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Recommendation request: Best dim sum in D.C. area & Chinese grocery stores

SC77 May 4, 2007 09:56 AM

I am new to this board and to the area, and would appreciate any leads on the best dim sum places in the area (D.C. and suburbs), and a good, comprehensive Chinese grocery store. I just moved to D.C. from NYC, grew up on Southern Chinese cooking, and regularly go out for dim sum with family and friends, so I won't feel fully at home until I figure out where to go around here! I have tried some of the places in D.C.'s Chinatown, including Tony Cheng's, and was not thrilled. I've also seen a number of posts on dim sum, but would be curious to know if previously recommended restaurants are still good, etc. I live in D.C. now, so any recommendations for D.C. Chinatown or MD/VA suburbs would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.

  1. t
    tad0900 May 11, 2007 07:50 PM

    Can't say about dim sum, but know a lot about supermarkets. The Great Wall on Gallows Rd in Falls Church is the largest and has great seafood and vegetables, including things my wife had not seen since leaving China!. Kam Sam and Maxim in Rockville (very close to each other) are also very good, but not as large. For some reason, the pork is better at Maxim and Kam Sam than at Great Wall. The key is that all three of these stores are truly Chinese, with the majority of products coming from China or Taiwan. Other oriental markets, like Super H Mart, Eden Market, Grand Mart, etc. have some Chinese stuff, but are much more oriented toward Korean or Vietnamese food. If you are serious about Chinese cooking, you simply can't find what you want at those places. One more buying tip: Kam Sam seems to be the only place that has the authentic Chinkiang vinegar. You must buy the one from the Jiangsu Cereals, Oils, & Foodstuffs Imp. & Exp. Group Corp. Other stores have bottles that look almost identical--but they are basically counterfeits (made in China, but of inferior quality.) This vinegar is essential for eating spring rolls and dumplings, and, of course, for cooking. Hope this helps.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tad0900
      frankrosalia May 13, 2007 12:44 PM

      tad0900: I really appreciate the info about the authentic ChinKiang vinegar. I have not been able to find the real stuff for a while and have bought a couple of the "counterfeits". I had reconciled myself to using a substitute (but there is really no substitute for the unique taste of that classic vinegar which I grew up on in Hong Kong). Now I will definitely go to Kam Sam and hope to get a real bottle of the CK vinegar. Thank you! Rosalia

      1. re: tad0900
        PollyG May 13, 2007 03:14 PM

        There is also a Kam Sam in Annandale on Markham Street, in the same plaza that has A&J Restaurant, home of little plates of deliciousness. A&J isn't dim sum as such, but the pork pan-fried dumplings are outrageously good and very few of the dishes cost more than $5.

        1. re: PollyG
          luvfoods May 13, 2007 04:44 PM

          I would have to agree. I love their pan fried pork dumplings. I recommend the scallion pancakes and the Noodles with spicy peanut sauce as well.

      2. BmoreHound May 11, 2007 12:04 PM

        may want to check this out: http://www.chowhound.com/search?item_...

        1. chowser May 11, 2007 04:33 AM

          I like Marks Duck House in Virginia (near 7 corners) for dimsum but you have to go when it's busy or the food is very obviously leftover and lukewarm. Hating crowds, I have problems with that. If you go often enough, like my MIL, they know her and bring out fresh warm things for her. As grocery stores go, Great Wall in Merrifield, like many suggested, is good and it's convenient, right off the beltway. Super H is huge, too, but not worth driving an extra 10-15 minutes for me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chowser
            ccbweb May 13, 2007 08:33 PM

            I clicked on this thread to reccommend Mark's Duck House. it is crowded, but its worth it, in my opinion. They seem to have a bit more interesting a selection than many of the other dim sum places. If you prefer some of the more common dim sum items (har gao, egg custard, etc -- which I love) then Fortune, which has a few outposts is a good choice.

            1. re: ccbweb
              Chandavkl May 14, 2007 05:13 PM

              I'll second or third the recommendation for Mark's Duck House. It's the one Chinese restaurant in the Washington DC area that ranks up with the food I'm used to getting in Los Angeles, particularly the San Gabriel Valley. And Mrs. Chandavkl, such a picky eater that there are only a handful SGV restaurants that meet with her approval (can you imagine that?) likes Mark's too.

          2. j
            Jugo703 May 10, 2007 11:55 PM

            Dim Sum...try China Garden in Rosslyn. Close to DC...right off I-66 East (Roosevelt Bridge) on Wilson Blvd. Not sure if its a good sign or not...busloads of Chinese eating dim sum there on the weekends!

            List of ethnic markets here:

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jugo703
              Chandavkl May 14, 2007 05:20 PM

              Are you literally talking about loads of people arriving by bus? If so, that's not a good sign since it means that a tour company has hooked up with the restaurant, and typically those arrangements are based on cost, not quality. If you're speaking metaphorically to say that there are a lot of Chinese patrons, then it's a great sign.

            2. s
              SC77 May 8, 2007 03:39 PM

              Thanks for the replies! Looking forward to trying out all these places...

              1. anhdeluxe May 7, 2007 12:32 PM

                Great Wall Supermarket in Merrifield on Gallows Road. It's HUGE. I go to this place with my cousin for dim sum that is near Eden Center; I think it is called Maxim but I never noticed the name. Really though, I wait until I get to NYC or the West Coast for dim sum -- love Dim Sum Go Go! If you are looking for Metro accesible dim sum, the only place I know if is China Garden in Rosslyn.

                1 Reply
                1. re: anhdeluxe
                  mattm May 8, 2007 01:39 PM

                  If you are talking about the Maxim that is on Rt. 7 near Bailey's Crossroads, that is now called Lucky Three. It changed names awhile back.

                2. DanielK May 5, 2007 12:04 AM

                  There's probably a dozen threads on this in just the past year.

                  I think that New Fortune in Gaithersburg and Hollywood East Cafe on the Boulevard in Wheaton are the best. Oriental East is a close second. Avoid Good Fortune.

                  IMO, none of the places in VA or DC (and I've eaten at ALL of them) measure up to the 3 best in MoCo.

                  1. Chocolatechipkt May 4, 2007 10:55 AM

                    I don't care for Oriental East, but that's just me.

                    As for grocery stores, my favorite is Super H Mart in Fairfax (I think that's where it is). It's Korean, but they have everything and a huge fish selection (at least on weekends). Lots of people also like Great Wall. I live in Montgomery County, so unless I'm buying a lot, I tend to go to Hung Phat (Thai) in Wheaton or Thai Market in Silver Spring. Duangrat's market in Falls Church is small but good too.

                    1. n
                      nc213 May 4, 2007 10:23 AM

                      I love Oriental East in Silver Spring--about two blocks from metro. They have carts on the weekends and holidays and dim sum from menus during the week. Waits can be extensive, so I try to get there around 10:45, which ensures a seat when they open at 11.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nc213
                        Ellen May 8, 2007 03:52 PM

                        My family and friends will second, third and tenth Oriental East. We really love it and have been going for years. I've never been dissappointed. I recently tried the new Lucky Three dim sum lunch buffet (twice) in Bailey's Crossroads on Rt. 7 and thought it was quite good, definitely better than the Maxim's it replaced, which was awful. There were a lot of other decent selections on the buffet as well, including jook with preserved egg and roast pork. Even if you normally avoid buffets, which I do, give this one a try. They probably have a more extensive selection of dim sum and serve from carts on the weekends, however.

                      2. rcheng May 4, 2007 10:05 AM

                        I really enjoy the Dim Sum lunch buffet that is available on weekdays only at the Lucky Three restaurant in Fall Church. I think it's $9.99 but it's a great deal at that price they have most of my favorite Dim Sum items. For $1 extra, you get the clams as well.

                        There may be those that disagree, so let the flaming begin.

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