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Restaurants & Bars 2

Red-cooked intestines in Champaign, IL

Adam Stephanides | Jun 1, 200209:43 PM

I've said before that Yen Jing (404 E. Green St., Champaign; 217-352-2272) is about my favorite restaurant of any type in Champaign-Urbana. In addition to their other menus, they have a laminated plastic menu (there's only one copy, which is kept either in front of or behind the cash register) whose back page lists "special dishes" which require advance notice (at least a few hours, but a day is better, I was told). One of these dishes was "red-cooked intestines" and I had this for dinner tonight, having ordered it yesterday.

I'd thought it would be something like the "crispy fried intestines" at Funky Broome in New York, which aren't crispy, but are red on the outside. This wasn't like that, though; it wasn't even red. Perhaps it gets its name from the red chilis cooked with the intestines. I'm not really sure how to describe this dish: it clearly was fried, and there was a little sweetness to it, in addition to the aforementioned chilis and other spices. While not the equal of those crispy fried intestines, this was very good, and would not be out of place in a good NY Chinatown restaurant.

One caveat: it was very rich (intestines are mostly fat, and the way this was cooked made it even fattier), and a large serving. I'd say that one order would probably be enough for two people.

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