Young and Hungry: Chinese on the Southwest Side

March 7, 2011

Every now and then, I turn over this space to one of my budget-conscious interns. The only criteria is that the restaurant in question must have a majority of items for $10 or less. Today, Columbia student Kristen Kuchar writes about her experience over the weekend at a Chinese restaurant on the Southwest Side.

Being a married, full-time journalism student means that, unfortunately, I do not get to dine out as frequently as I would like. So when the glorious opportunity arises, I have to make it count. I need to seek out reasonable prices with equally impressive portions. Wayne Moy Chop Suey meets both of these qualifications.

This tiny Cantonese restaurant is located on the city's Southwest Side in the Clearing neighborhood. It may not be the most modern (or authentic) Chinese restaurant, but the food is what brings people back. I'm always greeted with a smile when I walk in, and once I sit down, servers couldn't be any friendlier. You could dine-in and sit amongst the Chinese decor and tantalizing smells, but most orders are either pick-up or delivery.

With a menu this extensive, it's hard to choose. But luckily, with the exception of three entries, every item is less than $10. And if you're eager to try a few different things, most small sized entries will cost about $5. For this particular dinner, I ordered orange chicken (pictured, above, $7.95 for a large, $5.35 for a small). Tiny pieces of all-white chicken are covered in a crispy breading and smothered in the thick, sweet sauce that reminds everyone of early Chinese dining experiences as a kid. Served with white rice, the chicken has a hint of spice that keeps it from being boring.

 

The beef with broccoli (pictured above - $7.75 for a large, $4.95 for a small) arrives thinly-sliced, with amazingly tender pieces of beef and broccoli in a non-descript brown sauce. I order the sauce extra spicy for an added kick. The egg foo young ($5.35 for 4 patties, $3.75 for 2 patties), similar to an omlet, is a staple every time I order as well. I love the textural variation in this dish with a crispiness on the outside, moist egg inside, crispy bean sprouts throughout, and whatever meat or vegetable you choose to fill it with.

Some of my other favorite entries include the large egg rolls ($1.15), egg drop soup ($2.50), sweet and sour shrimp ($7.55 for a large, $5.05 for a small), and the chicken chow mein served with fried Cantonese noodles ($6.85 for a large, $4.50 for a small). If you happen to stop in for lunch, you could try one of their lunch specials, all of which are less than $5. Choose between 25 entries including szechuan shrimp, beef kow, and empress chicken. The special includes your entree, chicken fried rice, and an egg roll. When you're watching your budget, seeing the word "free" summons feelings of pure joy. So luckily at Wayne Moy, you recieve a free soda with every entree, and for orders over $15, you get free crab rangoon, a free small fried rice of your choice, and free almond cookies.

Anytime I order Wayne Moy, I not only have a satisfying meal, but I have leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day. Between the flavorful dishes, friendly service, and prices that are easy on the wallet, I always leave content.

Wayne Moy Chop Suey, 6101 West 63rd Street, open Tuesday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., Saturday noon - 10:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., 773-586-0450

- Kristen Kuchar