Aji Ichiban Bypass the salt-dried squid at the only Chicago outpost of this Hong Kong franchise—there are too many bins bursting with gummies, Yan-Yan biscuit sticks and hard candy to browse the salty stuff. If you’re up for the effort, try to get them to let you sample some nuts and dried fruits, too. 2117A S China Pl (312-328-9998). El: Red to Cermak/Chinatown. Bus: 24, 29, 62.
Candyality There’s a method to shopping here: First, you load up on by-the-pound treats (Jelly Bellys, M&M’s), retro goodies (candy buttons, Necco wafers) and chocolate truffles. Then, you bring your loot to the register, where owner Terese McDonald will assess your candy personality (dark chocolate = sophisticated; licorice = loyal) based on your picks. 3425 N Southport Ave (773-472-7800). El: Brown to Southport. Bus: 77, 152.
Dulcelandia It’s not just candy you come here for; it’s the piñata you’re going to stuff the candy into. Go for the stuff you can’t find in other stores, such as the ice-cream-flavored paletas (lollipops) and tropical fruit-flavored gummies. 3411 W Irving Park Rd (773-279-9762). Bus: 80, 82.
The Fudge Pot Chocoholics have been coming to this Old Town shop since 1963 to get their hands on marshmallows, strawberries, toffee and cookies dipped in the good stuff. The family-run business also makes ten flavors of fudge daily, sugar-free truffles and bark chocolate, and caramel apples for those freaks out there who’d rather eat fruit. 1532 N Wells St (312-943-1777). Bus: 11, 22, 36, 72.
Mr. Kite’s Candy and Nuts When you come to Mr. Kite’s, you’ll be starry-eyed and salivating over the choices: peanut-butter s’mores, Granny Smith caramel apples as big as your head. But before you disappear somewhere in between delight and diabetes, take the time to talk to Dominic, the personality of the place who’s been handcrafting the heavenly stuff for more than 20 years. 6 W Maple St (312-664-7270). El: Red to Clark/Division. Bus: 22, 36, 147, 151.
Suckers Candy Inc. You know this Roscoe Village sweet shop is open when the giant fiberglass penguin is sitting out front. That means it’s your chance to indulge cravings for candy necklaces and gummy cola bottles. Chocolate-dipped fruits and bars are made on-site. Need a gift? The friendly staff makes cute-as-can-be custom baskets. Ice cream caps off your sugar high when the mercury climbs. 3256 N Damen Ave (773-549-1706). Bus: 50, 77.