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  1. As I was foraging through the newly-opened Momo's Nepalese Food in Springfield Plaza, I noticed across the parking lot a large banner declaring "Grand Opening" and many colored pennants flapping in the breeze at what is now called Golden Hong Kong.
  2. Today, after discovering that Myanmar was locked and dark (I'm 0 for 2 on my lunch attempts this week), I remembered this post and set out to find Miu Kee. I ended up at Vinh Kee, on Route 50 at Graham Rd. (same shopping center as Pho 75, but facing 50). We started with steamed dumplings, and although the dough was kind of tough, the dumplings were tasty. I had shrimp with Chinese broccoli and my husband had shrimp with spicy salt. Both were so good my husband is already talking about going back.
  3. I don't know if I went on an off-night, but I thought Kee was terrible. Or I ordered the wrong stuff - seafood - I felt like I was chewing on rubber.
  4. We tried Noodle King Restaurant last week. It is on northbound New Hampshire Avenue, between White Oak and Colesville. It's hidden between a pizza shop and a beer & wine store. Parking and entrance are around back. The cross street is Hollywood Avenue. The lot is across Hollywood from JR Wright plant nursery. They have been there for a few years but it was my first visit. My folks heard about it from their firends. Family owned, authentic Cantonese food. Keep that in mind when ordering--they definitely do a better job with southern dishes. Meal #1, dinner for 4. We ordered: beef satay--beef a little chewy, probably deep fried instead of charcoal grilled, would not order again chicken wings--great crispy batter but served by itself, sauce (like Thai sweet chili) would make it better Ja-Jain Mein(Beijing Style)--good egg noodles but sauce had muted flavor, not pungent with garlic and chilies like it should be; corrected with some of their house made chili paste Beef Chow Fun (Dry)--great job, not too oily, just enough char on the beef Seafood Pan Fried Noodle--outside of noodles was crispy but middle was soggy; sauce was watery and goopy at the same time. I would ask them for sauce on the side next time. Meal #2, lunch for 2. sweet and sour spicy (pickled) cabbage Diced Chicken & Salted Fish Fried Rice--great flavor, a little julienned lettuce for crunch; salted fish was reconstituted well and not too salty Beef Chow Fun (Dry)--i liked it so much I had to order it again On my next visit, I plan to check out their roast duck and Hong Kong style noodles.
  5. Had a pre-dinner meal at Sampan Cafe this evening. This place is in the little strip mall where Mediterranean Gourmet Market is located, and whenever I'm in this vicinity, I always eat at Mediterranean Gourmet Market. It's the best Middle Eastern food in northern Virginia, I'm convinced, but it turns out it closes on Sunday evening at 5pm. So, Plan B was Sampan Cafe, a few doors down. I had been going to Sampan Cafe for over 20 years in its original incarnation. It used to be the definition of American Chinese, with big floppy egg rolls and chop suey on the menu, and the waiters clad in red tuxedo tops. Not many Chinese people ate there back then. It closed about 6 years ago and an average-ish Vietnamese restaurant took its place. Then about 4 years ago, it reincarnated as Sampan Cafe, under different ownership. I have raved a bit on this board about Canton Cafe in Springfield. Sampan Cafe is at least its equal, and maybe then some. Aside from a few quirks in the service -- girlfriend's entree arrived about 5 minutes before mine -- the food here is very good and the clientele is mostly Chinese. We started with a whole steamed oyster with black bean sauce that was exquisite (and large). Last night I had the Beef in Black Pepper Sauce at Canton Cafe and labeled it Peking man-food. I mentioned that at $16 it was superior to any beef dish I ever had at Morton's or Ruth's Chris or any other steak house that would charge $40 for a la carte beef. Well, tonight I had the same dish at Sampan Cafe, and it was even better and was only $14. It came out sizzling like Canton fajitas, but the beef was perfect, tender and juicy. Girlfriend had her standard seafood combination, which in this case was off menu. Chunks of scallops, shrimp, lobster, and veggies in a white sauce, for $12.50 (did I mention lobster?). The chef's specialty here is "Hong Kong style" and I intend to come back and taste "Sour Cabbage Stir Fried with Intestine" and "Salt Fish and Chicken Stir Fried with Chive Flower".... Bottom line is that Sampan Cafe in its current incarnation is very good, and at least the equal of Canton Cafe, but at a better value. [but I still have the problem of passing up the best Middle Eastern food in northern Virginia just a few doors down!]
  6. It was the kind of meal where the more we ate the less satisified I felt, resulting in eating too much yet still alking away wanting a good dim su meal. The tarts, fresh out of the oven and still hot were a treat. Service was spotty.
  7. Thanks for this recommendation, Mark. Went there with the fiancee for lunch over the weekend, and the food was delicious. The ginger-scallion dungeness was particularly good, though it was only recommended when I asked if they had dow miu [pea shoots]. I guess that signified to the older gentleman who took our order [and who had the air of an owner] that we weren't going to ask for lemon chicken or sweet and sour pork or whatever.
  8. I figure if I'm not exactly clear on this, then it's a good bet others aren't either, so rather than just Googling or asking a friend, I thought I'd make this a public discussion. Can anyone provide a primer (either linking to one, or writing one) that can point out the basic similarities and differences between these two regional cuisines? I kind-of, sort-of get it when I see it, but not really, and I want to dig deeper and learn more. Thanks in advance if anyone can help, Rocks
  9. Inspired by Anne Limpert's praise of the restaurant in her chat last week and heeding her call to visit now before it gets too popular (plus, wanting to go before I move from DC in a week (!!)), we checked out Queen's English in the old KBC space last night. In what seems to be common with good restaurants these days, it is run by a man and a woman pair (ala Himitsu, Espita, Seylou, Bad Saint, Rooster & Owl, etc.). Similar to Rooster & Owl, Seylou and Espita, in this case the pair are husband and wife. We walked in at 6:05 to a mostly empty restaurant (it filled up later but was never jammed) and our party of four was seated by the gracious, knowledgeable and likable Sarah Thompson, the aforementioned front of house maven. The place is beautifully redecorated with bright colors that fit the Hong Kong theme. The wine list (available online) is replete with natural wines (a focus of Sarah's), but we went for cocktails instead. All of them were funky -- in a good way -- either bitter or brightly citrusy without being too sweet. They struck me as drinks that Tiger Fork's imo terrible drinks aspire to be, with less gimmick. I enjoyed two pours of zucca, which is one of my favorite amari. Onto the food. As you can see, there are about 16 menu items, and they recommended 3 dishes or so per person. So we decided to make it easy and order basically the entire menu, skipping only the "PB&J" and the chicken. We were then treated to a parade of deliciousness, with the cucumber/trout roe dish standing out from the first batch. The combination of roe with fresh cucumbers thinly sliced and a vinegar-based sauce hit the spot. In the next group, the twice-cooked lamb rib and daikon fritters are two of the best things I've eaten in a long time. I would highly, highly recommend these as must-orders. I liked the twice-cooked lamb rib more than the one at Tail Up Goat, though I haven't had that for more than a year. The daikon fritters have a perfect texture and a great mix of sweet and salty. The shrimp were massive and tasty, but not incredible. I don't remember much about the steam water egg and dumpling, but I'm sure I enjoyed them. For our mains, I loved the bok choy and young pea greens, which were both on the bitter-veggie side, but they are quite similar, so I'd recommend getting one or the other. The star of this course was definitely the sweet & sour branzino, which came in a sauce that reminded me of a much better version of buffalo sauce. Super tender fish and briny cabbage made it a great dish. Unsurprisingly, the crispy rice was also a hit. More than just fried rice, this is like burnt rice that hasn't been charred, so it is...crunchy, hence the name. Same flavors as fried rice, just a new texture. I liked it. Shockingly, the biggest miss of the night was the hand cut noodles, which we were all so excited for. They come buried under a mix of what seemed to be bell peppers, reminding us almost of fajitas. The flavors didn't compare to the other dishes we had. On another note, we saw the chicken when the waiter walked by with it for someone else--and it looked great. For dessert, the house treated us to the only dessert on the menu, which was a caramel custard that was incredibly sweet and caramelly--but not in a bad way. Two bites of it was plenty, as enjoyable as those bites were. Afterwards, chef Henji Cheung came out to our table to ask us how we liked everything! We almost wonder whether he thought we were professional reviewers, but our lengthy conversation likely dissuaded him of that notion. He spoke to us about his background (grew up in HK and NY) and how they found the spot here. They live around the corner and say this restaurant has been a true labor of love for them, working constantly to make it as good as they hope. Both him and Sarah were incredibly nice and appreciative of our patronage. Honestly, we were full by the end but not overly stuffed--if going with a party of four adults, I would recommend doing much as we did, but adding the chicken, dropping the noodles, and dropping one of the greens dishes. This place is going to be a hit and doesn't take reservations, so go now while you can.
  10. Facebook page. Read about this place on Chowhound so I went to check it out today (a Thursday). They do in fact have carts on weekdays but the selection wasn't great. I didn't see any turnip cakes. On the other hand, the dumpling soup (ordered off the menu) was a good deal for about $5 - lots of tasty hong kong style wontons or dumplings. The dim sum quality was good, not great. I tried their chicken feet, lotus wrapped sticky rice, fish balls, and fried yam dumpling. Their seasoning are on the light side, and not oily at all. Now you have even more options for Cantonese food around 7 corners.
  11. In a fit of hubris... I left the map at home figuring that I knew exactly where Fortune was and, having read the map quickly, could get us there. At the risk of alienating all northern Virginian's, we were stuck in Dante's 8th level of hell (reserved for those stupid enough to drive in Virginia on a Sunday, or during rush hour, or during not rush hour, or, say, any time except 3:25am and 3:27am on certain Tuesdays when there is actually only a small traffic jam at every light) we spent an hour getting from 495 to Bailey's crossroads. Wound up at Peking Gourmet, which isn't. Maybe tonight is a two negroni night as well. Ah well...
  12. Surprised no one has written up Da Hong Pao. Went for dim sum Saturday in short time we had between kid holiday season activities. Arrived right at 11:00 and there were about 8 tables open. Within about 20 minutes, every table seemed to be full ad 40 minutes, there was a sizable number of people waiting, though not as long as the lines at Oriental East in Silver Spring. The strength of Da Hong Pao is the variety. They have a lot of different things, rivaling some places in Chicago Chinatown, but not as many as the more extensive NYC Chinatown places. Definitely more than any place else I have been to in DMV. Had our usuals of siu mai, ha gao, yu choi, shrimp cheong fun, lo bak go, and stuffed tofu. The steamed dumplings were all well done. The lo bak go was disappointing in that it was stone cold. By the time it came, we had requested it, we were pretty full anyway, so we ate half and packed the rest to go, figuring we can microwave later. Stuffed tofu was interesting in that it was fried like Japanese agedashi tofu, with a crispy corn starch style crust. We also got fried shrimp balls which I enjoyed, but since the kids surprisingly did not like, I ate two and a half which get pretty heavy. Highlight for me was that they had the crispy roast pig. Got my week's animal fat intake, and am very happy for it. Finished with egg custard tarts for dessert which are nice and light and come as three small ones rather than two larger ones as most places seem to do. Service is generally pretty good and they are responsive with keeping tea filled. Carts that come around have mostly the steamed items, and the rest, you request using the pictures on the menus. My son liked the pictures so much he wanted to take it home. They were gracious enough to give him a clean one. This is definitely above average for DC dim sum, and head and shoulders above the rest for variety.
  13. Rolling Cooking is a restaurant that has only been open since 2016 on Rolling Road near Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield. It's in the same plaza as Afghan Kabob and TCS Computer, behind Einstein Bagels. However, this version of Rolling Cooking is only 4 weeks old, according to the hostess, meaning it changed ownership at the end of January 2018. In the past 3 days I've ordered delivery and carry out, and right now, this is the best of Springfield's Americanized Chinese restaurants. What strikes me is how greaseless the fried dishes are -- the shrimp tempura has a heavier crust than I'm used to, but the greaseless crunch on the outside gives way to soft shrimp on the inside, and the salt-and-pepper flounder filet are delightful pillows of deliciousness. And I had this latter dish after delivery and carry out, both, and in both cases, it was delectable. In my delivery order a few days ago came shredded pork with chili peppers and General Tso's chicken. The pork was OK, not spectacular, but tasty. The General Tso's chicken was a nice rendition, with perfectly portioned chicken cubes bathed in a not-overly-sweet sauce that had a nice kick. In my take-out order tonight, I repeated the salt-and-pepper flounder to prove I wasn't imaging its goodness a few days -- I wasn't -- and I added the whole fried rockfish. The rockfish was a bit over-fried, so it had some dryness, and when the dryness co-mingled with the bony fish, it was as pleasant as I would have liked. This appears to be a dish to be eaten in the restaurant as soon as it comes out of the fryer. As I was waiting for my carry-out order, the hostess brought me a plate of warm, salty peanuts, followed by a cup of hot and sour soup, and a nice tumbler of hot tea. These treats were gratis, but inspired me to add a nice tip to the carry-out check. I also noticed a six-top occupied by a Hispanic family, and a beautiful dish of chicken fried rice in the middle of that table. A four-top with an Asian family speaking Chinese to the hostess is always a sign that the indigenous population enjoys the food here too. I'll keep an eye on Rolling Cooking to make sure that it stays consistent, but it ranks at least a nose ahead of Springfield's other Chinese offerings at this point.
  14. I'll preface my post with this: I don't know shit from shinola when it comes to authentic Chinese food. Don, feel free to trash this note if it's not helpful - I won't be offended The Lotus Garden opened 4 days ago, so there's a chance the food and service are still a work in progress. Their web site is here. Their speciality is Cantonese cuisine with hand-pulled noodles. They've got the standard Americanized Chinese dishes we all know and love, but I think the "Chefs Specials" are their focus. Mrs DrX and I split a bowl of Chicken Sliced Noodle Soup ($8.25). It was...interesting. The noodles were rustic and fairly tasty. The sliced chicken breast was dry and flavorless and included rib bones and cartilage for our gustatory challenge. I realize the "real" Chinese chicken dishes include cleavered chicken parts, but I'm such an amateur, I don't know how to eat this stuff, especially in a soup. The most disappointing part of the soup was the fistful of fresh cilantro which completely overwhelmed any flavor the broth may have had. Occasionally I could pick up some pepper flavor, but mostly it was cilantro and cilantro with a lingering aftertaste of cilantro. I burped cilantro 20 minutes after we finished our meal! I had the Steamed Chicken with Ginger and Scallion in Chef's Special Gravy. Let's see...the positives...hmm...the plate it came on was pretty and supported the food fantastically. I'll admit that maybe this dish just wasn't for me and that it's actually a good dish to people who know the food, but I didn't like it. My dislike started with the cooked chicken face that accompanied the dish. The steamed chicken was dry (is that possible when steaming?) and the sauce was bland and was boring to me. The rice side dish was cold. Cold rice? Really? Of course, it used cleavered chicken parts and most of my time was spent peeling off the rubbery, fatty skin and prying off little pieces of meat from the bone and cartilage. I ate less than half the dish. I just got tired of working so hard for such flavorless food. Nancy had the Steamed Shrimp with Garlic Sauce. It consisted of about 8-10 large, butterflied shrimp coated with jarred garlic sitting on a bed of hand-pulled noodles in a garlicy sauce. We both thought it was tasty, but the garlic was 10x more than was pleasant (this coming from people who loved eating at The Stinking Rose in San Francisco). The shrimp were cooked very well. I thought the noodles were cooked about right for Chinese noodles, but my Nancy said Four Sisters cooks theirs al dente, so she was disappointed. Our server was very friendly, but didn't have a solid grasp on English. She told us it was her first day when we were having trouble ordering. It was obvious in that we had to show her our choices on the menu and she needed to mark them with a pen. I saw the soup get set on a cart outside the kitchen several minutes before someone else (not our server) picked it up and brought it to us. It almost went to another table, though. We had to ask for water after we finished our hot tea (which was good, but leafy). There were about 6 servers milling about, so it's not like they were overwelmed. Our entrees came out separated by several minutes, but maybe that's the way it's done in China. Europeans tend to bring food while it's hot, right, regardless of trying to serve the table at the same time. There's a large window looking over the kitchen where you can watch the chef make the noodles. It's quite a show. Several people left their tables to stand and watch. If you're bothered by ducks hanging by their necks, then you may not be able to see past them to watch the noodle puller, though. If you like duck tongues, pig blood, duck webs, jellyfish and pig knuckles, then maybe this is the place for you (they have them all). Serenity, a little east on Maple Avenue, and China Star also try to cater to real Chinese food eaters, in that all specials are written in Chinese and never English. Maybe this is Lotus Garden's target demographic, too. I'm interested to hear what other Rockwellians think about Lotus Garden. I'm willing to try it for food that I know, but our first impression was not good. Things that seem odd: over 200 dishes on the menu right off the bat after opening and that their hours state they close at 2-3AM, depending on the night.
  15. We went to Oriental East today. At first, we thought we made great time by getting there at 10:50 AM, but it turns out that there was already a line of about 200 people outside, waiting for the restaurant to open. They ran out of tables before we could get a seat, so we had to wait about 30 min for the first round of people to finish eating. Next time, we will be there 30 min prior to opening. Everything was really good, except for the turnip cake, which was too soggy. Oriental East doesn't have any warming mechanism on their cart to keep the dim sum warm, therefore, you have to get there early to get fresh and hot dim sum.
  16. I was out in Fairfax so I finally stopped in Nanjing Bistro (in the same shopping center as Chuy's). It's supposed to be authentic Nanjing cuisine. The menu I received has lots of pictures, so if you didn't get an authentic looking Chinese menu with pictures, you should request it. I had a cold spicy chicken dish (the sauce is surprisingly sweet with a hint of fishiness, probably from some kind of fish sauce), a bean paste fish filet, and some stirred fried veggies. None of them knocked my socks off but the food is pretty good.
  17. Little man requested Chinese food and the only criterion was to try a "new place," or "somewhere we haven't been before." Seeing this place in the Washington Chinese newspaper recently, I thought this would be a good candidate. Good signs: specials written in Chinese on a white board, mostly Chinese families, busy on Friday night with mostly Chinese families, Chinese families sharing a big round table, fish tanks, lots of clay pots and roast animals on tables, and good-looking roast ducks, chicken, pigs, and porks hanging on a window. Not so good signs: the prices. Little man and I shared: half roast duck ($12.50), stir-fry snow pea shoots ($14.95), vegetarian egg rolls ($2.45), and kingdom style pork chops ($12.95). We had more than half of each entree for leftovers, but even so, I had a little bit of sticker shock. I did really like their rendition of Kingdom Pork Chops. It was nicely sweet and sour, with a nice, slightly crispness to them. Little man's favorite tonight. The pea shoots are out of season, so it was slightly tough, but still good, even if a bit pricey. The duck was fine. I think XO or Golden Hong Kong has a slight edge to this duck. I didn't get to ask any questions about the chef or when they opened, as they were swamped tonight, but little man placed this restaurant in his top-eateries list. So we will be coming back. It is a great option for those living close to here. Taste @ Hong Kong (Ignore the wrong Chinese characters on the website's main page. The ones I used match those shown in the picture.)
  18. For those who are not a fan of Mark's Duck House but are a fan of Cantonese cooking in the Falls Church area, there is a little, hidden alternative pretty much right across the street. Open since February of this year, XO Taste has the hanging poultry & ducks, roast pork, and other familiar Cantonese dishes on an expansive menu, BUT in a much, much cleaner and brighter setting. Today's Pipa Duck was the highlight of the evening, nicely roasted, although slightly fatty still, crispy skin, with great juice and marinated flavor. The bonus was that it was not too salty or dry, as served at some places. They also had a great array of congee, so my friend and I went with the traditional Thousand year old eggs with pork congee. Again, not too salty, but not as thick as other Cantonese restaurants--this dish was every bit as comforting as good congee should be. The pork had a nice salty kick to it, but not overbearing. The only miss of the evening was the Seafood in XO sauce, since they didn't use a lot of sauce, and the kitchen used too much yellow chives and onions, and not enough seafood. But it's XO sauce! All this came to around $32, which is probably a bit pricier than some of its Cantonese counterparts, but for the atmosphere and complimentary sweet red bean soup dessert, I'd come here again. Especially to explore more parts of the menu. And those little swimmers in the water tanks towards the back of the restaurant. Most of tonight's diners were Asian families, in case you were wondering. Someone on one of the area chats asked if the reviewer had gone before, so it's on some people's radars. Hopefully it'll be on the area food critics' radars soon too. 6124 Arlington Blvd. Falls Church, VA 22044
  19. Sooooooooo yesterday I decided to try my new thing of spontaneity when it comes to restos as I explained in my previous post sort of. I was going to go to Eim Khao Mun Kai which is a very interesting and nice spot that serves Thai Chicken Rice. BUT I had always wanted to try the interesting looking Chinese restaurant across the way. I made the plunge and went across the street to see the menu. It was a pretty uninteresting menu featuring basicly what you could find on any Catonesey Chinese American restaurant menu. I persisted and went in and ordered. I got the salt and pepper pork chops and some roast meats on rice like duck etc (I am a great lover of the roasted Chinese meats!!!). I felt everything was a bit boring and too fatty for my personal taste. I wasn't really wowed by this. It just was kinda boring. Now I know I ordered kinda boring but when those roast meats are good it can be a sensational dish and this just wasn't. It was slightly better then New York Noodletown perhaps but not really super dee duper better ya know. I didn't love the pork chops either and felt the flavor was diluted by the fried fatty taste of the preperatioooonnn. So was this meal like terrible not quite but neither was it great either!!! I think in LA this food is much much better generally or San Fran or Vancouver for that matter!!!
  20. The MontCoDimSum Comparo visited New Fortune today for dim sum. I neglected to write down what we sampled, so this is not an exhaustive list:sui mei har gow shrimp cheong fan sweet rice with... um, I can't remember what was in it. Chinese sausage? salt & pepper head-on shrimp steamed BBQ pork buns mushrooms in some rich shoyu-based sauce I couldn't identify braised baby bok choy slices of char sui (roast pork) chicken feet turnip cake jellyfish steamed beef balls fun gor turnip cake sesame balls I'm blanking on the rest right now. What was that dish with the dried shrimp in rice noodle? I also remember an early dish, a flaky turnover with a sweet pork filling. New Fortune has been my dim sum place for several years, but I've never been able to sample so many different dishes before! One of the beauties of New Fortune is the griddle cart. At other dim sum emporiums, the turnip cakes and chive dumplings are fried and plated in the kitchen. At New Fortune, they give those items a final frying on the cart and dish them up fresh and crispy-edged. This really makes a difference. Another advantage of New Fortune is the vegetable selection. As much as I enjoyed Hollywood East overall, the lack of green vegetable offerings was noticeable and unwelcome. The very first thing on our table at New Fortune (before, say, plates and chopsticks) was the dish of (very addictive) bok choy. Also circulating through the dining room was a cart laden with green beans, asparagus, and Chinese broccoli. New Fortune sells BBQ meats for carryout, and of course they offer those goodies during dim sum. We had intended to get roast pig and roast duck, but wound up with a plate of char sui instead. This was hardly a sacrifice - it was perfectly moist, with a good balance of fatty meat and slightly sweet edges. The salt & pepper shrimp is usually one of my favorites, but the shrimp was somewhat mushy in texture today. Come to think of it, I was less impressed than usual with the shrimp cheong fan and the har gow, which are usually quite good at NF. Service was, well... it's dim sum. When we sat down, there were no plates, teacups, or utensils. It took a few minutes before we were set up properly. Daniel had also requested a dish of pickled vegetables, which never arrived. Otherwise, service was really quite good and efficient, and we were offered some special items that had just come from the kitchen (okay, next time we get the salt & pepper squid!). There was certainly no issue with the cart ladies not offering us everything available, unlike at Good Fortune. The tab came to $16 per person including tip. There was some talk about doing a New Fortune dinner - their regular menu is extensive and warrants group exploration.
  21. Grover and I went to the Full Kee in Bailey's Crossroads and I made the same mistake you did. Unfortunately, my memories of the Full Kee in Chinatown made me order the seafood. First, last and only time we've gone there. Shrimp that had obviously been frozen, squid like little whitewall tires...
  22. I can't seem to find a thread on Tasty Garden so I thought I would start one. Located at the corner of 355 and Middlebrook Road (in the strip center opposite Yuraku). They have roasted meats which have all been above average. Tanks with fish, lobster, eel, crab, etc. I have tried a variety of dishes here, but the roasted chicken with crispy garlic and steamed fish (from the tank) are standouts. The fish was cooked perfectly, simply seasoned, but very tasty. Another standout is the shrimp dumpling soup. The broth in this soup is magical. I have been about 4 times and really want to keep coming back and work through the menu. The owner has always been there when I am there and is warm and willing to suggest items.
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