Came to United States 8 years ago, Chef Damao was born at Chengdu, the city located southwest China, famous for extraordinary spicy foods. As a foodie, she was frustrated by the Americanized Chinese food in Midwest, and started cooking from shared kitchen in Chicago. In 2017 she launched A Place By Damao. "American people take Chinese food the wrong way", said Damao, "My goal is to bring the most authentic street foods from my hometown, and save tons of Chinese immigrants from nostalgia."
A simple storefront that sits 25 people, our restaurant is located in Bridgeport, Chicago (5 mins from Chinatown).
We refuse to compromise on quality in our restaurant. That's why we handmade our noodles, dumplings, sausages and sauces.
More than most Sichuan restaurants in Chinatown, Damao is a place with food for lingering over important ideas, gesturing emphatically with denuded duck tongues and chicken feet. This style of eating may be old hat in Chengdu, but in Chicago it looks like a bright future for Chinese food.
Nearly everything at A Place by Damao is designed to set your tongue alight with chile heat. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise since the new Bridgeport restaurant specializes in street food from Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province of China and home to one of the most ferociously spicy cuisines on the planet.
A Place by Damao, brings the kind of full-throttle Sichuan flavors that other purveyors have hesitated to delve into. Specifically, we’re talking ma la, the classic Sichuan flavor profile that comes from blending fiery dried red chilies and numbing Sichuan peppercorns, which makes your mouth feel like you’ve washed down a box of Sucrets with a bottle of Tabasco. You will want this sensation again and again, even if your digestive tract protests later.
In chef-owner Aishan “Damao” Zhong’s first solo venture, she cooks delicacies from her hometown of Chengdu, resulting in bold, simple street fare hailing from the capital of China’s Szechuan province. Pork dumplings, hand-cut noodles, pigs’ feet and braised duck parts are presented without much embellishment beyond a fiery combination of chilis and slow-burning Szechuan peppercorns.
WHAT THE PHRASE “STREET FOOD” MEANS has been explained to me by a number of chefs claiming inspiration from it. But I don’t think anyone has conjured up the picture of what it means better than Chef Damao.