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China Star in Fairfax

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We will be in Fairfax on Friday and wanted to try China Star. Anyone have recommendations about what to order? I've looked through the boards and haven't found much. Everything was rather dated (2004-2006). We love spice and are willing to experiment. Our limitations are that we don't eat pork or shellfish. The only menu items that seem to be get mentioned are the salt and pepper eggplant and the sizzling lamb. Can someone explain these dishes? What else is good? Thanks!

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  1. wow....your options are severely limited when you exclude pork and shellfish as options on a chinese restaurant menu.

    1. From earlier in the month:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578273

      Provide a report - I need to get back there myself!

      1. I love the beef in hot peppers. I can't remember the actual name, but it's 2nd or 3rd from the top of the homestyle entree list. The quality of the beef is phenomenal and it's very nicely spicely, yet under the verge of discomfort.

        1. Two of my favorite dishes are the lamb in sizzling wok and the eggplant in garlic sauce. Ask if they have any fish among the specials.

          The lamb in sizzling wok is a dry-fried dish, no sauce,no bones, no vegetable, just lamb. It is blazing hot. The eggplant is served in large bowl with a rich sauce and is not spicy. Ask about the specials. They are usually very intriguing. If you ever wondered what real kung pao chicken is supposed to taste like, then this is a very good place to order it. Spicy and numbing.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Steve

            Whenever I go there, they always have a special menu in all chinese letters, as if it was a secret. Do they translate this for you?

            1. re: takadi

              Yep. All you have to do is ask. And then listen very carefully ; )

              1. re: Meg

                Yes, and ask more questions if you don't understand. They'll talk to me in Chinese, but sometimes I don't understand the name of something. More often though, I ask in English because my husband's Mandarin is very rudimentary, and he likes to hear the answers too. But sometimes (depending on the server), the answers are: "This one is beef, this one is fish, this one is soup." So you wind up having to ask more questions.

          2. You're right, there isn't much comment on China Star anymore. A work colleague, who is Chinese, told me over a year ago that the chef changed there. He intimated that the food had changed, but didn't elaborate. It seems that the go-to place in NoVa for Sichuan is Hong Kong Palace in 7 Corners. (The chinese characters in their sign actually spell "Chengdu"). Another colleague, also Chinese from Sichuan Province, is taking me to lunch there for New Years. He orders off the wall menu.

            9 Replies
            1. re: MartinDC

              Where exactly is Hong Kong Palace? We went looking for it the other night in and around the Eden Center and gave up trying. Called information and they had no listing for it! So ended up at 3 Sisters.

              1. re: Meg

                From the website (http://www.hongkongpalacerestaurant.c...):

                The official address of Hong Kong Palace Restaurant, 6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA, does not display properly on online maps.

                We are located in the Seven Corners Center, between Leesburg Pike and Route 50, south of Eden Center, in Falls Church, VA.

                Our restaurant is just off Leesburg Pike, which includes Michaels and Shoppers Food Warehouse on the Leesburg Pike side, and Fortune, Home Depot and Barnes & Noble on the Rt. 50 side.

                To locate Hong Kong Palace using online maps, please use this address:
                6212 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA.

                As you enter the shopping center (directly across from the Sears on Leesburg Pike), take the first right and you will see our restaurant in the middle of the row.

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

                1. re: Meg

                  It's behind the Home Depot up on the hill. To the right of Best Buy and the grocery store - over near the post office.

                  They still had the dish a couple of weeks ago, but on the wall, second row, third from the left. It's a chicken dish with stuffed peppers. There are two boxes that start out the name. It's on a pink piece of paper. It's good. Steve started a thread with "Go now" in the title describing it. Also - Cumin Lamb <slobber slobber>

                  1. re: Dennis S

                    Actually, that dish with the small stuffed peppers is off the menu for now and has been taken off the specials wall. I spoke with the owner and she said that they are expecting a new shipment of the peppers, but it's late, and until then, they can't offer the dish. As of last night, it's not on the specials wall still, but I'm crossing my fingers for any day now. My pinyin isn't great, but loosely Anglicized, it'd be "Ko Ko Xiang Swei Jie" - or something like it.

                2. re: MartinDC

                  Peter Chang, the chef who put China Star on the map, left it several years ago. However, his fingerprints are still all over the food. We last ate there a few months ago and many of the dishes are much as we remembered them. For the non-shellfish, non-pork eating original poster, there is a dish called something like chicken with hot peppers. It is diced chicken, on the bone, smothered in dried chili peppers (which you don't eat). This is an outstanding dish if you like heat.

                  We've generally thought the vegetable dishes were very good, but you will have to ask to be sure they don't include pork.

                  1. re: PollyG

                    PollyG - is that the Spicy Capsicum Chicken?

                    1. re: FoodieGrrl

                      Yes!

                      Now would some of these places please move out to the Herndon/Reston/Sterling area? (And if you're in my hood, please patronize Thai by Thai on Rt. 7 in Sterling and ask for the Thai menu. I don't want to lose them.)

                      1. re: PollyG

                        Thanks for the reminder. I'll do my best to make it out there by next weekend.

                        1. re: PollyG

                          I went there this weekend. It was fantastic! We had the fried short ribs, fish cakes, and the ground chicken/fried egg dish off the thai menu. Everything was delicious, not too sweet with good spice. Too bad it's like an hour away from my house.