Won Fun/2 Fun: Super Stylish Chinese Restaurant/Lounge Combo
Can you be contemporary and classic at the same time?
Well, that’s how I felt after my experience at Won Fun/2 Fun Chinese. When you approach the entrance you’re greeted with a decision to make.
On the first floor is Won Fun and upstairs is 2 Fun, which is more of a club/bar atmosphere.
This low key restaurant will have you thinking about it weeks later. It’s a true hidden treasure. I love the cool, dark space mildly lit by a colorful Asian ambiance. You can just tell the food is going to be good.
I can appreciate a great cocktail but today I’m here to do what I like to do best, eat.
But before I eat. Check out my conversation with Head Chef Ben Ruiz.
Describe the atmosphere here on a typical day?
It’s a bit dark and secluded. You step inside and are transported to a dark den covered in red lanterns that look really cool at night. It will remind you of a street in Chengdu.
The decor is super cool. Whats the concept behind the design?
The downstairs is mainly a restaurant. It’s where you go to have a full meal with your family and friends. It’s all shared plates. The upstairs is more centered around the bar.
You can book it for private events. It’s a large space geared toward drinking.
What are some ingredients you like to work with the most?
Most of my main ingredients come from Sichuan province.
Pixian is a town right outside of Chengdu and they are famous for chili bean paste a fermented and baked in the sun for a year, called Doubanjiang. I use it in a lot of the dishes. It will give you a deep earthy chili flavor that’s not very spicy, but salty and sweet.
I also use a lot of green Sichuan pepper corn. It has zero heat but it numbs your mouth. It’s used in contrast to spicy. It’s the balance. We may be the only ones using it out of China Town. They have more of a piney, citrus floral going on.
It goes well with fish. It’s very common in China.
Have you spent a lot of time in China?
Yes. I personally backpacked around Sichuan for a month. I did that mainly to eat. I don’t speak the language but did a pretty good fitting in there. That’s what spiked my interested in this cuisine.
When I came back to the states in couldn’t find any of that food, even in Chinatown it’s really hard to find what I was eating there.
I went back a couple years later with a group of people, all chefs. We got an in depth, guided tour of all the little hole in the wall spots in Chengdu.
We spent a few days at the culinary institute in Sichuan to learn techniques. So the second trip was really focused on this restaurant and what we wanted to do.
Whats the most popular dish on the menu?
Hands down it’s the Dan Dan Noodle. We get regulars coming in 2-3 times a week to get it. People tell me how they wake up thinking about it. I probably eat it every other day and don’t get tired of it.
We make the noodle in-house with a compound chili oil and seasoned soy sauce. We top it with noodle and a ground beef mixture. You can’t stop eating once you start going at it.
We top it with noodle and a ground beef mixture. You can’t stop eating once you start going at it.
I don’t run into spots like Won Fun all the time. If you are on restaurant row, pop in for a cool Chinese experience a bit different from what you’ve had before.
Enjoy amazing authentic Chinese food at Won Fun, then head upstairs to 2 Fun for a drink. The spices are off the charts. The service is impressive. You need to put on your calendar before Summer is over.
There’s a lot of good times happening at Won Fun. You deserve to experience this hot spot!
Won Fun Chinese – Phone: 312 877 5967
905 W. Randolph
Chicago, IL 60607