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Reviews of fried food in Chicago.

TGI Fry-Day: Tempura Shrimp Bun at Oiistar

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

When Oiistar first opened, I assumed the Wicker Park shop was focused solely on ramen. That was fine with me, especially since all the noodles were being made by hand. But a recent visit revealed that the first section of the menu is devoted entirely to buns. In fact, there are ten different options, ranging from the standard Pork Belly to the Italian-esque Saltimbocca. A group of us decided that we need to try as many of them as possible.

The quality is shockingly high, but the consensus favorite was definitely the tempura shrimp. It's all about competing forces: The bun is so soft and airy, it could seemingly float away. But it's held down to the plate by an exceptionally crunchy tempura shrimp. On top is a Thai chili mayonnaise, which is both spicy and creamy. What's most amazing is that instead of all these disparate elements fighting for dominance, they manage to play nice, at least for as long as it takes you to devour one.

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