Chinese restaurant chains have taken an interest in Chicago in recent years, and Tony Hu has been in the middle of many of those talks. The latest example is the arrival of Shoo Loong Kan (known as Xiaolongkan elsewhere) a hot pot restaurant from China’s Sichuan province.
The chain’s first location opened in 2019 in LA, and another opened over the summer in New York. Another has debuted in Houston.
Hu, known for Lao Sze Chuan, has been a dealmaker in bringing Chicago a diverse group of restaurants from around the world. Earlier this year, he helped Liang Crispy Roll open its first Chicago location. In 2020, Hu brought Chengdu-style hot pot restaurant Mrs. Gu Skwers to Chicago. Chengdu is a type of Sichuan hot pot; the city is the capital of the province. Its broths aren’t as intense as what Shoo Loong Kan offers. The restaurant was ticketed for a space around the corner, where Won Kow stood for 90 years before it closed in 2018. There are now signs for Paris Baguette, a new bakery, outside the space.
Chicago’s Shoo Loong Kan features 17 tables in a 3,800-square-foot space and offers exclusive dishes. Hu says Chicagoans should look for Kobe and A5 wagyu-grade beef and lobster. The interiors are a mix of bamboo and grey stone to convey a glimpse of Chinese history. The decor is meant to remind diners of the core elements of water, wood, fire, earth, and metal.
The communal aspect of sharing raw ingredients and watching them cook in different broths is what draws Hu to hot pot: “I love hot pot because it is a great thing to unite friends and family together,” he texts. “You can keep cooking, eating, talking, and laughing together, so much fun, also you can try many different things together.”
Check out the photos below.
Shoo Loong Kan, 2201 S. Wentworth Avenue, open daily from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.