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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

For every stunning plate of food I uncovered while "researching" for my 18 Favorite Dishes in Chinatown post, three to four other options at each restaurant failed to make the cut. Those leftovers ranged from the very good (if not quite great enough) to the inedible. Without a doubt, the Deep Fried Mai-Tou with Condensed Milk ($3.55) at Sweet Station belongs with the former group. Mai-tou (known mostly as mantou) are fried buns that look and taste an awful lot like doughnut holes. They are served with a side of sweet and syrupy condensed milk, which affixes itself so well to the mai-tou that it almost resembles Elmer's Glue (in a tasty way, of course).

So, why were they left off the list? While relatively greaseless, the mai-tou were a tad too dense and uniform. The best doughnuts are irresistible because they trick you into thinking it's perfectly reasonable to finish them. But I could only manage to devour a couple of these before I realized I wasting precious stomach space needed for the salt and pepper fried wings. But if you manage to go in a group, these are great to share.

Sweet Station

2101 South China Place, Chicago, IL 60616 (map)
312-842-2228
mysweetstation.com

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