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Simul Parikh

Yu Zhou Cafe, (Formerly Fu Shing Cafe) Gaithersburg Square Shopping Center in Gaithersburg

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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.

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Saturday and Sunday mornings, their steam tables are full of small plates... I guess another style of dim sum.  Great selection and dishes are between 2$-6$.  The pork, with peppers and dried bean curd is always great.  The problem is everyone goes down the "cafeteria" line and it can be painfully slow- the hang up is the owner working the register.  He tries (not well) to multi task, lately I just beg him to take my money so I can go eat.

The place used to be Fu-Shing Cafe

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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.

That part at the bottom about translating the menu online and taking it with you is genius. That could work in so many situations. It's funny how we never think of the most obvious things.

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I need a break at work, so I thought I would take a stab at the top. The rest will come another day. Most of these items can be found at other Szechuan cuisines, so if you want to print them out for other restaurants, it should more or less be transferable....

APPETIZERS

 æ¸å·žç…Žé¥¼ï¼ˆ4)Yuzhou Pan-fried pancakes (4)
 çº¢æ²¹æŠ„手(8)Szechuan chili oil wontons (8)
 çº¢æ²¹ç‡ƒé¢         Spicy chili oil noodles
 æ‹…æ‹…é¢             Dan dan noodles
 å±±æ¤’木耳         Chili pepper with wood ear (cold)

 å·åŒ—凉粉         Szechuan Liangfen (Spicy starchy noodles)
 é›ªèœæ¯›è±†         Edemame with pickled cabbage
 å…°èŠ±è±†å¹²         Dried bean curd with spices 
 ç‚–鸡抄手         Chicken wonton soup
 é†‹æºœå°–椒         Fried chili peppers with shredded potatoes
 äºæ‹Œç‰›è‚š         Spicy-rub mix with tripe/cow stomach
 è¿‡æ¡¥ç‰›ç™¾å¶      Garlicky tripe (literally: Crossing bridge tripe)
 ç‡»é±¼                Smoked fish
 ç‡»é¸­                Smoked duck
 é…±é¸­                Sauced duck
 å‡‰æ‹Œæµ·èœ‡çš®      Jelly fish
 éº»è¾£ç‰›ç­‹         Ma-la beef tendon
 é”…贴(8)       Pot stickers (8)
 è½åœ°ä¸é¦™         Spiced anchovies (or little fish)
 éº»è¾£èžºè‚‰         Ma-la conch
 äº”香牛肉         Five-spice Beef
 ä¹¾æ‹Œç‰›è‚‰         Spicy-rub mix beef
 å£æ°´é¸¡            Spicy cold chicken (literal: Mouth-watering chicken)
 å¤«å¦»è‚ºç‰‡         Spicy sliced beef (literal: Husband-Wife Lung Slices)

SOUP

云åžæ±¤             Wonton soup
 é…¸è¾£æ±¤             Hot and sour soup
 ç´ èœæ±¤             Veggie soup
 é¸¡è“‰çŽ‰ç±³æ±¤      Creamed corn and chicken soup
 è èœè±†è…汤(FOR 4)       Tofu and spinach soup (for 4)
 èŸ¹è‚‰é¸¡è“‰çŽ‰ç±³æ±¤ (FOR 4)  Creamed chicken and crab meat soup (for 4)
 æµ·é²œæ±¤ (FOR 4)             Seafood soup (for 4) 
 æµ·é²œé…¸è¾£æ±¤ (FOR 4)        Seafood hot and sour soup (for 4)
 èŸ¹è‚‰èŠ¦ç¬‹æ±¤ (FOR 4)        Crab meat and asparagus soup (for 4)
 è¥¿æ¹–牛肉羹 (FOR 4)      Beef, tofu & mushroom soup (literal: East Lake Beef Soup)
 ç ‚锅什锦         Assortment in Clay Pot  
 ç ‚锅海鲜         Seafood in Clay Pot

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BEEF  

水煮牛          Water-boiled Beef (in chili sauce)
 è¾£æ¤’牛          Spicy Beef
 é“æ¿é»‘椒牛   Sizzling plate Pepper Beef
 ä¸­å¼èŠ¥è“牛   Chinese-style Beef and Broccoli
 è¿žé”…牛肉       Beef sirloin stew (I think. Not quite sure even after search)
 é¦™å¹²*ç‰›è‚‰ä¸   Stir-fry Shredded Beef with Dried Bean Curd 
 æ³¡èœç‰›è‚‰ä¸   Shredded Beef with Pickled Cabbage
 å°–æ¤’ç‰›è‚‰ä¸   Stir-fry Green peppers with Shredded Beef 
 é¦™æ ¹ç‰›è‚‰ä¸   Stir-fry Shredded Beef with Cilantro
 éŸ­é»„ç‰›è‚‰ä¸   Stir-fry Shredded Beef with Yellow Chives

CHICKEN 

中å¼é±¼é¦™é¸¡ä¸   Chinese-style Szechuan Shredded Chicken         
 ä¸­å¼å®«ä¿é¸¡      Chinese-style Kung Pao Chicken
 è¾£æ¤’鸡             Spicy Chicken
 ä¸‰æ¯é¸¡             Three-cup Chicken (aka Chicken with Basil)
 äº”æ›´æˆéƒ½é¸¡      Chengdu Chicken (recipes indicated this dish is spicy and has black bean sauce)
 é¦™å¹²é¸¡ä¸          Stir-fry Shredded Chicken with Dried Bean Curd 
 æ³¡èœé¸¡ä¸          Stir-fry Shredded Chicken with Pickled Cabbage
 é¸¡è™¾é¬†              Minced Chicken and Shrimp
 éŸ­é»„é¸¡ä¸          Stir-fry Shredded Chicken with Yellow Chives

PORK 

å°–æ¤’è‚‰ä¸          Stir-fry Green Peppers with Shredded Pork
 æ‰¬å·žå¹²ä¸          Yangzhou Shredded Pork
 ä¸­å¼é±¼é¦™è‚‰ä¸   Chinese-style Szechuan Pork
 é¦™å¹²è‚‰ä¸          Stir-fry Shredded Pork with Dried Bean Curd
 äº¬é…±è‚‰ä¸          Shredded Pork with Sweet Bean Paste
 æ³¡èœè‚‰ä¸          Shredded Pork with Pickled Cabbage
 ä¸­å¼å›žé”…肉      Chinese-style Double-fried Pork
 èš‚èšä¸Šæ ‘          Vermicelli with minced pork (literal: Ants in a Tree)
 æ— é”¡æŽ’骨          Wuxi Spareribs (Ribs coated with a Chinese-style BBQ sauce)
 ç³–醋排骨          Sweet and Sour Spareribs
 æ¤’ç›æŽ’骨          Salt and Peppered Spareribs
 è¾£æ¤’å°ç‚’          Stir-fry Shredded Pork with Chili Peppers
 ç”Ÿçˆ†ç›ç…Žè‚‰       Sliced Pork fried with chilis
 é¦™æ ¹è‚‰ä¸          Stir-fry Shredded Pork with Vetiver
 æ³¡æ¤’肥肠          Stir-fry intestines 
 ç¬‹å°–红烧肉       Stewed Pork with Bamboo Shoots
 äº”æ›´è‚ æ—º          Spicy and Sour Intestines Casserole
 çº¢çƒ§æŽ’骨豆è…ç…²  Stewed Spareribs and Tofu Casserole
 æ¢…èœæ‰£è‚‰          Pork Belly with Pickled Mustart Greens
 éŸ­é»„è‚‰ä¸          Stir-fry Shredded Pork with Yellow Chives
 éŸ­é»„肉ä¸è…çš®   Stir-fry Shredded Pork with Yellow Chives and Bean Curd Skin

DUCK

乾煸鸭红          Stir-fry Duck with Chilis
 å§œè‘±é¸­çº¢          Stir-fry Duck with Ginger and Scallions
 é“æ¿é¸­æ¡          Sizzling Duck Strips
 æ¨ŸèŒ¶é¸­              Tea-smoked Duck
 éŸ­é»„鸭红          Stir-fry Duck with Yellow Chives

*香干 is è±†è…å¹² is dried bean curd, used in lots of stir-fry dishes.

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This has been my family's go-to Chinese in Gaithersburg since the Fu Shing days. Personally, I think they've gotten a lot better since the change in name and presumably ownership, particularly with their spicy dishes. They kept a lot of the staff and some items on the menu the same, and there's a distinct contrast between the old dishes, which are mostly bland and semi-Americanized, with the newer spicier stuff. I've never been the one to order here so I couldn't tell you the names, but the cold spicy beef tendon, some of the meat dishes sauteed with green chili peppers (and sometimes okra?) and hot pot casseroles are really good, with heat, depth of flavor, and tenderness for the meat. Overall I would say it's an average Chinese place (good relative to the area), with some above average to very good dishes.  

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After JDS, as I was driving towards my destination, I passed Yu Zhou Cafe in a nondescript shopping center. It looked huge and had a bright sign so I thought, what the heck, lets try it.  The menu was mostly standard issue Americanized Chinese and didn't list XLB but had several listings for pork dumplings. I asked the waiter if they had XLB and he pointed me to a choice of 4 or 8 dumplings and I said 8. I also ordered a cold duck in chef's special sauce appetizer which he warned me was cold duck.  

The duck was good. Nicely cooked duck, not smoked, with flavorful and chewy skin but not a lot of fat.  Nice ducky flavor too.  The special sauce was a thick, somewhat sweet soy which I used the duck to wipe up.  Iff to a good start. 

Then the XLB came.  I have nothing good to say about them.  

Probably not going back based on indifferent service, the LB and the generaal fuzzy focus of the menu and the lack of a feeling of what the restaurant specializes in.  The duck was quite good so if someone said let's go, I wouldnt rule it out. But I have other places on my bucket list.  

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I am surprised I have never written about Yu Zhou as it is in my normal rotation (I could have sworn there was already a thread).  I am not a big XLB fan, so I can't comment on that, but if you look through the menu there are authentic Szechuan dishes scattered throughout.  There is also a separate menu with specials and I believe a menu in Chinese (I have asked the owner why they don't have a translation--his response was that most of the items were on the English menu, and the ones that were not, American's wouldn't like (offal type dishes).  Anyway, I have had the three pepper fried chicken with Szechuan peppercorn--very good, the red broth fish filet hot pot, also very good, and an assortment of other dishes.  My wife really likes their seafood chow fun, and the little one likes the beef.  All things considered, there is a lot of choices for good Chinese (and Szechuan in particular) in a close proximity to my house, but once in a while, this place makes the rotation.

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I did not receive the special menu.  I am not a fan of places that keep parts of their menu secret.

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7 hours ago, deangold said:

I did not receive the special menu.  I am not a fan of places that keep parts of their menu secret.

I should have said "Specials Menu".  I agree with secret menus, and yes, there is one in Chinese.

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3 hours ago, DanielK said:

This is where Fu Shing used to be, right?

576 N Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, which is the shopping center with Bed Bath and Beyond in Gaithersburg.  It is on the back side of the mall adjacent to Perry Parkway and the big parking lot at the Montgomery County Fair Grounds.

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I have not tried it on a menu in a restaurant, but I have google translate picture on my phone.  I've used it to translate Korean menus on my computer and it works to a point.  Sometimes a literal translation is more confusing than a help to knowing what the dish is.  

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2 hours ago, deangold said:

Sometimes a literal translation is more confusing than a help to knowing what the dish is.  

Fu Qi Fei Pian (Sichuan Sliced Beef in Chili Sauce, 夫妻肺片) - translates as "husband and wife lung slices".

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13 hours ago, pras said:

I am surprised I have never written about Yu Zhou as it is in my normal rotation (I could have sworn there was already a thread).

There was, and I merged the two. We have some Chinese translation, courtesy of goodeats, but the characters got tainted during a version upgrade - if anyone knows Chinese, and wants to give it another crack, please email it to me, and I'll edit Mary's posts.

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21 hours ago, deangold said:

I did not receive the special menu.  I am not a fan of places that keep parts of their menu secret.

Based upon the translations from above, I think most (if not all) of these items are incorporated in the English menu.  There is a specials menu on a separate card which they usually give us in addition to the main menu.  It has several hot pots, and some other traditional Chinese dishes and I believe rotates with the season.

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7 hours ago, pras said:

Based upon the translations from above, I think most (if not all) of these items are incorporated in the English menu.  There is a specials menu on a separate card which they usually give us in addition to the main menu.  It has several hot pots, and some other traditional Chinese dishes and I believe rotates with the season.

If someone arranged a lunch midweek, i'd be up to try it.  The Chinese menu looks good.  

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7 minutes ago, deangold said:

If someone arranged a lunch midweek, i'd be up to try it.  The Chinese menu looks good.  

I have been there before when the place has been rented out (I think it was around Chinese New Year) and it looked like there was a special menu being served to the banquette.  Based upon the number of Chinese patrons (and what I have tried), I think it is pretty solid.  Unfortunately, I work in Bethesda and lunch midweek is not something I can swing.  Interestingly, down the street in the former Sports Authority building, there is an Asian Supermarket called 99 Ranch (110 Odendhal Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877).  They have a really good food court with a roasted meat stall (duck, chicken, pork, etc.) a Szechuan stall (with dry hot pot), a dim sum stall as well.  It is worth checking out if you are in that neighborhood.

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99 Ranch is big on the LA area and I have seen them somewhere on East Coast in NJ and NY. They were outstanding in the LA area, really the best place to shop. I think they were better than the Super H stores which are my favorite out here.  

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2 hours ago, pras said:

99 Ranch (110 Odendhal Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877).  They have a really good food court with a roasted meat stall (duck, chicken, pork, etc.) a Szechuan stall (with dry hot pot), a dim sum stall as well.  It is worth checking out if you are in that neighborhood.

Thanks for the tip!  I will definitely be there.  We are in the process of looking for a place to move to and we have been thinking Rockville or VA and one of the bid things in VA's favor is the shopping.  This puts points int he MD basket.

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