The Disappearing DragonLady

Taste Sue Chong's Korean charms while you can

The "How I First Met the DragonLady" story is often the same.

Burger seekers deterred by an unfathomable wait at Kuma's Corner wander off in search of a drink. They find a decent beer selection at the charmingly divey DragonLady Lounge–and then they notice the pictures of food on the wall.

And that the small woman tending bar is also flipping Korean vegetable pancakes in the kitchen's burnished wok and pulling house-made kimchi dumplings from a bamboo steamer.

She's beloved in vegan circles for her $12 Thursday-night, all-you-can-eat vegan Korean buffet.

But vegans and carnivores alike, hear this: The DragonLady's not long for Chicago.

Since turning her bar into DragonLady five years ago, Sue Chong has been a one-woman show in the kitchen, shopping at H Mart in the morning and turning out homespun, mostly vegetarian and vegan Korean dishes at night.

On offer: chewy rice flour-vegetable pancakes (pictured), bulgogi with house-made vegan kimchi, a slew of dumplings, and chop chae–a sweet-savory tangle of slippery rice noodles and vegetables. In the summer, Chong tops her house-made veggie burger with homegrown lettuce and tomatoes from her patio above the bar.

She doesn't have a departure date in mind, but the building is on sale and she speaks assuredly of a house in Austin and a new RV.

Don't miss your chance to slay some DragonLady dumplings–get there soon.

DragonLady Lounge, 3188 N. Elston Ave.; no phone