Friday Question of the Day – Where’s Your Favorite Chinese Restaurant?

Best Chinese food often comes up in the rant/revel posts. We once took a crack at it back in 2008 but obviously a lot has changed since 2008. So for Jewish Christmas (Chinese food and a movie for those not familiar) I went to New Fortune up in Gaithersburg and was pretty dissapointed. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t nearly as delicious as I was promised. I think we need a proper thread to find some seriously good Chinese restaurant recommendations. So let’s say within a 45 minute drive (of course the closer to DC the better) – where’s your favorite Chinese restaurant? Maybe we should make it into two parts – favorite Chinese and favorite Dim Sum?

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  • On XingXing Blvd in the Wixna province – in Shaanxi

  • China garden in Rosslyn is niiice

  • Yums carry-out

    • hehe…I order from there occasionally. Nothing better than some Yums when you’re starving.

    • Yums II Carry-Out on 14th is pretty solid and it’s open until 5am. I know some people aren’t fans, but I think they’re just turned off by the giant plastic dividers at the counter, nothing to fear though.

  • City Lights. Always my go to for delivery in Columbia Heights.

    • does City Lights deliver to Columbia Heights? Teh website says Dupont area.

    • Is City Lights decent? Always feels overpriced and there are no go to dishes, as far as I know. Only been a few times.

      • City lights is pretty average ho hum. I live in the area and used to order from them a lot. Their food is overpriced and pretty bland. 1 out of 3 times one of the things i’ve ordered is terrible. I’ve resolved not to order from them again.

  • best carry-out in the eastern half of the city is Panda, on the Trinidad/Ivy City border. hands down.

    • jim_ed

      I saw tons of good reviews of Panda online and gave it a few tries, and can’t say I was terribly impressed.

      For my money, the best carryout on the east side of town is Lucky Carryout down at 15th and Penn SE. Its your typical americanized bulletproof operation, but the food is delicious, cheap, and they always stuff some random swag in your delivery, which is always good for a laugh. Seriously, I have calenders, two liters of all sorts of rock creek sodas, and one of those porcelain cats with the swinging arm, all from Lucky.

      • Ha! I just finished off five wings and fries from Lucky. They were freaking awesome, just like their cheesesteaks. About the worst you could say is their mambo sauce was less than not uninspired.

  • We always order in from Ming’s in Chinatown. Super fast delivery, great food.

  • Full Kee in DC or Falls Church (better), also A&J has been awesome and cheap for authentic Taiwanese in Rockville. Inb4 Great Wall post (OVERRATED).

    • As a Chinese guy, A&J’s in Rockville is my favorite. Get the Quan – (wide) noodles in any of the soups at the top. They are fantastic.

  • I’ll assume we’re talking about real Chinese, and not Americanized Chinese. If so:

    DC:
    Sichuan Pavilion
    Great Wall Szechuan House

    VA:
    Hong Kong Palace
    Uncle Liu’s Hotpot
    Mala Tang
    China Star

    MD:
    Sichuan Jin River

    I’m not as familiar with the local dim sum offerings but Hollywood East Cafe in Wheaton was solid the one time I ate there.

    If you’re wondering why Sichuan cuisine is so popular, it’s because it’s enjoyed all over China so it’s a good choice for those looking to serve immigrant communities. Other regional cuisines would have more limited appeal.

    • +1 for Great Wall. Haven’t tried the others on your list.

    • +1000 for Sichuan Jin River (Hungerford Dr.,, Rockville). The best Chinese food I’ve eaten anywhere, including China. Bob’s Noodle House (about 100 yrds from Sichuan Jin River) is #2 on my greater-DC area Chinese restaurant list, but pales in comparison to SJR.

  • Michaels Noodles in Rockville…OMG outasight, Sietsema’s on to them too

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/restaurants/michaels-noodles,1157856.html

    • +1 for Michaels. Its excellent. Sichuan Pavilion is also a good choice.

      The food in China is as diverse as the food here. Beijing and Shanghai cuisine are as different as Boston and Memphis.

  • For Chinese, I like Ma Ma Wok in North Potomac. They have a great $8 lunch special combo that’s available seven days a week.

    For authentic Taiwanese, Bob’s Noodle 66 in Rockville is hard to beat. Try the stinky tofu!

  • Having been to China twice, the only place in DC I’ve tried that compares is the Ma-La menu at Great Wall Szechuan House. Everything else seems like the standard Americanized versions of Chinese food.

    • You need to try Sichaun Pavillion. I still like Great Wall (and its cheaper) but Sichuan Pavillion is the best Sichuan I’ve had in the US, including just about every place in NY that is supposed to be great. I lived in Sichuan Province for a year. For those of you not confident ordering the good stuff, I’ll help out. For 4 people, try the following set: (i) Fish Fillet / Hot Sauce (if you don’t like fish, substitute Tender Beef in Hot Sauce), (ii) Chicken / Hot Dry Pepper, (iii) “A” Vegetable (its not on the menu but they will know what you mean; (iv) Pork with Pickled Cabbage. Some of it is spicy, but a very nice level of spice.

  • My favorite is Spring Garden in Silver Spring. Humble, cheap, filling, tasty, broad menu, diverse crowd, and never a wait for a table.

    • second Spring Garden. Really good. Probably not the best around but very easy to get to from my house in brightwood/manor park.

  • Chinatown Express.

  • I second A&J’s in Rockville. Better than Full Kee imho. Hollywood East also deserves a look. Both are mobbed for dim sum and worth the wait. Another sleeper is Shang Hai Tea House in Georgetown/Glover Park by the Chinese Embassy. Legit dumplings and unusual bubble teas. Quirky place, but the food is incredible if you wait.

  • If your favorite choice serves General Tso’s Chicken, GTFO with your choice.

    • Rude and pretentious

    • did it ever occur to you that it’s offered because people want it? Get off your horse.

      • It may be what white people want, but that doesn’t make it Chinese food. I can guarantee that no Chinese person in China ever eats that crap.

        • I’ve never seen a Chinese place in the United States NOT offer it though. Unless you can provide a few places that do not have it, your post is invalid.

          • Before I came to the mainland for college, I had never heard of General Tso’s chicken.

          • A&J doesn’t serve General Tso’s chicken

            :D

          • Then maybe you should sack up and venture to places that only have Asian faces inside. There are plenty of places in the DC areas that serve authentic Chinese food and don’t have General Tso’s on the goddamn menu.

        • I don’t believe you! I bet next you’re gonna say that fortune cookies are not really Chinese!

          • It’s true! Fortune cookies were actually invented by Marion Barry! He’s also responsible for DC’s economic growth, Georgetown, curing cancer, the Everly Brothers, and sunshine. Look it up.

          • clevelanddave

            They aren’t. They were introduced at the St. Louis World Expo in 1904. The company that makes the machines is American and they are an American “export” to China.

          • ah

            Wait, are fortune cookies actually imported into China? What are they used for there–packing material?

        • Seriously, man. Never trust whitey. I mean, “Hello, Larry?” WTF was THAT $h!t about, yo.

        • No they just eat dog meat and rats. That’s waaaaay better. I’ll stick with my “white person” fried chicken in sauce please.

        • Yes but as long as we are being authentic, they do eat a lot of crap in China. Lots of the food is absolutely terrible and inedible. Not, I have a narrow tastes terrible, but goddamn terrible terrible. So terrible that I bet you they would prefer some General Tso’s.

          • I personally didn’t run into that problem in China, but we may not have been at the same places.

            I actually think that General Tso’s does taste good. I wish that the general tso-camp knew the difference between real and american chinese food and that the authentic-camp understood that authenticity and good taste aren’t mutually exclusive.

          • You’re crazy TG. I was in China for a month – Beijing, Shanghai. The food was one of the only good things about being there so long.

    • GFY. I have it on good authority that your favorite dish is Sweet & Sour Chicken.

    • I often wonder who would win in a fight between General Tso and Colonel Sanders.

    • I’m Italian but don’t have a problem with people liking inauthentic things like Spaghetti and Meatballs and Chicken Parm. Just because it’s totally different than what people are eating in the motherland doesn’t mean it isn’t good.

    • whatever. i love general tso’s and i don’t care about “authenticity”. i don’t need my food to be like how it’s cooked in it’s place of origin.

  • Yuan Fu, on Rockville Pike, in Rockville. Best Chinese restaurant, all vegetarian. Crispy black mushrooms are to kill for! Basil ginger hotpots made for January days, tasty enough to sweat it out in August heat.

  • Great Wall Szechuan is the best!

  • Joe’s Noodles in Rockville is the best IMO. I’ve been going there for over a decade. Sichuan food is their specialty, but I’ve had non-sichuan cuisine and enjoyed it just as much.

    Eat the xiangla doufu, the mapu doufu, the ganbian sijidou, the yuxiang qiezi. The beef noodle soup is also good if you’re just ordering for one.

    Sorry — I only know the proper names in Chinese. The first is a spicy fried tofu. The second is the only legit version of mapu tofu I’ve found here. The third is sichuan stringbeans. The fourth is an eggplant dish.

  • Mark’s Duck House in Falls Church is fan-damn-tastic.

    For delivery in DC, my husband and I always go with Great Wall.

  • Grace Garden in Odenton. It’s worth the price of a Zipcar.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/520156

  • China Boy in Chinablock is still a decent, cheap, cash-only dive.

  • I’ve heard really great things about Grace Garden in Odenton, but I haven’t been there yet. I plan to check it out soon.

  • The Crispy Spicy Tasty Fried Tofu with Pork at Joe’s in Rockville is out of this world, as is the Crispy Dry Beef Sautee.
    The counter-service model is a PIA, but the food is worth it.

  • Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church is amazing!

  • In the price to goodness category, my vote is for North Sea in Adams Morgan. Cheap, fast, and really good take out.

  • My two favorites are both in Wheaton (along with some of my favorite Thai and Pho as well). Full Key on University Blvd (not to be confused with Full Kee) in the shopping center next to Pho Hiep Hoa. And Hollywood East’s dim sum is legit, don’t let the mall location fool you. I also frequently see lines out the door for Oriental East dim sum right near the Silver Spring metro, but I haven’t tried it myself.

  • China Garden in Rosslyn is my favorite authentic Dim Sum place in the area.

    Also, Asean Bistro in Columbia (but that might be out of the 45 minute range).

  • I live near 14th and Florida NW… what’s the best place that will deliver to me? I’ve had trouble finding something good.

  • Grace Garden in Odenton is the best Chinese Chinese: fish noodles, tea smoked duck, and a fish dish where they deepfry the bones. Worth the cost of getting a Zipcar. There’s also this cute little place down a side alley in Guangzhou but it’s kind of a hike.

  • Oriental East in Silver Spring used to be my family’s goto place for Chinese. That ended when my mother was mugged (on Christmas Eve!) after picking up carryout from there. Of course the restaurant has has nothing to do with the mugging, but it brings back bad memories for her and she hasn’t been back since.

    • That place is pretty awesome if you like waiting an hour to eat in a fishbowl while the hundred people surrounding you stare at you hoping you’ll leave so they can get your table.

      • I live half a block from Oriental East so I enjoy showing up 30 min before opening to get at table… and then taking my sweet sweet time during dim sum service on weekends while people stand around for 2 hours for a table to open up lol.

        • Wow, he’s considerate too. I hope you tip your server for camping at a table basically stealing tips from all the tables they could be turning.

      • Never went there for dim sum, just dinner.

    • saf

      The staff at the Taiwanese mission speak VERY highly of the dim sum at Oriental East.

      • A friend from Guangzhou also had a lot of good things to say about the Oriental East dim sum in Silver Spring. She said her family would go there all the time when they moved to Maryland temporarily, and she would take us there and chat up the waiters in Chinese the whole time (she said she was speaking Cantonese and they were speaking Mandarin but they could understand each other well enough). I always looked forward to the cha siu bao and the chicken feet.

        • (By “go there all the time” I mean “just about every weekend”, of course, since the big dim sum brunch is a weekend affair there.)

  • This is great. I’ve been craving dim sum and have no idea what place in DC serves it-and i mean DC, not suburbs. For me, its hard to justify getting a zip car to go to a restaurant.

    But in DC, i like Great Wall on 14th st.

  • Try the egg rolls at Twin Dragon on 3rd at Kennedy NW. Not sayin’ they’re the best or authentic, but they are an experience.

  • Favorite of all time: House of Fortune in Mclean. I grew up going there, but its tasty. I think its all the hoisin sauce they use.

    Go-to for delivery: City Lights of China in Dupont Circle.

    Honorable mention: Banana Leaves

    Yech: Mr. Chen’s. I decided to switch it up this week and try something new. Really greasy and kind of gross.

  • Full Kee in Chinatown. Chinatown Express is a close second. For Dim Sum I love Hong Kong Pearl in Falls Church.

  • Great Wall for the Ma Po Tofu and Ma La Cucumbers. I also like the fresh noodles at Chinatown Express.

  • Hollywood East for dim sum. I’ve been to Mark’s Duck House as well but am not as much of a fan.

  • What’s the best place to get Beijing-style duck, with all the fixin’s? In both DC and the suburbs.

    I miss Chinese duck so much. Damn.

    • Mark’s Duck House in Falls Church or Peking Duck in Alexandria. The latter, Mr. Duck (that’s his name) carts the duck to your table, shaves the skin off, sorts the meat, and takes the bones for duck soup. I like the place because of seedy 1970s charm. Everything else on the menu is pretty pedestrian, but the duck is solid.

      Duck Chang’s used to be pretty good, but I haven’t been in years.

      • clevelanddave

        ME- My impression is Mark’s Duck House has really gone down hill in the last couple of years- Was a big fan back in the late 00’s but when I went in 2011 a couple times it was dissapointing. I understand new owners. Has something changed? Fortune across the street is better for dim sum, as is the HK seafood restaurant down the road. XO Taste for Sezechuan is also quite good.

        • Sadly, you are correct, Mark’s is not the same as it used to be and hasn’t been for two or three years now. However, right nearby is Miu Kee. I can’t believe no one has mentioned it yet. It is almost as good as Mark’s used to be. I’ve also heard great claims for China Star in FFX, but never tried it.

  • Jenny’s on the SW Waterfront!

  • I’ve had nothing really good in D.C. (although I’ve never tried Great Wall), which is crazy, have to head to the burbs.

    By FAR the best Chinese I’ve had in the area is Hong Kong Palace in Falls Church. Fantastic.

    Runners-up, in order, would be Peking Gourmet, Mark’s Duck House, Chinatown Express. But Hong Kong Palace is the real deal.

  • Yay, this question of the day makes me so happy! I’m still on my search for good Chinese food that doesn’t require a car to get to.

    I was disappointed with Great Wall. Everything I ordered was so overloaded with MSG that it made my lips tingle. And I actually love me some delicious MSG! (I think Americans are overly afraid of it.) But this was too much even for me… I’ll try some of the places listed here!

    • The lip tingling isn’t from MSG, but from the Szechuan peppers that they use in their dishes. It’s supposed to cause tingling and have a slight metallic taste. Great Wall actually tones it down compared to Szechuan cuisine you’ll find in China. It’s definitely an acquired taste.

      • Aha, thank you for clarifying. I noticed some Yelp reviewers said the same thing, but I assumed they didn’t know what they were talking about. ;) I never experienced this flavor in China, but I’ve also never been anywhere near Sichuan. Now I am intrigued.

  • Sin Heng Claypot Bak Koot Teh (Open 24 Hours, Closed Monday) on Joo Chait Road, Katong, Singapore. Best meat bone tea (soup) in the world.

    Favorite in DC would have to be City Lights, always ordered from them when I was living in Columbia Heights, still go visit my ex-girlfriend up there so we can order it.

  • I’ve been going to Good Fortune in Wheaton for dim sum for years. I think it’s much better than Hollywood East and much more affordable. I wish they’d renovate though because it’s getting dingy. But the food is incredible and super cheap.

  • My list of favorites include:

    – Full Kee in Chinatown
    – A&J in Rockville (Cash only!)
    – Jade Billows in Potomac (Heard a rumor it closed, which would be unfortunate)
    – City Lights in DuPont and Bethesda
    – Hollywood East in Wheaton (Dim sum)
    – Michael’s Noodles in Rockville (Best noodle soup!)
    – XO Taste in Falls Churce (By far the best and most authentic I’ve had in the DMV)

  • Tie: Tony Cheng’s Mongolian BBQ in Chinatown & Tom’s Kitchen, Takoma Park, MD

  • Yuan Fu in Rockville. All vegetarian, and all delicious.

  • I like Chinese food.
    The waiters never are rude.
    Think of the many things they’ve done to impress.
    There’s Maoism, Taoism, I Ching, and Chess.

    So I like Chinese.
    I like Chinese.
    I like their tiny little trees,
    Their Zen, their ping-pong, their yin, and yang-ese.

    I like Chinese thought,
    The wisdom that Confucious taught.
    If Darwin is anything to shout about,
    The Chinese will survive us all without any doubt.

    So, I like Chinese.
    I like Chinese.
    They only come up to your knees,
    Yet they’re wise and they’re witty, and they’re ready to please.

    -Monty Python

  • not in DC. Joe’s Shanghai NYC

    • if you’re starting the NYC thread, then it’s Wo Hop on Mott Street in the basement. The same waiters have been serving duck chow fun for over 40 years.

      • Chinatown in NYC can be so great. Loads of places packed with Chinese expats every nite. Love to go there with natives, great food but so different from US Chinese.
        Ting Fong has best Dim Sum outside HKG. Packed, so much food can’t believe it and not expensive -Love It !

    • ah

      If you’re going to NYC, might as well go to IAD, catch a flight to Beijing and have real stuff.

  • South China Restaurant in Del Ray, Alexandria on Mt. Vernon Avenue. Small place but good Chinese and Malaysian menus!

  • City Lights in Dupont. Definitely my favorite. Love the higher quality meat. The option for all white meat chicken is fantastic. Too often most Chinese restaurants have a mishmash of awful chewy fatty chicken.

    Meiwah in the West End is pretty good as well.

  • Any thoughts about Hunan Dynasty on the Hill (Independence/Pennsylvania between 2nd and 3rd)? It’s apparently a favorite of all sorts of Hill folks, and I often see shuttle buses of Asian tourists going into the restaurant.

  • Seconding Joe’s Noodle House in Rockville. A&J seems to be the big draw out in Rockville, but I prefer Joe’s. Spring Garden in Silver Spring is probably some of the best Americanized Chinese around.

  • We get Great Wall and I have to say, their hot and sour soup is some of the best I’ve ever had.
    I seriously crave it when it’s very cold, or I have a little cold. It’s so good. I wish they’d sell big containers of it!

    Agree, Mr Chens used to be good, but it’s not any more – I DO like that if you’re trying to be a little healthy, you can get steamed veggies/tofu with the sauce on the side. You get the taste, but not the fat.

    Great Wall is our go to – they often deliver to us in 10 minutes, it’s crazy. Salt and pepper tofu is good, too.

  • I lived in Sichuan for over a year. By far Sichuan Pavilion is the best place in the city. It’s the most authentic then anywhere in Chinatown. I have had some chinese friends stay with me and they agree that it’s almost like the real thing (but not quiet).

  • For classic American/Chinese food : New Dynasty in DuPont! It’s always tasty and fresh. They deliver, though we prefer to eat there because the owner is so cheery and happy. We’ve moved to Wheaton, but still make trips just to have their Kung pain chicken and stir fried green beans. Three years a go, We ordered from them for our rehearsal dinner and they delivered to our house, outside the beltway in a snow storm. Love them!

  • From a Chinese person who grew up in China:
    DC: Great Wall Szechuan on 14th and Sichuan Pavilion on K St.
    VA: China Star, Tempt Asian, HK Palace
    MD: Sichuan Jin River, China Bistro (dumplings)

    For dim sum, Oriental East in Silver Spring

    • +1 for China Bistro in Rockville. I am a dumpling nut and I still haven’t found any other dumplings in this country that I like more!

  • Is there a place that has soup dumplings?

  • Sorry to hear about your experience at New Fortune. I’ve been once for dim sum and I’ll go back, for sure.

  • Sorry to hear about your experience at New Fortune. I’ve been once for dim sum and I’ll go back, for sure.

  • I will third the Joe’s Noodle House destination. Great menu. In addition to trying many new items, we always get the spicy string beans and the spicy eggplant. delicious.

  • Shanghai Lounge-Georgetown
    And
    Chinatown Express

  • Love this one, combination noodles, or General Taos, or whatever from
    Johnny’s carryout in north of Columbia Heights
    (202) 667-1761
    3445 14th St NW
    Washington, DC 20010

  • Wegman’s buffet hot bar…not but on par with with lots of crap in the District. Mark’s Duck House in VA take a friend who can order off the “American” english menu and you will have a great meal. Yes different food for Chinese language speakers. Sahwee.

  • Bob’s Noodle house in Rockville is very good. Pork with Bamboo shoots alone makes it worth the drive. Great Wall, Sichuan Pavilion, City Lights, Mee Wah all decent places to get food in the city.

    As for Dim Sum, China Garden in Rosslyn and Marks Duck House in Falls Church are both great.

  • One I don’t see mentioned but is pretty tasty is East Pearl in Rockville

  • Seriously? 145 comments and NOBODY has said anything about how awesome One Fish Two Fish is??? Okay, it’s time all of you get acquainted with this fabulous place. The food is yummy and delicious, it’s pretty huge portions, pretty cheap overall, and even though they’re in Foggy Bottom / the West End, they still deliver all the way to Logan and Shaw. Seriously folks – go get yourself some One Fish Two Fish. Your belly will say thank you :)

  • as a transplant from nyc area, i’m only missing two things: the chow fun from Wo Hop (in the basement) and Dinosaur BBQ wings. Anyone help on either one of these. Otherwise, really happy to here.

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