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Good chinese dim sum restaurants in or around washington DC

b
BeccaB Jan 13, 2008 07:07 AM

Hello, we are new to the area and have been looking for a good Chinese dim sum restaurant in or around Washington DC. Does anyone have any good recommendations?
Thank you

  1. j
    jes Jan 13, 2008 09:26 AM

    This is a hotly debated topic on this board but I like Hollywood East in Silver Spring.

    1. e
      Ellen Jan 13, 2008 11:20 AM

      Do a search of this board. As the previous poster said, there has been much posted on this topic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ellen
        beauxgoris Jan 13, 2008 12:23 PM

        I've never been - but i've heard Hollywood East in Wheaton was the place to go.

      2. Chandavkl Jan 13, 2008 07:28 PM

        In the other geographic direction there's Mark's Duck House in Falls Church. Nothing worth while in Washington DC itself.

        1. b
          bluehawaii218 Jan 14, 2008 08:26 AM

          I also enjoyed Hollywood East in Wheaton. My fam and I also go to New Fortune in Gaithersburg. It is one of the larger dim sum places in the area and also offers roast pork, duck, chicken...

          1. k
            keithdcil Jan 14, 2008 08:44 AM

            In MD, Hollywood East in Silver Spring. In VA, Marks Duck House (this is controversial to many on this board).

            3 Replies
            1. re: keithdcil
              d
              dpan Jan 14, 2008 10:12 AM

              Frankly, I wish you'd all stay away from Mark's Duck House so I can get a table without a long wait on the weekends.

              1. re: keithdcil
                DanielK Jan 14, 2008 10:26 AM

                Please do a search on the older threads - we've beaten this one to death many times.

                Do note that the Hollywood East in Wheaton is actually Hollywood East Cafe on the Boulevard - the original Hollywood East location is 2 blocks away and still open, but does not excite for dim sum.

                I vacillate between HECOTB and New Fortune in Gaithersburg as the best, with Oriental East a close second. None of the others, including Fortune, Lucky 3, Mark's, China Garden, Silver Fountain, etc. match up to me.

                1. re: DanielK
                  DanielK Jan 27, 2008 01:16 PM

                  After a trip to HECOTB today, I think maybe I'm putting it back on top of New Fortune, but only by a hair, based on my trip to NF about a month ago.

                  Looking forward to going back to NF soon to see if they can regain the crown!

              2. rheelee Jan 19, 2008 05:24 PM

                Welcome to the area! I'm a Chinese American foodie and wouldn't recommend any of the VA Chinese dim sum restaurants. You must go to Montgomery County for more authentic dim sum. The BEST dim sum in the area is definitely ORIENTAL EAST in Silver Spring--best variety, hot, and fresh. Get there early to get a seat in the first seating or you must wait.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rheelee
                  d
                  dan f. Jan 19, 2008 07:03 PM

                  I think you're right, rheelee. Used to go to Oriental East all the time, haven't been lately BUT a friend of my 20something son, a Malaysian woman of Chinese descent who lives in New York, went to Oriental East & said it was the best dim sum she's had in the U.S. To me, that's quite a recommendation.

                  1. re: dan f.
                    rheelee Jan 23, 2008 02:19 PM

                    I've tried the dim sum at all of the other places (New Fortune, Mark's, Silver Fountain, China Garden, Fortune, Hollywood East, etc.) My Hong Kong dim sum aficionado friends and I agree that the others pale in comparison to Oriental East. Give it a try--you'll be a believer.

                2. l
                  LoveFood2Much Jan 20, 2008 08:41 AM

                  I had made this same request 3-4 months ago after I had the Misfortune of trying dim sum at Fortune in Arlington. It was horrible.
                  I got many recommendations and I am very, very happy to announce that I just returned from Mark's Duck House and here is my review.
                  I arrived a little earlier than normal at 10:30 am due to the fact everyone on this board says how awfully crowded this place gets. Seated immediately and provided tea. There was about 10 tables occupied or about 20-25% full. The carts came out a little slow initially but then I realized how great this was-they didn't want to load up 10 carts full of food and push them around so the food got cold. EVERYTHING I had was piping hot. First kudo's. It also allowed me not to do the usual mistake and over stuff the table in the first 10-15 minutes.
                  This is what I had:
                  1. Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (4) -absolutely delicious with a big flavorful shrimp and a nice lite wrapper
                  2. Chive Dumplings (3)- These again were just fabulous. The outside was SO incredible crispy and then rest so delicious. Great balance and flavor with no greasiness
                  3. Turnip Cake (3)- This is one of my favorite things to order at dim sum and many people don't like the taste/texture. I would say this was one of the best I've ever eaten. The top and bottom was just so crispy with no grease, the inside light and tasty, and the little bits of meat just made this a winner.
                  5. Pan Fried Bean Sheet Cake (3)-This was another big winner. The tofu wrapper just incredible and the flavors of the pork patty inside was top notch.
                  6. Chinese Broccoli-Winner and cooked to perfection: a little crunchy with an awesome thick sweetened brown sauce poured over top.
                  7. Pork in Rice Noodle (3) - I would say this was good not great. The flavor and taste were outstanding but the ratio of rice noodle to pork was a little too heavy and should be a little less noodle IMHO but still good.
                  8. Shrimp paste wrapped in Seaweed (3)- This was probably the only item that I didn't care for. I ate one but it was a little dry and too big in size. If this was maybe 1/2 the size and a little more moist, it would have been better,. The seawood wrapper was very good and crispy.
                  9. Pork Shiu Mai (4) - Very good and served hot-this is hard for a dim sum place to mess up as it is Dim Sum 101.
                  10. Sesame Balls (3) - When they first arrived I thought I was gonna burst. They were larger than a golf ball and I figured I could get one down and the other two would be taken home. Well let me tell you that these sesame balls were the absolute BEST I've eaten anywhere in the world, including China, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Toronto. They were so crispy and the lightest I've ever tasted. Somehow most of the inside was hollow and a little yellow coconut paste with what I think was condensed milk was in the center to sweeten it, I always dunk the balls in a little soy sauce and the salty taste of the soy along with the sesame and sweet insides is a complete joyful experience.

                  After my awful experience at Fortune and the not so great talk of less than good dim sum in this NoVa area, I am so, so happy I tried here. It is a 9 on a scale of 10. I will definitely be back and next time I will bring a few friends.

                  I wish a couple of the other dishes would have been out earlier for me to add variety to all the starch platters I ate but I am still a very happy and very full chowhound.

                  If you do not like the dim sum here, you shouldn't eat dim sum ever. This is the real McCoy.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: LoveFood2Much
                    b
                    bumpthekoala Jan 26, 2008 06:56 PM

                    I went to Marks on this recommendation and I have to say I disagree totally with your write up. The dim sum I remember is beautiful little morsals of shrimp and pork wrapped in a thin crispy wrapper. Not spongy sad little fat balls that just didn't taste right. Your scallion balls were right on but the rest of it just tasted weird. And the tea (on this occasion) tasted like fish water.

                    1. re: bumpthekoala
                      l
                      LoveFood2Much Jan 27, 2008 08:15 AM

                      bumpthekoala, I'm terribly sorry that our tastes seem to be so polar opposite.
                      I normally have a glass of Chardonnay with my dim sum as it compliments the chili oil and spices. I rarely drink tea with dim sum as the caffeine causes me indegestion after dim sum. So the tea I can not comment on.
                      However, when most are STEAMED plates they have a softer non-crispy texture whereas the Chive Dumplings were pan fried and very crispy.
                      Scallion Balls? I think you meant Sesame balls.
                      I've eaten dim sum in Hong Kong and China 100 times, San Francisco and Toronto another 50+, and a few times in New York City, so I think have a pretty good base for evaluation.
                      What are your favorite dim sum places locally? Best few anywhere?

                      1. re: LoveFood2Much
                        b
                        bumpthekoala Jan 27, 2008 10:31 AM

                        I haven't found a dim sum place yet that I like. I love the soup dumplings that can be found in Chinatown, and the pork filled dumplings (we pronounced it SHOW-pow) available in Annandale. Other than that I only enjoy pan chan in this area.

                        And I agree that dim sum is steamed but my aunt made them in the oven a particular way which remains my standard. My idea of shui mai is they should come crowded in one of those steamer plates and I should be fighting for the last one. Just didn't happen at Marks.

                        1. re: bumpthekoala
                          d
                          dpan Jan 27, 2008 10:47 AM

                          I hate to tell you what you're describing is not HK dim sum, but your aunt's version. Shu Mai is of course steamed, using wonton wrapper around the meat. So it definitely shouldn't be crispy. And xiaolongbao and xiaobao are not HK dim sum, so a comparison to that would be unfair to make.

                        2. re: LoveFood2Much
                          c
                          Chownut Jan 27, 2008 03:22 PM

                          You should ask for Chrysanthemum tea, it doesn't have caffeine.

                          Chard doesn't go good with dim sum b/c it's too sweet and disguises the flavor of the dim sum.

                          1. re: Chownut
                            l
                            LoveFood2Much Jan 28, 2008 09:39 AM

                            Chownut-thanks for the tip on the tea.
                            However, many lighter Chards go VERY well with dim sum and are recommended by a lot of sommeliers. I would prefer a Sauvignon Blanc but most dim sum places won't have it. (Except Yank Sing in SF)

                    2. g
                      goldendragon822 Jan 20, 2008 12:57 PM

                      If your around the Arlington, China Garden is passable... nothing to write home about; but is good enough for a quick fix.

                      -----
                      China Garden Restaurant
                      1100 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

                      1. z
                        zinfandel Jan 25, 2008 07:31 PM

                        For northern chinese dim sum in Montgomery County, A&J restuarant. mmmm scallion pancakes...

                        Gosh, I haven't been there in maybe a year. I hope it's still open.

                        1. BmoreHound Jan 26, 2008 07:55 AM

                          It really depends on what you like. There's nothing in the area that doesn't everything well.

                          One place you should try is China Chef in Wheaton. My extended family's favourite (and yes, I've been to all of them).

                          I think the best overall place right now is New Fortune in Gaithersburg. Pretty much everything was good, and some of the stuff was particulary good (clams in black-bean sauce; Char-sui bao; har-gow).

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