Posted on 04 / 05 / 2014
Since Chicago tragically does not have its own 100% vegetarian Chinese restaurant, 168 is my favorite option for Chinese in the area. I have been eating at this establishment for 15 years, and the quality has always remained high and consistent. The restaurant is family owned and run, and they say hello and talk to you when you dine in or pick up. Before coming to the US, the family lived in South America where they learned to make their own faux meats. From this they created a separate vegetarian menu. Some of the options are BBQ pork, Rainbow duck, Fillet fish, Szechwan chicken or beef, Mongolian chicken or beef, Sweet and sour pork, Orange chicken, and others. They use the same “meat” (combination wheat and soy I believe) for most of the vegetarian dishes and use different sauces and vegetables to change the taste. The sweet and sour pork, however, is different and almost seems like a yummy crispy and chewy fried dough ball in sweet and sour sauce. The fillet fish is not fishy at all like some vegetarian seafood can be, and is done with a white gravy and broccoli.
This is an omni restaurant, but I have never felt suspicious of what ingredients they are using in the veg meals, and they have always been willing to listen and accommodate. They seem respectful of vegetarianism and offered their food at Veganmania a few years back. In the case of a meetup or dine out, they can prepare all vegetarian and vegan options, including the "egg" rolls.
The ambiance is very casual and quiet except for soft music. The décor is basic. The restaurant is located in a suburban strip mall. You do not have to dress up to eat here. Once a year or so the family goes away for a week or two, and since they do not have a website, you might want to call ahead just to make sure they are open so you are not left hungry and disappointed by a note on the door.
Vegetarian Menu, Friendly staff, family owned and run, Easy parking
All the dead animals they sell