Things are pretty quiet during the week at Han Dynasty, so we pretty much took over the place for a bit of an eating binge. Looking back over these pics, I have no idea how we ate all this, even though there were eleven of us! We ended up with 20 dishes, and had only a few leftovers. If we'd sat there a little longer, I wonder if we might have polished it off...
It was a great meal, it seemed that almost everyone liked almost everything, although we might have assaulted Nikki's tastebuds with hot pepper yet again...
Big thanks to Diann for getting this going, to Percy for scouting out some good dishes, and to SaxChick for alerting us to the restaurant in the first place!
Even bigger thanks to Han for taking good care of us, making good recommendations and even cooking some of our dishes.
We started with:(Cold) Chicken Strips with Chef's Hot Sauce
This was a favorite of ours from when the chef used to cook at Tifco's. It was so popular that we didn't even leave a little for Percy to top his eggs with in the morning! Noodles with hot Meat Sauce
I could just eat this and be pretty happy.(Cold) Beef and Tripe in Hot Sauce
This is often made with beef kidney, or even lung, but I'm not entirely sure what part of the beef it was... but it was delicious! Hot Rabbits Ding!
At last, we get the hot rabbit! They warned us that it was boney, and indeed there are lots of little spiky bones to contend with, but I thought it was totally worth the trouble. Szechuan Wonton in Chili Oil
The wontons themselves are not spicy, but the broth has a good dose of chili oil in it.Fried Taiwanese Sausage
The entire table went pretty nuts for this: despite having two plates of it, it disappeared pretty quickly, and I suspect 10 more servings would have vanished too... Oh, and hiding behind the sausage - a pile of thinly-sliced garlic, which we were instructed should be eaten along with the sausage, one slice of garlic with each slice of meat.
Our apologies to spouses who were not with us. Be warned: this is totally addictive. I have no idea why this isn't offered at every restaurant in town, but for you city dwellers, it could be worth a drive out to Exton just for this! Fish and Picked Vegetable Soup
I'm actually not sure about the official name of this one, but wow, it was delicious. The fish was mild and light, perfectly cooked, accompanied by tangy greens and a subtle broth. This was overall not very spicy, but there were a few peppers lurking in there that caught a few of us by surprise!Imperial Soup
Shrimp, Squid, Chicken, I forget what else... I actually didn't eat this, so I hope someone else will describe it. Chinese Bacon with Long Hot PeppersSteamed Pork Belly with Rice Powder and PumpkinPork Belly with preserved Vegetables
OK, maybe we got a little carried away with the pork bellies. No regrets though! The thin sliced "bacon" with the hot pepper had a great smoky kick, the steamed version was meltingly tender, the one with preserved vegetables was my favorite, the sharply-flavored vegetables cutting the richness of the meat beautifully. Lion's Head Meatballs
Can we have yet another favorite? This was very popular at the table, we actually ordered another plate of these... I love them. Lamb with Cumin
Yet another long-time favorite back from the days this chef cooked at Tifco's China Bistro. Best-ever version of it, I think, nicely tender lamb, still juicy, literally encrusted with ground cumin. This is not
subtle, so if you're not down with cumin or hot peppers, this may not be for you. But if that sounds interesting, you owe it to yourself to try this! Fish with Pickled Peppers
This is not as hot or sour as the name suggests, but it is very tasty. I think I might like this with fish better than with pork or chicken, which I'd defaulted-to previously. Three-Cup Chicken
This is a traditional Taiwanese dish, and a real crowd-pleaser. It's a little sweet, sticky, salty, therefore, not surprisingly, totally addictive. Pork Chop Rice
Another Taiwanese standard, and perhaps my new favorite dish. The porkchop itself was good, but I especially loved the sauce on the rice, the vegetables accompanying, the whole package. Fried Rice with Sausage
Because there is no such thing as too much Chinese sausage.Spicy Soft Shell Crabs
Perfectly crispy and bursting with juice, and as you can see, a bit spicy too! Pork Stew
This had a little bit of everything: thinly sliced pork, pork intestines, pork blood, chicken, hot peppers, beansprouts... Our table is still not too sure about the pork blood, but the stew as a whole was very tasty. And who knew? I actually like intestines cooked like this!
They were very kind to send out a big plate of good watermelon, which was a perfect way to cool our tingling palates.
Also some sweet mochi were a lovely finish to the meal.
I'm afraid that we might have used up all the paper in their cash register...
I suspect that we could have gotten by with a couple fewer dishes, but everything that Han suggested sounded so good, we just kept saying "sure, bring it!!" And indeed everything was delicious, I don't think there's a single dish we didn't like.
Even with all this excess, the bill still came to under $30 per person, and most of us had some leftovers to take home. The kitchen was even nice enough to package up some containers of hot and sour and egg-drop soup for us, so many of us have a nice lunch, or dinner, to keep those great flavors lingering for another day.
I thought this was a great meal. Thanks again to Han for his excellent recommendations, it's such a nice change of pace to have someone enthusiastically guiding us through traditional dishes, rather than just steering us to some thing "safe."
Thanks also to everyone there for their warm hospitality. The waitresses and other staff were all super-friendly and helpful. And of course to the chef, who continues to amaze with his vibrant cooking.
They mentioned that they're pretty slow during the week, so I'm sure they'd love to see you! If some of your dining companions are not as adventurous, there are plenty of more familiar things on the menu too, just be sure to try a couple
of things you can't get elsewhere, you won't regret it!
There are a few hundred things on the menu, so I think we need to do several more of these dinners and work our way through it!
Thanks to everybody for coming, that was big fun!
Edited by philadining, 22 August 2007 - 08:41 AM.