If you’re like a lot of other Americans (and their neighbors to the north), you and your family probably order Chinese takeout at least once a month, if not once a week. Chinese food is very popular in both countries with over 23,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S. alone as of 2021. Chinese is the most popular cuisine eaten out in Canada.

If someone put you on the spot right now, you could probably rattle off your favorite Chinese takeout order in a minute flat, right? We all have our personal favorites, and for many of us, Chinese fare like chop suey and lo mein are comfort foods much like Mom’s homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on Chinese takeout and delivery places with over half of them shutting down in the U.S. because of labor shortages and other difficulties. Fortunately, there continue to be many excellent Chinese restaurants operating throughout the U.S. and Canada, including in the great state of Illinois. So if you live in IL or plan to visit sometime soon, read on for our top Chinese restaurant recommendations.

1. Ching’s Chinese Restaurant, Normal, Illinois  

According to one enthusiastic online reviewer, family-owned and operated Ching’s Chinese Restaurant’s “wonton soup is a must.” Other favorites that people mention are its honey chicken, pork fried rice, and shrimp lo mein. Customers love that Ching’s will adjust how spicy your food is according to your preferences (even going “crazy spicy” if you want), and they say that the restaurant’s meals are always hot, fresh, and authentic. One repeat customer even claims that he’s tried over 40 dishes at Ching’s and liked them all (wow!) The sincerity and passion that people have for Ching’s and its food shine through in its online reviews; I think we both need to visit Normal to check this place out!

Check out Ching’s Chinese Restaurant’s menu in Normal, Illinois here.

2. Fast Dragon, Pekin, Illinois

Fast. Affordable. Hot. Exactly what you want from your go-to Chinese takeout place and just some of the words that are frequently used to describe Fast Dragon and its food. While the restaurant offers a dine-in option, its reputation is built around takeout and delivery with most of its business coming from repeat customers. When it comes to the food, patrons rave about the restaurant’s gigantic chicken on a stick, delicious beef fried rice, crispy fried wontons, and savory pork egg rolls. If you’re looking for a new Chinese takeout place in the Peoria metro area that you can count on for amazing food, don’t look any further than Fast Dragon.

Find Fast Dragon’s menu in Pekin, Illinois here.

3. Hokkaido Restaurant, Peoria, Illinois

If you and your family and friends want to find a Chinese restaurant with an inviting and classy atmosphere, you’ll have to try Hokkaido Restaurant in Peoria. Unlike Ching’s and Fast Dragon above which specialize in takeout and delivery, patrons of Hokkaido’s are treated to an exciting and immersive hibachi experience where they can watch the chef prepare their meal. If you’ve ever had hibachi before you know how tasty the food is, hot off the grill right in front of you. Hokkaido offers an array of different Asian cuisines and dishes, including Chinese, Japanese, and Thai fare, in addition to sushi, topped off with a big selection of cocktails and sakes from its full-service bar. This is definitely an Asian restaurant that should be at the top of your list, so take note!

View Hokkaido Restaurant’s menu in Peoria, Illinois here.

4. Chopsticks House, Rock Island, Illinois  

“Hands down the BEST Chinese food on the Illinois side of the QC!” What more can one say? Customers of Chopsticks House in Rock Island are in love with this place. Another review: “I absolutely love this restaurant!!! They have the best Chinese in town.” Clearly, these folks are fans of the high-quality food, which is said to be fresh, hot, affordable, and served quickly in large portions. Chopsticks puts its own modern interpretation on classic dishes and patrons love it, naming the fried rice, orange chicken, egg rolls, dumplings, and beef on a stick as their favorites. Definitely try Chopsticks if you want lots of great Chinese food at a really reasonable price.

Explore Chopsticks House’s menu in Rock Island, Illinois here.

5. First Wok, Decatur, Illinois  

Locals consider First Wok the best Chinese restaurant in town. They gush about its fast and friendly service and how getting a meal there (even for a large family) doesn’t break the bank. Moreover, the cooks at First Wok always get the orders right and out to the customer within 10 to 15 minutes. Although it specializes in takeout and isn’t recommended for dine-in, the restaurant is notably clean and the food is fresh. Its Mongolian beef and hot & sour soup are fan favorites. Don’t miss out; give First Wok a try the next time you’re craving some satisfying Chinese takeout!

Find First Wok’s menu in Decatur, Illinois here.