Han Dynasty of Philadelphia
I usually spend Thanksgiving with Mrs. Doc's family in Philadelphia. This year was no exception as to geography. We have had some very memorable meals here. One being a Carmine Creole in Narbeth. restaurant ,4 years ago.
This time I feel compelled to report a Szechuan experience way beyond expectations. As good if not better than the best I have had.
I am told this place has been open for 9 months and from what I read there is no liquor license. I did not ask because we were not drinking.
The menu prints the relative heat of a dish on a scale of 1-10.
We started with Beef in Hot style sauce. 7 on the spice scale.
Rich medley of balanced spicy flavors. Quite hot.
Pork in garlic style sauce. Shreded in a rich sweet and spicy gravy. Not as spicy strong, but complex and delicious.
MaPo Tofu. Here the blend of spices really sing. The heat develops as you eat. I had described this dish in a restaurant in the suburbs of Chicago (near the Morton Arbouretum) as a little bowl of heaven. This was a home run.
Lastly we were presented with Taiwanese sausage with thin slices (ala Goodfella's when in prison) of fresh garlic. A tasty, somewhat sweet with a crispy skin red sausage.
My first ever disclaimer in my several years of chowhounding. One of the managers is my nephew through marriage. He is the tall handsome non Asian. We were fully expecting to pay for our meal, but were surprised to find that the meal was being comped by the owner.
One last note is that it is one block from the famous Franklin Fountain Ice Cream Parlour. That has appeared on the best thing I ever ate.
108 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3009
thanks for the report! ill be sure to try to mapo tofu next time
my favorites are han dynasty are the noodles (both sesame and dan dan) and the twice fried fish. my family in north jersey actually will drive to philly (2h) just to get takeout from han dynasty...it's that good! and surprisingly, even the fried fish travels well and isn't a soggy mess a few hours later
After reading this thread and a few others, I was very hesitant to try Han Dynasty in Exton for the first time today - but, I have to report back and say that we had an amazing meal. Granted, I have nothing to compare it to - but, based on today I would definitely recommend it. Thanks to some of the recommendations here, we loaded up on the Scallion Pancake, Wonton in Chili Oil, Three Cup Chicken, Chicken with Hot Dry Peppers and Sliced Fish with Tofu in Wild Pepper Sauce.
We had very friendly service - helping to guide us to some great dishes. The hostess/owner? seemed impressed that we had devoured the three cup chicken (taiwanese - served on the bone, as she had recommended) - and she even dug into the bowl to find a few missing pieces we had mistakenly left behind. I did see that others who were asking for special requests off the americanized menu were not getting the same love from the staff ("can you combine the egg drop and hot & sour soups in the same bowl? can you take out the peppers from the hunan chicken?")... but, we found everyone to be really nice and helpful.
When introduced to Han, his nationality did not come up in the conversation. He was very polite and cordial. I am sure he will discuss it if you were to ask. And the comped meal was a complete surprise, totally unexpected. In my 20 pages of past posts this is my first disclaimer. I would like other hounds to tell me their favorites and anything that was not that great. I may have to drive in to Philadelphia from Long Island more frequently.
My nephew was raised in Philadelphia. His mom in Brooklyn.
Have to admit that once the Royersford location opened, I have not been back to Exton. Now with the Philly location I imagine that Han is stretched a bit thin and is probably taking the stellar staff to the newest locations. I do miss having Han present in the restaurant recommending dishes...but the dan dan noodles and the shrimp with dry hot peppers are my absolute favorite foods.
I agree that Han is stretched thin with the Philly location now open and doing well. I was happy to deal with his mother at the helm during Philly opening but now she's gone, too. I still love the place but Han needs to stop in more often to recommend dishes to his customers...one of the reasons I kept coming back.
I have lived in LA for the last two years and boy do I miss Han Dynasty! Why can't I find good Szechuan here?! Even in an area with such a high concentration of Chinese (San Gabriel Valley) it lacks in good Szechuan, though there is a lot of good dim sum! But that is so far from LA too. Chinatown here is pretty terrible.