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More Authentic Chinese in Northern Virginia?

  • k

So far, I've been to three Chinese restaurants in Northern Virginia that I would deem reasonably authentic (two were recommended by contributors here - thank you):

China Star -- I will not add to the heaps of good comments you can find here

Peking Village -- If you didn't speak any Chinese I think this could be frustrating but the recommendation here was a good one

Oriental Gourmet in Arlington -- Good only if you order off the "Chinese menu," which is something of a misnomer since it is in both Chinese and English. The regular menu has some good things but many vile ones.

I'll also give an asterisk to A&J in Annandale, which I suppose is authentic though I did not find it very good (noodles indeed handmade but thick and rubbery -- maybe it's a regional variation?).

My question: are there any other authentic places like the ones above in Northern Virginia and yes I know I really should drive to Maryland but I am very lazy.

Thanks all.

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  1. Dragon Star, in the Eden Mall. IMHO, they have NVa's best dim sum. They're good for meals also. Salt & pepper tofu appetizer, Hong Kong style chicken, and any green vegetables are all good ideas.


    1. I'm no authenticity authority, but I was pretty impressed with the dim sum and other offerings at Mark's Duck House.

      1. Miu Kee on Arlington Blvd just east of Annandale Rd., in the same little strip with the IHOP. Cantonese cuisine. Wonderful food, if you stay away from the Americanized stuff, such as anything with "Szechuan" or "Hunan" in the name. The good stuff and the bad stuff are all on the same long menu, but it's easy enough to tell which is which.

        15 Replies
        1. re: Herschel

          Hunan and Szechuan are thrown around quite a bit, but for all of it's good points, Cantonese style is also commonly adapted for American tastes. I also find it to be the most bland....with the exception of straight Cantonese chili sauce.

          1. re: microwave15

            Cantonese style cuisine is indeed often adapted for American tastes; until about thirty years ago, Americanized Cantonese was about all you could get in the US outside of some major Chinatowns--moo goo gai pan, sweet-and-sour pork, chow mein, fried rice, egg rolls, and so forth. Miu Kee, on the other hand, along with, among others in NoVa, Mark's Duck House, serve Cantonese-style Cantonese cuisine, which is why both restaurants are typically filled with Chinese diners.

            Like many good Cantonese restaurants, they put Americanized Szechuan/Hunan dishes on the menu for their American customers who don't know any better.

            1. re: Herschel

              Moo goo gai pan, sweet-and-sour pork, chow mein, fried rice, egg rolls, and so forth are just dishes invented in San Francisco...not long after chop-suey

              Mark's duckhouse is definitely Canonese, but even that brand of cantonese have been floating around in the US for the last thirty years. I used to love it whenever my family went to Chicago's Chinatown in the 80s....Three Happiness was great. Going to Mark's duck house takes me way back to those days....it's like comfort food.

              Here's my take on what chop-suey joints label as Hunan: Hot & Spicy with some sweetening. Szechuan just lacks the sugar.

              I don't rely on cuisine labels anymore....It's all about trial and error. Of course some places are obviously to be avoided....like the place in Dupont near City Lights...yikes!

              1. re: tedders

                Some board favorites are Joes' Noodle House in Rockville for Sichuan and Bob's Noodles 66 also in Rockville for Taiwanese. Have you tried these?

                1. re: tedders

                  Another revival of an old thread. This is two in as many days.

                  In addition to the restaurants mentioned by Steve, there are many others you could consider. This would include Sichuan Village near Dulles Airport, Charlie Chaing near Van Dorn in Alexandria (only that Charlie Chaing, no others), China Canteen in Rockville, and Mama Wok and Human Palace more upcounty in Montgomery County, just to name a few--I know Steve doesn't agree with all these recommendations, but I say they are worth a shot by someone who knows how to order. Also perhaps Hong Kong Palace at 7 Corners which according to a post just 20 min. ago has now gone Sichuan????

                  Why is the Annendale A&J different from the Rockville location? I thought they were more-or-less equal outposts of the same (Taiwanese??) chain?

                  The comparison of DC with metro areas of 4 to 8 million is entirely appropriate. Most folks don't seem to realize that the population of DC metro is about 5.5 million and growing fast. I imagine the problem with quality Asian cuisine around DC (if indeed it is true that LA and Vancouver are so much better as their boosters claim) might be more related to the fact that expat Asian populations in those areas is so much greater, but this would be an interesting topic in itself.

                  1. re: johnb

                    Thanks for the recs. I appreciate it and will be hungry just thinking about trying these new recommendations.

                    I've tried Joe's and Bob's. They're not bad but not great. If you've been to Taipei before, these are the kind of food one would find with a street vendor. You won't find Joe's and Bob's food in proper restaurants. But I'm glad they're around and I visit from time-to-time just to get my fix.

                    IMHO I prefer A&J's in Rockville and China Star. A&J's is casual enough that I can go there for a bowl of Beijing-style noodles or for breakfast food that northern Chinese and the Taiwanese eat. In terms of Taiwanese food I actually prefer Jen's Restaurant in Shady Grove during weekends (opened by Joe's original owner). It's just a heck of a long way to drive coming from Mt. Vernon Sq. in DC. I also find it ironic that I live 15 minutes walk north of Chinatown but drive out to the 'burbs to get anything decent. I guess that's just a reflection of where the ethnic Chinese community is at.

                    I don't know why A&J's in VA and MD are different. Perhaps different cooks in the kitchen? But I just don't find the food in the VA location as good.

                    As for the difference between LA, NYC and Vancouver versus DC, I think you're spot on with the observation about the expats community. In LA you'll find a larger concentration of Taiwanese, Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese than anywhere else in North America. The diversity is reflected in the number and quality of Chinese restaurants. I think Vancouver does the best dim sum in North America and New York City is great for Shanghai, Fukienese and Taoshan food. I haven't found a decent concentration of Malaysian-Chinese food in North America yet. Since I grew up in LA I can safely say that I can find a better concentration of ethnic Chinese restaurants in a four block stretch of San Gabriel Valley than in the DC area. I think we just have fewer recent immigrants here. I realize that and treasure the good ones we do have here.

                    Same thing goes for Italian food. In LA and NYC you can still find really decent and reasonably-priced family style Italian or Italian/Argentine restaurants. The only ones I find in the DC area are places designed to attract the expense account crowd. These downtown Italians are very good if you're looking for something upscale. But I like family style cooking and don't believe that $$=good food.

                    1. re: tedders

                      Thanks for your recommendation of Jen's Restaurant in Shady Grove.
                      I think you're the first to mention it. If you have any particular items to recommend, then I'd love to hear about them.

                      Yes, to be a Chowhound means having to travel. All the best places are never in one spot!

                      And here's a tip for you in your neck of the woods: go to El Rinconcito near 11th and M for the carne deshilada (with egg). It's not a great place overall, but the deshilada is a terrific dish. The other thing to get there is a perfectly respectable tamale.

                      1. re: tedders

                        This is not about Dim Sum but I would like to recommend La Piazza near Braddock Metro. It is a family own, low key, inexpansive Italian restaurant.


                        1. re: tedders

                          (I'm linking this to tedders' since it seems like we've eaten Chinese in a lot of the same places - maybe same expectations? but)
                          Does anyone know of a place where I can get good liang mian (cold noodles)?

                          I was at A&J's Annandale last night and their liang mian was not what I thought it would be (ham!? really?). I've been really craving this lately. I'm really looking for the northern version also known as rang pian'er that has a more jian (textured or al dente? rough) noodle. But a more perfected basic liang mian with bean sprouts, cucumber in a tasty sesame/peanuty oil sauce would hit the spot too.

                          The last time I had this was in Beijing so please understand why I have this 'ideal' version.
                          Also, I'm sorta new in town (Alexandria) and my mom's cooking is oh so far away.

                          Does anyone know of a place with good chinese style lamb? esp on a skewer? (It's too expensive at $11/lb for tiny sized chops at Harris Teeter for me to mess around at home) Or hot pot? These northern/mongolian type tastes are usually in the same place.


                          1. re: tedders

                            oh and for Maylasian-Chinese there are these two places if you're willing to travel.

                            Penang in Chicago (chinatown)
                            Peninsula in Minneapolis (uptown)

                            I've had both many times and so have good friends who are Singaporean, Sri Lankan, etc.

                          2. re: johnb

                            HK Palace is definitely Sichuan/Chengdu now. Oh yum. The cumin lamb, the chendu cold noodles, the braised fish...OK. Very hungry now.

                        2. re: Herschel

                          Any specific recs at Miu Kee?

                          1. re: Steve

                            Unfortunately, I've never had the chance to have a big meal at Miu Kee with lots of people ordering many things. Mostly I've eaten there alone, and have ordered either one of their big noodle-and-wonton soups or roast pig, roast pork, or soy chicken on rice. All of these are superb.

                            1. re: Steve

                              Unfortunately, I've never had the chance to have a big meal at Miu Kee with lots of people ordering many things. Mostly I've eaten there alone, and have ordered either one of their big noodle-and-wonton soups or roast pig, roast pork, or soy chicken on rice. All of these are superb.

                              1. re: Steve

                                They have a tofu stuffed with shrimp paste and in a sauce that includes whole peas that I find myself revisiting on occasion...

                                It's my neighborhood Chinese, so I eat there with some frequency; that said, I think it's decent but not necessarily revelatory. And they have had a few run-ins with the Dept. of Health, though generally I find it cleaner overall (at least as far as what customers see) than a number of other similar establishments.

                        3. There is one good Chinese restuarant in NA called Peking Village. It is mostly Sichuan and it is very authentic. Here is the address. 2962 Gallows Rd.
                          Falls Church, VA 22042. I found most Chinese restuarants in the US cook the food in a Chinese way but they do not use the correct sauce or the ingredients. Most dishes are adapted to fit American's taste and they are all sour and sweet. The slices are usually too big and thick for stir fry. Gu Lao Rou is from Shanghai, where most food are slightly sweet. Cantonese food suppose to be light. People enjoy the delicate taste of it and the nutrition it suppose to bring. Back to Peking Village, they serve one dish is shrimp with chilly pepper and scallion. It was delicious. The other dishes are good too. A&J is not a real resturant, it is a kind of dinner/fast food. I did not find it very attractive. It is certainly not as good as it is in Beijing.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: bookworm

                            Our own James G. used to rave about this place, back in the days before China Star. James, have you been to PV lately and, if so, how does it compare to CS?

                            1. re: Marty L.

                              Wow, this is quite a coincidence! Just this morning I discussed PV with my Chinese tutor, who gave me an "Honored Guest Card", entitling me to a 100

                              1. re: James G

                                Of course I meant a 10 percent discount, not 100 percent...

                          2. There is one good Chinese restuarant in NA called Peking Village. It is mostly Sichuan and it is very authentic. Here is the address. 2962 Gallows Rd.
                            Falls Church, VA 22042. I found most Chinese restuarants in the US cook the food in a Chinese way but they do not use the correct sauce or the ingredients. Most dishes are adapted to fit American's taste and they are all sour and sweet. The slices are usually too big and thick for stir fry. Gu Lao Rou is from Shanghai, where most food are slightly sweet. Cantonese food suppose to be light. People enjoy the delicate taste of it and the nutrition it suppose to bring. Back to Peking Village, they serve one dish is shrimp with chilly pepper and scallion. It was delicious. The other dishes are good too. A&J is not a real resturant, it is a kind of dinner/fast food. I did not find it very attractive. It is certainly not as good as it is in Beijing.

                            1. I tried China Star over the Spring and found a HUGE bug in my jungtze... grossssss... I took a photo of it for the fond memories.

                              1. Although I am not sure about the Chinese there, I would definitely check out Eden Mall / Center in Seven Corners, Va. They definitely have authentic Vietnamese restaurants and Asian groceries.

                                1. I am pretty sure Hope Key in Clarendon serves tradtitional chinese. I base this on the percentage of their patrons who are Chinese. They pretty much cook any and all parts of the animals.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: NovaDave

                                    Unless they opened someplace else, Hope Key, alas, is gone, gone, gone. Victim to the expensive rents. But the same people who owned that are the ones who own Lucky 3 and New Fortune.

                                  2. -Sichuan Village (ex-Formosa Cafe in Arlington) at 14005 Lee Jackson Hwy, Chantilly, VA, 20151 has authentic Sichuan dishes. They hired several chefs from Chengdu.
                                    Some favorites are Cold Spicy beef, KungPao Chicken (real one), fish in spicy bean sauce with tofu (great stuff).
                                    -Full Kee (cash only) at 509 H Street, N. W. Washington, D.C. 20001, has made an excellent comeback in the last couple of years since a former Full Kee chef bought the restaurant. The "Chinese" menu on the wall are now translated. Some Cantonese favorites are frog which is extremely fresh :), salty fish and chives, lamb hot pot. Check out Full Kee (credit card ok) at Bailey's Crossroads behind the Best Buy.
                                    -Joe' Noodle House in Rockville, MD, serves authentic Sichuan dishes. Explore the tappas by the counter, vegetarian chicken, long strands of tofu, boiled peanuts, and other delicious main dishes.
                                    -A&J at 1319 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD, deserves a special mention for serving Northern Chinese Dim Sum, a personal childhood favorite style.
                                    - Four Rivers (Sichuan in English), 184 Rollins Ave, Rockville, MD 20852, claims to serve authentic Sichuan dishes. I have not tried it, so any feedback would be appreciated.

                                    1. Mark's Duck House is about as authentic as I have seen in this area. I lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years, and I find almost everything about the experience completely authentic.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: sweetclover

                                        With the recent decline at Mark's Duck, where are Chowhounds going for good Chinese food in N. Virginia other than Hong Kong Palace?

                                        I know about the Wheaton places, but I live in Falls Church and I'm looking for convenient mid-week options.

                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                          Mark's and HK Palace (despite its name) offer two different type of regional Chinese cuisines. MDH is classic Cantonese and HK style. HK Palace is Sichuanese. If you have a hankering for Cantonese, you will go to MDH. An alternative is Full Kee at Bailey's Crossroads, and Miu Kee on Rt 50 and Annandale Rd. If you are interested in Americanized Chinese food, any one of them will suffice.

                                          1. re: dpan

                                            I'm going to assume you read my post hurridly. Why else to explain your instructions to patronize Mark's Duck ("If you have a hankering for Cantonese, you will go to MDH") when I've just written that the quality there has gone down.

                                            So I'll try again: Where are folks eating when you want Cantonese and Hong Kong cuisine? Have you given up on this style completely and switched entirely to Szechuan food at HKP? Given up on Cantonese and switched to other Asian cuisines?

                                            1. re: Indy 67

                                              I've read that some have complained about MDH and the quality of the dim sum going down. It's been a few months since I've gone, but it was the same as before as far as I was concerned. As for the regular menu, I have not noticed any decline in quality in recent months. If you want confirmation that it's really gone down, it would require a first hand experience despite what some people will tell you here.

                                              1. re: dpan

                                                Mark's Duck House still has some of the best Dim Sum in NV in my book.

                                                The restaurant got a new owner in late summer of 2007, I found as I went to book a birthday banquet celebration with the owners. The banquet was as good as any we'd had there in the past, and the owners were very eager to work with us in negotiating the menu. I think we were their first banquet request.

                                                My family and I have returned several times for Dim Sum, and I must say that the food has been extremely good this past fall -- but you have to go early on the weekends. The crowds and wait are too long at 10:30-11:00 a.m.. This restaurant is eager to get specials on their customer's tables, sometimes they bypass the teacarts to offer just-cooked items on hand-carried trays.

                                                One thing I miss there -- in years past they had a wonderful batter-fried skinny fish (we called silver fish) -- even my carnivore hubby loved it.

                                                We've gone to Lucky Three (too fatty and less authentic all the time), Fortune (quality is spotty -- some is fantastic, some less so, sometimes food is cold), Hunan #1 in Clarendon lamentedly gone.

                                                1. re: TerryS

                                                  How did the "banquet" celebration go since Mark's is rectangular shaped with no private area?

                                                  I've never heard or considered Mark's to hold a banquet b/c it seems to me that they are more like a noodle shop than a restaurant to throw banquet parties.

                                                  1. re: Chownut

                                                    The banquet was great. A Chinese banquet is different from American banquets. The banquet doesn't necessarily mean a formal dress-up meal, although my Mom would typically dress up in a long satin brocade cheomsam, and my Dad in a suit.

                                                    Chinese restaurants that hold banquets have a set menu with courses that you adjust: appetizer course (often squab), soup course (most traditionally served at the end so it doesn't fill you up before the meal really starts), fish course, etc. And a good restaurant will serve the banquet in courses, waiting until one course is nearly consumed before bringing the next course. To order a banquet, you need 10-12 people, and if you have more people, you need to get another table for 10-12.

                                                    The banquet was OK. This was just after the change to new management, and I think this was their first banquet under new management, so the staff wasn't quite trained in the timing of the courses -- they came too quickly.

                                                    During a banquet, your attention is on the food and the other guests, and the rest of the restaurant recedes to the background.

                                                    A fancier restaurant, like Peking Gourmet Inn, would have been nicer for a banquet, but my pocket book could not have supported the cost. Mark's was like home for us.

                                                    1. re: TerryS

                                                      I'm quite familiar with chinese style banquets since I've thrown a few, and attended many.

                                                      Mark's duck house has retreated in quality and increased in price since the new ownership.

                                                      Consider XO Taste across the street.

                                              2. re: Indy 67

                                                Probably the Full Key in Bailey's Crossroads. Not as good as the Chinatown location, but many good choices nonetheless.

                                              3. re: dpan

                                                Miu Kee - like so many places we cite as having "authentic Chinese food," you don't go for the entrees (average fare at best) - you go for the dumpling soup (heavenly).

                                          2. Paul Kee in Wheaton is authentic (and I know thats in MD but its worth the trip and very close to DC and beltway if you are coming from NoVA).

                                            But what is authentic Chinese anyway? I'll start a different thread on that...

                                            1. Try Canton-

                                              6396 Springfield Plz
                                              Springfield, VA 22150
                                              (703) 644-0178

                                              I go there often... And I do rather enjoy it a lot for some Dim Sum. Yum!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Yummmy

                                                I might have to second this place.....I'm always there...I even know the owner now....very friendly and good food. It's either Canton Cafe or Mui Kee in falls church..

                                                1. re: Yummmy

                                                  I was just there on Saturday for dim sum. I didn't know they had dim sum carts. Granted they only had 3 (2 steamed and 1 not) but they covered all the basic dim sum dishes - shrimp dumpling, shu mai, chicken feet, spare ribs, sticky rice, turnip cake, shark fin dumpling, tripe, etc.

                                                  1. re: Yummmy

                                                    I had a serious craving for dim sum and went to Canton Cafe today. It was without a doubt the worst dim sum I have ever eaten anywhere. Period. I've gotten decent food there before including the salt baked squid, their roast and bbq pork, chow fun, singapore noodle, and shrimp dumpling soup, but this was my first dim sum outing. Four out of five items were oddly textured, indifferently flavored, and lukewarm to cold. Only liked the stuffed bean curd. Har gow, shu mai, scallion dumplings and shrimp in rice noodle were just bad. Was going to try more but didn't see the point. And i got there at noon so it shouldn't have been because i got there late and the stuff was sitting around. I was really surprised.

                                                  2. Can't believe no one mentioned Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church. Very authentic, quick service, consistently voted best Chinese....

                                                    57 Replies
                                                    1. re: tld373

                                                      What makes you think it's authentic?

                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                        The guy who opened the place back in 1978 was Mao Tse-Tung's personal chef. Kissinger had him smuggled out of China. The original guy is dead, but the place hasn't changed a lick. It may not be everyone's ideal, but his cooking was apparently good enough for the Chairman.

                                                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                          Interesting story so I looked it up. Here's a story from TheHill.com:

                                                          "His father Eddie, who died three years ago, and mother, who is 82 and still β€œcalls up every day to give me orders,” ran two well-known restaurants in Hong Kong before coming to Washington in the 1960s. They operated two restaurants in Arlington before starting Peking Gourmet in 1977. β€œHe had retired and started this as an afterthought,” said the gregarious and personable Tsui, 52."

                                                          No mention of working for Mao or being smuggled out by Kissinger. Where do you get your information from?

                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                            Might've been the chef, not necessarily the owner, that cooked for Mao. That was the story when the place opened. The first time I went there, it had only been open about a month. The food was awesome and the menu had more Sichuan items than it does now. The Peking duck, then as now, was the featured item. Anyhow, that was the word from back in the day. Similarly, the owner of Nam Viet in Arlington was supposed to have been a general in the South Vietnamese army with heavy CIA connections. He died a few years back. I suppose this is in the realm of local lore, so who knows? Maybe Kissinger.

                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                              The link in this thread has the bio on the Post (still active):


                                                          2. re: flavrmeistr

                                                            I don't know the history behind PG but even if the chef were a wunderkind in China doesn't mean he can reproduce the food here and have it accepted by the American customers of the 70's/80's. It doesn't even happen now in the 2008. My husband's uncle started a restaurant and wanted it to be authentic, with duck tongue, pig blood, etc. It was very good but no one came and he almost lost the business. It's now a packed chinese buffet with american chinese food, sushi, premade desserts, frozen dimsum.

                                                        2. re: tld373

                                                          I would not call Peking Gourmet Inn 'very authentic.' I think it serves some good dishes, mind you, but it firmly falls into the Chinese-American category for most of its menu.

                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                            Disagree. Took the half-Chinese boyfriend's Chinese mother there last month when she came from out of town, and it passed the Chinese mother test easy. The place runs like clockwork and is almost always full of Chinese patrons...probably un-PC to say, but that's usually nonetheless a good sign. But hey, glad you don't like it, more for me!

                                                            1. re: tld373

                                                              isn't this the place that bush sr. loved? do their prices seem fair for the quality, or are they running on a little "provenance" premium?

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                Your memory is good. The foyer and several areas of the restaurant are plastered with photographs of the powerful primarily of the Republican and military variety. Bush Sr.'s photo is on display.

                                                                There was a time when their cooking was really superb. It seemed quite authentic to me. (While I'm not Chinese, I'm comparing PG to food we've eat while traveling twice in China.) However, the restaurant's high point was easily a dozen or more years ago. Recently, our rare visits -- made in the hope that the food has returned to its former glory -- have been a disappointment. The food has had a tired, Americanized taste.

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  The owners were politically astute donors which is how that happened.

                                                                2. re: tld373

                                                                  I'm Chinese and I know it isn't an authentic Chinese restaurant. You can't use someone else's reaction to make your conclusion. It is rude for a Chinese to poo poo your choice of restaurant to your face. Rest assured, she probably made comments behind your back.

                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                    Okay, willing to aim for your authentic pick, then. Apologies if it's in this thread somewhere, but what would be your pick for best 'real' Chinese in the VA area?

                                                                    1. re: tld373

                                                                      Here are some authentic Chinese in NOVA: China Star, Hong Kong Palace, Peking Village, Jasmine Garden, Miu Kee, Canton Cafe, Sichuan Village, Vinh Kee, Mark's Duck House, Fortune.....I've been to them all at one time or another and there are a slew of others just across the border in MD. If you don't know what authentic Chinese food is, it's also possible that you won't like it. Maybe you should just enjoy your meals at Peking Gourmet, but don't go around touting it as authentic. It annoys me to see someone saying that Americanized crap served at PG is authentic.

                                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                        OK, so what dishes would you recommend to sonmeone who wants to try "authentic" Chinese food? Alternatively, if the names are the same, what are the differences in ingredients or execution to look for?

                                                                        I've eaten in several of the restaurants that you've declared "authentic" and the only significant difference that I see in the menus (I don't read Chinese, so perhaps I'm handicapped here) is that Miu Kee has wonderful sounding dumplings, nearly all with shrimp, which I can't eat without itching all over.

                                                                        Want to organize a group authentic lunch and show us what's what?

                                                                        1. re: MikeR

                                                                          Hong Kong Palace and A&J are two places that I know of that has English speaking and friendly staff. Just tell them what protein you like and let them make suggestions. Don't go there and ask for beef & broccoli and expect something different than what you'd get at Peking Gourmet. Also, good Chinese isn't cheap.

                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                            I eat at Hong Kong Palace frequently (it's just a seven minute walk from my house) and I've never had "beef & broccoli" there. I've had things from the Chinese specials that the waitresses have suggested and I've never had a bum steer. I guess maybe I like "authentic" Chinese food without even trying.

                                                                            Really, I'm not trying to rag on you here, I just don't think that declaring certain restaurants "authentic" or not without further explanation is very informative. Most of us would like to know WHY we'd like a particular restaurant or dish, not just "go here and don't order that."

                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                              I'll second A&J's as northern Chinese food goes. A&J's is inexpensive. I don't get much Szechuan but would like to try Hong Kong Palace. I like China Star but find the food too heavy. Definitely go to Mui Kee for Cantonese, especially if for the dumplings and won ton soup w/ hong kong style noodles. Can't beat it in this weather. I agree that if you're used to Americanized chinese food, you might not like the more authentic places. I've taken friends to A&J's and if they're used to sweet and sour pork, general tsao's chicken, etc., they tend to hate it.

                                                                              LOL, at the behind the back comment. I'll never live down the time when we lived in the Bay area and my in-laws came to visit. We took them out to dimsum at a place friends recommended (Americans) and they brought their relatives. It was terrible. They were all very friendly about it but I can imagine what's still being said... There are so many good restaurants there, they all know what's good and I'm sure they couldn't get over my suggestion. We had just moved there.

                                                                            2. re: MikeR

                                                                              Mike, if you're allergic to shrimp, A&J may be a really good choice for you. It's northern Chinese, so it is pretty much seafood-free. I can't think of anything that has even dried shrimp. Their pan-fried pork dumplings are wicked good, and there are reasonably accurate English translations on the menu.

                                                                              1. re: PollyG

                                                                                The one in Annandale? I'd definitely give it a try.

                                                                                1. re: MikeR

                                                                                  Since you like HKP, I assume you like spicy food? If so, try the cucumber salad in chili oil at A&Js. Simple dish but one that's often done wrong--this one has nice and crispy cucumbers and is "make your nose run" spicy. Wood ear mushrooms are also very good. My favorite dish there so far is the ground pork in noodles. It's better than the sum of the parts when it's all mixed together.

                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                    A&J is a big goose egg in my resume in the area. Just never have made it there - but I need to.

                                                                                    I'm wondering - does the ground pork dish have spinach in it, too? Joe's has a dish with ground pork, spinach and noodles that I love.

                                                                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                      No, sliced raw cucumbers and bean sprouts. It adds a nice crunch to it. It comes in three parts, pork, noodles, vegetables that you mix yourself (I'm guessing so the vegetables don't lose their crunch). As I said, the sum is better than the parts. I only ordered it because I saw it on someone else's table and it looked good but wouldn't have by the description on the menu. I like the thin noodles (choice of thin or wide cut) for that dish. There's also a noodle soup dish that comes w/ fried pork chops and mustard greens that's good. I don't know what it's called but go by the description. My sister and her husband enjoyed the dan dan noodles. It's on the sweet side for me and I'd only recommend it for those who really enjoy dan dan noodles. I took a friend who said it tasted like noodles in peanut butter. I find A&J's hit or miss but more hits than misses. Things I didn't like were 5 spice oven ribs (very dry, not much rib, it tasted like eating coated 5 spice), dumplings, rice wrapped cruller (this was terrible--dry, I couldn't eat it). Scallion pancakes, thousand layer pancakes are very good but it's hard to make bad scallion pancakes. The bubble tea is fair. The problem I have there is I feel like it's huge meal of starches. Oh, they don't take credit cards so bring cash and be ready to wait for a table.

                                                                                      Oh, and at that shopping plaza on week ends, sometimes there are people selling food out of the back of their trucks/cars. They're home made and I've gotten some good sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves and baked goods. Again, that's hit or miss because people are making it at home and who knows how much food safety they follow. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

                                                                            3. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                              You probably should clarify what type of chinese cuisine your suggestions offer. For example, AJ is northern chinese and not cantonese.

                                                                              For the most part, most if not all of the cantonese joints in NoVA have a slight vietnamese twist to it, as they are owned by viet-chinese.

                                                                              1. re: Chownut

                                                                                Possibly american chinese ones w/ a cantonese base (are all american chinese places "canton" based? It seems like it) but not all. Mui Kee, Mark's Duck House, Fortune's (unless Tony Liu had sold it) , Canton Cafe, Oriental Cafe aren't. And, many american chinese places are also korean owned.

                                                                              2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                With reservation, I'd also add Oriental Cafe in the Rosehill section of Alexandria. They can have good food, depending on whatever new chef they've hired but don't just order off the menu. Talk to the owner or his wife. They have your typical americanized chinese buffet but you can also get duck tongue and other specialties. It's Cantonese. The owner used to co-own Canton Cafe.

                                                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                  I wanted to add, too, that just because a place might be more "authentic" than american chinese, it doesn't mean it's better. There are many american chinese places I'd pick over Vinh Kee, Fortunes, or Canton Cafe (mostly a service issue--I went when it first opened, pretty frequently, but food quality dropped and it wasn't worth going with the poor, slow service). They had good jook, though. I miss good jook after leaving the Bay area. My MIL does a pretty good one, though. Anyway, sometimes a good moo shu pork hits the spot. I don't care if it's authentic or not.

                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                    Vinh Kee is a place you don't see mentioned too much here, but it definitely deserves some attention.

                                                                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                      location, please? and "regional style"? thanks.

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        It's on Rte 50 in Falls Church near DC Sandwich shop across the street from the fire station. We had a banquet there a few years ago and haven't been back. That bad. Seafood, more cantonese style but seemed to have a Vietnamese influence. But it has been 3-4 years.

                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                          I'm pretty sure Vinh Kee is owned by Vietnamese-Chinese. I was able to speak some Mandarin with their staff. As for the food, it's not the best Cantonese food around but I don't have any idea what is (use to be Fortune & Mark's Duck House, but heard they've gone downhill. Canton Cafe is supposedly doing well and Sampan is under new ownership. I haven't been to Miu Kee in awhile). The food is serviceable at Vinh Kee and there's a large menu (of strange things) to pick from (I had pickled pork knuckles last time - I didn't really like it). I'll put up with poor service (since it's pretty customary in Chinese joints) for decent food. I'm thinking back to my childhood and I don't think the service is any better in Taiwan.

                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                            I was there for a couple of banquets a few years ago. The service was fine, possibly because they were banquets, but the food wasn't. But, I did check out the regular menu and it seemed Vietnamese influenced. I like Miu Kee and that's where I go if I want cantonese. I haven't been to Mark's Duck House in a long time but did like their dimsum. Fortune's was excellent about 15+ years ago (as a disclaimer, my FIL was one of the owners then) but it could be that when you're cooking for the boss, you make sure it's good. For the most part, when we go out for cantonese, it's for a banquet; other wise, we get american chinese or go to my in-laws.

                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                              Full Kee has similar menu to Vinh Kee but is much better.

                                                                                          2. re: chowser


                                                                                            Aren't you the one with the discerning father in law?

                                                                                            How'd it happen?

                                                                                            Plus, isn't this a typical noodle joint? Most noodle joints don't do banquets.

                                                                                            1. re: Chownut

                                                                                              Discerning doesn't mean you can control what's cooked in a restaurant or what others order. I've talked about how he oddly liked the banquet he threw there but he didn't like the ones other people threw there. Ego thing.

                                                                                              Most places, if you know the manager or chef, can do a banquet. I don't know what they do now, as I said, I haven't been in a few years because I didn't like the food. I don't know if it's typically noodles but the menu at the time was seafood based.

                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                For whatever reason, there are more "authentic" Chinese restaurants in Maryland than in NoVA, which has a lot of Chinese restaurants with a viet twist.

                                                                                                In fact, the only Chinese restaurant in NoVA that doesn't have a viet twist is China Garden, and they don't cater to a strictly Chinese crowd outside of dim sum and wedding banquets/parties.

                                                                                                1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                  hkp has a viet twist? oriental gourmet -- or mark's, too?

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    Marks defnintely has some Viet influence. I think the original owners were ethnic Chinese from Vietnam.

                                                                                                    1. re: dpan

                                                                                                      in what particular dishes should i discern the vietnamese influence? is it the dishes they choose, or their preparation style, or their ingredient combos?

                                                                                                  2. re: Chownut

                                                                                                    China Star and Sichuan Village included?

                                                                                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                      I think Chownut was refering to Cantonese restaurants. The Sichuanese ones have no connection to Vietnam.

                                                                                                    2. re: Chownut

                                                                                                      I know a few people who own Cantonese restaurants in this area and are from Hong Kong. Canton Cafe, Oriental Cafe, Hunan Dynasty, Ho's Dynasty, Miu Kee, Duck Chang off the top of my head. There are quite a few owned by Koreans, too.

                                                                                                  3. re: Chownut

                                                                                                    Vinh Kee is very much a banquet joint. Nothing fancy, mind you, but a large cavernous space. I agree that it is not straight-up Chinese and what i tried there did not make me want to return.

                                                                                      2. re: tld373

                                                                                        I didn't say I don't like it. I adore the garlic sprouts, and the kung pao chicken, although not spicy, is a good dry-fried version. They also have that beef jerky dish which is delicious despite its sweetness. But to call it across-the-board authentic is probably a joke.

                                                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                                                          I believe that an "authentic Chinese" restaurant is like an authentic BBQ or chili restaurant. Too many options, no clear criteria. 30 or 40 years ago, when nearly all of our Chinese restaurants in the US were "Chinese-American" (they used that name back then, but now it has a more derogatory connotation, at least among Chowhounds) that what we were eating was Chinese party food. The "real" Chinese ate much more simple food and preparations. Can it be that Chinese cooking on both sides of the ocean has become more sophisticated?

                                                                                          Can we just call it "good" or "eh" or "yucky" and discuss the dishes that wer particularly like? I'm particularly fond of what Peking Gourmet calls Szechuan Beef Proper, what I believe is the beef jerky dish you describe. Hong Kong Palace does a very good version of the same disk, but it's on the paper take-out menu, not on the menu those of us who go there for the "authentic" food order from.

                                                                                          Go figure!

                                                                                          1. re: MikeR

                                                                                            i always used to think that the name "Szechuan Beef Proper" at our closest chinese ("oriental gourmet" on harrison in arlington http://washingtondc.menupages.com/scr... ) was a mispronunciation of "pepper", but apparently that is the "proper" name. ha ha.

                                                                                            the waiter calls it "Szechuan Beef Proper", but on the menu it is listed under chef's specialties as: "Crispy Shredded Beef -- shredded beef dipped in egg batter & deep-fried, sauteed chef's hot spicy sauce".

                                                                                            i love that dish, too. especially when it is super hot from the kitchen. it is addictive.

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              Have you eaten the Peking Gourmet's version of Szechuan Proper? How does it compare to the Oriental Gourmet's version? I can only take the former in very small doses since I'm not a great fan of sweet with meat.

                                                                                              What other dishes can you recommend from the Oriental Gourmet? Up til now, we've headed to Mark's Duck, but the charms of that place are waning.

                                                                                              1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                at oriental gourmet, crispy firecracker shrimp (not on that online menu, for some reason) is really good, but it might be a little sweet for you, too. but it is spicy, and the shrimp is crispy.

                                                                                                we find all the seafood is really fresh, and i've been happy with scallop and shrimp dishes alike. the beef quality has been good, too (i'm thinking of a special sesame beef dish, where beef was nice and tender, even though it was a larger piece -- as opposed to thin-cut for stir fry "F16. Sesame Beef chunks of beef deep-fried w/house special sauce & top with sesame seeds").

                                                                                                their mixed veg is always good (better than hkp's version). i'd go for the "chef's specialties" part of the menu, in general. they also have a good value monday-friday lunch special.

                                                                                                they do a huge take-out business, too. and i have to add, it seems that most of their waiters are chinese grad students studying here in dc, but in our experience all their waiters are very nice and do their jobs well.

                                                                                                we haven't been to peking gourmet, so i can't "proper"-ly comment. (i'm a yuk-a-minute today, aren't i?).

                                                                                                lately, mr. alka and i have been frequenting hong kong palace, so haven't been to oriental gourmet in a while. (btw, that little bakery next door to hkp has french-style goodies, and we mean to try it -- but it closes much earlier than hkp).

                                                                                                i'm off of mark's as the last time i went (just about a year ago), my noodles dish was really crummy -- broken noodles (and on my birthday, no less! bad luck!) -- and had mystery meats. on inquiry, i learned one was pig heart. that was it for me. plus, mark's gets quite expensive even with a moderate run at the dim sum steam carts, imo.

                                                                                              2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                there is a place on wilson blvd that opened up a couple of years ago called 'tnr cafe' (tea, noodles, rice). the crispy shredded beef (i think they call it crispy fried beef) is so amazing. all the flavor of beef, with a crispy texture and a wonderful spicy/sweet sauce. they pour on the veggies too, lots of shredded carrots and celery. one of my biggest complaints about chinese food in this area is that it is overcome with sweet crap and not enough veggies, texture, and spice. these guys get it right, at least for this dish.

                                                                                                1. re: kneelconqueso

                                                                                                  kneel, i'll look for that. thanks for the tip!

                                                                                              3. re: MikeR

                                                                                                I am definitely no expert on authenticity, but I can tell you that much of what Peking Gourmet serves is identical to what I ate growing up inthe 60s on Long Island.

                                                                                                Yes, Szechuan Beef Proper is the name of the dish. But the version at Peking Gourmet Inn is unpolluted by Szechuan Peppercorns and is generally much more sweet than hot. The version at Joe's Noodle House is almost impossible to eat, even for a Sichuan devotee like me.

                                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                                  Which dish is this at Joe's? A52? That's like crack to me. I have to get that whenever I'm even near Joe's or HKP.

                                                                                                  Sichuan Village's version isn't too good, btw, even though I like that place otherwise.

                                                                                                  1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                    H08 is the REALLY spicy one even I can't take. Spicy and dry beef saute. The beef jerky dish, A52, is excellent, one of my favorites.

                                                                                                    1. re: Steve

                                                                                                      Ah - I'll have to try that one and suffer. It's got one pepper more than the triple pepper dry sautee!

                                                                                                      I wonder (and hope) if that's like a dish I had in my teens. My mom had a party celebrating the Chinese new year. One guest really knew her stuff - even though it was in the early 80's and in Missouri. She brought 3 dishes that were great, but definitely not Americanized (or at least, too much). One was this amazingly hot beef plate - slices of beef. I think the color of it was like light milk chocolate but just a glaze of "sauce" covered it - really fairly dry in terms of moisture. She just called it Szechuan beef, and I've never seen anything like it since.

                                                                                                    2. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                      The dry-fried Sichuan Beef at Joe's is bristling with all sorts of peppers and chiles.I love it, but I use it as a condiment. A whole plate of that stuff would probably kill me.

                                                                                            2. re: Steve

                                                                                              Go to The Peking Gourmet Inn and try the "Szechuan Beef Proper" and the Peking Duck ..... it's almost enough to make me move back to ground zero.

                                                                                          2. CHINESE. Here's one of the best kept secrets ever.

                                                                                            Mr Hunan, on Route 1 in Virginia. They've been there over 10 years.

                                                                                            The catch: It's RATTY inside. It's worn out, old. But clean. Also, don't go at night.

                                                                                            BUT...the food is delicious, fresh, served steaming hot the way it should be. General Tsos, beef-brocolli, egg rolls, chicken wings, fried rice/noodles. Lamb curries, Lobster dishes. It's all EXCELLENT and the only time I've had better is in some fancy 5-star Chinese place in San Fransisco or something.


                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: JEDIKNIGHT

                                                                                              Sounds like I should give their moo goo gai pan or egg foo young a try too.

                                                                                              1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                I hear the chicken chow mein is the best this side of China.

                                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                                  crab rangoons and finish off with a good fortune cookie

                                                                                              2. re: JEDIKNIGHT

                                                                                                Don't go at night? Sketchy neighborhood?

                                                                                                1. re: MsDiPesto

                                                                                                  A tad sketchy...so avoid nights. I've eaten there during the day for 8 years.

                                                                                                  1. re: JEDIKNIGHT

                                                                                                    Do you have the address btw? According to google it's on Jefferson highway, not sure if that's route 1

                                                                                                    1. re: takadi

                                                                                                      Probably Jefferson Davis Highway, which is indeed US1.

                                                                                                2. re: JEDIKNIGHT

                                                                                                  "Also, don't go at night. "

                                                                                                  LOL, I'm not sure if I should be asking why and end up getting an answer I don't wanna know

                                                                                                  1. re: takadi

                                                                                                    I don't have any trouble going to places down Rte 1 at night.

                                                                                                    Then again, I'm 6'1" and real big.

                                                                                                    So ... how fast can you duck?

                                                                                                    1. re: wayne keyser

                                                                                                      If you don't mind Rte. 1 in Virginia, try Peking Duck restaurant in the Hybla Valley area.


                                                                                                      It has been there for decades now.

                                                                                                      Not much to look at, it is an offshoot of Duck Chang's, once the only place to get Peking Duck in NoVa. Their duck IS delicious.

                                                                                                      My family has been going there for many years, and if you ask they will recommend dishes not on the menu. Ask what vegetables are good that day.

                                                                                                      Good for a quick weeknight dinner, or for a fancier banquet celebration.

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    Don't you mean bark, bark, bark?;-) Couldn't resist.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                      good one, chowser! ;-).

                                                                                                      i, too, like a good mu shu pork every once in a while.....

                                                                                                    1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                      I have, but several years ago (and the death of Duck Chang), so surely it's not quite the same. Used to be quite good, quite inexpensive, and a standard dish in the kitchen that didn't (like many restaurants at the time) require pre-ordering. There's been a recent discussion of Duck Chang's in another thread here. Scroll down a bit and you'll probably stumble across it.

                                                                                                      1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                        My mom hailed from HK. We used to go Duck Changs decades ago for special occasions, but it was greatly diminished the last time we went.

                                                                                                        I can highly recommend the homey restaurant owned and run by Duck Chang's son in the Hybla Valley section of Rte. 1 in Alexandria -- name of Peking Duck.

                                                                                                        We go there for family celebrations and banquets several times a year. Not that we wouldn't go for ordinary dinners, but we're traveling from the western part of the county now!

                                                                                                    2. Hi, My Chinese dad and Grandparents swear by Fortune's Dim Sum (Tysons location, off of Arlington Blvd, not Reston location)
                                                                                                      I've tried taking them to task and exploring other Dim Sum options and got burned.
                                                                                                      I'm a tad obsessed with dim sum, so I'm not too much of an expert on non-dim sum Chinese food, but...

                                                                                                      I second Full Kee (authentic Cantonese) in Chinatown.
                                                                                                      BUT, i know you said "Northern Virginia", so I'll pass along my friend's recomendations for A&J (for food, not dim sum--- eww at the nasty northern style dim sum, which is not dim sum at all). I've heard good things about Hong Kong Palace (same shopping center as Fortune). At Fortune you can get dim sum 11-3 every day and regular food all other times.

                                                                                                      I'm Cantonese, so can't rec. anything other than that, sorry.

                                                                                                      (But ordering off the menu at Lee's Grill in Charlottesville -- central virginia -- is good too if you're ever down there)

                                                                                                      33 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: discojing

                                                                                                        BTW, Full Kee also has a NoVa location in Bailey's Crossroads. Not as good as the dc location, but still pretty good.

                                                                                                          1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                            no, it is full kee, iirc (if it is the one in the strip mall perpendicular to trader joe's at bailey's area.)

                                                                                                        1. re: discojing

                                                                                                          chownut, i think you meant the fortune at 7 corners (near home depot). i don't know of one in "tyson's" on rte 50, 'cause tyson's is at rte. 7 -- not rte. 50.

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            its BY route 50 -- arlington blvd

                                                                                                            1. re: discojing

                                                                                                              discojing, my point is that Route 50 ("Arlington Boulevard") does not go through or by "tysons". tyson's corner is rte 7 and 123.

                                                                                                              it was you (and not chownut -- sorry chownut) who said: " Fortune's Dim Sum (Tysons location, off of Arlington Blvd, not Reston location)"

                                                                                                              i know the resto is BY rte 50 ( i understand what "off of" a road means) -- as i said: the fortune is at "7 corners (near the home depot)". we are talking about the fortune near the home depot at 7 corners, right? (seven corners being the intersection of rte 7, rte 50, and wilson blvd. in falls church).

                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                BY the road, much better than ON the road...;-) It might sound like you're talking about semantics with location but I think it's important. When I read that, I thought, hmmm, there's a Fortune's at Tyson? I thought the one at Reston closed so did Tony Liu open one at Tysons? Tyson's is a hike from 7 Corners. At 7 Corners, I'd rather go to Marks Duck House. They could use a good dimsum place at Tysons. Years ago, we would go to a place at Tyson's Galleria, on occasion for a different place to go, when my MIL called everyone together. I can't remember the name anymore but we haven't been back since we've moved to the area. I vaguely remember it anymore.

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                  yes, I meant 7 corners, not Tysons.

                                                                                                                  1. re: discojing

                                                                                                                    You had me excited about there being dim sum at Tysons at first.:-) Why isn't there better dimsum here?

                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                      Have you ever had dim sum at Golden Lion? I've never, but heard it was decent.

                                                                                                                      There probably isn't better dim sum at Tysons b/c rent is high directly in Tysons. Families are so busy in this area with a lot of white collar asians that I'm not sure a large authentic restaurant can be sustained in Tysons.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                                        Where is it? I looked it up online and it's in Fairfax near GW? I can't mapquest it, though. I can't picture it. I'd be willing to try it out if they have dimsum.

                                                                                                                        I remember the one at Tyson's Galleria being pricey but I never paid so don't know how pricey it was. Tysons supports PF Changs. That says it all about what people want there. There used to be a place that did peking duck in that area, too. Maybe Oriental Regency or something with Regency in the name. It was good, a dozen or so years ago.

                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                          http://www.fortunebanquet.com/ [broken for now


                                                                                                                          plus it was reviewed in the washington post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/res...

                                                                                                                          Apparently its in Falls Church... (7 corners ^_^)

                                                                                                                          1. re: discojing

                                                                                                                            I meant where is the Golden Lion. I haven't heard of the Golden Lion. I know where the Fortunes is. My FIL was one of the owners of the original Fortunes down the street near the old Theismans which also is no longer there. In its heyday, I think Fortunes had the best dimsum in the area but it started going downhill about 10 years ago and it had been a free fall. I haven't been there lately, though, years actually. When was Tom Sietsema's review written? I can't find a date on it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                              Sorry, I meant Hunan Lion in Vienna near Tysons. I know they used to advertise in chinese newspapers that they had dim sum, and I went to a banquet there a long time ago, but you might want to call them to see if they still dim sum.


                                                                                                                              1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                                                Hey, you know this is the place that was at Tyson's Galleria that I talked about before and forgot the name. They must have relocated--I can imagine rent at Tyson's Galleria being cost prohibitive. It's been a long time but the dim sum was menu, not carts. The food was okay but we mostly went for a change of pace from our norm. At the time, they had northern Chinese style foods, too, but the regular dimsum items were better. I prefer carts for dimsum. I think I need to head to Maryland.

                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                  Yes, there are many more dim sum options in Md.

                                                                                                                                  Most are either close to a major highway or clustered together.

                                                                                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                  Yes, I didn't think I said that b/c I know the area pretty well.

                                                                                                                  Rt. 50 is way further south of I66, and I66 is what sort of goes by Tysons, but it's really Rt. 7 (Leesburg Pike) that goes through Tysons.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                                    there are dim sum -esque places.

                                                                                                                    Don't know about tysons, but try Cafe Atlantico (Latin Dim Sum), Ching Ching Cha (Georgetown), Mie N Yu (Georgetown), and Zengo(Metro Center/Chinatown) for some *ahem* "dim sum", which is really like small plates of.. asian food (or fusion food).

                                                                                                                    Tysons is a little barren for me in terms of food. Now, the Tysons/Vienna area, which is more Vienna than Tysons, and McLean... those are two different stories.

                                                                                                            2. re: discojing

                                                                                                              Which dishes do you like at Full Kee? I want to like it... i've tried it many times and it's close to my house. However, i just feel like I always order the wrong things.

                                                                                                              1. re: scotcheroo

                                                                                                                I love Full Kee but I agree that many of the dishes can be disappointing. I would recommend the Hong Kong wonton soup (without noodles), the pan fried dumplings, the clams in black bean sauce, the tilapia steamed in soy sauce and ginger (can be a bit pricey), and the garlic shrimp. There's also an oyster hot pot or casserole which I like but have only ordered it once.

                                                                                                                1. re: cabster

                                                                                                                  Thanks! I'll try those out. I have had the tilapia and you're right, it's great. It's the one thing I've had so far that I really like. The oyster hot pot sound interesting too so i'll definitely check that out.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cabster

                                                                                                                    I haven't been to the Full Kee in DC but have been to the one at Baileys Crossroads. While I like it, I prefer the dumpling soup/won ton soup/hong kong style noodles at Miu Kee better. I think it can rival any I've had on either coast.

                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                      The wonton soup Hong Kong style at Miu Kee is not only spectacular it is a spectacular bargain. As the broth is as good as the dumplings, the small order is the better choice IMO. With the large order, you get a dozen or so dumplings and the same smaller portion of broth, and I haven't figured out how to order extra containers of broth.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ciaohound

                                                                                                                        Definitely. For anyone who's had typical won ton soup in american chinese restaurants, it's so much better. They fill their won tons with shrimp. And, you're right, the broth is good, too. There are hit or miss dishes on their menu, communication can be rough (I ordered pea sprouts once and got bean sprouts, and a surprised/resigned look because they don't normally serve an entire dish of bean sprouts) but you can't go wrong with the soup, dumplings or won ton.

                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                          In a traditional sense, it's dumplings that have shrimp, while won tons have pork.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                                            Traditional or not, if they want to stuff my won tons full of shrimp, I won't complain.:-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                              If you like shrimp, why not just get dumplings?

                                                                                                                              Do you feel awkward going to restaurants with your father in law b/c of how fickle he is with his chinese food?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Chownut

                                                                                                                                Yeah, I can never decide what to get there because I like it all so I get both. I like the smaller won tons. Plus won tons are not the same as dumplings there. I'd be happy w/ the hong kong noodles and broth there, when you come right down to it. It's definitely winter comfort food.

                                                                                                                                I rarely go out w/ my FIL to chinese restaurants unless it's a banquet. But, he's great at talking w/ the chef/cooks/manager and figuring out what to order. We also have had far better meals out with him than when we go to the same restaurant ourselves and order off the menu. FWIW, He's picky with all foods because he used to be with the Hotel Washington decades ago, too, and has worked in a German restaurant so he's pretty well versed in how he thinks he should be. It can get awkward but we get great meals with him sometimes.

                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                  chowser - your FIL must be related to my parents. They're the same way, especially having been in the hospitality business themselves for many years. My dad pronounced A&J only "ok" when he visited, and my parents once made me drive for hours up and down Rockville Pike looking for a restaurant that they said was "pretty good" when they had visited years before. Turns out, it was Joe's Noodle House.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodieGrrl

                                                                                                                                    That's funny. Maybe those restaurants are used to people like that.:-) I'd hate to take him to our go to american chinese restaurant.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                      Interestingly, they'd rather go to Americanized Chinese than almost anything else though. If we travel anywhere (and I mean anywhere), they'd prefer to eat at the worst Chinese restaurant than the fanciest French or any other place. I remember taking my mom to Bistro Bis for her 60th birthday, and my dad asked if we could stop at Mark's afterward so he could get some congee to go.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodieGrrl

                                                                                                                                        LOL, I know what you mean. My parents have eated at Chinese restaurants through Europe, Hungary, Russia...

                                                                                                                  2. re: scotcheroo

                                                                                                                    As I've said before, I've eaten better at the DC location of Full Kee. The duck (or tofu) stuffed with shrimp paste iis dynamite as is the oyster and ginger casserole. For greens, try the chive flowers.

                                                                                                                2. Anyone ever eaten at China Garden (Rosslyn)
                                                                                                                  Washington Post article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                                                                                                                  I've heard good things about their dim sum (Fri/Sat 11-3), and I often am asked by people around Rosslyn if I know where it is.

                                                                                                                  I'd like this as an alternative to Fortune because it's Metro Accessible

                                                                                                                  China Garden Restaurant
                                                                                                                  1100 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: discojing

                                                                                                                    China Garden has a nice modern interior like something you would find in HK, but the dim sum quality has gone down over the years while the prices have gone up.

                                                                                                                    Cart dim sum is on saturday and sundays. Go early if you plan to check it out.

                                                                                                                    Their regular menu is americanized, but they do a lot of business with weddings and parties, where they serve up authentic cantonese fare.

                                                                                                                    Overall dim sum wise, it's on par with the rest of the mediocre dim sum options that you will find in NoVA.

                                                                                                                  2. The Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church is wonderful, The Peking Duck here is immaculate. Defintely go here. This has been a institution since 1978.

                                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Jeremy303

                                                                                                                      I'm with you Jeremy303, The Peking Duck rocks !!!!!! I also love the Szechuan Beef Proper. The owner picked up his restaurant and employees & families and moved it to Baileys Crossroads from HongKong before the end of British rule..... no lie.

                                                                                                                      1. re: bassmangotdbluz

                                                                                                                        the peking gourmet inn? where bush sr. always went? i know that place has been there a **lot** longer than hong kong's reversion to chinese rule in 1997. (is that what you meant, or am i misinterpreting your post?).

                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                          You are misinterpreting me and after rereading my post. I see why you did. 1978 is about what I remember hearing as well.

                                                                                                                          I'm with you flavrmeistr it's all about the Duck.

                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                            I remember when Peking Gourmet opened. I believe it was the summer of 1977.

                                                                                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                              wow!!!!!! that surely needs a "longevity" character!

                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                It was about half the size it grew to be later and I don't recall an emphasis on Peking duck. We used to get carry-out from there. They had kung pao and twice-cooked pork that was pretty exciting for the time, Szechuan being new to the area. The duck thing took off sometime thereafter. There were a few others that started up, like Duck Chang's in Annandale and the House of Duck in Clarendon. It may be passe, but I still love me some Peking Duck.

                                                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                  it is what we went for on thanksgiving -- but at x.o. taste. they didn't have any at lunchtime, so we got their smoked duck.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                    Was it good? The last time we had duck at both XOT and Mark's, it was cheaper than Peking Gourmet but kind of dry. Too much time in the box, I expect. We went to Duck Chang's in Annandale a few months ago for the first time in about 30 years and were pleasantly surprised. The duck was excellent.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                      it was good and moist, but i think the skin could have been crisper. we were there soon after it opened.

                                                                                                                                      will try duck changs, though, because we've never been there.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Jeremy303

                                                                                                                          Peking Gourmet is the last place I think of as "authentic" for Chinese food. Go for the Peking Duck and to say you have been the restaurant where Presidents go. It is Americanized Chinese food.

                                                                                                                          This is a thread for "more authentic" Chinese food, not Chinese restaurants you happen to like.

                                                                                                                          For example, we ordered the Gong Bao Gi Ting (Chicken) and it was lacking the basic hot peppers and other spicing and seasoning requisite for the name. The dish was well-prepared but not authentic tasting at all--unless you want to say it is authentic Americanized Chinese food.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Minger

                                                                                                                            It's all about the duck. Still the best around, say what you will.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Minger

                                                                                                                              Having never been to China, how would most of us know? I'm not sure the American palate would like alot of "authentic" dishes since they sometimes use animal parts that we feed to dogs or use for bait, but if I fouled up your thread, please excuse TF out of me.

                                                                                                                              1. re: bassmangotdbluz

                                                                                                                                "I'm not sure the American palate would like alot of "authentic" dishes"

                                                                                                                                That's what makes Chowhound a special place to congregate.

                                                                                                                                "they sometimes use animal parts that we feed to dogs or use for bait"

                                                                                                                                While this is true, the same can be said of Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, and most of the world. If you were to eat at any of the restaurant listed upthread you could easily avoid any 'parts' that seem unacceptable to you. Same goes for eating in China. You never have to eat anything you don't want to, and there are always plenty of options.

                                                                                                                                "how would most of us know?"

                                                                                                                                By reading, listening, learning, asking questions.

                                                                                                                                1. re: bassmangotdbluz

                                                                                                                                  100 Degree in the Harris Teeter center near Fair Oaks on Rt. 50. You can get "authentic", with all the animal parts you like, or "Americanized", my preference. Sietsema liked it at first taste, don't know if he's been back.

                                                                                                                                  Great food, friendly staff (can be too attentive at times, but earnest).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: smirsh

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for posting this. Will be going to some Chinese place soon with some friends and I was trying to recall the name of this place. I struck down Sichuan Village, and had put HKP first on the list, but I hadn't yet tried 100 Degree.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: smirsh

                                                                                                                                      I tried 100 Degree back in November. Actually twice on different days. I have two comments to make about the place:

                                                                                                                                      1) They advertise their hand-made dumplings. Figuring they must take great pride in their dumplings, I gave them a try. Both times I ordered boiled dumplings. Both times, though they were confirmed to be boiled, it seemed as if they were steamed. Both times, the size and flavor were remarkably consistent: lots of doughy wrapper and a moderate amount of unflavorful filling culminating into an incredibly bland experience. (No, I don't want to dip it in soy sauce for every bite.) You are better off buying mass produced frozen dumplings from a supermarket than eating the ones from this place. Or just go to China Bistro for Mama's dumplings up in Rockville.

                                                                                                                                      2) The second time I ate here, it had been the weekend after I came back from visiting NYC and eating in Flushing. I thought to try a few different things other than dumplings at 100 Degree. I purposely avoided ordering any Americanized dishes, so no fry-my-rice or kung-fu-chicken. I remember ordering string beans, some mixture of ground pork / bamboo / mushrooms / chile peppers?, an eggplant dish, and gluten (which probably came from a can). The common theme of these dishes was oil. Lots of oil, glistening in the incandescent-light of the room. Along with an over abundance of salt. (You can excuse the gluten from this, since I'm sure it came from a can). The resulting meal was too oily and too salty, especially if the oil oozes everywhere.

                                                                                                                                      3) Maybe their fish and meats are better, and if that's the case, I don't see how they can mess up such simple dishes.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: zhereon

                                                                                                                                        The steamed dumplings are a low point but if you go back, try them pan fried. It's a world of difference. There was something overly boiled, wet about their boiled dumplings.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          The online menu only mentions steamed or fried dumplings.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                            Sorry, steamed then--I couldn't remember whether it was steamed or boiled. The steamed ones came in a big puddle of water.

                                                                                                                              2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Hunan Chinese Gourmet! It's located in the Fair Oaks Mall (the intersection of I-66 and Rt. 50). I believe all I need to say about this restaurant is that the primary reason you should eat there is if you are craving their noodle soups, which I would consider to be quite "authentic". My only source of reasoning on this point is that noodle soups don't fall under the Americanized-Chinese food category.

                                                                                                                                Besides, they made their own noodles!

                                                                                                                                My favorites so far? Beef Stew Noodle Soup, Roast Duck Noodle Soup, and Da-Lu Mien. Then again, those are the only ones there that I've had so far.

                                                                                                                                Has anyone else eaten here that can comment?

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: zhereon

                                                                                                                                  I went there once and had the 'Cha Chiang Mein' which is their spelling for zha zhiang mian (noodles in bean paste sauce). Vastly inferior to A & J and not a good representation of this dish. A & J 's version is not great, mind you, but is rewarding nonetheless.

                                                                                                                                  Basically, you need to go to A & J and ask for the homemade noodles.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                    korean chinese have the same dish (zha zhiang mian). However, the sauce is slightly different.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: zhereon

                                                                                                                                    I was at the Fair Oaks mall today and remembered this discussion so we stopped by for lunch. I had the beef stew noodle soup, husband had the Da Lu Mein. The beef stew was pretty good, nice tender chunks of beef, good thick noodles, bok choy, spinach. The broth was okay, not a ton of flavor but fine. I'd get it again if I were there. My husband had the Da lu mein. It wasn't as good as the beef stew (even though it looked like it would be). It was better after he added chili sauce to it. We tried some of the dim sum items, against our better judgement, and wish we had skipped them. Overall, it's okay. I agree w/ Steve that A&J's is much better (at A&J's, it has to be the homemade noodles, not the wide noodles). But, it's by far the best place to eat at the mall, if you're there at meal time. Don't let the appearance and that it's counter service deter you.