First look: Slurping Turtle

Chiyan Pon | Slurping Turtle

Chiyan Pon must be turtle speak for Damn, that's good

After a long, cold Saturday, an early supper at Slurping Turtle sounded like a great idea. What could be better than soup to warm up? I expected the place to be a little busy since they just opened, but it was packed! I quickly accepted a seat facing the cooking station rather than wait for a booth or a spot at the long communal table in the center. Food was the goal, people watching could wait.

I was a little surprised that menu was largely taken up with things that weren’t soup: sashimi, grilled items, dumplings, tapas, and noodles without broth. An overly broad menu is usually my cue to move along, since I haven’t noticed sushi expertise to live companionably with other types of Asian cuisine. But I was hungry, cold and had already shucked off several layers of outerwear. I zeroed in on the Chiyan Pon, a fried egg noodle dish topped with stir fried shrimp, scallops, and calamari, which the waitress pointed out wasn’t soup but was hot, hearty and very filling.

I expected a nice little stir-fry, but was served a dish that was as startling as it was tasty — hot mustard, fragrant celery and heaping mounds of seafood. The sauce was pleasantly salty and was actually a little soupy — it paired well with the crunchy noodles and toned the shockingly hot mustard down just enough.

The entrée was fascinating, so I said yes to the dessert menu even though I was stuffed. After noting the lack of mochi and the inclusion of a quail-egg shooter, I picked a yuzu macaron to finish the meal. It was the perfect bit of sweet I needed.

I enjoy having my expectations confounded, so Slurping Turtle can expect me to return to try the rest of the menu and perhaps angle for one of the cool booths overlooking the main dining area. At about $20 per person, it’s hard to think of reasons not to go back.

Slurping Turtle
116 W. Hubbard Street
Chicago, IL

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