific ingredients upon request.
Fortune Kookie Restaurant silences stomachs' grumbling cries for diverse Chinese cuisine with the numerous pork, chicken, beef, seafood, and vegetarian dishes populating its menu. Plates of sesame chicken hold lightly battered morsels doused in a tart, spicy sauce ($7.25 for lunch; $10.95 for dinner) to sate caged teeth accustomed to gnawing on tongues and tree bark shaped like steak for flavor. Frozen taste buds thaw under the rain of the fiery sauce that accompanies the stir-fried mix of bean curd, vegetables, and meat in the szechwan tofu with beef ($15.25). Much like a delusional pirate, the Eight Treasure tofu considers its golden till of fried shrimp, scallops, and squid as an ocean-drawn fortune ($13.95). Vegetarians and disguised sauropods indulge in vegetarian entrees such as stir-fried silver-thread noodles ($9.25 for vegetarian; $11.50 with meat) or the Farmer's Market, a grocer's stand of vegetables, including baby corn, broccoli, and fresh mushrooms ($8.95).
The path through Hibachi Grill Buffet has six checkpoints. The first two are at the salad and fruit stations, where travelers can fill plates with colorful, healthy foods that start meals off on the right foot. An international flair accents the next three stations, with one dedicated to Asian cuisine, another to American cuisine, and yet another to Italian cuisine. Before heading back to the table, eaters can finish off trays with selections from dessert station’s sweets, which typically include self-scoop ice cream. In addition to these six buffet stations, Hibachi Grill Buffet has an area with sushi and an area where cooks grill meats as they’re ordered.
Wok 'n Fire—named Best Asian Restaurant by West Suburban Living—tantalizes taste buds with a menu bursting with flavors from Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. In their specialties, chefs sear seafood, steak, and chicken with complex flavors in the wok. They craft sashimi and specialty maki rolls, as well as twirling together noodle dishes that range from japanese udon to thai curry noodles and the cantonese noodles used in ancient tugs of war between provinces. Ginger ale and flavored lemonades, both crafted in-house, hydrate throats between bites.
Decor varies across the Asian bistro's locations throughout the western suburbs, but all share dramatic lighting, sleek hardwood floors, and smooth wooden seating that all obey one gravitational constant. Sophisticated accents pervade each location, such as dangling lights that recall bells, sinuous golden dragons undulating across a wall, and partitions that mimic an abacus or twined branches.
Historic Downtown Wheaton embraces many of the boutique gift stores, chic spas, and diverse culinary offerings that populate the historical storefronts of the western suburb’s walkable central shopping district. Before embarking on a day of checking off gift lists or simply sightseeing, slip under the colorful awnings at Front and Hale Streets to sneak a breakfast bite at the Egg Harbor Café, where The Handler sandwich tucks egg, bacon, and cheese onto a gourmet pretzel roll ($8.95). Eco-friendly gift shop It’s Our Earth's “buy recycled” philosophy unfolds space for ample creativity in the form of Snack Journals ($7 each)—fun notebooks reimagined from SpongeBob and Spiderman snack boxes that make the dog eating one's homework a slightly likelier excuse.