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Great Wall, a NY Chinese-Asian Supermarket Chain - Steam-Table food in Several Area Locations

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Can't find a topic for Great Wall in Merrifield, VA so starting one now, please merge if there is already one.

I have long been a fan of their steam table food. I am a big fan of steam table food, in general, working class food at working class prices.

The Chinese steam table is at the furthest corner from the entry to the grocery store.

There you will find some of the finest authentic Chinese food in the area at an unbelievably low price, $5.99 for rice, three generous toppings, and soup. One of the best bargains for food in this area.

On the weekends the selection is even better than during the week. I would estimate more than 20 kinds of toppings for the rice.

As I understand it, in China, according to author Fuschia Dunlop, food is "fan" which is rice, and toppings, and meat = pork. When you eat at Great Wall, this appears to be right on the money.

I am a big fan of the vegetables, e.g., bok choy, gai lan, Shanghai cabbage, spicy eggplant, Buddha delight.

They are also generous with servings of ma po tofu, lion head meatballs, and many other things I cannot identify by sight, many containing combinations of chicken, black beans, and pork belly.

My current favorite is tofu skins with pork belly. Savory and satisfying.

The steam table food is served by lovely Chinese maidens who understand finger-pointing quite well, and appreciate and remember a generous (a dollar or two) tip sufficiently to be more generous the next go round. I am usually the only gwailo ordering when I do, and they do seem to remember me. Whether or not they do remember me, they are very nice Chinese maidens, and deserve to be treated well. They work hard.

They also have in that corner various barbecued meats, including whole duck, chicken with head on, and whole pig, all chopped to order. The duck comes with the real duck sauce, with is a broth redolent with spices and heavy on the five spice seasoning. The men who cut up the meat are all Hispanic gentlemen, who also understand finger-pointing quite well. Very interesting to watch the interactions between the different nationalities seeking meat and the Hispanic men chopping it on the humongous chopping boards. This is separate from the steam table food, but the payments are at the same cash register.

Also many kinds of dim sum, although I am not a fan of dim sum, personally, and thus, never order it. Also separate from the steam table food, not sure whether you pay at the same cash register or not.

If you go for lunch during the week, it appears that many of the customers are local Hispanics who appear to be laborers. On the weekend mostly Asians.

Point, receive, pay, and eat. Such is life in the great Melting Pot. Except, of course, that we don't melt.

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Can't find a topic for Great Wall in Merrifield, VA so starting one now, please merge if there is already one.

There isn't one on the current dining steam table establishment. Prior, it was categorized under "Fu Mei", owned by a very sweet Taiwanese couple that was ousted by the supermarket owner(s) [not made up - heard first hand from the owners];otherwise it's under the "Shopping & Cooking" forum.

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Will no one stand up for Uncle Liu's Hotpot, the food courts inside Super H and Great Wall?

Well, I actually won't stand up for the food court inside Great Wall Merrifield. After seeing too many flies buzz around its food without any coverings, I am a bit turned off. Especially since this is seeing flies during a cold spell in this area.

[Arg! I got edited.] :-)

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I've eaten at the Rockville Great Wall since they opened once or twice a month. I have never had a bad meal there, although I wasn't always sure what I was eating.

Where else can you find a tasty, interesting meal for $4.95? That's for an overflowing Styrofoam clamshell with too much rice for the average non Asian and 3 other items from the steam table with a 12oz container of soup. The soup is very brothy (read watery) and is meant as a hot beverage to go with your meal.

Some hints for ordering: I usually ask for no rice or just a small spoon of it. Small is relative. What ever item you pick first will be the largest serving. As with most buffets, the higher priced items (meats and seafoods) are at the end by the register. Walk back and forth to check out the offerings before you get in line. Lunchtime is very crowded but really is the best time to go. That is when items are restocked or replaced at a much faster rate. The steam table definitely does not keep food above 140 degrees, so you want it fresh out of the kitchen if possible. Unless the meat or poultry is a uniform dice, it will be cut up on the bone. It's a good test of chopstick prowess.

If you are sensitive to or just plain don't like spicy foods, be careful and ask. I love hot and spicy foods but was once suprised by a dish I thought was made from bias cut long beans. It wasn't. They were jullienned hot green chilis. That being said, my favorite dishes so far are: Chinese Eggplant, Ma Pao Tofu, any of the Bok Choy dishes (the store probably carries 20 types of bok choy), Chicken with Celery, Fried Shrimp (in the shell), Pork Belly with Seaweed and anything which is predominantly mushrooms.

Seating is limited, especially when the entire produce department takes there lunch break all at once to eat. It is also very cold, plan on wearing a coat while you eat in cool or cold weather. The table condiments are: Soy Sauce, Black Vinegar (a little sweet if you've never had it) and Sriracha Sauce.

The people watching is great, if not as diverse a population as H-Mart.

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Hunter, never been to the Great Wall in Rockville but your description is the same for the one on Gallows Road in Merrifield.  I love the food, it's plentiful, cheap, and lots of variety.  To the left of the steam tables is a bakery, including dim sum.  To the right are roasted meats, duck, pig and chicken.  After you select your meat, big men with big arms holding big cleavers chop it up on big chopping blocks and pack it in aluminum containers.

You can also order individual items in bulk from the steam tables, rather than just the styrofoam clamshell with rice, three items and soup.  Use your hands and point, they pick it up quick.

A lot of Hispanic manual laborers get their lunch there.

I always get mine to go and eat back at the office.

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I love getting lunch here...

Sometimes language leads to pointing and guessing, but its an adventure.  Incredible amount of food for 4.99$  The Germantown location is 5.99, I think their selection/quality is better...soups are also a bit more exciting.

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