by Zhang Baoping and Henry Wang
CHICAGO, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Five Chinese restaurants representing the rich diversity of Chinese cuisine have become well established in Chicago's Chinatown, serving traditional Chinese foods popular among both Chinese and foreigners.
Lao Sze Chuan, Lao Beijing, Lao Shanghai, Lao You Ju and Lao Hunan represent the culinary styles of western, northern, eastern and central China. The five restaurants belong to the same owner, Chinese American Hu Xiaojun.
"Lao" in the Chinese language stands for tradition, authenticity and time-honored fame, though it literally means "old" in English, Hu said.
Hu, a native of Chengdu city in Sichuan province, graduated from Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine in 1989. After graduating from the institute, Hu became the deputy chief of Shudu Hotel. He also opened his own restaurant and taught cuisine in a military academy.
Hu came to the United States as a skilled worker in 1993 and served as a chef in a restaurant at 600 N Michigan Avenue in Chicago. China Smart Sourcing in Chicago recruited chefs from Sichuan at that time.
After coming to the United States, Hu worked hard and studied. At first, he majored in computer science. After saving money and accumulating experience, he decided to give up his studies and concentrate on cuisine again. As Hu worked in an American-style Chinese restaurant, he hoped that one day, he too could own his own restaurant that served genuine Chinese food.