A Local’s Guide to Chicago’s Best Egg Rolls

What many of us know as the “Chinese” egg roll was actually invented in New York City in the 1930s.

  • The first mention of the egg roll we found in the Chicago Tribune came in a 1943 ad for Monica’s grandfather’s restaurant, Hoe Sai Gai, which he sold for 75 cents.

in honor From Asian American Pacific Island Heritage Month, we’re sharing our favorite versions around town for this week’s Food Fight.

Monica’s Choice: I would have chosen egg rolls from the old House of Eng in Hyde Park if they were still around.

  • But 35 years after it closed—and many classic old-school joints closed—I arrived at the egg rolls at Chicago’s longest-running Chinese restaurant, The Orange Garden on Irving Park.
  • I recently ate a great version filled with peanut butter-scented cabbage and baby shrimp. Not quite as good as the old Eng family egg rolls but still very tasty.
Egg rolls from Saigon Sisters on Lake Street. Photo: Justin Kaufman/Axios

Justin’s choice: Nobody can beat the egg roll at House of Eng, but I would go with the Vietnamese egg roll at Saigon Sisters.

  • With two types of egg rolls on the menu, their signature is the Nems Imperial Egg Rolls made of fried rice paper with ham, mushrooms, lettuce, herbs, and nuoc cham.
  • They also make a crunchy, stir-fried vegan option with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce.

👏 Chicago readers He also had some great suggestions:

Maggie b: “My favorite egg roll is from the House of Wah Sun on Lincoln Street (near Montrose).”

Barbara W: “Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar in Bucktown. The best I’ve had!!”

  • Mario J: “The Chef’s Special’s egg roll is the best. The crab rangoon is the best I’ve had anywhere on the planet.”

Tamara M: “My missed but unforgettable choices would be Quan Yin on Lincoln Street or Mark Chop Sue on Broadway.”

Matt C: “These are very funky, but the Italian beef egg rolls at Ellyn’s Tap & Grill at Glen Ellyn are to die for.”

  • “Don’t knock them until you’ve tried them, but everyone I know has absolutely loved them.”

Paul M: “The best egg roll I’ve ever had was from Wing Hoe in the Sheridan area, and it’s now closed.”

  • “It was big and full of veggies and had peanut butter in its crunchy, non-greasy shell. I miss it so much.”

Dawn K: “The best New York style egg roll is at Jin Asian Cafe in Belmont.”

Connie B.: “The best egg rolls were at Pekin House on Devon, and Kow Kow in Lincolnwood, both of which are unfortunately long gone. Now my favorite is New Star in Elmwood Park.”

Kar Oshima: “My favorite was Ding Hoe (Clark and Division).”

Leah Zed: “Wing Wah in Arlington Heights.”

Dave A: “I love Lee’s Chop Suey’s Peanut Butter Egg Roll.”

Lisa L: “Mi Mah on Peterson has a good egg roll.”

Dave H: “Jerk Chicken Eggrolls in 3 King’s Jerk. Very colorful storefront.”

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