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Help me find the following Chinese Dishes in the DC Area.

nissenpa Oct 15, 2007 12:25 PM

I just got back from an incredibly sinful weekend of eating in San Diego and the San Gabriel Valley. Can anyone tell me where I can find these dishes:


Cong You Niu Rou Juan (Beef Rolls with Scallion Pancakes)
Shang Hai Chao Nian Gao (New Years Rice Cake)
Shui Zi Tou (Lion's Head Meatballs)
Yiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings)
Northern Chinese Breakfast

Crispy Catfish and Mango Salad
BBQ Catfish

I'll post my pictures later.


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  1. DanielK RE: nissenpa Oct 15, 2007 02:15 PM

    Only place I've found Lion's Head Meatballs in the area is Bob's 88 Shabu Shabu in Rockville, but they're amazing and worth the trip. I've found good soup dumplings at Chinatown Express on 6th St. in Chinatown in DC (though the quality varies wildly), and at Shanghai Cafe on Travilah Rd in Potomac.

    1. f
      FoodieGrrl RE: nissenpa Oct 15, 2007 02:58 PM

      China Star: Lion's Head Meatballs
      A&J: Northern Chinese Breakfast, soup dumplings (though they tend not to actually be very soupy)
      Oriental Regency: Northern Chinese Breakfast

      I don't think I've seen the other dishes at any restaurants around here. I do know that I've seen nian gao/rice cake on a couple of menus around here but they might be prepared differently than that particular dish.

      You may also want to pay a visit to Peking Village in Merrifield. I've only been there once, so I'm not terribly familiar with their menu, but it might have some things you're looking for.

      8 Replies
      1. re: FoodieGrrl
        Lori D RE: FoodieGrrl Oct 16, 2007 06:59 AM

        Peking Village serves Northern Chinese breakfast. However, when I went, this was on the Chinese menu (as in Chinese only, no translations). It was very good. I was with Chinese friends who did all the ordering; I'm not sure how easy it is to get help with the Chinese menu if you need it.

        1. re: Lori D
          MikeR RE: Lori D Oct 16, 2007 08:48 AM

          So what DO the Northern Chinese eat for breakfast? Or is that a strange translation of something?

          1. re: MikeR
            dpan RE: MikeR Oct 16, 2007 09:10 AM

            Northern China is more or less wheat growing region. They eat a lot of breads and noodles made from wheat. A typical northern style breakfast consists of hot soy milk (sweet or salty), steamed buns (with or without filling), You Tiao (salty fried crullers), and shao bing (a type of baked flat bread with sesame seeds on top).

            1. re: dpan
              MikeR RE: dpan Oct 16, 2007 01:44 PM

              Thanks for the translation. Any one of those (except maybe for the soy milk - I didn't know soys had mammaries) would be enough breakfast for me. ;)

        2. re: FoodieGrrl
          PollyG RE: FoodieGrrl Nov 7, 2007 11:21 AM

          A&J's Northern Chinese Breakfast is only on weekends.

          1. re: FoodieGrrl
            nissenpa RE: FoodieGrrl Dec 2, 2007 08:26 AM

            Where are Oriental Regency and Peking Village? I am in Alexandria but am willing to drive. Thank you.

            1. re: nissenpa
              FoodieGrrl RE: nissenpa Dec 2, 2007 01:06 PM


              Oriental Regency
              8605 Westwood Center Dr # 100, Vienna, VA

              Peking Village Restaurant
              2962 Gallows Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042

              1. re: FoodieGrrl
                nissenpa RE: FoodieGrrl Dec 3, 2007 03:21 AM

                Thank you!!!!!

          2. d
            deangold RE: nissenpa Oct 15, 2007 03:12 PM

            Bob's Shabu now serves the soup dumplings too. Very good, maybe not as good as NYC but one heck of a lot closer. Soup dumplings, lion's head and shabu all in one spot. Add long pepper beef (either the dish or soup) and I am one happy camper.

            1. Dennis S RE: nissenpa Oct 16, 2007 03:39 AM

              Thai Square has a crispy catfish dish as an appetizer. No mango salad with it (though if I recall correctly it is done sort of as a salad).

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dennis S
                sweth RE: Dennis S Oct 16, 2007 07:12 AM

                I think the OP is asking for Yum Pla Dook Foo (shredded fried catfish and green mango salad); if so, I know I've had it at either Thai Square or Bangkok 54, although it was a while ago.

                1. re: sweth
                  MartinDC RE: sweth Oct 16, 2007 01:48 PM

                  I think it's green papaya salad, made of shredded unripened papayas.

                  1. re: MartinDC
                    sweth RE: MartinDC Nov 1, 2007 10:25 PM

                    If that's what he's looking for, then a version of it can be found at almost every Thai place in the area, either by that name or as "Som Tam" or "Som Tum". I've never seen that made w/ catfish, though.

              2. MFoxM RE: nissenpa Oct 16, 2007 08:54 AM

                My mom makes a helluva lion's head. It's a shame she thinks that it's "over the head" of most american pallets.

                11 Replies
                1. re: MFoxM
                  Minger RE: MFoxM Oct 16, 2007 02:26 PM

                  aren't lion's head meatballs common on dim sum carts? if i'm not mistaken, they are big meatballs formed of finely minced meat and steamed. i think i've had them at the lucky 3 buffet.

                  1. re: Minger
                    dpan RE: Minger Oct 16, 2007 03:37 PM

                    No. The dim sum cart has steamed beef balls. Lions head are much bigger and made from pork, and they're spiced differently. Personally, I find them rather tasteless.

                    1. re: Minger
                      meimei RE: Minger Oct 16, 2007 07:31 PM

                      Traditional lions' head are kinda like Italian meatball. you pan fry it first than "braise" it with napa cabbage. The meat ball you are thinking off are steamed only, and there are extra corn starch in there to give it the texture it has. Lions head can have many different ingredients, like almost all other Chinese dishes. Depends on where your family originated, and how your mom (grandmother) used to make them. To me tho, the best part is not the meat ball itself. But the cabbage and the sauce. The braising process break down the cabbage so its soft and full of yummy meat juice. But the sauce, beside the flavoring from meat, also got the natural sweetness from the cabbage. When I was little and spend the wkd with my grandparents, that's what I always get. I miss "real" home made Chinese food.....

                      1. re: meimei
                        DanielK RE: meimei Oct 16, 2007 08:07 PM

                        Also, the steamed beef balls on the dim sum carts are smaller than golf balls. The Lion's Head Meatballs are far closer to baseballs in size...

                        1. re: meimei
                          MFoxM RE: meimei Nov 3, 2007 11:48 AM

                          Exactly. The Steamed meatballs from the dim sum cart almost has a different consistency from the lion's head. It's almost...gluey? And Meimei's got it right because the best part of the dish is actually the broth that comes with it. Goes amazingly well with rice (surprise).

                          1. re: MFoxM
                            Chandavkl RE: MFoxM Nov 6, 2007 09:05 PM

                            The dim sum beef balls are minced into submission, such they are hardly recognizable as beef, at least texture wise.

                            1. re: Chandavkl
                              nissenpa RE: Chandavkl Nov 7, 2007 10:12 AM

                              Are the dim sum beef balls good? I saw a picture on Mark's Duck House website.

                              1. re: nissenpa
                                Minger RE: nissenpa Nov 7, 2007 01:33 PM

                                nissenpa, i tend to avoid the dim sum beef balls for the other items because the texture goes against what i expect from meatballs. it's like another form of processed gyro meat or old school chicken mcnuggets but in a ball an d softer. i certainly don't find it offensive and it's worth trying for something different.

                                1. re: Minger
                                  nissenpa RE: Minger Nov 7, 2007 03:22 PM

                                  Thanks Minger. I will save room in the tummy for other things.

                                  1. re: nissenpa
                                    MFoxM RE: nissenpa Nov 7, 2007 08:35 PM

                                    The thing about dim sum is that even though everything's pretty yummy - it's got a lot of hidden fat. The cornstarch used to bind most of the filling plus the cheap cuts that's used makes it quite fattening even though it's steamed. The orginal purpose of dim sum was to have little bits of snacks to enjoy with your tea through out the morning...not to eat in one quit sitting like we do. Anyways - it's worth it every once in a while.

                                    1. re: MFoxM
                                      PakaloloDreams RE: MFoxM Nov 15, 2007 05:22 PM

                                      what you say about the original purpose of dim sum may be arguable, but dim sum has evolved into a great weekend get together for family and friends around pots of tea and great food for at least the last 50 years, if not more, both in china and elsewhere, so even the cantonese both here and in HK spend hours over many many dishes in one sitting. it may not be healthy, but it is so fun and delicious. heh. also, I believe cheap cuts are where great cuisines make their mark (i certainly wouldn't want my siu mai made from loin chops!), and as chowhounds, we don't mind the fat as that's where much flavor comes from. hehe ;-)

                    2. alkapal RE: nissenpa Nov 15, 2007 09:59 AM

                      nissenpa, have you posted your pictures, as promised?
                      or is it like me in college, when i was going to post a sign on my door saying, "procrastinator's club members welcome....but not right now!" ;-)

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: alkapal
                        nissenpa RE: alkapal Nov 16, 2007 04:30 AM

                        I've posted some on my blog but have since been preoccupied with my 20 month old. Today DH is home so I may ust throw them up on this link. I'm new to taking pics of food so they are not the greatest but they should still make you hungry.

                        I also went to A&J last weekend and need to write up that review on another post I started. Wonderful experience and my husband is now a convert.

                        1. re: nissenpa
                          alkapal RE: nissenpa Nov 16, 2007 04:41 AM

                          you're *busy* with a 20-month-old? ;-)


                          (now,please don't ask me about the photos i have been meaning to post about my trip to florida!!!)

                          1. re: alkapal
                            nissenpa RE: alkapal Nov 16, 2007 11:34 AM

                            Here are some of the pics.

                            1. re: nissenpa
                              nissenpa RE: nissenpa Nov 16, 2007 11:35 AM

                              More pics

                              1. re: nissenpa
                                nissenpa RE: nissenpa Nov 16, 2007 11:37 AM

                                and more

                                1. re: nissenpa
                                  nissenpa RE: nissenpa Nov 16, 2007 11:39 AM

                                  yes--we ate a LOT!

                                  1. re: nissenpa
                                    alkapal RE: nissenpa Nov 16, 2007 11:40 AM

                                    now THAT is some serious chowing, nissenpa! great job on the photos; it all looked delicious! hopefully you will be a good chow scout for us here, too!

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