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I was surprised this topic didn't exist. I know there has been dim sum discussions and there are those that think DC's Chinatown is sub-par, but hey its ours and its on the metro.

So what are people's favorite places for Chinese in Chinatown and seeing as most of the restaurants have their specialities, what are you favorite dishes?

I'll start with hands down the best cheap, good meal in the city:

Chinatown Express at 6th and H. It is the one with chef stretching fresh noodles in the window. You can't beat fresh chinese noodles in soup or stir-fried with your choice of chicken, beef, or vegetables for $5. And it is a large serving (think pho size soup and a heaping platter of stir fried noodles).

I like the beef soup and the stir-fried chicken the best, but you can't go wrong with those noodles.

They also have $5 leek with pork, vegetable, or shrimp dumplings. I've only had the vegetable ones which are ok.

Another fun note for those like me who love condiments, they have 3 different vinegary sauces of garlic, parsley (i think), and red chili pepper that are all good and of varying levels of heat. Plus the usual Sriracha, soy sauce, etc.

Time to go eat my leftovers for lunch :lol:

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My favorite is New Big Wong on H St. between 6th and 7th. The walls are lined with fish tanks full of interesting things including: live shrimp, mahogany clams, razor clams, dungeness crabs, lobsters, various fish. Their "special fried rice" with shrimp and dried scallops (and no soy sauce) is spectacular and addictive. The menu is on the cheap side, the live things are definitely not.

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My favorite is New Big Wong on H St. between 6th and 7th. The walls are lined with fish tanks full of interesting things including: live shrimp, mahogany clams, razor clams, dungeness crabs, lobsters, various fish. Their "special fried rice" with shrimp and dried scallops (and no soy sauce) is spectacular and addictive. The menu is on the cheap side, the live things are definitely not.

Mark, what other items do you recommend? I stumbled in there intoxicated one night and didn't have a clue what to order. It seemed like a lot of people were ordering from the multi-course menu.

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Mark, what other items do you recommend? I stumbled in there intoxicated one night and didn't have a clue what to order. It seemed like a lot of people were ordering from the multi-course menu.

We never look at the menu, only the tanks. The waitress, Kim, is always very helpful suggesting things.

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FYI, it's cilantro in jars of yummy goodness at Chinatown Express. No parsley. It's a typical Chinese condiment - cilantro, scallion, ginger and garlic oil (or variations on the theme) - to eat with your BBQ or steamed chicken.

Speaking of goodness- who here has had the pickled garlic and reaked for days afterwards? I did, I did! Oh man, that's some good stuff.

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While also not technically Chinese, Kanalaya (Thai) does a pretty good job. I am a big fan of their Ka Pow Beef. They also deliver within a certain area and their decor is a little more spruced up than many of the places you see in Chinatown (so generally ok for business/dates/etc).

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This year, my Dad was in China on Father's Day. Always the good daughter, I called him up my Saturday night, his Sunday morning, to wish him a happy Father's Day. When we hung up, he was on his way to breakfast, I'm sure to enjoy congee and that sticky rice and pork dish that comes wrapped in some sort of leaf. (At least, those are always my breakfast favorites, and I'm assuming like daughter, like father!) And I was left craving those dishes.

So this week, my mission was to find them. And it was half-accomplished yesterday. I had the congee with minced beef at Full Kee and, although it didn't quite live up to my memories of the dish (Dad says add a dash of chili or brown vinegar), it certainly satisfied the craving. (I also had the soup with shrimp dumplings, which I can never pass up there...)

But, I'm still drawing a blank on my other favorite. Anyone know where I can find that sticky rice and pork wrapped in a (lotus?) leaf? Or, what it's called?? :unsure:

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When we ahve theater or opera ticklets, we have been going to China Town Express. Our order usually consists of 2 or 3 dishes from among the following:

Steamed Pork Buns (Shanghai soup dumplings)

BBQ Platter

Pea Greens with garlic

Hand Pulled noodles with seafood in soup.

Dinner with two beers never tope $35.00. The BBQ is very meaty and earthy, less sweet than many. The Roast Pork is incredible but rich. The soup buns are not up to NYC standards (Yeah Shanghai Deluxe is my standard) but they are very good when fully cooked. Some times the dough is a ittle undercooked. We keep meaning to try the eggplant casserole and the home style pork but never have. Its a down home experience and we can be in and out (and stuffed) in 45 minutes.

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the sticky rice wrapped in a leaf is called zhongzhi and can often be found at chinese grocery stores. you're talking about the kinda that's tied up with string and usually triangular in shape right?

something close but not quite the same is the sticky rice in lotus leaf that is served at most dim sum places. the rice is not packed in as tightly but the flavor should be similar. good luck with your search.

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the sticky rice wrapped in a leaf is called zhongzhi and can often be found at chinese grocery stores. you're talking about the kinda that's tied up with string and usually triangular in shape right?

something close but not quite the same is the sticky rice in lotus leaf that is served at most dim sum places. the rice is not packed in as tightly but the flavor should be similar. good luck with your search.

Kam Fong has it on their dim sum menu. (Eight Treasure Sweet Rice in Lotus Leaf) Can't vouch for it though. Tony Cheng's (upstairs) also has it among their dim sum weekend offerings (Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf).

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There are a few different types, depending on the region - the Cantonese ones served at dim sum tend to be squarish and have, as mentioned, sometimes up to 8 items (pork, chicken, chinese sausage, mushroom, dried shrimp, egg yolk, boiled peanuts, urghh; i'm can't remember the last one). Taiwanese ones are triangular and tend to have fewer things... just pork, shitake mushrooms, and maybe peanuts.

Kam San in Rockville and Annandale have different types for sale... including these and others. There are also sweet ones filled with red beans.

(side note: i had completely forgotten about this eG thread on Chinese recipe pictorials)

I like Full Kee for the noodle soups. I think I need to give Chinatown Express another chance... I went there a few years ago, was disappointed (the shanghai soup dumplings all broke and retained none of the juice) and never went back. Eat First used to be good... but is more hit or miss now. Chinatown Garden - not so good. Tony Cheng's is usually reliable... but always seems overpriced compared to the competition.

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Chinatown in DC... it is empty, 5 or 6 chinese restaurants and a small supermarket. Too sad. :unsure:
Sadly, what used to be the best food in Chinatown was Pho at Jacks. I don't think Jack is there anymore (last time I was in, someone had broken into his car for about the 10th time and he was totally discouraged) but the 5 table restaurant and the home-style Vietnamese food remain in memory.
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Eat First used to be good... but is more hit or miss now.
Eat First was never the same after they moved. Honestly, there is much more variety and better cooking in the suburbs these days. Maybe they could move the H St. arch to Rockville. :unsure:
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But, I'm still drawing a blank on my other favorite. Anyone know where I can find that sticky rice and pork wrapped in a (lotus?) leaf? Or, what it's called?? :unsure:
Mark's Duck House, Fortune, and New Fortune all definitely have sticky rice in lotus leaf. Being a round-eye, I've learned that you have to ask for sticky rice when the steam cart rolls around; for whatever reason the sticky rice is one of the dishes that the servers won't show you as they try to convince you to eat the entire contents of the steam cart. The same holds true for ginger and scallion steamed tripe, chicken feet, and duck web, though if you ask for the tripe, you may be shown all the other goodies.
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Chinatown...Chinatown....sad sad Chinatown. There are a few places worth eating. I like Kam Fong (next to the CVS) for its crispy pig and dim sum at all hours (good black bean spare ribs and good steam buns). I like Chinatown Express for the fresh noodles, esp with roast duck, and the soup dumplings. I like Full Kee for the Stirfried Chives, the soups, esp the tripe and hong kong shrimp dumpling, but then again the Full Kee in falls Church is closer to my house. I absolutely adore the crispy pork chop at New Big Wong. I also like the razor clams with chilies, ground pork and crisp garlic, this is a special and is similar to the Minila clams, Causway style at Marks. The sad reality is that most of us could name four restaurants in other areas that are Asian that we'd rather eat at anyday of the week for every one in Chinatown. :unsure:

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I ate dinner at Full Kee in Chinatown last Sunday. Was tipped off to try the hong kong style shrimp dumpling soup. Delicious! Eight giant shrimp dumplings in my serving. For my main entree I had the baby clams in black bean sauce which was enjoyable as well. Very generous serving. Staff was friendly and efficient.

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So where is the best Chinese in DC? I am new to the area and want to go to a Chinatown restaurant to celebrate Chinese New Year.

What, no one's stepped up to provide the requisite punch line yet?

Hi, packy907, welcome to DC and dr.com. The best Chinese in DC is in Rockville. Maryland.

Sorry that's not the answer you wanted. It's a hard question to answer because few people seem to actually eat Chinese in DC. It's kind of like asking "which is best, gastric lavage, upper endoscopy, or colonoscopy?"

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Although, to be fair, I've always enjoyed Full Key. And it's divey-enough looking that it might not be as overwhelmed with diners as the cleaner-looking spots.

Packy907: excluding the few folks at the Wah-Luck retirement home, there probably aren't 200 people of Chinese descent actually living in that neighborhood anymore. When the grocery store closed (not the really cool one where you could undoubtedly get rhino horn and tiger penis if you spoke Mandarin, which is now a Starbucks, but the big one) the whole charade finally collapsed. I was ranting the other day to my family as we drove through that they ought to take the Chinese street signs down and stop pretending.

Nonetheless -- despite the Sino-suburban diaspora -- it does remain the southern terminus of the legendary Chinatown Bus; I guess that must count for something.

PS: Avoid the place where they make noodles in the front window at all costs.

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To elaborate a little bit on what porcupine said - DC has a Chinatown, but it's not very Chinese anymore. The Chinese businesses moved to Rockville and Gaithersburg.

Anyway, New Fortune in Gaithersburg always goes all out for Chinese New Year. As long as you're in that area, drop by Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg for their annual celebration which runs through next Sunday (2/1/09).

And I vote for upper endoscopy.

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I agree the Chinese in Chinatown, is not so hot. But there is still good Chinese in DC. I think Sichuan Pavilion on K st and 18th is pretty good Chinese food downtown and they do offer a good selection of authentic dishes and Americanized dishes. Last time I went and ordered medium to little spice on the Ma Po Tofu and it was flaming hot. Mr. Chen's in Woodley Park is also good for freshness - but it flavors are a bit bland even for Americanized tastes - still good though (mostly it is carryout). Also, Spices in Cleveland Park - better known as a sushi / Pan Asian place, has an also Peking Duck. So there are some options if you don't want to trek out to the burbs.

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Hold on now. Chinatown isn't much nowadays, but Full Kee, at least, is really good, or was the last time I visited. The oyster and scallion casserole might well be the finest dish to be had in all of Washington. The memory of it brings tears to my eyes. Imagine the plumpest, most succulent oysters in the world, and now imagine them all crisp around all of their edges, and now imagine them tossed with scallions and napped with a tasty sauce, and now imagine scarfing them up. Go on, imagine! Now go to H Street and do it!

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Hold on now. Chinatown isn't much nowadays, but Full Kee, at least, is really good, or was the last time I visited. The oyster and scallion casserole might well be the finest dish to be had in all of Washington. The memory of it brings tears to my eyes. Imagine the plumpest, most succulent oysters in the world, and now imagine them all crisp around all of their edges, and now imagine them tossed with scallions and napped with a tasty sauce, and now imagine scarfing them up. Go on, imagine! Now go to H Street and do it!

I agree. I also love the shrimp dumpling soup without noodles, and the dry-fried shrimp with salt and pepper. And the pea shoots, and leek flowers, and clams in black bean sauce. I went there with a group once; we ordered everything on the "special" menu--duck tongues, duck blood, pork intestine, etc. Notice, however, that I haven't included any of those items on my list of favorites. But there is the possibility of VERY authentic Chinese food at Full Kee.

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Now that the Chinatown Verizon Center Vapiano has encroached upon the hinterlandic region heretofore known as E.O.E. (East Of the Escalator), can there be any doubt that the Chinese independents on H Street will either fall like Domino's (well, maybe not the best term), or be pushed off towards the interstate?

(I also note three Thai restaurants within a block of 6th and H Streets - Kanlaya, and two newcomers: Royal Thai (next door to Momiji), and Absolute Thai (in the old Lee Loo Lounge space)).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Chains with deep pockets have failed over there too (Coyote Ugly, anyone?) At the end of the day , its supply and demand and how you are able to deliver... Had a group of kids from GW interview me over the weekend about business in the neighborhood. Was the neighborhood staying true to its ethnic roots? Great question. I was left thinking... what would the neighborhood be without Abe Pollin's vision? Haven't had a real conversation with a longterm resident of the neighborhood, but it would be an interesting sociological study

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