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14

Fat Rice

Sweet and sour tamarind tofu (top left) and the arroz gordo Photo: Jeff Marini

Fat Rice may be the most universally beloved restaurant in Chicago. Prized in equal measure by discerning diners, of-the-moment chefs, and food writers—along with pretty much any intelligent life form, really—Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo’s gloriously diverse homage to the former Portuguese colony of Macau has so many points of entry it’s hard to know where to start. There’s the colorful adjoining bakery (think Ceylon snickerdoodles), which by night morphs into a Portuguese-style snack bar called Petisco (think curried vegetable samosas). Then there’s the Ladies’ Room, a cocktail hideaway styled after illicit Chinese gambling dens and offering house-infused spirits.

And let us not forget the main restaurant itself, whose dishes abound with bold, meaty Macanese flavors: indulgent pork and ginger dumplings, juicy housemade linguiça (pork sausage), noodle dishes and curries that tickle the palate with tamarind and goji. And of course, Fat Rice’s mighty namesake, the paella-like arroz gordo: a vivacious feast of sofrito-thickened jasmine rice overflowing with all manner of pork, chicken, and seafood and served with tea eggs and chicken-fat-fried croutons. Like everything else about Fat Rice, it leaves an indelible impression.

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