Cheap and Healthy Food Part II

Chicago is now known as an important "food" city. For those of us who can't afford to eat at places with white tablecloths, this city still has lots of options.


Close-up of a fruit and vegetable stall in a market in Barcelona

Roseded. Lincoln Square has many good Thai restaurants but this is one is the least expensive and tastes just as good if not better than the rest. So when Opart is jam packed on a Friday night I suggest you head over to Roseded. If soy or peanuts are allergens you want to be especially careful. In fact if I had anaphylaxis to peanuts I would never go to a Thai restaurant as the risk of cross contamination is too great. If dairy is your only issue you have lots of options as many of the delicious curries are made with coconut milk. 


Harvest Time Foods. This popular food mart is located not too far from Roseded at 2635 W. Lawrence. Harvest Time is one of the most diverse markets in the city. You can find food from a lot of cuisines such as Bulgarian, Romanian, Chinese, Polish and Mexican. The produce is usually cheaper than what mainstream supermarkets offer as well. 

Devon Market. This is a gem in Edgewater that has a lot of European wines, inexpensive produce, Middle Eastern foods, organ meats (like lamb kidneys that you can't find at other stores) and fresh seafood. 

Chicago Food Corp. Near the Belmont Blue Line stop is a huge Korean supermarket. It's just a few short blocks on Kimball under the highway overpass at 3333 N Kimball. Lots of Asian ingredients like seaweeds, produce, lentils, grains, fresh seafood, kimchi and even a little panchan bar with delicious noodle dishes. Chicago Food Corp also has a kitchenware section. I'm coveting a Hello Kitty Rice Cooker. I might be 39 but I still love Hello Kitty. Is there therapy for that?

Argyle Red Line Shops/Eats. Near the Argyle red line stop are several Thai and Vietnamese markets with exotic fruits like durian and young coconuts. Sometimes its good to shop a new market and get some variety in the diet. I notice if I tend to shop the same old places I eat the same old foods. In the summer you can buy Bubble teas and fresh smoothies from restaurants with their windows down for service just like Dairy Queen but much more exotic.

Farmers Markets. The farmer's markets will be opening citywide in June. You could spend your Saturday morning at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park shopping, meeting farmers, watching chef demos and eating samples. To experience a farmer's market with a great community vibe I also recommend the Oak Park's farmers market.

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