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Found 185 results

  1. I was totally unsure of where to post this, so @DonRocks wave your wand and move it to whichever forum it suits. So every year I set a goal, or a resolutions of sorts. I have always been fascinated by linguistics, and have wanted to learn a new language since college. For 2019, I have declared that I want to learn Mandarin. I love going to places like Mark's Duck House, and just listening to rounds of guests talk. I have no idea what they are saying, but am fascinated by the emotion as to which they connect. For all I know they could be complaining about how their children drive them to drink, or chatting about the suspect neighbor who moved into the rickety house down the street. I am a voyeur into peoples lives through wanting to learn about their cultures. So any suggestions or resources of best to navigate how to learn Mandarin are greatly welcome! Never stop learning, kat
  2. Xi'an Gourmet, opened in the ashes of the former Bob's space. Tim Carman wrote about it in the Post today and seems to like it. Has Anyone tried it yet?
  3. Nine hungry Rockwellian dim sum addicts descended upon Mark's Duck House at noon today. After disappointments at our two previous NoVa outings (China Garden in Rosslyn and Fortune across the street from MDH), we were delighted at the consistently good tidbits pouring out of this kitchen. Our feast consisted of the following: scallop dumplings roast suckling pig baked roast pork croissant (flaky triangular pastry filled with char sui) sui mei har gow shrimp cheong fan roast duck BBQ spareribs spareribs in black bean sauce tripe with ginger shrimp in seaweed shrimp/taro cakes baby cuttlefish clams in black bean sauce braised chicken feet sticky rice in lotus leaf potstickers salt & pepper head-on shrimp Chinese broccoli baked char sui bao stuffed bean curd skin tofu with some unspecified roast meat on top some sort of fried shrimp dumpling with a shrimp tail for decoration fried roll with shrimp and fake crab pineapple buns custard tarts sesame seed balls There might have been another dish or two in there as well. There were a few misses here and there, but the quibbles were minor - overall, the quality was consistently good. Service was outstanding compared to other dim sum places. My minor quibbles... The tea was much weaker than its color would have indicated. Perhaps the leaves were a bit stale? Sesame balls are usually filled with red bean paste, but MDH used something we couldn't quite identify. I think shredded coconut was a component. It wasn't really creamy or flavorful, and the balls themselves were loaded with oil. Not horrible by any means, as it still tasted nice enough, but it was not at the same level of quality as the rest of the offerings. The cheong fan sauce wasn't as rich as one normally finds - it was more like lightly sweetened soy sauce. I was surprised that the roast duck was the weakest meat platter we got at a place called Mark's Duck House. The fat wasn't fully rendered, so the skin was a little too limp and the meat a little too greasy. OTOH, the roast suckling pig had wonderfully crisp skin, and the BBQ spareribs were a major highlight of the meal. For me, the best dishes were the BBQ spareribs, the clams in black bean sauce (oh dear, did I really end up eating half the platter?), and the baby cuttlefish. Oh, and the triangular char sui pastry - I think Hollywood East On The Boulevard's version is a touch better, but it's a close call. (MDH had better pastry, HEOTB had better char sui) The restaurant is quite small for a dim sum crowd - I can't imagine it seating more than 150 people. Must be a heck of a wait on Sundays. Unlike, say, China Garden, MDH seems worth the wait. Cost per adult: $18 including a generous tip
  4. JDS Shanghai Famous, or just Shanghai Famous, opened in late March, occupying two adjacent storefronts in the strip mall facing MD-124 near Criswell Chevrolet, right behind the Starbucks. I haven't the slightest clue what JDS stands for in their name, but I'm reasonably certain this may the only time I've seen those three letters _not_ stand for Jewish Day School. But I digress. Photos of their XLB have been popping up all over the past couple of weeks, along with descriptions comparing them favorably to the ones from Bob's Shanghai in Rockville, so I absolutely had to check it out. And...you should too. At lunchtime today, the place was maybe half-full, but essentially all the parties appeared to be Chinese. The menu is straight up Shanghainese food...no Northern Chinese, no Cantonese, no Taiwanese (hence no bubble tea), no Americanized. While I didn't think that the crab-and-pork XLB quite rose to the level of the NYC and West Coast XLB destinations, the wrappers were good (they could be a smidge thinner, but were at least in the ballpark), the soup level was good, and the flavor was good. I give these the edge for flavor profile, although for intensity I think Bob's chicken-soup filling is a bit deeper. Also, porcupine will probably be a bit disappointed in the lack of freshly julienned ginger, apart from a few bits premixed into the black vinegar in the dipping bowl. Still, a credible contender, at least until something even better comes along. 519 Quince Orchard Rd., Gaithersburg MD 20878 Here's The Menu
  5. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Yesterday, I joined a tradition that many Americans celebrate - a feast at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day. I went with my co-worker and his family to this unassuming restaurant in a strip mall deep in Montgomery County. It is quite difficult to get to - if you put in the address into the GPS, it doesn't quite get you there. When you enter the plaza you think you should be entering, you will approach a roundabout. Don't take it all the way into the plaza - head towards the Hilton and then you'll make a left to get to the back part of the plaza where the restaurant is. I sat down with my friend's family and we caught up. Hot tea was delivered to the table. Now, here is the frustrating part. I know this is part and parcel of "authentic" Chinese restaurants, but it really bugs me. They have a Chinese-American menu and an authentic Chinese menu. The part that is really annoying is the Chinese menu is completely written in a Chinese language script. The only thing in English is the headings ("Pork", "Beef", etc.). There is absolutely no way to try to order from this unless you either read Chinese or have the staff translate every single thing on the menu. I was lucky in that my co-worker's mother is Chinese and speaks/reads the language that was on the menu, plus they have been there several times. They ordered a mix from both menus (I think). You look at the menu at table, and then go up and order/pay (like Joe's Noodle House). We started with the pot-stickers (I think, b/c I have no freaking idea what the dish is actually called). Pan fried and deliciously pork filled. We also got what I assume were XLB/soup dumplings. I like these a lot, don't have a great frame of reference for what is good or not, but these were tasty to me. For the mains, we got (and this is based on me asking Barbara and the server what these dishes were called) "shredded pork and beans", "chicken with spicy garlic sauce", "tea smoked duck", "sour fish soup with vegetables". Very, very tasty. I loved all the dishes. The pork dish was slivers of tasty pork with vegetables and beans and a tasty sauce. I haven't had it anywhere before. The chicken was spicier, and the sauce was a little sweet. The duck was fantastic. Crispy fried on outside, tender and fatty duck meat on the in side. It was served with those small white buns and hoisin sauce. The fish soup was good and interesting tasting, but could have been spicier with more hot peppers. I like this place a lot. The food quality is very good (IMO). I liked each dish and it seemed very consistent. My friends mom said she forgot to ask for spicy, so that could have enhanced it, as well. I think asking for it a little spicier and being selective with dishes could make this as good as Joe's Noodle House, but far less crowded and rushed of an experience (I think Joe's is sort of best for take out, but it's 27 miles from my house, so it's not an impromptu option). I'm looking at the Chinese menu now, and hit the "Google translate" button, so now I can see the menu options. I'm just going to print this out next time and take it with me.
  6. Did a quick run through here for lunch yesterday. They've just opened, so not everything is available, and there's still a bit of chaos in the place. No website yet, but photos of the menu here. Note: this is the location where Lola, the Argentinian cafe used to be. Same shopping plaza as Pita Hut. Parking is limited, and the put up a gate like the RTC across the street (my guess is people were trying to park there and walk across the street.) Two hours free with validation. I had the lunch special with "pork and shrimp" dumplings. Similar in style to China Bistro, but the wrappers were thicker and more doughy. Also, the filling was ground much finer and more dense - it was almost a meatball in the wrapper. Also, for the "cold side" they tried to push a green salad, but I pushed back and they relented with what I think was the chinese-style potato salad, which is shredded potatoes and carrots in vinegar. Tasty, but a strong advantage to China Bistro at the moment. The menu is very extensive for dumplings - almost 40 different stuffings. Also "kabobs" - will have to check that out in the future. Drinks are either bubble tea or sodas from the cooler - they didn't even have hot tea when I was there. Worth keeping an eye on, but nothing compelling yet.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. My parents sold their home of 40 years this past spring, exchanging the hassle of maintaining a 2,000 sf house for the simple life of a 2 br rental at Leisure World. Over the decades, they had not done a good job of curating their possessions, consequently, they were overwhelmed by the decision of what to do with their mountain of stuff. I helped them figure out what to keep (my 8th grade report on the Mayas, with a picture I drew showing how they formed a baby’s head into a point) and what to donate (3 flour sifters). Of course, the final home for the majority of stuff was the MoCo dump on 355. Over the many trips there, I had time to contemplate “Big Wang Cuisine” on the east side of the road, just south of the dump. I speculated a restaurant with a name that, in English, is quite amusing, would be hardcore. The majority of contributors to Yelp confirmed this. Young SB and I went there last week. The restaurant specializes in dry hotpot, which, from what I can tell, is a Szechuan stir-fry. You select what you want from four categories; the categories are priced from $2-$5. We chose beef, pork belly, dried bean curd, bok choy, wide vermicelli, and Tribute vegetable (a hollow-stemmed vegetable that had been dried) and asked for extra spicy. We also got House Special Beef Noodle Soup, a lamb skewer, and a beef skewer. All the dishes were excellent. The hotpot, served with rice, had a lot of chili peppers, Szechwan peppercorns, and oil. The items were cooked well and there was a nice contrast of textures. There was plenty for two. The skewers were juicy; both were spiced with hot pepper and cumin. The lamb was quite fatty and gamy. The soup had a very nice flavor. The restaurant is clean, bright and the service was fine. They give a 5% discount for cash. I’ll go back for the hot pot. Some other diners had ordered the fried pig feet dish and that looked tasty.
  10. Riverside Hot Pot opened last week in the old Chop Stix space. Address is 820 Muddy Branch Rd Gaithersburg, MD 20878. Website is: http://riversidehotpot.com/. Evidently it's a chain from China. I think this is the first (?) US location. You pick a stock from about 6 choices, they bring you a individual sized pot with burner. Add ins are all you can eat (think after the grand opening special of $21, it will be $25/pp). There is also a really nice sauce bar. There is a "traditional" Chinese menu as well, but we didn't opt for that. I got the Szechuan broth (which was good but I was hoping for a bit spicier), my wife got the vegetarian "health" pot (it had some various radish type things and goji berries for some additional flavor). If you are a vegetarian, be sure to tell them, because they top the pots of with a house broth which isn't vegetarian (they brought a teapot of the veggie stock for my wife). The list of add-ins is extensive. We got an assortment of veg (spinach, bok choy, napa, other greens, lotus root, mushrooms (shitake and enoki), bamboo shoots, frozen bean curd (has a nice spongy texture), shrimp, scallops, clams, squid, octopus (wife eats fish). I also got a spicy beef and another beef with enoki. Last item was a clear noodle. Everything was really good. The kitchen didn't give us everything each time we asked but the servers were good at finishing up the requests when something was missing. My only negative is that when they re-fill the broth, it would be nice if they did so with the broth that you ordered. My Szechuan ended up pretty watered down. Would definetly go back a second time (perhaps as soon as tomorrow!) Cheers!
  11. I've been meaning to try 101 Noodle Express for a while, since it specializes in some of my favorites items in Chinese cuisine - noodles and dumplings. I had passed it over in favor of trying other places because the flagship item, the Shangdong-style beef roll, isn't my favorite. BIG MISTAKE. Turns out I didn't like them as much at other places simply because they weren't as good. Here, they are the highest expression of the snack, consistent and omnipresent at every table for a reason. The crepe-like bing is thin, flaky, and rich, but not oily. The beef is high-quality and sliced uniformly thin. There is just enough cilantro, scallions, and salty-sweet bean sauce to bring balanced flavors and textures. In case you aren't familiar with the beef roll (I think A&J recently put a version on the menu, but I never tasted it there), here's a nice description. The balance and uniform thinness of the layers, as well as tight wrapping, is key. We ate most of our roll at lunch and promptly ordered another to go (they travel really well!). We also got some dan dan noodles, which had a tiny kick but weren't particularly spicy (which we were expecting, since this is decidedly not a Szechuan place) and the hand-torn noodles were pleasingly chewy. We didn't have room for dumplings, but the many plates of pan-fried dumplings we saw scattered about the room were plump and had golden, crunchy-looking bottoms. We were at the Alhambra location, which is a casual strip-mall spot serving budget-friendly, simple, snacky food until late night (1 AM). They have a few other locations in Arcadia, Culver City, and Irvine. I learned one thing about their operations from their website that I find very promising for visiting other locations: 101 Noodle Express boasts a central, factory-like kitchen to secure quality control of its franchises.
  12. Liu Chaosheng - who dat, you might ask. Well, he's the guy who opened Hong Kong Palace and Uncle Liu's Hot Pot, and he's now opened Asian Origin, in the old Panache space on Pinnacle Drive as noted in this McLean Patch article. When I first received a menu, I noted its Sichuan dishes and instantly decided to compare it to HKP (not knowing at the time they're sister restaurants). The beef, tendon, and tripe dish is $9 at HKP and $12 at AO. Spicy wontons are $6 at HKP and $8 at AO. Dan Dan Noodles are $7 at HKP and $8 at AO. So the prices are higher at AO, presumably reflecting a higher rent as well as fancier décor. Now I have to decide whether to drive a little farther to HKP or stay in McLean.
  13. Guess some of you will be headed down my way now. http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2013/02/14/broker-new-fredericksburg-restaurant-likely-to-draw-from-no-va/
  14. I rarely go out for lunch as I'm not a fan of most of the options in the Rio Center (think chain dining). So was surprised to learn that this place opened recently. There are guys in the front pulling noodles - really cool to watch. Have been twice and have tried both thin and knife cut noodles in stir fry. Really good. The bao and dumplings are delicious and fresh. It's fast casual - you order, get a number and they bring your food to you. Very busy at lunch. Glad to have an independent place near my office that I can walk to and enjoy.
  15. Would anyone be interested in meeting up at Xi'an Gourmet in Rockville to explore the menu? http://www.xiangourmetmd.com/menu.aspx I'd prefer a weekend because this is a bit of a drive for me in weeknight traffic, but could maybe do a weeknight if it were a bit on the later side. This coming weekend (March 9-10) is totally open for me, but after that I have a moderate preference for Sunday evenings.
  16. Thought people might be interested to hear about Chef Guo, a new restaurant featuring Chef Guo Wenjun's take on Chinese banquets. This is probably the closest the DC area has had to Chinese fine dining, and I'm interested to see how it fares. The chef serves a selection of two tasting menus, the Banquet of Eternal Bliss Hot Pot ($68 lunch, $98 dinner), and the Banquet of Peace and Prosperity ($158 dinner only), both of which feature 10+ courses in the style of imperial cuisine. Scroll through the website to see the full menus, pictures of the dishes, and a press release detailing the overall concept. So far there hasn't been much buzz about this place outside of the Chinese community, but some friends who have gone reported it to be luxurious, visually and conceptually unique, and a lot of (too much?) food, mostly very good to excellent. There seems to be a mix of traditional cuisine and modern/Western techniques. If I understand correctly, the dinner they attended was a special event combining dishes from both menus, with all of the guests at a shared table and Chef Guo himself coming out between each course to explain the concept behind the dish (in Chinese); it's not clear to me how different the experience will be once the restaurant gets settled in, but from their website it seems like they are definitely interested in catering to non-Chinese clientele as well.
  17. Mama Chang is supposedly a celebration of the culinary contribution of the Chang's female relatives. I think that's all PR b.s. Nevertheless, it's a bright and airy restaurant with the currently popular cement floors. The staff is bilingual and generally young. So how is it they can completely botch a menu description? Cumin duck wings and legs turns out to be wings and feet. Duck feet that's fried is very difficult to eat - the skin is tethered to the bone and hard to gnaw off. If you like chicken feet and you like to work hard for tiny morsels, this might be worth a try. I think the flavor is good but you'll have to eat with your hands and don't mind ending up with a plate of gnawed bones in front you. The Chinese description simply said "parts" so no way to know that you're getting some webby fried feet. Even the wings are scrawny - not much meat at all (certainly not as much as chicken wings). The pan fried fluffy vegetable bao is fine - note there're lots of sesame seeds on the bottom. The filling is mostly leeks and shitake mushroom. You can buy shen jian bao of equal quality in the freezer section of Chinese markets. The pan-fried noodles with vegetables was a let-down for me. They don't use egg noodles like at Cantonese restaurants. The veggies consist of mostly snap peas - something not really used in traditional Chinese cooking and which I don't particularly like. The thick noodles were okay, the saucing nothing special. This restaurant could be good. I just need to order differently next time. If anyone's interested in going as a group - post here or shoot me a message.
  18. From the owners of Northwest in College Park, this place is essentially Cava or Chipotle with awesome tasting Chinese ingredients, made into a "burrito" in a pancake or as a rice bowl. I can't find a website but this Diamondback article describes it pretty well. "College Park's Latest Chinese Restaurant Has Build-Your-Own Meals" by Julia Lerner on dbknews.com My lunchmates and I covered 3 proteins and 6 "side" ingredients, and other than general agreement we would skip the raw garlic next time, all were tasty. I had lamb, spicy sauce, eggplant, and bean sprouts. The lamb here is "lamby" (don't say gamy) much like it is at Northwest; I don't know what cut but it's awesome. They also have a Jones Soda fountain, which I haven't seen before. I don't drink much soda but Green Apple Jones from the tap? Sure.
  19. I just had fresh lily bulb in a dish for the first time and loved it. Does anyone know where to find these locally? Or have any tips on preparing them? And I’d also be very interested to hear if anyone has tried to grow them— I grow a lot of lilies anyway, so I’m wondering if I could grow these and get a twofer of a gorgeous flower plus delicious bulb
  20. I haven't eaten at Peking Duck in ages, but I'll try it again soon, on your recommendation. It's really hard to find good Chinese food in this area, although we have other decent choices for food. The places I've tried in the last year (China Cafe, Top's China, China One, Green Olive, Chef Huang's (decent lunch buffet), & Great Wall (under new management & not as good) are sub optimal.
  21. Update on the Bethesda Fine Dining Location, which reports a May opening (credit--Bethesda Magazine)
  22. Yunnan by Potomac is a new place in northern Old Town (according to google maps, it's outside the actual boundary of Old Town), that opened in early February. I went there a couple weeks ago for lunch and enjoyed it for the most part. They are a Mixian Noodle place from the Yunnan Province. Here's the blurb from their website: MIXIAN: SOUL FOOD Yunnan is a beautiful diverse region in southwest China, offering a variety of unique flavors and textures in its distinctive cuisine – not your typical Chinese food. The soul food of Yunnan is Mixian - delicious rice noodles - which are prepared with braised meats, rich broths and sweet, savory and spicy sauces. Mixian bowls are at the core of our menu and are complimented by a variety of unique small plates. They have (or did) a limited menu at this point with promises for more to come. The menu in the restaurant has more options than the one currently posted online. I ordered Pork Belly Lotus Leaf Bun and the Braised Beef Lu Mixian soup (at least I think that's what I ordered. I just asked what's their best dish/specialty). The pork belly bun was good, but not great. The meat was fine, but the bun tasted like a mass produced Wonder bread version. That may be an unfair assessment, as I'm no expert, but I was underwhelmed by taste/texture of the bun. The soup was good, but again I don't think the broth was as deep and rich as my memories of Daikaya or Momofuku's versions of broth. Like I said before, I'm no expert on this, so maybe my memory of those other soups are better than they actually were?!!? I'd love to do a side by side comparison of all the ramen/mixian broths that's probably impossible. The service was understandably a bit rough as they are brand new. When I sat down I was greeted by a server who came up to my table and said, " ". I said, pardon me, and she said, "Drink?". This time it was an audible question. Barely audible, but audible! I asked what they had and she said, "Soda, water, tea" so I just got water. I saw repeat performances of the super quiet interaction with other guests, and lots of repeat questions. The woman working the register and taking the orders was much more on the ball however. Interestingly, I didn't see a single Asian person working there, but I never saw into the kitchen. Also interesting perhaps was my second "visit" to this place. I happened to park in front the other evening for a class, and a group of 4-5 Asian people were entering and none were speaking English. I took that as a good sign, but it's likely that was their first visit (it took them a few seconds to figure out where it was along the block), so who knows if they'll return? I'll definitely go back when I'm in the neighborhood and I'm happy to have a new cuisine on the scene. Photos of the menu and my dishes below.
  23. 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.
  24. Could it be because it was St. Patrick's Day and the usual customers were out and about with the wearing of the green? I was at dimsum at Tony Cheng's for the first time (not bad by the way) yesterday at 12:30, also pretty empty.
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