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Chinese food in Champaign-Urbana

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Chinese food in Champaign-Urbana

Adam Stephanides | Aug 22, 2001 06:47 PM

It's been a year since I moved back to Champaign, IL, and I've concluded that your best bet for chowhounding here is Chinese. I'm serious: the University has a large number of Chinese and Chinese-American students, and while neither their numbers nor their incomes are sufficient to support a Lion's Pavilion or Funky Broome, there are a few restaurants which cater largely to them.

My current favorite is Yen Jing, on Green St. between Fourth and Fifth Sts. I've found it inconsistent in the past, but my last two orders were both delicious: stir fried pork tongues, and stir fried pork liver, stomach and intestines. They recently put in a buffet, which is very popular. It has the merit at least of serving some dishes you usually don't see in a buffet, and when I sampled it some of the items were pretty good; but I'd stick to the menu.

Another good place is Sing-Ma restaurant, on University Ave., also I think between Fourth and Fifth (or else between Fifth and Sixth). This advertises Singaporean and Malaysian cooking, but don't get your hopes up: there's no Malaysian cooking, at least none of the kind offered at a place like Penang, and if there's anything distinctively Singaporean on offer, I don't know what it is (save perhaps for the ubiquitous Singaporean rice noodles). What they do serve is good Chinese and Vietnamese cooking, though I can't vouch for the authenticity of the Vietnamese.

Also good is the Sunshine Grocery, on Washington and Race in Urbana. This is basically a grocery, but the woman co-owner also cooks fresh food; it's mainly for take-out, but there is one table. The menu is short and the food simple, but good.

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