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Hong Kong Palace Menu -- Pick Your Faves.....

Here is the take-out menu for Hong Kong Palace:

Please pick out some dishes as a feast for two or three people.

I know many hounds here love this place, but talk about the "authentic" menu. Are any of the "good" dishes on this menu here? If not, just list a couple of "must-try" dishes from the other menu. I'd appreciate suggestions in various categories, like appetizers, soups, chef's special and vegetables.


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  1. ok, I'll start. Twice Cooked Pork w/Garlic Leaves (C7) and Ma Po Tofu (C2) are #1 and #2 on my list

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jamie D

      thanks, jamie! now, does this menu overlap to some degree with the "authentic" menu that others have often mentioned?

      1. re: alkapal

        this menu IS the authentic menu, but for some reason it has a different look from the one in the 3-ring binder at the restaurant
        The Golden Corn w/Egg is a good dish to take a break from the heat but it's a big portion, more suitable for a bigger group.

        1. re: Jamie D

          great to know, thanks again! maybe i'll print it out and circle items recommended here -- then take the printout with me!

    2. This is the good menu - it recently changed.

      Chengdu noodles (A9)

      They have another app that I ordered the other day that isn't on the take-out version, which is what the link is to (though I'm confused as they have a link to the take-out version - but this is NOT the authentic in-house menu). This is spicy cold sichuan beef.

      Also not on this - cumin lamb.

      V8 - the egg battered corn (for after you have some of the oil covering your plate.

      Also in the veggie section, the fried lettuce (not on this menu, either).

      1. I'll second the twice-cooked pork. Also, anything "in peppery broth". Recent favorite - steamed whole fish in ginger and garlic.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bylinemjf

          The pork in the twice-cooked pork is from the belly, the same section from which bacon is cut. The taste is phenomenal, but I was put off by the extreme amount of fat so I kept cutting it away. Admittedly, mine is a minority opinion. There are folks for whom the pork belly is a cult cut of meat, worthy of adoration.

          Further down thread, there's mention of beef braised in beer. Ditto on the nothing-special opinion. Another nothing-special dish is the Chengdu Salt and Pepper Shrimp. Peking Gourmet Inn's Jeo-Yen Shrimp is much tastier. (The glory that used to be the Peking Gourmet is no more. With the exception of a couple of dishes, their food is merely servicable. Their Jeo-Yen shrimp is one of those still-excellent dishes.)

          Having raised some red flags about some HKP food, here are my faves:

          o Any of the meat with pickled vegetable dishes. We usually order chicken with pickled vegetables, but a pork version is available. Like the Golden Corn, this is a break from the intensity of the Sichuan dishes. That's not the only reason to order this. It is delicious!

          o Chengdu Zhong dumplings
          o Dan Dan noodle
          o Smoking Tea duck (We've always gotten the appetizer item. I don't know if it is a different preparation or simply a different size portion compared to the listing in the main dishes )
          o Hot and Sour Seafood Soup (not the regular version)
          o Cumin lamb -- Truly incendiary! Truly amazing!

        2. Two thing I can't get elsewhere: 1) the golden corn and egg 2) tiger skin peppers

          The Chengdu noodles have the perfect texture.

          1. I will second the twice cooked pork, the golden corn with egg (agreed that it's best for a big group, it's a huge pile of food), chengdu noodles, cold beef, cumin lamb, and the tiger skin peppers. All seriously good food!

            Also, think about getting some of the spicy wontons for an appetizer

            1. Finally got a chance to go there and will definitely be going back - first time got the pork with garlic leaves (great) and the chengdu kung pao chicken (very good). Egg rolls are forgettable but the chengdu zhongs dumplings are worth getting!! Anyone tried the braised beef with beer sauce?? sounds interesting.....

              1 Reply
              1. re: chowmac

                Yeah, I've tried it, definitely not too good.

              2. How cool! They now have many (if not all) of the "real Chinese" dishes on the takeout menu. That's new since the last time I was there, and it's about time! Like most here, the twice cooked pork with garlic leaves is my usual vice, but I liked the chengdou kung pao chicken quite a bit. It's very different from the usual dish. The ziran ribs and beef are tasty, too. (funny but that's the way it was spelled on the older book menu, but lately it's been "cumin rib" and beef.

                3 Replies
                1. re: MikeR

                  The menus still differ, including from the good authentic sit-down to the carry-out (which is on the site). Not sure why there is a difference as some of the missing items from the take-out would still "take-out" well.

                  1. re: MikeR

                    I think Zhiran (sp?) means cumin in Chinese.

                    1. re: Steve

                      It does, or at least it means that cumin is used in the cooking. When they first became Szechuan, they spelled it with an X, "xirhan" or something like that.

                  2. I'm partial to the cumin fish, some of the best fried fish (lightly battered) that I've had in a restaurant of any cuisine.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Gonzocook

                      Went with my wife and a visiting friend last night. For starters, we had A4 Tangy Spicy Wontons and A11 Beef /w tendons and tripe in Szechuan sauce. Then we ordered C2 Ma Po Tofu, Cumin Fish (not on the take-out menu), and a stirred fried vegetable dish which I don't know what it's called in English. We loved all of it. The fish was slightly salty for me but it was tender and tasty. The tofu was very flavorful. I would compare HKP favorably to Sichuan Village, China Star, Jasmine Garden, and Peking Village.

                    2. Chengdu Spicy Cold Noodles - The waiters always tease me that I have to get this dish every time I go. It's fantastic.

                      Cumin Lamb

                      Salt and Pepper Shrimp

                      Fried Chicken with Potatoes - on the specials menu on the wall, written in Chinese.

                      Snow Pea Shoots with Garlic and the String Beans on the Vegetable menu are great.

                      Sesame balls there are good too.

                      Dong Po Braised Pork - actually, I think it's too fatty, but that's how I always feel about pork belly, but my bf always begs to get this.

                      You should always ask the waitstaff if they can tell you about the specials. If you tell them you're interested in "something with beef/chicken/pork that's really spicy/not spicy," they will work with you in making suggestions.

                      1. Don't miss out on the green onion cakes appetizer (authentic menu) they're great with the duck sauce.
                        The regular Kung Pao Chicken is very memorable as well.
                        I second the vote for the spicy wontons.
                        Chengdu Roast Duck was very tasty.
                        -Cho-cho beef was not great, a bit like soggy jerkey.

                        1. I am a huge fan of Joe's Noodle House, so when I heard about HK Palace I was excited because it's close to home. I've had it twice (last night was the second time) and I'm a bit disappointed. Here are my thoughts on each dish:

                          Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken - Better than most Kung Pao, with a lighter, slightly more complex sauce.

                          The Wooden Ear Mushroom Salad - Slightly bland, I wanted to like it, but I think it just wasn't my cup of tea.

                          Chengdu Zhong's Dumpling - Good sauce, dumpling skin was too thick, filling was under seasoned. May have suffered from time to take it home.

                          Mini Wonton With Chicken Broth - Meh; but I wasn't expecting much anyway. This was for my kid.

                          Chengdu Smoking Tea Duck - Tasty, but the appetizer portion was mostly bone and gristle.

                          Lamb With Cumin - Major disappointment. It was more like, onions and peppers with small slivers of lamb. Maybe I have come particular to Joe's preparation, but the HKP version was oversauced and you could barely taste the cumin. I also like the way Joe's prepares theirs with chunks, rather than slices and cooks it fairly dry. Plenty of Sezchuan peppercorns, though.

                          Fried Spinach with Garlic - not bad.

                          I'll be back to try some of the other recs on this post, but I can't say that it's in the regular rotation right now.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: DC Taco

                            Sounds like you got a raw deal. First of all, the cumin lamb is not normally served with a sauce at all. It is dry-fried. And the smoked duck shouldn't be grisly.

                            HKP used to have a policy that they would not serve their Sichuan items as carry-out, so I guess they changed that.

                            1. re: Steve

                              Interesting. That's what I expected from the cumin lamb, as well. It was almost as if they took a "sliced lamb in brown sauce" dish and threw some cumin and peppercorns on it. Both times I have done carry out, so maybe I should try eating in next time.

                              1. re: DC Taco

                                FWIW, I got the cumin lamb at HKP last week, and it was the dry version w/ fairly large slices of lamb. I didn't get any sichuan peppercorn, but there was good cumin flavor. I also (as per this thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/519626 ) tried the gong bao there, which wasn't bad; I was more impressed w/ the cumin lamb, though.

                                1. re: sweth

                                  That seals it, then, I have to sit down and try again.

                            2. re: DC Taco

                              Wow, they must've been off with the Cumin Lamb. It's usually a really good dish. It might always be slightly light in quantity of lamb, but the cumin has always shone through for me (and really I couldn't argue about quantity of lamb - but it wasn't a LOT like some other places - haven't had Joe's version, btw).

                              1. re: DC Taco

                                This is interesting. I love HKP, but I'm consistently underwhelmed by Joe's Noodle House. I must have tried at least a dozen things on JNH's menu and have yet to discover a dish I would bother having again. I wonder if it's a taste/palette thing, i.e. that some combinations of textures and flavors do it for one person, but not another.

                                1. re: FoodieGrrl

                                  While all Sichuan, there is a definite style to each of the places, including Sichuan Village, Temptasian and China Star - even though a few of those have similar back genetics, so to speak.

                                  HKP and Joe's are my current faves, but I go for different reasons.

                                  1. re: Dennis S

                                    Yup, you're absolutely right - they do approach things differently. I wonder too how much of it depends on just what you grew up on. My dad is an amazing Chinese cook. While not Sichuan exactly, he loved spicy foods and experimented a lot in the kitchen. HKP tastes more like the stuff I grew up on, than Joe's ever has, so to me, it just tastes "better".

                                    Interestingly, my dad loves Joe's!

                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                      Some observations on HKP. First of all, biased by now. Love the place.

                                      Good to build relationsips with the staff, especially when you are ordering carryout, so they know you and your tastes. If they don't recognize you they will likely dumb it down or prepare it carelessly. Monday/Tuesday staff completely different from the rest of the week, but once they know you, things are generally okay. We've had very poor versions of some of our favorites because of this.

                                      Over all, love this place and most is generally excellent. One pleasant surprise: One our group one night just had to have General Tso's chicken, one of the typical Chinese-American dishes. Shockingly good, though it was clear it would never have survived carryout. Makes you wonder what else is there, but one step at a time on that with our less adventurous friends.

                                      BTW, on a good night, staff will translate and make reccs from the menu on the wall.

                                      1. re: ciaohound

                                        I love it too, and feel welcomed, as the main FOH person recognizes me when I come in for take out. Last night I got the Dan Dan noodles and finally tried the Home Style Bean Curd, both off the pink menu. Yum! I love the Ma Po Tofu as well. I wasn't crazy about the twice cooked pork with garlic leaves, as the pork was sliced very thin and this seemed to negate any porcine flavor, as the meat was kinda dry. Love the scallion pancakes too. I intend to try the Old Budda Braised Pork and the Stir-Fry of corn and egg in the future. Oh, and the Hot and Sour Soup! Always looking for a good one, with not a lot of cornstarch.

                                        1. re: MsDiPesto

                                          They key to the corn and egg is to have it after you've had something with good sauce or that nice hot oil.

                                    2. re: FoodieGrrl

                                      My guess is that you haven't tried the shredded radish at JNH. Go for it. One of the best dishes the DC area has to offer. Combine that with the bacon and leek and the peanuts with fried baby smelt, and you've got a great meal.

                                  2. Looking for something different today, we ordered the spicy wontons, the seafood soup, shrimp with garlic sauce (not on the menu) and sliced pork with mushrooms (a today's special). There was an unwelcome hint of sugar in the shrimp but everything else was great. Even the tea seems to be of higher quality than that offered by other Chinese restaurants.

                                    1. A question---I haven't been there yet but am wondering---is the chicken they use in meals white meat, dark meat or a mix? Thanks.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: MizYellowRose

                                        I think that most of the chicken I've had there has been white, but I suppose it depends on the dish. Either way, (so far) it's all been bite sized chunks.

                                        1. re: MizYellowRose

                                          If you have a mind to order chicken, then the chicken in garlic sauce (spelled souse on the menu) is all white meat. But garlic sauce is a misnomer, it is served with black vinegar. And very delicious. From the Sichuan menu.

                                        2. A State Dept Foreign Service officer married to a girl from Chengdu, just back in DC, reports very favorably on HK Palace:


                                          1. I concur with many of the other posters. The Beef in Beer Broth is mediocre at best. The cumin lamb is excellent, as is the cumin beef. It isn't on the take-out menu, but I really like the fish in spicy broth. The fish is unbelievably tender. I also like the chicken with pickled vegetables. As others have said, it is a nice counterpoint to the spicier dishes.

                                            14 Replies
                                            1. re: klaus

                                              that fish dish is good -- and huge!

                                              did i already rave about the snow pea leaves stir-fried with garlic? addictive!

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                The snow pea leaves dish is very simple to make. You can get bags of them at Great Wall. All you do is wash them, and stir fry in hot oil and garlic and it's done.

                                                1. re: dpan

                                                  thanks -- because it is expensive at the resto.

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    FYI - You may want to pull off the stringy part in the middle. Sometimes it can get tough to chew.

                                                    1. re: FoodieGrrl

                                                      At almost any Chinese restaurant after the lunch crowd cleary, you used to find a couple of (usually) women (often waitresses) at a table with a big carton of beans in front of her, pulling out the strings. I haven't seen it as much lately. Maybe they're busier, the waitress union said "that's not our job" or there's some health rule that's being interpreted so as to make doing kitchen work outside the kitchen illegal.

                                                      1. re: MikeR

                                                        Hey MikeR! -- We went to HKP the other night, for an early dinner, and that's just what was going on! Or, at least, there were a couple big bowls of beans on tables in the back, I didn't actually see them working as I sat with my back to them and they got full of customers pretty soon after.

                                                      2. re: FoodieGrrl

                                                        snow pea leaves/shoots. not the beans themselves.

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          Yup, I knew what you meant. I personally prefer the leaves without that stringy part in the middle. It gets caught in my teeth. Ick.

                                                          1. re: FoodieGrrl

                                                            i had to order the dish again the other day. is it simply stir fried with garlic and plain oil? there seems to be some sweetness -- but maybe it is the inherent sweetness of the greens themselves? or do they sneak in some sugar?

                                                            you know, iirc, the first two times i had the dish, it *was* less stringy. maybe some days are better than others. the proprietress mentioned that they had just gotten them fresh that morning. maybe they didn't have time to clean them as well. (this was monday.)

                                                            has anyone else noticed some days are better than others?

                                                            had a craving the other day, and ordered of the "paper menu" (american menu), which i won't do again. mr. alka got sweet and sour shrimp, out of some nostalgia, and i wanted shrimp and scallops in hot garlic sauce. also, we got the mixed veg in a brown sauce. i would not recommend ANY of these.

                                                            the sweet and sour was horribly and tastelessly overbreaded, and the shrimp were tasteless. my scallop/shrimp dish had good shellfish, but the sauce was gloppy, and the vegetables in the dish seemed overcooked. the mixed veg in brown sauce was also overcooked and the brown sauce had an oddly bitter flavor.

                                                            bottom line: don't order off the american menu! i learned my lesson. their hearts are just not in that food style.

                                                            ps, the green onion pancakes on their chinese menu were oily but addictive! i would recommend for at least a try. next time, we want to get peking duck (do they call it beijing duck, i can't recall.)

                                                            has anyone had their lobster dish @ $25?

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              The snowpea shoots have a sweetness all by themselves. No need to add in sugar.

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                A while back I took a couple of friends there for dinner. She's willing to try new things, but he nearly always orders crispy dry fried shredded beef in a Chinese restaurant. This dish isn't on the Chinese menu. Maybe it isn't Chinese enough. He asked if they could make it, and they showed him the American menu where it was listed by one of its familiar names, and he ordered it. We all agreed that it a very good version.

                                                                1. re: MikeR

                                                                  mike, good to know, 'cause i like that dish.

                                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                                  The sweetness should be due to how "young" and/or fresh the leaves are. The younger, the sweeter. If they're too old, then the stringy part in the middle gets really tough and overall the vegetables aren't as sweet.

                                                                  Also, my new addiction at HKP is the Garlic Flavor Fried Flounder. Pieces of flounder batter dipped and fried, but oddly it is neither greasy nor crispy, but just very, very tender. Then the fish is "dusted" with deep fried garlic rolled in a bit of sugar. Oh. Soooooo good.

                                                                  1. re: FoodieGrrl

                                                                    i'll look for that. i'm craving fried fish.

                                                                    anyone know good fried fish in nova -- NOT croakers, but filets.

                                                  2. We just tried here for the first time. The appetizers we chose were not amazing in the least: cucumber with sauce (a pile of cuke wedges with a hoisin based dip), dumplings in hot sauce (doughy dumplings in a too small bowl so they could not really soak up the hot & spicy sauce) and a pretty darn good fried dried fish with peanuts which is a huge order. While the starters were ok to good, we were not amazed or cound not see the big deal and then we got our two entrees!

                                                    Flounder fried and served in a brown sauce appeared similar to H20 at Joe's Noodle House but the version here is far more complex with an assortment of veggies some fresh and some pickled. Each mouthful had a different flavor profile. What a dish, very nicely hot and the use of the Sichuan peppercorns was quite judicious: you knew they are there but they added a layer of complexity instead of dominating the dish. Superb!!! The other entree was the chicken with crunchy pepper which was incredible as well. The peppers have a sesame & peanut candy filling which adds a super texture as well as a sweet hotness to the dish.

                                                    Usually I am a sucker for the small plates at the beginning of the meal at a Sichuan restaurant but at HKP it was the mains that drove my enjoyment. We will be back.

                                                    13 Replies
                                                    1. re: deangold

                                                      Do you remember what the flounder dish was called? Sounds like maybe it was from the specials menu on the wall..... if so, I've had it before and it is an excellent dish.

                                                      I guess they are making the cukes differently than in the past. They were pretty boring the last time I had them as well.

                                                      Not really a 'small plates' (xiao chi) place like JNH, which I would love to have in the Virginia 'burbs. Still, some unique dishes like the chicken with crunchy peppers. Also, on the vegetable menu, the tiger skin peppers and the golden corn and egg are unique orders. Better, of course, with a group of people.

                                                      1. re: Steve

                                                        It was definitely from the specials and she called in something that sounded like fish with broth & spinach but there was little if any spinach. The crunchy peppers are 75% gone from their last shipment and the next batch wont be back in for 2 months.

                                                        Definitely a go in a group kind of place as the flavors are assertive and not just hot and spicy. I can only imagine a meal with 8 or 10 of the dishes like our mains.

                                                        1. re: deangold

                                                          If you're talking about "Boiled Fish and Vegetables in Chili Stock", I had it last week and I second everything you said about it!

                                                          Plenty of soft white filleted fish chunks, a modest amount of vegetables (I recall sprouts, large cloud ear fungus (?), and a few others, all soft) in a BIG ol' bown of perfectly seasoned (very spicy, but just right) broth. This is clearly a dish for two, and I believe it's priced accordingly. Get lots of rice.

                                                          I found it in a review on a blog called "Prince Roy's Realm" http://www.princeroy.org/?p=545 and he posted nice pictures of it and several other HKP dishes in his Flickr pool http://www.flickr.com/photos/princero...

                                                          I printed out the Flickr photo which incluides the name of the dish in Chinese and showed it to the server, and that solved the "how do I order this?" dilemma.

                                                          1. re: wayne keyser

                                                            wayne keyser, THANK you for those links! awesome.

                                                          2. re: deangold

                                                            Back from our third visit and out pattern of hit and miss (well hit and good) continues. We had the Spicy Sichuan Dry Beef and the Bacon with peppers from the special menu and both were quite spectacular, although the Bacon reminded me more of Brandy Ho's or Hanry's Hunan styles in San Francisco than of Sichuan styles elsewhere. Not having been to Sichuan, can't comment otherwise.

                                                            The wood ear mushroom dish was just OK and the fish filet soup with sour veggie was no match for the same dish at Joe's.

                                                            It's definitely in my rotation, especially as it is open till 11pm on Friday and Saturday and if Kay and I can get out early we can get there, but my track record of liking to total dishes ordered is way higher at Joe's than at HKP.

                                                            1. re: deangold

                                                              The enormous variety and quality of small plates at Joe's Noodle House is hard to match. Unfortunately, HKP is not a small plates place. If you get a chance to try the corn and egg dish or the tiger skin peppers from the vegetarian section of the menu, you should. The corn and egg dish will not keep, but the tiger skin peppers are good as leftovers.

                                                              Who knows, maybe they would be willing to do a half portion.....

                                                              1. re: Steve

                                                                We had the corn dish and were not wawed. But what I am talking about is straight up equivalency. Where they both do the same or similar dish, my experience has been that HKP is as good on some, not quite as good on others and a little wan on some. That being said, it is still a very good place.

                                                                1. re: deangold

                                                                  The corn dish, imo, is to be eaten after there's some good sauciness on the plate, let the corn soak it up. It's also a good dish for kids.

                                                                  I've made some mis-steps at Joes recently, but even when I get the better dishes I don't have the wow factor feeling at the end of it like I used to. But HKP I still do (cumin lamb, the pepper/chicken special, the cold noodles).

                                                                  For some reason, even though they're both Sichuan, I have never really compared them side by side.

                                                                  1. re: Dennis S

                                                                    Never having been to Sichuan but I have been to numerous places around the country {especially in LA's Monterrey Park/San Gabriel area} and studied the relatively few cookbooks fromt he region. I think the food at HKP is on the lighter edge of the specturm of Sichuan. Most Sichuan I have experienced and read about, the sauce is dense, almost non liquidy at the end with a layer of pretty pure oil on the bottom of the plate. At HKP the sauces are much more typical on the now 12 dishes we ahve tried.

                                                                    My last few times at Joe's have been pretty spectacular after a long absence. The fish filet soup with sour cabbage is a perfect example: the broth was better at Joe's, the dish hotter and much more sour cabbage was in the dish. At HKP it was a bit of a miss. The bacon dish is great, and very different, at both. It is a tooss up to me which to have.

                                                                    I have yet to order Cumin Lamb yet, so that will be on the next time!

                                                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                                                      I'm with Dean - Joe's is 10 minutes from my house, HKP 10 minutes from my office, and I much prefer Joe's.

                                                                      Specifically, since you mention it Dennis, the Cumin Lamb is better at Joe's, IMHO.

                                                                      1. re: DanielK

                                                                        Somehow I missed that Joe's even had it - I'm using the menu as a bookmark, so maybe I'll give it another full read soon...

                                                                        1. re: Dennis S

                                                                          At Joe's it's called something else - I think it's H14, Tibetan Style Lamb w/Cumin.

                                                          3. re: deangold

                                                            For my money, the Chengdu spicy cold noodles are definitely the way to go in an appetizer. The sliced pork in garlic sauce is also pretty good, IIRC. But the cold noodles are sublime.

                                                          4. Is this the restaurant that serves ox penis?
                                                            If so, has anyone tried it?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: discojing

                                                              I'm pretty sure it is no longer on the menu. However, if you ask for it, I imagine they can make arrangements.

                                                            2. new favorite: chengdu salt and pepper shrimp. big shrimp, tail on, lightly coated with a seasoned cornstarch batter (i think), served with minced peppers, stir fried white onion, green onion tops, red bell pepper dice, and a very mildly hot green pepper (a jalapeño? -- but it is thinner in the flesh....). also, there is a wee bit of cilantro, i think. that is all served on shredded iceberg lettuce.

                                                              the palace just knows how to fry things light and crispy.
                                                              drove by kabob express on the other side of rte. 50, across from eden center. it was closed at 7 p.m. there is no sign on the door, but the place was dark.

                                                              also, checked out the new place XO, cantonese and szechuan place there across from mark's duck house on patrick henry. looks more upscale in decor, but there was only one table of customers at 7 p.m.

                                                              new place in cherrydale at spout run pkwy, where wasabi ito (?) used to be. it is now called "burro grill" or burro café, or the like. good prices, haven't tried the food yet. felt sorry for them as they had zippo customers around 7:15 p.m. tonight (saturday). the proprietors look japanese -- maybe the same people who owned wasabi, which has apparently moved somewhere in tysons corner.

                                                              ok, now i have to finish reflecting on my delicious dinner tonight at hong kong palace!

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                Kabob Express was the worst kabob place I've been to. How can you go wrong with kabobs? If it has closed down, I'd say it's no surprise..

                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                  Dunno how we got here from Hong Kong, but I always thought that Kabob Express, when they were on Columbia Pike, smelled bad and I never ate there. The present (maybe ex-) location didn't smell bad, and I went there a couple of times for the lunch buffet when it was $4.95. It was actually pretty decent since what they served was stuff that could survive the steam tray for a while, and they always were making bread fresh. Last time I passed (and passed) by it was $7.95. I guess they weren't busy enough to keep cheap. Next time I take a walk in that direction I'll make a detour and see if there are any signs of life.

                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                    when i had the lamb sikh kabob a while back, i thought it was pretty good, if not a wee bit salty. mr. alka also liked it.

                                                                2. Tried HKP for the first time this weekend. WOW - didn't know that the area could do northern Chinese this well. We had the cumin lamb, twice cooked pork with greens, and ma po tofu, and several appetizers. It was all fantastic, fresh, and very tasty. This is definitely the best Chinese place i've encountered in the area, and coming from a chinese family from the west coast, i appreciate the find!

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: scotcheroo

                                                                    Glad you liked it. now the next time you go you MUST try to order the chicken dish with the stuffed, crunchy hot peppers. It is NOT on the menu. It is listed on the wall, in Chinese only. I am told the characters mean "mouth, mouth, crispy, good smelling." Indeed.

                                                                    1. re: Steve

                                                                      For sure! I can't wait to get back and that sounds delicious.

                                                                      1. re: scotcheroo

                                                                        So we went back this weekend and I had the crunchy chicken/pepper dish and you were right, it totally rocked. My mouth was on fire (and later, unfortunately, my tummy), but I really couldn't stop eating it, SO good. We also had the gold corn dish (also amazing), the dan dan noodles (great as well), cumin beef, and my all time favorite Ma Po Tofu. Out of all the dishes I thought the beef was the weakest, but still pretty good. My only complaint is that this place is too far away from me to go very often. Sigh.

                                                                  2. On a recent visit to HKP, the server brought us the cumin fish by mistake. We ordered a steamed whole fish from the tank. We knew it was wrong but started eating it anyway (we didn't want to dishonor the fish by having it thrown away!). But it was sublime. It is fried with a very thin coating of flour or constarch (whichever they used), but the seasoning of salt/cumin was subtle and didn't interfere.

                                                                    The server realized she was wrong, brought the steamed fish and took the cumin fish away. We were about to grab it back out of her hands!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: MartinDC

                                                                      I've had this at Temptasian and loved it. Always wondered if HKP's was similar, but haven't gotten around to ordering it (and I always have to get cumin lamb anyway).

                                                                    2. One comment I have about HKP is that they have cut way back on the "ma la". The ma la dishes aren't as hot and numbing as you'll find at Joe's or even the Great Wall (14th St DC). I happen to like a fairly numbing dried beef, or ma po tofu. But I do think the dishes are very well balanaced in how they're flavored. And everything comes cooked just right, especially the fish.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: MartinDC

                                                                        In some cases I made sure to ask for extra. "Ja Ma."

                                                                      2. Thanks to all the 70+ commenters about the restaurant for tuning me in to Hong Kong Palace. Last night, my husband was craving some meat he could gnaw off the bone so we decided to search for a good chinese duck place and this came up. Lucky for us, it's only 2 miles away from our home.

                                                                        We ordered the chengdu noodles and tiger skin peppers (for me, the spicy loving vegetarian) and the tea smoked duck for him. We loved everything. The sauces were clearly made from scratch and were incredibly flavorful.

                                                                        We loved the waitstaff; they were very helpful and friendly. Just about all the waiters who saw we got the peppers told us they'd be even better the next day. Indeed they are. Wow! Best Chinese leftovers ever.

                                                                        1. I've stopped going. Yeah, good food, but I'm tired of going to pick up takeout, going to the back, and then being told I'm in the way and need to move. Yeah, I know, you have no place to stand that is not in the way of the orders coming out of the kitchen. China Star is good enough for me.

                                                                          1. Both the Dan Dan noodles and the Chengdu cold noodles are amazing -- the former is the pasta of my dreams, a silky narrow-gauge version of linguini, and the latter features just a hint of the numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorns.

                                                                            The Chengdu kung pao chicken put me in the mind of sticky buns when I first tried it, which is a misleading picture to paint in that it would seem to suggest cloyingly sweet like sweet-and-sour or some General Tso's. Quite the opposite -- but somehow the way the ginger tinges the brown sauce creates a light and clean version of that carmelized aura.

                                                                            (And actually, this place's General Tso's -- my wife's order -- is pretty darn good as well, almost like Korean fried chicken. I love the way Hong Kong Palace gave us the "real" menu rather than the American one; the waitress produced the American one when we asked about my wife's preferred item, but it was sweet and funny the way her face lighted up when I started ordering the "real" items.)

                                                                            Speaking of fried chicken, it's a misnomer in the name of the fried chicken with spicy potato, which may be the best dish I've tried so far. I eat this and I don't think "Chinese food"; I think "burrito filling of the gods." That's the cumin talking, obviously, but boy is that some comfort food.

                                                                            One disappointment: I love kidneys in steak-and-kidney pie or rognons de veau a la moutarde, but the stir-fried kidneys ("stir-friend" on the menu) at Hong Kong Palace are no better than OK. Drive to Odenton and get the cold "triple treasures" appetizer for your offal fix.

                                                                            1. NEW WEBSITE: http://www.hkpalace.webs.com/

                                                                              Aargh! Flash! Music!

                                                                              But it announces a Maryland branch, at 16805 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville 301-963-1570 (Shady Grove area)

                                                                              1. For fans of HKP, a new special we tried Saturday night. I hadn't been there since, I think, the spring or longer than that. I'm sure they develop new specials all the time, but thought I'd alert you all to this one:

                                                                                It was first night they were serving it -- fish (the server thought it was cod in English, but she wasn't sure), rubbed with spices, fried and served on top of cucumbers and celery, with cilantro on top. They said it would be really hot, but I didn't think it was (nothing near the tigerskin peppers), but that's not a complaint (the sauce is underneath, with the vegetables, the fish isn't cooked in it). It was pieces of fish, still with bones and fins and skin. The skin was especially crispy and delicious . I'm not sure what was in the spice rub, I don't have a good enough palate, but did taste something anise-like.

                                                                                We found ourselves eating with our fingers (I had trouble dealing with the bones, felt like such a gringo), but the server said that's how she ate it too, and that the staff had helped the "boss" come up with it, as with other dishes, by trying it before putting it on the menu. So it was definitely messy, and finger licking good.

                                                                                It was good and interesting enough that it was still much on mind the next day -- maybe somebody else can try it and do a better job describing why it's so good. Did not hold up well for leftovers though, so I'd recommend going with enough people or appetite to finish it. It was also a bit pricey -- we didn't think to ask how much when we ordered (at server's suggestion when we asked about specials) and had some sticker shock when it was $22 -- since usually HKP is a pretty cheap meal and this wasn't (especially considering just the two of us ordered something like six other dishes in addition)! I actually think the prices in general may have gone up in the many months since I've been there -- but more power to them.

                                                                                As an aside, there seemed to be more non-Chinese eating there than I'd noticed on other visits -- and interested that the white patrons at our two neighboring tables both ordered American Chinese (mu shu and general tso's I think) that I don't even see on the menu. How do they know who to give the American vs Chinese menu to?

                                                                                Would love to know if anybody else tries this special and what you think -- or if there's anything else new that anyone particularly likes? (Although, who knows when we'll get back, and there are always other places to try too....)

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: mselectra

                                                                                  hmmm, thanks for the heads up. $22 is hefty for cod (which, incidentally, i thought was a large fish ***) but might it have been tilapia from the tank -- because isn't that about the price point for crispy fish?

                                                                                  *** re atlantic cod:
                                                                                  ""Offshore cod tend to be larger than inshore ones, the former frequently reaching sizes of 25 pounds and 40 to 42 inches in length while the latter usually weigh 6 to 12 pounds and measure 27 to 34 inches in length. One-year-old fish are typically 7 to 12, 2-year-olds 14 to 17 and 3-year-olds 19 to 22 inches length.""" http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dmf/recrea...

                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    alkapal -- I'm sure you''re right. I'm clueless about fish (and so many other things) and my i-phone seafood watch app keeps crashing.... But since that meal I also realized that cod would have been bigger. I'm not much of a seafood eater, but we figured we'd go with the recommendation at a restaurant we trust like HKP. (To be honest, I'm not even sure she said cod, since her pronunciation wasn't right, plus she wasn't sure the name in English, anyway.) I wonder if it's pretty similar to crispy fish at other places (because I wouldn't know)? It's certainly totally different than the cumin fish I've had there in the past.

                                                                                    1. re: mselectra

                                                                                      i haven't had their cumin fish, but wasn't over the top about cumin lamb.

                                                                                      ps, have you loaded "bump"? v. cool.

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        Wow - not over the top about the cumin lamb. Now I've heard everything ; )

                                                                                        The cumin fish I think I've only had at Temptasian, and it was good there.

                                                                                2. Last Wednesday, a small group of chowhounds had a pre-Thanksgiving lunch at HKP, where we enjoyed the "mouth mouth" dish (the sesame-stuffed hot peppers and fried chicken) among others. It seems that we may have to hold on to the memory of that fix for a while--they're out of the peppers and the dish is not listed on the specials board.

                                                                                  On Sunday, Nov 29, we were told that the peppers are ordered in 50 pound bags and are on order, but our waitress didn't have an estimate on when they will arrive.

                                                                                  On Nov 25, we had:
                                                                                  Mouth-Mouth (sesame-stuffed hot peppers with fried chicken): This is my favorite dish here. The spicing has multiple dimensions, the stuffed peppers are crunchy, and the fried chicken chunks are moist. Why can't everyone fry like this?

                                                                                  Tiger skin peppers: Each pepper is a gamble. Are you going to get one that is not terribly hot, or are you going to get the odd incendiary one? The black vinegar dressing works well here.

                                                                                  Cumin Lamb: Delicious, no gloppy sauce as one poster evidently encountered.

                                                                                  Cold chengdu noodles: Cold noodles in a spicy vinegar sauce.

                                                                                  Fried fish in brown sauce from the specials menu: We were disappointed by this dish. The fish was meaty and delicate, but the sauce had taken the crunch out of the fish and didn't really enhance it. We were assured by our waiter that this was a Chinese brown sauce, not a Chinese-American gloppy one, and indeed it had sezchuan peppercorns in it and was not overly gloppy, but it just didn't complement the fish enough.

                                                                                  On the 29th we had:
                                                                                  Chicken with spicy potatoes from the specials menu: This is my second favorite dish at HKP. The chicken fried in small chunks and very moist. The potatoes are tossed in a mixture of cumin, sugar, and sezchuan peppercorns.

                                                                                  Cumin fish: The cumin seasoning works well with the delicate white fish here. The fish is breaded and fried in bite-sized pieces.

                                                                                  Stir-fried eggplant with garlic: The sauce on these was a bit thick, but a good rendition of this dish. It was my mother-in-law's favorite dish for this trip.

                                                                                  Stir-fried corn: Today, this dish was more flavorful than I remember in the past, so it had both the marvelous texture of individual crunchy fried corn kernels and a nice bit of salt, sugar, and scallions.

                                                                                  Spicy wontons: The sauce (hot oil, soy, sesame, vinegar, peppercorn) was outstanding. I want this sauce on A&J's tiny, comet-shaped dumplings. The wontons themselves were okay, but the sauce would have worked better with a thinner wrapping on the dumpling.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: PollyG

                                                                                    I must try that cumin fish next time. Sounds like a nice change from the red oil dishes.

                                                                                  2. Just want to say that I went yesterday and had the "mouth mouth" chicken pepper special. As usual took about half of it home. I also (per usual) got the chendu cold noodles to go as a snack.

                                                                                    This morning I mixed the two together to EXTREME BLISS. Wow - do they ever go together hand in glove! So, sort of a hack on the menu, but it's so good I thought I'd share.

                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                      i like the idea; i'll bet it is tasty! that chicken dish has to be my favorite there. the texture and flavor of the chicken is perfect. it is like a little morsel of a hot & spicy southern fried chicken (not battered).

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        Is this chicken dish served cold with the bones still in and cut into little pieces about an inch long? This was the only item I've ever had there I didn't like, but I'm not sure what it was called.

                                                                                        1. re: kcb203

                                                                                          No, it's on the special board and as of last week the only on with chicken. At that point it was on the bottom row, near the left. There are two boxes in a row then two other characters. It loosely translates to Mouth Mouth something.

                                                                                          If you ask for the dish where they have to bring in peppers from China, that's it. Point to the wall also. The waitress this last time said something about wrapping something in paper. I got the right dish. It has peanuts, too.

                                                                                          1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                            I think they know this as "chicken with crispy peppers"

                                                                                          2. re: kcb203

                                                                                            Interesting. If that's the very hot dis with cilantro, I think it's probably the best cold dish I've had, the only rival being the fuqi fei pian at Grace Garden. But the bones do make it really annoying to eat.

                                                                                            And, *they* don't know it as 'chicken with crispy peppers.'. *We* know it by that name. They know how to read. :D

                                                                                            Grace Garden
                                                                                            1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

                                                                                            1. re: KWagle

                                                                                              Well, OK, but they seem to recognize that description, maybe as a result of Chowhounds who can read, and bring the correct dish. They also seem to recognize "mouth mouth chicken," I expect from Chowhounds describing the first two Chinese characters of the name. at least as shown on the menu on the wall.

                                                                                              1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                Or if you can point to it. I tried "Mouth Mouth" and that didn't go so well. I then tried talking about the imported peppers that tend to "caramelize" and that went less far. I then pointed, she asked if it had chicken, I said yes. She talked about paper wrapping stuff and peanuts. I said I didn't know. She said it was the only special on the board with chicken. I re-confirmed that it had the peppers that were hard and that the dish was spicy, and I got what I was looking for.

                                                                                                1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                  I think I've also heard it someone call it "Kou Kou" crispy chicken. Much better at HKP than China Jade in Rockville, based on my last experiences at each place.

                                                                                                  China Jade Restaurant
                                                                                                  16805 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville, MD 20855

                                                                                                  1. re: Dennis S

                                                                                                    ha ha dennis, i find that my description and request for "caramelized" gets the same response at thai places when i order my kee mao noodles and indicate the char that i like on the edges. i then have to re-orient my mind about where i am and to whom i am making a "foodie" request. too funny.

                                                                                                2. re: KWagle

                                                                                                  kcb293 is probably referring to oil touched chicken or another cold dish on the printed menu. The cold chicken dish which is fabulous is the '100 flavor chicken' on the specials menu tacked to the wall.

                                                                                          3. I'll sheepishly admit that I've ordered off the "American" menu a few times recently. I go to Hong Kong Palace for lunch most often, I'm by myself, and I don't usually enjoy leftovers a few days later. Fortunately they have a few "real Chinese menu" items among the lunch specials ($5.95 for as much as I can eat if I work at it, rice, egg roll, tea). The other day I had cumin chicken off the lunch menu and it was every bit as good as things I've had off the dinner menu or with a group for lunch. Light, crispy, spicy, just right for a cold day.

                                                                                            Hong Kong Palace
                                                                                            6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: MikeR

                                                                                              The cumin chicken is on the lunch menu? Hot dog that's good to know.

                                                                                              1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                yes, i want to explore their lunch specials, too. good to know about the cumin chicken. and i'm not ashamed to admit that i like kung pao chicken (well made, of course). there, i said it. i like kung pao chicken. now...bring it! ;^D.

                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  I also like the kung pao chicken on the lunch menu. It's different from the Chengdou kung pao chicken on the full menu (I asked but they don't do a lunch size/price version) but the "standard" version is very good, too, lighter and less gooey than what I usually find.

                                                                                                  Stepping very close to the edge here, I also like their version of crispy beef, which is also only on the "American" menu, and I think it's on the lunch menu. I haven't had it in a while. Some restaurants make it so sweet that it's almost like candy but HKP's version, while still kind of sweet (I guess that goes with the territory) isn't overly sweet and a bit vinegar-tinged.

                                                                                                  1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                    i will try their szechuan crispy beef -- do they make it with carrots and celery? i know it might be considered heresy, but i like p.f. chang's version (authentic or not....).

                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      Carrots for sure, can't remember about the celery, but I'm sure that if you ask, they'll put some in for you. I tried to eat in a PFChang a few weeks ago when I was in Las Vegas. After waiting about 20 minutes for a table, a couple of minutes after being seated I decided that it was just so noisy I couldn't enjoy a meal and left. Are they all like that?

                                                                                                      I have a PF Chang frozen dinner in the freezer from when Safeway had them on sale for five bucks last Friday, if it didn't melt since my power's been off since 8 o'clock last night. - and I just bought two cartons of ice cream on Wednesday!

                                                                                                      1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                        I saw that SWAY is selling PF Changs. The insult for me was that we sat down and the waiter has some spiel to go through, such as pointing out the fish sauce and saying "in Asian food, this is like salt".

                                                                                                        Go. Away.

                                                                                                        1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                          mike, i've only been once, at a friend's invitation. it was at tyson's galeria on an easter sunday and we waited a while (natch), and it was packed and noisy -- but i liked my food. i would really have preferred thai, though. ;-).

                                                                                                  2. re: MikeR

                                                                                                    When Steve and I were there last month, they had a full page of Chinese lunch specials, I believe they were $5.95 or 3 for $20. Most of them were straight from the dinner menu.

                                                                                                    You can tell the Chinese lunch specials from the crud because the menu is... in Chinese. :D

                                                                                                    Pleco for iPhone's live OCR was able to translate the whole list for me. If you happen to have a high resolution photo (or if I get there this week) I could run it through the still image OCR module and post a translation.

                                                                                                    Or you could buy an iPhone and run Pleco yourself; it's awesome, and easily worth the cost of the hardware to run it--Android versions are coming later this year, though obviously things like OCR won't run on low-end hardware.

                                                                                                    1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                      this translation tool sounds awesome! thanks for the heads up on pleco! http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/24/pl...

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        It's amazing. This time last year I was illiterate. Now I can order from a printed menu without any English, and carefully handwritten menus are also not a problem. eStroke is also very useful and now has a nice stroke order practice test.