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Chinese in Arlington

I'm trying to find a good Chinese restaurant in Arlington. I know the Vietnamese places around here are great, but I'm trying to find Chinese this time. A place with dishes of equal or better caliber to Bob's in Rockville or A&J in Annandale. What are people's favorite Chinese restaurants in the NOVA area?

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  1. There's the dim sum place near Fort Meyer in Rosslyn. Can't remember the name.

      1. I'll second the China Garden dim sum recommendation (Sunday mornings only, I think). Otherwise, in my experience, you'll be much happier with the Thai and Vietnamese choices in Arlington.

        1. Both Bob's and AJ offer Taiwanese and Northern Chinese cuisine, respectively. There's nothing like that in Arlington. The aforementioned China Garden serves cantonese dim sum. Go for the dim sum, as their normal fare isn't as good.

          1. Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners has a Sichuan menu that has some great selections. Do a search on this board.

            1. If you're REALLY careful with the menu, Hunan Gate (across from the Ballston mall) has a few tasty dishes. They have two preparations of Sichuan beef, one Western, the other much more legit with Sichuan peppercorns that leave that tingle in your mouth. They're also pretty good about going off-menu if you ask. But it takes a LOT of picking to find the gems.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tmentzer

                I live right around the corner from Hunan Gate. Have any other recommendations on what dishes are "gems" there? I've found most dishes to be acceptable - but generally nothing special.

              2. I tend to go to Oriental Gourmet for Chinese food in Arlington. They are in the Lee-Harrison shopping center by Harris Teeter off of Lee Hwy. I love getting my Northern breakfast on the weekends -- they make really yummy xiao bing (chinese flat bread) and you tiao (fried crueller) and it's super fresh. They have a Chinese and "American" menu, so if you want some more homestyle food, ask for the Chinese menu.

                1. I'm in the same situation, just off Fairfax on Taylor.

                  First, I think the majority of their usual suspects are slightly above average, mostly in that they cook them propoerly (kung pao isn't made with monkey meat, fried items usually aren't rubbery). Their fried rices and soups are generally subpar, though I like one rice dish with an off-name, something like Chow Fun. Flavors are much cleaner than their other soy-loaded fried rice. (For way too American fried rice, there's none better than the pork fried rice at the Panda Cafe on Wilson, toward Eden Center. Big chunks of pork, so fake and tasty.)

                  One slightly absurd dish is a sizzling plate with beef and onions. It's only for eat-in, and I got it once on a lark. It was actually rather tasty, but the presentation is over the top, especially for a hole-in-the-wall. I have learned to enjoy the dishes with excessive onions, either yellow or green.

                  Beyond that, there is one dish that my wife and I are at odds about, the szechuan shrimp. The sauce is more like a lobster sauce, with the unappealing snot consistency. But the flavor is, for some reason, addictive to me. It's almost a light sweet and sour. Probably as unauthentic as it gets, but I like it. It's definitely a love-hate dish.

                  The biggest find was definitely the szechuan beef, not under beef but under chef's specialties. It's called something like Special Szechuan Style Beef. On every occasion but one it's been great; one time they loaded on the Szechuan peppercorns and I couldn't feel my tongue for hours, practically inedible. But worth a shot. (Still in the process of eating thru that chef's menu.)

                  I also like the sweet and spicy cabbage appetizer, but I'm also a huge fan of kimchi. I could make a meal out of the cabbage and a large order of rice.

                  Maybe not "gemlike" but definitly above average for Arlington Chinese takeout, which I've found to be miserable in general.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tmentzer

                    Thanks. I've generally had good experiences with the Jumbo Shrimp dishes there(Imperial Shrimp, Shrimp in Black Bean). They usually give a good sized portion of shrimp that are generally pretty tasty.

                    1. re: jaydreb

                      An aside, after having really good jumbo shrimp with spiced salt at Meiwah on New Hampshire, I vaguely recall seeing that on the menu at Hunan Gate. Hoping to scope that out soon (if memory is serving me...).

                    1. I enjoyed Hunan Number One back in the day, but I would always go for lunch with a Chinese co-worker who was a family friend of the owner, and never ordered off a menu. (Coincidentally, I believe both co-worker and ownership hailed from Guangdong province, not Hunan, but I digress...) So I know that's not much help, but I know they had a chinese menu which was not (at the time, at least, I'm talking 97 or thereabouts) available in English. I would also occasionally pick up clams w/ black bean sauce for late night eats, since they were open til 2. I hear they have come under new ownership so this may all be moot, but there was a time at least when they served up solid cantonese to folks who knew how to order it.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Lowbar

                        I agree that they used to have fabulous cantonese, but their only probably was that the food was always underseasoned. If the food was not salty enough/bland, then it was not sour enough. I would order the kingdom pork chops and it wouldn't be sour at all, but it certainly looked great and the pork chops were of nice size. They also used to serve decent dim sum, but their decor was extremely dated, with the booths with vinyl benches and the dark interior.

                        1. re: Lowbar

                          lowbar, that's how I normally go out when I have chinese, vietnamese, or thai food. No menu needed. Just drop in and chat w/ the chef and leave it in their hands. Sometimes, we've had to fight w/ the chef to make sure he didn't pay our bill. Kinda spoils you to the typical experience.