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Apr 9, 2013 09:47 AM

NoVA or greater DC-area Chinese restaurant that has bitter melon dishes??

It's spring [well, maybe it's already summer] and I'm now desperately craving several bitter melon dishes-- particularly Cloud ears, bitter melon, green onion, and lots of scrambled egg.
Possibly called 苦瓜木耳炒鸡蛋. [Otherwise known as Cheap Chinese Cafeteria Cuisine...]
That's what I'm craving.

Can someone steer me toward a place that makes this??

Yes, I know I can experiment on my own, but a place that serves it would probably also serve other dishes I'll be craving eventually.

A pretty little recipe:

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  1. What you're looking for could be a special somewhere, but my guess is you could ask for that at Joe's Noodle House in Rockville and they'll make it for you. The woman behind the counter is Audrey. I've had bitter melon there, and they've got plenty of seasonal special listed near the cash register.

    If you haven't been it's a place you should get to know.

    Plenty of recs on this board, especially if you search back a few years.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Rockville is the other side of DC for maybe a weekend jaunt since I can't fathom the Mt V to Woodbridge to Rockville trek, all after 5pm on a weekday.

      Thanks so for a potential solution, though!!

      1. re: Kris in Beijing

        Your best bet in NoVa is Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners area of Falls Church. Despite the name, it is a serious Sichuan restaurant..

        Of their three best dishes, two are only listed on the specials on the wall: 100 flavor chicken (this is sliced, cold chicken on the bone in a kind of cold salad/soup.) and the crunchy peppers with chicken which features the peppers than have been hollowed out, stuffed, and dried. Ask about the specials even if you don't see them written on the wall. Their other great dish is on the menu: cold Chengdu noodles. Many other very fine typical Sichuan specialties.

        I imagine they have bitter melon in season, but best to call in advance if this is your main goal. When I dropped in last week, the place was packed and every patron was Chinese.

        1. re: Steve

          Uncle Liu has it on their buffet lately so I would think Hong Kong Palace has it as well.

          1. re: Steve

            This doesn't really seem like Sichuan food to me. But anyplace that has bitter melon, eggs, and tree fungus in stock (which is pretty much anywhere with an authentic Chinese menu) should be able to cook it right up for you.

            1. re: KWagle

              KW-- I don't think of it as SiChuan, either.
              It just seems that when Chinese places differentiate, they say "HK" or "Szechuan."
              Otherwise, in my US eating experience, the menu is primarily Cantonese style dishes, most modified for US ingredients and palate.
              So, I think I'm getting all the Szechuan rec's because they are clearly mainland yet Not Cantonese... and the proprietors are more likely to speak Mandarin.

              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                Full Key is Cantonese. I've had their Bitter Melon and Beef with black beans lunch plate. It's okay. But what you're looking for sounds pretty easy to make at home if you have the ingredients. Heck, even I can make it at home.

                1. re: Kris in Beijing


                  You are getting authentic Sichuan recs because they are, by and large, the best of what is available in the DC area, with very few exceptions.

                  My exceptions are:

                  A&J (Annandale and Rockville)

                  China Bistro (dumpling specialty shop, Rockville.)

                  Grace Garden, Odenton, MD.

                  Peking Palace, (Hunan menu), Germantown, MD

                  Bob's 66, (Taiwanese), Rockville, MD

                  Pacifica Cafe, (A few Shanghainese specialties, Gaithersburg, MD)

                  Mandarin Express (A few Yunanese specialties, Rockville)

                  That's it for the DC area. There may be many others that serve bitter melon, but no need to go out of your way or I haven't tried them. Grace Garden has the best Cantonese around (though the chef cooks from many sources).

                  1. re: Steve

                    Yeah, go up to GG and ask the chef to make this for you. You'll probably have one of the best meals of your life.

                    Steve and I disagree about a few things on his list. I found Mandarin Express and Peking Palace to be only okay, and I'm quite fond of both New Big Wong in Chinatown and New Kam Fong in Wheaton.

                    1. re: KWagle

                      I haven't been to New Kam Fong yet, but I could be convinced.

                      1. re: Steve

                        They often have goose intestine which I'd like to try, and a very good dish of egg tofu, mushroom and shredded pork on the lighted specials menu near the cash register. Also a decent fried "good dale" and roasted meats.

        2. Bitter Melon dishes are on the menu at Full Kee in Falls Church

          1. Sichuan Jin River in Rockville.