#1 Chop Suey: Neighborhood cheap Chinese food

#1 Chop Suey: Neighborhood cheap Chinese food
General Tso's Tofu at #1 Chop Suey on Irving Park Road.

Cheap Chinese food, how I love thee.

Location is everything when deciding where to live. When looking for a home, I canvas the area to determine whether I have access to the following services, which I list below in no particular order:

1. Public transit

2. A supermarket

3. Late-night convenience stores

4. Bank branches

5. Cheap Chinese food

While I have a passion for high-quality Asian cuisine, there are times when mass quantities of cheap Chinese food is just what the doctor ordered. Hot and sour soup cures all ills. Egg foo yung is equally at home for breakfast and a late-night dinner. Fried rice goes far. It all reheats well.

After a bit of trial and error, I've settled on #1 Chop Suey on Irving Park road (don't confuse it with the #1 Chop Suey on Addison) as my go-to place for cheap Chinese. I'd recommend that you follow suit.

#1 Chop Suey in Old Irving Park

The restaurant is in a small strip mall storefront with only a few tables. You certainly can eat there, and the staff is friendly enough, but this is primarily a takeout/delivery place.


#1 Chop Suey takes online orders through its own website, as well as GrubHub and Eat24. I live close to #1 Chop Suey, so I'm a bit privileged, but most of my orders arrive within 30 minutes, the food is hot, and the delivery drivers are pleasant.

The Menu

Typically huge Chinese-American take out menu includes everything you'd expect from such a restaurant. If they don't have it, ask: They'll try to make it for you.

The Food

This is Northwest side Chinese-American grub, so don't expect subtlety. Still, the food is satisfying, served in enormous portions, and the prices are at ridiculously low. I do admit to a fondness for their Mongolian beef ($5.25 small / $8.35 large), egg foo yung (prices start at $3.35 for two huge pieces), and hot and sour soup ($2.50 / $3.75).

Vegetarians can find a number of tasty things to try, including the General Tso's tofu, deep fried chunks of bean curd tossed in General Tso's sauce.


Special Orders Don't Upset Them

Like many mom 'n pop Chinese restaurants, #1 Chop Suey's chefs are happy to accommodate special orders.

I've had limited experience in making special requests, though I have occasionally requested that they steam my food rather than fry it. Not only are they happy to do this, but their steamed food is really quite tasty. Try their chicken & broccoli ($4.95/$7.75) , seafood and broccoli ($5.50 / $8.75), or "rainbow wonton" (pork, chicken, shrimp and veggies, wontons on the side for $9.75, one size) steamed and see what you think.


Location & Hours

#1 Chop Suey is at 4307 W Irving Park Rd, in a little strip mall just east of Irving and Kildare. As of April 21st, 2013, their hours are 11am-9:30pm Monday through Thursday, 11am to 10pm Friday and Saturday and 12pm to 9pm on Sunday. In addition to ordering online, you can call in your orders at (773) 725-1199.

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