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Chinese in DC Chinatown

Mr Etler Apr 25, 2009 07:04 AM

looking for good chinese restaurant in washington dc chinatown. authentic-tourist chinese is ok too.

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  1. m
    MSommelier RE: Mr Etler Apr 25, 2009 10:35 AM

    New Big Wong on H St. for fresh, live seafood. Ask the waitress if there are live shrimp and start there. The crispy duck and "special" fried rice with dried scallops, scallops and peas is great.

    1. s
      Steve RE: Mr Etler Apr 25, 2009 04:59 PM

      Full Kee for duck stuffed with shrimp paste and oyster and ginger casserole.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve
        tommyskitchen RE: Steve Apr 27, 2009 04:53 PM

        +1 for Full Key - Their noodle soups are very good - Try the Shrimp Dumpling Soup - Hong Kong-style.

        My favorite APP is the Fried Shrimp Rolls - No Filler, just pure shrimp flavor.

      2. Chandavkl RE: Mr Etler Apr 27, 2009 10:00 PM

        New Big Wong, Full Kee and Jackey Cafe are probably the best of the bunch in DC Chinatown (unless you're talking a limited menu of chow fun and rice noodle rolls, in which case the improbably named China Boy Carryout on 6th St. N.W. would prevail), but I hesitate to call any of them good. In cities having an urban core Chinatown and a suburban Chinese concentration outside of the core Chinatown, the Chinatown food suffers by comparison (e.g., Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley). No where is this gap any greater than in Washington DC.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl
          Mr Etler RE: Chandavkl Apr 28, 2009 06:58 PM

          you are right, Chandavkl, on your estimation of quality chinese in san gabriel valley and los angeles as well as your description of quality eats proximit to metro chinese. chinatown in downtown LA does not hold it to at least the one authentic chinese restaurant i visited in east LA which had even the western-queasy eye food (e.g. chicken feet). it was very authentic. i tried to get orange chicken in rome, italy... i think i visited all two chinese restaurants that could be found in the tourist center of rome. i remember the chinese in san francisco. the fish were practically swimming in the streets!

          1. re: Mr Etler
            Chandavkl RE: Mr Etler Apr 28, 2009 08:19 PM

            The problem with DC Chinatown is that the immediate Chinese population is very limited, with the area's Chinese residents locating instead in places like Falls Church, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Wheaton etc. Putting Chinese signs on Hooters and other places in DC Chinatown doesn't make up for the lack of residents. In contrast, Chinatowns like LA, SF and NY do have Chinese residents so the Chinatown food is fairly decent, even if the more affluent Chinese live in the suburbs creating better Chinese food out there.

          2. re: Chandavkl
            scotcheroo RE: Chandavkl Mar 1, 2010 12:30 PM

            Chandavkl - I just got a take-out menu for Jackey Cafe in the mail... It looks like it has a pretty decent selection of non-super-americanized dishes. I was intrigued by the possibility of semi-decent chinese delivery. Do you have recs of anything in particular that you liked there?

            1. re: scotcheroo
              Chandavkl RE: scotcheroo Mar 1, 2010 12:50 PM

              Does your copy of the menu say "Fish stew soup"? If it still does, it's possibly one of the cruelest, though likely unintended tricks that has been pulled on an unsuspecting diner not familiar with authentic Chinese food. When I saw that dish I thought that fish stew soup would be interesting, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was fish maw soup. Fish maw is dried and bloated fish bladder, one of the Chinese foods beloved for its texture, rather than its taste, and commonly offered at authentic Cantonese restaurants. It's really very good if you can get past the knowledge of what it is, and I would certainly recommend that dish. I do wonder how many people ordered the fish stew soup not knowing what they were going to get, and wonder what their reaction was.

              1. re: Chandavkl
                scotcheroo RE: Chandavkl Mar 1, 2010 12:56 PM

                ha! yes i've had this soup before (but not in a restaurant so i wouldn't have known what it was called...) I'll definitely give it a go. Anything else on the menu worth trying? the stir-fried beef w/ sour cabbage looks interesting....

                1. re: scotcheroo
                  Chandavkl RE: scotcheroo Mar 1, 2010 03:26 PM

                  Probably any of the Hong Kong style noodle dishes or the casseroles would be the best bets.

              2. re: scotcheroo
                Steve RE: scotcheroo Mar 1, 2010 01:12 PM

                This report from two years ago:


                1. re: Steve
                  scotcheroo RE: Steve Mar 2, 2010 08:02 AM


            2. hill food RE: Mr Etler Apr 29, 2009 02:48 PM


              bit out of date, but fairly accurate rundown of the options, don't go by the rating number read the posters descriptions for a more accurate picture.

              1. d
                dining with doc RE: Mr Etler Apr 29, 2009 05:46 PM

                Eat First and Chinatown Express are both good
                order off the non american menu and get authentic cantonese
                I usually get the clams in black bean sauce, chinese noodle soup with shrimp dumplings, clay pot chicken, roasted duck and pork, low mein, aberdeen style shrimp and the whole crispy fish with chili sauce, everything is great

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