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Feb 9, 2008 11:40 AM

D.C. Chinatown - lunch recs.?

My (college-aged) son wants to take his GF to Chinatown for lunch next week. Nothing fancy (they'll be in jeans) but good food. Where would you recommend?


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  1. You'll probably get a lot of recommendations for the same places, but my favorites are Full Kee for yummy and authentic Hong Kong style noodle soups, and Chinatown Express for handmade noodles and decent dumplings.

    I say "decent" because they serve a type of dumpling called xiao long bao, which are also referred to as soup dumplings. Soup dumplings are called that because when they are steamed, they develop a broth inside the skin. When you eat them, you're supposed to hold them with your chopsticks over a Chinese soup spoon. Once you bite into them, they are supposed to burst and the soup is supposed to run into the spoon and you can drink it from the spoon. Unfortunately, the skins on the ones served at Chinatown Express often burst in the cooking and release the soup before it even gets to your table. Kinda defeats the purpose in my opinion. Nevertheless, the flavor is excellent, but not really soupy.

    Eat First, I haven't been to in years, so I can't vouch for it, but it's on my list of places to revisit soon.

    If your son is looking for non-Chinese, but in Chinatown for location, there's Matchbox for mini-burgers and pizza and would be a fun place for the college-aged, and Urban BBQ for Texas-style BBQ.

    2 Replies
    1. re: FoodieGrrl

      I think you mean Capital Q, rather than Urban BBQ. (But I'd be thrilled if you were right.)

      1. re: Gonzocook

        Oh, duh. You're right. My bad! :-D

    2. Full Kee for Cantonese. Oyster and ginger casserole, duck stuffed with shrimp pate, fried dumplings, sauteed chive flowers.

      1. This is great! Thanks for your suggestions and please keep them coming. In a few days, I'll print this out for him and let him search based on your recs. :)

        1. FULL KEE Yes!!!!

          caveat, may contain a little MSG.

          fairly comprehensive and neutral guide:

          1 Reply
          1. re: hill food

            I agree about Chinatown Express's "soup" dumplings. I've tried them 3 times and never once have I gotten a dorp of soup from any of them, even the ones that are intact. They do have a great noodle soup though-full of watever meat you choose (inclduing duck), and chock full of their long soft housemade noodles. It's a great winter-day lunch.

          2. the shrimp dumpling soup (without the ramen noodles) is reason enough to choose full Key anytime. But Tony Cheng's mongolian BBQ is great too. Has the freshest highest quality mongolian i've ever experienced.