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Jan 20, 2009 03:55 AM

Goodbye RAT, Welcome OX! Chinese New Year -- what should i eat and where?

i want to celebrate the chinese new year on Jan 26. i understand the celebration begins on the 26th, but lasts for 15 days.

where should i go for the best food, and what should i eat?

are there any "special" events you know about with food?

i live in arlington, but am willing to go anywhere in the entire metro d.c. area.


you'll enjoy this about the chinese zodiac: http://www.google.com/hostednews/cana...

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  1. Grace Garden. Not sure if they will have anything special other than their amazing food.

    9 Replies
    1. re: MrsWheatie

      Grace Garden does have a special menu. I have no idea what's on it, Mrs. li just said it was worth coming.

          1. re: MrsWheatie

            thanks, mrs wheatie! (does that mean you are in wheaton? ;-).

            1. re: alkapal

              Wheatie is one of hubby's nicknames.

              Grace Garden is a trek, but so worth it.

              1. re: MrsWheatie

                aaahhhh, MRS wheatie! gotcha.

                thanks for the tip about the grace garden. do you have any recommendations or favorites of you and mr. wheatie? mrs. li said there is a special menu for the new year? do you think i would need to reserve a table? for new year, would they serve things like pig intestines and offal -- even though not on their regular menu? (i'm sorry, "authentic" hounds. i'm just not "there.")

                do you know hong kong palace in falls church? if so, how would you compare the two places?

                1. re: alkapal

                  I'm not MrsWheatie but just chiming in:

                  I would not go to Grace Garden on Chinese New Year *without* a reservation, even if for a small-ish table. With their success since the great newspaper reviews, they're fairly busy on weeknights even when it's NOT CNY, so I can only imagine the crowd on CNY. Just keep in mind that it's a very small restaurant so if you do make a reservation please try to honor it.

                  You can call and ask them but I would imagine that they would serve items from their regular (which I guess is really both the Americanized and "Chinese" menus that are published on their website) given their local audience as well as any special menu they create for CNY day.

                  If your concern is that the menu would only consist of offal -- I think you can rest assured. Offal is not a significant part of a traditional CNY menu, and as many times as I've dined there I think I've only had offal (and that's in the form of tripe) just a handful of times (and by choice).

                  As for what's recommended - do see the thread that MrsWheatie refers to for an extensive list of recommended popular dishes. :)

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Apples and oranges. HKP, despite its name, is pure Sichuanese. GG is Hong Kong style, though the chef does some Sichuanese dishes.

                    1. re: dpan

                      i know hkp is szechuan, but the menu of grace garden lists many "sichuan" dishes, and the chef notes his training is in sichuan cooking. i thought, therefore, that one could compare an orange and a pomelo. ;-)

                      and this from their site:
                      Chef's Bio
                      Chef Chun Keung Li

                      Chef Li was born and raised in Hong Kong . At the age of 13, he began working as a culinary apprentice and started learning a wide array of cooking techniques.

                      At age 25, Li worked as a chef of a high-end restaurant at a prominent 5-star Hong Kong Hotel. Four years later, he immigrated to the United States and began working at Hunan Manor in Columbia , MD.

                      While at Hunan Manor, he mastered his art under a top Sichuan chef and eventually became the executive chef.

        1. Chinese New Year celebration feast usually includes a whole fish (regardless of the zodiac). If you're still interested in whole fried fish, CNY isn't a bad time to try 7 Seas in Rockville. Call for reservation though just in case they're busy.