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Dumpling Queen ( 麗麗的餃子) - Chinese on Metrotech Drive in Chantilly, From the Owners of China Bistro


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I'm not much of a writer - and Tyler Cowen has already briefly covered this place - but I would urge everyone to visit Dumpling Queen and order the xinjiang ribs from the chef's specialty portion of the menu here. These pork ribs have presumably been cooked twice or even thrice! They have a crunchy, fair-food, fried exterior and are completely SAUCELESS! What makes them so delectable? The addictive spice blind that adorns the aforementioned ribs. I am not exactly sure what is in it, but I could detect sesame seeds, fried shallots, fried garlic, and peanuts. I ate an entire order by myself! 

I'll probably return and do a little further exploring next time I am in the area.

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I'm not much of a writer - and Tyler Cowen has already briefly covered this place - but I would urge everyone to visit Dumpling Queen and order the xinjiang ribs from the chef's specialty portion of the menu here. These pork ribs have presumably been cooked twice or even thrice! They have a crunchy, fair-food, fried exterior and are completely SAUCELESS! What makes them so delectable? The addictive spice blind that adorns the aforementioned ribs. I am not exactly sure what is in it, but I could detect sesame seeds, fried shallots, fried garlic, and peanuts. I ate an entire order by myself!

I'll probably return and do a little further exploring next time I am in the area.

Where's Al Yankovic when you need him?

---

ETA - Harumph, Todd beat me to it.

Question: Did this place just open this autumn? Because sometime around August or September, in a strip mall behind Taste @ Hong Kong, there was an "Opening Soon" sign with a very homey Chinese look to it that I've been meaning to check out (that whole area on Metrotech Drive is all just one big blob of strip mall, but the place I'm thinking of is a block further back off of Route 50, and you can actually get there from Taste @ Hong Kong without going back out onto Metrotech Drive). I've actually been spending a fair amount of time in Chantilly, so I can get to this place very soon.

[Also, if anyone knows the Mandarin characters, they would be much appreciated for the title.]

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This is very funny. I was searching the site for this restaurant this morning, and then procrastinated writing anything until later when I couldn't find it. I'll second this recommendation. We are basically never in this area, but were on Saturday evening. The ribs were awesome, and I also really enjoyed the chilled noodles and the dumplings (we felt like we had to order dumplings given the name). I'd happily return if I were nearby. It's good and inexpensive. 

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Also funny. We were at Babies R' Us next door and I picked up the take out menu the Sunday before last. It was just two sheets of paper stapled together! Since we were in a hurry didn't get anything but glad to hear the positive experiences. Will give it a try in the future. 

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I'm not much of a writer - and Tyler Cowen has already briefly covered this place - but I would urge everyone to visit Dumpling Queen and order the xinjiang ribs from the chef's specialty portion of the menu here. These pork ribs have presumably been cooked twice or even thrice! They have a crunchy, fair-food, fried exterior and are completely SAUCELESS! What makes them so delectable? The addictive spice blind that adorns the aforementioned ribs. I am not exactly sure what is in it, but I could detect sesame seeds, fried shallots, fried garlic, and peanuts. I ate an entire order by myself!

I knew when I read about these ribs I had to try them, and I've found the perfect complement for them, too: Under the "Snack and Appetizer" section of the menu, the Chinese Scallion Pancake ($4.95) is a great foil, although I'm not going to sit here and tell you this is health food. The pancake comes out cut like a pizza - it's flat, dense, full of scallions, layered, and cooked just right - since this will probably be the first thing brought out, it will be difficult to limit yourself to one wedge. I did it, but I was also forcing myself to concentrate on my complimentary pot of green tea.

And with the ribs, it's like having a Chinese barbecued pork sandwich. The Xinjiang Style Pork Ribs ($14.95) are instantly vaulted into one of DC's classic Chinese dishes, right alongside Peter Chang's Bamboo Fish or Fried Eggplant - the ribs are at that level. They're covered, but not with a sauce; more of a chopped hash that you can actually pick up and take a bite of (I also got a touch of peanut in this, so mind your allergies). These ribs were just about perfect, very lightly battered (really, dusted) and I assume flash-fried - this was one of the best dishes I've had in quite awhile, and my next dish complemented them well also.

Peking Cha Jiang Noodle ($8.95) is a medium-large bowl of thick, homemade noodles, flanked on one side by long-cut cucumber, and on the other by scallion, and then topped in the middle with some sort of black-bean paste that makes this dish recall the classic Korean dish, Jjajangmyun, except that it's served at room temperature - it may contain a tiny amount of shredded pork, but I couldn't even tell for sure. It was wonderful, it was inexpensive, and if you like Jjajangmyun, you'll like this.

Wanting to try some more of the menu, but not even able to finish what I'd ordered, I took the rest home, and ordered a couple other dishes I figured would keep for later. Like the ribs, these were also from the "Chef Specials" section of the menu. The dishes, individually, were so extreme that they didn't work well alone, but when had in tandem, they cancelled each other out, and made for some good eating.

Thai Mango Chicken ($12.95) was the most "American" dish of all, although it still wasn't Americanized; it was just sweet - very sweet. Long strips of chicken, red and green pepper, and a sauce that was full of - I assume - mango, but there was a distinct pineapple component as well. By itself, this was almost as sweet (not confectionary, but sweet) as a dessert; however, when it was had alongside the North China Fish with Sour Cabbage Soup ($16.95), everything changed, because the overwhelming component in this soup was vinegar.

If $16.95 sounds like a lot of money for soup, consider that it came in, not one, but two quart containers - yes, I had a half-gallon of this soup, and I hate wasting food. I was eating it for a day-and-a-half. By itself, it was bordering on being overwhelming - you can picture it very easily: a thin, hot broth based on vinegar and water, strips of generic white "scrod" (for all you Bostonians), and large pieces of cut cabbage - yes, this dish was damned near Irish.

The weird thing is this: Instead of neutralizing each other, when you alternated bites of the Thai Mango Chicken and the Sour Cabbage Soup, things changed, but not in the way you'd expect:

* The Thai Mango Chicken still tasted just as sweet, but the sweetness no longer bothered you.

* The Sour Cabbage Soup, however, gave off the perception of being much less vinegary and much more neutral - you could taste fish in the broth instead of just vinegar.

I'm not sure how far out this menu goes, but it's a multi-dimensional figure, and I went out to several of the borders in Extreme-Land. It's a been a good, long time since I've had food that was this different within the same restaurant. The important thing is that Dumpling Queen has some terrific things on its menu. As "interesting" as my carryout items were, the first three things I ordered were good enough for DC residents to be renting ZIp Cars to head out to Chantilly. Along with Taste @ Hong Kong, there are two very good, even excellent, Chinese restaurants in the same general shopping area (there's a Lotte nearby as well). This region has been chasing down Annandale and Ellicott City in terms of Korean restaurants for awhile; now, Rockville and Gaithersburg need to be looking over their shoulders for Chinese competition. These restaurants are both in Italic, and along with Khan Kabob House, are ranked in the top 3 in Chantilly (it's senseless to try to compare these two with Khan - just pick the cuisine you're in the mood for, and go with it). For years, places like Thai Basil led the pack (I still think Nongkran Daks has made me the best Pad Thai I've ever eaten), but the stakes of the game are in the process of being raised.

10 1/2 years ago, I wrote Desperately Seeking Strip Malls. The more things change, the more they stay the same - think about where you'd find these ribs in DC proper. You'd go to some gussied-up restaurant and pay $50 for what would amount to a photocopy of the real thing.

If someone can write the Chinese characters for me, I'll put them in the title. Note: These three pages are not the whole menu; just the items I ordered - iPhone camera technology has made it *so much easier* being a restaurant critic instead of having to purloin menus or frantically try to scratch down some notes (Sietsema and Kliman are nodding their heads right now).

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OK, I plan to take the family to Dumpling Queen over the break. We have been encouraged by the new crop of Chinese places opening out this way. Taste @ Hong Kong has been most dependable so far. 100 Degree Chinese started well, then faded (and apparently is under new ownership), while 88 China was not good enough on visit 1 to merit visit 2.

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Peking Cha Jiang Noodle ($8.95) is a medium-large bowl of thick, homemade noodles, flanked on one side by long-cut cucumber, and on the other by scallion, and then topped in the middle with some sort of black-bean paste that makes this dish recall the classic Korean dish, Jjajangmyun, except that it's served at room temperature - it may contain a tiny amount of shredded pork, but I couldn't even tell for sure. It was wonderful, it was inexpensive, and if you like Jjajangmyun, you'll like this.

That is not a classic Korean dish.  That is a classic Chinese dish that the Koreans are particularly fond of.

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That is not a classic Korean dish.  That is a classic Chinese dish that the Koreans are particularly fond of.

Yes, I should have said Korean-Chinese. Anyway, Choong Hwa Won and Jang Won Ban Jeom are two places in Annandale that serve it (the former has been around forever) - there's also Da Rae Won in Beltsville and Tian in Ellicott City.

I assume the "Cha Jiang" in the name is the same as "Jjajang."

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Here are the characters: 丽丽水饺. They mean Lili's Dumplings. (Lili appears to be someone's name.)

Also, there's a reference to Mandarin characters above. To my knowledge, all Chinese dialects use one of two sets of characters, traditional and simplified. All Chinese speakers used traditional characters until the Communists came to power in China and created simplified versions of the characters so they would be easier for the proletariat to learn and use. So now Mainland China uses simplified characters and Taiwan and other places still use traditional characters. I'm not sure what Hong Kong does at this point. The characters on the restaurant's sign and in this post are simplified characters, but they could represent any dialect.

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I picked up takeout from Dump Queen last night. The entire family was quite happy. We got:

Scallion pancake: Surely much better if you dine in, but still good.

Chive pocket: This was a last-second choice and it was a great one. The pockets are substantial half-moons, stuffed with chives, bean thread, and egg. A Must Order!

Lily's Special Dumplings: We got them pan-fried. Solid. Fun to watch the dumps get made.

Shanghai rice cakes: I'm a sucker for the hard-to-find oval rice cakes and these are excellent. Sauteed with chicken and some cabbage (I think) in a light brown sauce. Nicely chewy.

Snow pea tips: From the specials board, recommended to me instead of a veggie dish on the menu. Excellent. Along the lines of spinach.

Xinjiang ribs: Wow -- these bad boys are going to become a cult favorite. Mrs. W identified the coating as Five-Spice, which she uses in cooking. Redolent of cumin and other delights. They are crunchy and wonderful.

All hail the Dump Queen!

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Shanghai rice cakes: I'm a sucker for the hard-to-find oval rice cakes and these are excellent. Sauteed with chicken and some cabbage (I think) in a light brown sauce. Nicely chewy.

Yes, usually napa cabbage is used in Shanghai Rice Cakes. Traditionally made with pork, though.

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Tried this out on our staycation after Christmas out at Dulles/Udvar Hazy. Basically got three orders of the dumplings, seafood and Lilly's steamed and pan fried pork. Also got an order of snow pea shoots which were perfect and a nice quantity. All the dumplings were very good and each one different enough to make for a diverse and interesting meal of just dumplings. If we lived closer, we would probably make this a regular part of our dining. Kids loved it too.

Also was empty when we arrived around 5:30 but full by the time we left around 6:45.

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What a perfect location to make sure we don't arrive hungry on our forays into Lotte!  We tried the pork dumplings (the Lilli's dumplings sounded great but I have developed a shrimp allergy), cucumber salad, spicy wontons, and spicy cold noodles.

The pork dumplings are 12 to a serving; they really ought to consider offering half-servings.  We opted for steamed rather than pan-fried.  Skins are relatively thick but the insides have been lightened up with some napa and ginger. The consistency and flavor of the filling was excellent.  The spicy wontons could have benefited from a sauce that was more mixed before it went onto them; as it was I think there was a little hoy sin that felt a bit gloppy.  We will toss them around more when we get them on a future visit.  The cucumber salad is a generous portion.  We were expecting chile oil dressing but these were very similar to the "smashed cucumber salad" recipe that was all the rage this summer. The dish was refreshing if a bit saltier than we would have liked.  The spicy cold noodles are about 2/3 noodles and 1/3 lightly steamed bean sprouts.  It's fine but not at the level of depth we would get at Hong Kong Palace.

We are looking forward to future visits.

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I agree with the above post.  The spicy wontons were gloppy.  I also had the Lili's dumplings pan fried which were quite good.  Service was a little slow.   Worth a repeat visit.

If you go here be sure to stop a few doors down at Cafein which serves the best coffee on this side of the county (IMO)

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Echoing the statements about the Xinjiang Style Pork Ribs, though I did notice they have gone up in price by $2, still highly worth the $17. I don't think I've ever had a dish like it. The coating is a thin dusting of corn starch. The ribs are precooked (steamed) and most likely marinated. The crunchy hash that is scattered over the 8 ribs is a mix of carrots, green onion, scallions, crushed peanuts, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin and I think some red onion. 

They do not have a large wait staff, so if the place is busy, expect slower service.

The scallion pancakes are very good. Best eaten right after they have been served, as they are warm, slightly crunch, but with a good flaky texture inside, which means they are rolling the pancakes correctly, a technique that involves rolling the pancakes into pinwheels and then flattening them out.

While the menu doesn't clearly state this, nor did I see them making the noodles, the server said their noodles in their hot soups are hand pulled. I ordered the beef noodle soup, and the broth is a hearty brew. Not overly salty, a good balance and nice on a cold day. The amount of noodles they give you is beyond what any normal human could eat. I could barely eat half of the noodles, but I must admit to eating half of the scallion pancakes, so that probably had something to do with it :) The beef were slices of beef, most likely cuts from top blade steak. You could see the connective tissue that runs down the middle of the meat. But it has been stewed for a while so it is not chewy at all.

This monstrous bowl of soup was priced at $9.

So go ahead and take a chance on Dumpling Queen, it won't require a lot of Money, Money, Money, and some guy named Fernando recommended it over Mamma Mia.

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After the home show at the Dulles Expo Center this past weekend, my husband and I stopped by Dumpling Queen for a late lunch.  Here's what we ordered:

Lili's steamed dumplings - very good.  I've read that the skins were thick, but I felt they were thinner than other dumplings we've had from places in Fairfax.  I really enjoyed them. Generously filled with pork, shrimp, napa, and chives.

Snow Pea Tips - excellent.  It was on the specials board at the door.  Similar to sauteed spinach and garlic, but with a milder flavor.  

Crispy and Spicy Chicken (from the Authentic Chinese section, or something like that) - okay.  We were looking for something spicy and the waitress recommended this item.  This reminded me of the Szechuan Chili Chicken that Peter Chang made in his China Star/TemptAsian/China Boy days.  Chunks of fried chicken with lots of chili peppers.  It was salty and spicy at the same time.

We'll be back for the ribs next time.

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Went with my Mom and friend after a long day at the DC Big Flea.  We got the Xinjiang pork ribs, wontons in chili oil, cucumbers with garlic, scallion pocket, lili's special dumplings and chicken and zucchini dumplings.  It was a lot of food, we ate an embarrassing amount of it.  The cucumbers were great, you could ward off a vampire there was so much garlic, but it was good stuff.  The dumplings were good, we got them steamed, we probably didn't need both varieties and they were the same style dumpling wrapper with just different fillings.  But the filings were both good.   We all thought the scallion pocket was notably good.  It has really good flavor to it, and more flavor than I have found in most.  The pork ribs were really good, the crumble topping- five spice, seasame seed, scallion, spring onion was awesome, my Mom who doesn't even like onion, was scooping it up with her chopsticks.  The wontons had a nice spice to them, but weren't as good as A&J ones, but they were still fine, but they could have been the thing we didn't order.  Anyway, all that food for $55 was a great deal and we all had a great time.  

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I took my daughter to DQ Friday night. I've picked up carry-out there a few times but haven't dined in before. She didn't like the scallion pancake, so I was forced to eat the entire delicious thing. We also had the veggie/mushroom dumplings, along with my favorite combo so far-- pork and onion. There must be a dumpling pro training an apprentice in the kitchen. The veggie ones were perfectly formed with the nice wavy "pinch", but the pork dumplings were amorphous though still delectable. 

My offspring can be a terribly picky eater. She didn't eat much, so no Milwaukee Custard for her! Chaos ensued, but I held my ground.

I've only had the ribs once and I wasn't that impressed. The ribs themselves were very meaty and nicely cooked, but the spice mixture had a weird powdery texture which put me off.

The dan-dan noodles here are a great cheap dinner (about $7?) so I find myself swinging by frequently.

My main complaint is with the brusque service. Jeez, lighten up will ya?

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Had lunch out in the sticks here yesterday and enjoyed it: Lilly's dumpling selection was tasty, soup was indeed hot & sour, and several lunch dishes were fine (not exceptiinal) plus I thought the prices were reasonable and the service was solicitious.

What I was impressed with was the staff's eagerness to please and friendly manner.  Not worth going out of your way for but if you are in the area, consider it.  Hard to find since the website indicates its near the Lowe's (yup) and across from Wendy's which is closed.

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On 2/4/2016 at 2:29 PM, lonewolfcub said:

Echoing the statements about the Xinjiang Style Pork Ribs, though I did notice they have gone up in price by $2, still highly worth the $17. I don't think I've ever had a dish like it. The coating is a thin dusting of corn starch. The ribs are precooked (steamed) and most likely marinated. The crunchy hash that is scattered over the 8 ribs is a mix of carrots, green onion, scallions, crushed peanuts, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin and I think some red onion.

Interestingly, the ribs are now down to $16 though I have no idea if the portion size is smaller than before.  Either way, still as great as everyone says.

The dan dan noodles had bean sprouts, a somewhat unpleasant surprise.  However non-traditional, I enjoy A&J's spicy peanut sauce version better.

Dumplings were fine.  Tasty filling.  I think China Bistro's are better overall.  Skin is less doughy and heavy there.

P.S.  I found the staff quite friendly and responsive.

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6 hours ago, Al Dente said:

Went back for carryout last night. I ordered the ribs again and liked them way more than I did last time. Am I a bad person for eating the entire thing?

You're a bad person for not getting a second order.

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Landing at Dulles and have to go to Tyson’s to buy wedding bands (GD you, wedding-industrial complex).

Anywhere near Dulles or Tyson’s or between that id typically not get to go to that you’d recommend this afternoon? Asian always preferred :) 

I've always wanted to try this place, and it's where I would go in your situation

 

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That's what we did!!

Thank you... ribs are phenomenal. Dumplings solid, but a little doughy. Filling was great (in case you're wondering, rubric for dumplings - taste/texture of skin, taste of filling, and aesthetics). I'm not sure why I got the spicy wontons with all the bad reviews, because they weren't great. Noodle soup with hand made noodles were awesome. Snow pea shoots were awesome. Cold spicy pork shoulder was awesome (though, it did not taste like shoulder to me). This place is a winner!

And let me tell you about customer service ... I am sure this is not a place that is crushing it like Zaytinya, but she noted we just had a few of the spicy wontons. We didn't say a word about it, and every time she came by we told her everything was delicious (which it all really was). When we got the bill, she had taken it off the menu. "Why?" "You didn't like it, I take it off bill." Perceptive and proactive. We made up for it with the tip. 

This place is fantastic. I want to try a few more things, but if we are in the area, I'd love to get those ribs. I hope they taste okay today at lunch. 

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23 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Landing at Dulles and have to go to Tyson’s to buy wedding bands (GD you, wedding-industrial complex).

Anywhere near Dulles or Tyson’s or between that id typically not get to go to that you’d recommend this afternoon? Asian always preferred :) 

Mazel Tov! I'm glad the Dumpling Queen worked out for you -- we haven't been in a while so glad to hear it's holding up well. Not a place I'd think of as 'between Dulles and Tysons" -- I'd think Reston for that, so good job by weezy to suggest it.

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This place is fantastic. I want to try a few more things, but if we are in the area, I'd love to get those ribs. I hope they taste okay today at lunch. 

The ribs don't hold up next day in microwave (all we have at work). Probably oven for best results. Dumplings weren't happy after nuking, either. 

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