CLOSED: Slurping Turtle (Chicago)

Location: Chicago, USA
Address: 116 W Hubbard Street
Type of Meal: Dinner

As a warning, if you’re visiting for a late dinner on weekends, there may be a long line and bouncer outside their door. Not to worry the restaurant isn't that exclusive! But, they are located in the same building as some lounges. So, just head to the front and ask the bouncer to be let into the Slurping Turtle.

For a ramen restaurant Slurping Turtle is large and spacious with two tables in private boxes above the window - eating in it would be a great experience but may make you feel like you're in a display case.

My husband and I were famished after our day at Lollapalooza and needed to refuel on comforting carbs. We were in luck, Slurping Turtle is the perfect place for this. Starting off with a pork belly steamed bao ($4) it hit the spot and tied me over until the ramen could come. The bao was delicious! Two juicy pieces of tender pork belly were wrapped in a soft fluffy steamed bun taco with pickled vegetables. The pork belly was well glazed in a sweet & sticky soy-ginger and the vegetables added the right amount of crunch and lightness to brighten it up.  Accompanied with a side of daikon-arugula salad tossed in a light vinaigrette it was a great starter and if ordered in their larger size (three for $11) could be a meal in itself.

The Hamachi tacos ($10), on the other hand, were lighter but nonetheless still packed with flavours. Large cubes of tender yellow tail tuna were tossed with a truffle-soy sauce, sesame oil and diced cucumber. A good portion was then packed into a crunchy taro root shell. The dish was very refreshing and a lighter appetizer option.

You can't visit a restaurant called Slurping Turtle and not eat something you can slurp! I tried the tan tan men ($14) which was recommended by the waiter. It had enough spiciness to it; I tended to spoon the soup from the middle of the bowl to avoid the additional chili oil on the sides. The noodles are a pork lover's dream - the soup base had ground pork mixed throughout, there were three juicy pork meat balls and slices of tender roasted “cha shu” pork.

The sweet roast pork and herby sausage meat balls cut through the spicy soup quite nicely. The addition of bok choy and bean sprouts added some crunch to everything.

My husband's red miso ramen ($14) had such a great rich flavour to it without being overly salty – as miso soup can sometimes be. Topped with tender braised short rib, bok choy, scallions, sweet corn and fish slices (narutomaki) it was a hearty and filling bowl.

We both agreed that even compared to our Japan experience, Slurping Turtle was the best tasting ramen we’ve ever had. Alas, we could only try it once but I’ll forever remember each delightful spoon.

Overall mark - 9.5 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!