Best Chinese in Baltimore?
I accidentially stumbled upon the AA asian supermarket on Security Blvd. this weekend. I was surprised at all they had... the cooked food wasn't as good as what I see at Maxim or Kam Sam in Rockville, but the selection of some of the other things was better.
So, now that I know Baltimore has a somewhat better than half-way Chinese supermarket (note, Chinese based, but carried the misc other stuff from Asian countries and Latin America), I'm wondering what the best Chinese restaurant is?
Does Baltimore, city or burbs, have something that compares to say Joe's Noodle House in Rockville or Silver Fountain in Aspen Hill? Or maybe Hollywood East in Wheaton.
Where can you get the best Chinese food in Baltimore?
PS - the supermarket had these huge buffalo fish (live)... anyone know how to cook one or what it tastes like?
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Baltimore notoriously had no good Chinese restaurants. Chinatown Café on Park Ave (downtown) is OK but has been closed before for health code violations (so has the supermarket that you mention). I would recommend Café Zen near Belevedere Square, but they are pretty greasy. I would love to be proven wrong by more knowledge people on this board, but I am not holding my breath…
Asian Court further down Rt 40? Decent dim sum, and have heard pretty good reviews of their Cantonese style dinner dishes. Haven't had any of the entrees off the menu... but as far as I know that's the only non-americanized Chinese in that vicinity. Not what I'd call the "best in Baltimore", though, but you've narrowed down to Catonsville specifically.
ps - thanks for the rec/mention of AA supermarket. I too have been looking high and low for a good Chinese supermarket around town and kept coming up empty. I'll have to check it out this weekend!
I have to say really good things about Asian Court in Ellicott City.
I moved here from Philadelphia a number of years ago (which has a decent-sized and pretty varied Chinatown), and was appalled at the total lack of decent Chinese restaurants anywhere in Baltimore. For a time, I gave up altogether, and ate Thai and Korean food (not a bad thing, mind you). I shop weekly at the Han Ah Rheum market down route 40, and had taken to making my own Chinese food, which, while not bad, was not restaurant quality. Since the Asian Court opened, things have changed considerably.
I live near the shopping mall that houses the Asian Court (9180 Baltimore National Pike, just up route 40 from its intersection with route 29), and the restaurant that was previously there was mediocre at best. Not so the Asian Court. They have been a pleasant surprise since they opened. First of all, they have a good variety of Dim Sum, which can be gotten every day (I think cart service may only happen on weekends). There seem to be at least 50 options. Delicious different-flavored dumplings, rice rolls, pork buns, sticky rice and other, more exotic yumminess (tripe,etc) . Also, their main courses, while slightly pricier than their local competitors, absolutely outshine them. Prices tend to run 11.95 for chicken dishes, 12.95 for beef, and 14.95 for seafood. In addition to the usual standbys, chef's specials (mmmm....steamed whole fish with ginger and scallions), there's a huge variety of noodle dishes, and lots of veggie options for those who are so inclined. Their Kung Pao Chicken alone is worth a trip. You know how Kung Pao Chicken so often just tastes like heat (lots of hot pepper, but not much else?). Theirs has a wonderful savory flavor underneath, mixing with the spiciness--overall a more complex flavor. Really delicious.
I should also mention how friendly and helpful the staff is; someone always greets you at the door, and makes sure you are seated comfortably. They take some effort to get to know their customers. On one recent visit, I saw one of the owners up front helping a local schoolkid out with his Chinese homework.
I think this place is terrific, and hope others will visit --I want my Kung Pao to stay right where it is!