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Han Dynasty Center City


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#1 philadining

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 01:20 PM

So, the word from Han himself is that the new place at 108 Chestnut St. will be opening on Wednesday, December 23. It's a soft-open, the full menu will probably not be available yet, give them a few weeks to get up to full speed. But I suspect that some of the hot hits will be there (and I do mean hot... )

I've had really great food at both of the other places in the past week, so I figure it's my duty to try to hit the third one ASAP! So, I might just see you there if you go.

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#2 mssurgeon81

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 02:02 PM

I'm heading home to Miami for Christmas but I am making a beeline for this place as soon as I get back next week. I've been drooling over the pics in the Han Dynasty thread for months! Any chance of an eGullet get-together at the new place in 2010?
Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"
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#3 philadining

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 03:05 PM

We totally should do an eGullet thing there in the new year. As soon as Han feels like he's ready for us, we'll put something together. Watch this space!

BTW, it's BYOB for now, he's planning to get a liquor license, but who knows how long that will take.

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#4 mod*betty

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 04:42 PM

woo good news for Han and the city dwellers! Let us know when the gang is heading over, we'd love to attend!
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#5 mssurgeon81

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 05:12 PM

Yay! Can't wait!
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#6 SaxChik

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 05:57 PM

Guess he didn't make his December 1st timeline, but I look forward to trying out #3 in the Dynasty that Han has become.
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#7 KatieLoeb

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 01:02 AM

Hell yes! Philadining, you'll undoubtedly be getting an "Are you hungry?" text message from me on Wednesday evening as soon as I'm done with work. Shouldn't be too late, as I'm usually done by about 8pm. I'll race you over there... :wink:

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#8 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 01:19 PM

Woo-hoo!!
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#9 KatieLoeb

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 10:10 PM

Meh. I forgot my schedule is different this week due to picking up shifts for coworkers absent for holiday travel. So I'm closing on Wednesday night and can't make it over there. I'll have to console myself with the fridge full of Szechuan Tasty House takeout I picked up tonight on my way home. Part of a multi-pronged attack against the cold I feel coming on that I am bound and determined to nip in the bud and beat into submission. My lips are still tingling from the Ma Po Tofu. Szechaun Hot and Sour soup and spicy dumplings too. Yum. I feel better already... :smile:

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#10 Jeff L

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 05:46 AM

Can't wait to try this place. Jeff, let me know when you (or anyone else) plans on having an event.

#11 philadining

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 11:53 AM

A couple of us dropped by on wednesday night, and had some terrific food. But it is indeed a very soft opening - they don't even have menus yet! But that's not really a problem, the best way to eat there is to ignore the menu anyway and just talk with Han about what to order.

So Han was nice enough to just give us a survey of a few dishes, whatever the kitchen felt like making, and everything was really delicious. Many of them were familiar from the other places, but with a slightly different spin. It's fascinating to experience the variations in flavor balances from chef to chef: even dishes you know seem a little different.

The cold appetizer of sliced tripe, tongue and beef (fu qi fei pian - 夫妻肺片) was the best version that I've ever had, with a complexity of flavor far beyond the basic hot and numbing. A bowl of what looked like Dan Dan Noodles had an extra earthy funkiness that complimented the ground pork and hot spices really nicely. Green Bean noodles, (which are thick, semi-transparent, whitish noodles made from mung beans) are served cold with a tingly chili oil, and are an intriguing combination of cool and soothing and scorching.

We had Chicken in Dry pot that I though was delicious, but Han was disappointed with it because the chef had toned it down for the non-Chinese eaters. It's OK, he'll get used to us, and hey, it was still pretty darn delicious even in that scaled-back form. Double-cooked pork was pretty assertively salty, but I'm not sure that that's a bad thing! I still ate plenty of it... Pork and pressed tofu was relatively mild, but a welcome contrast. The fried green beans were especially good, I generally like this dish, but these beans seemed somehow more vivid, I think the pork and preserved vegetable that gives the dish some bite were chopped especially finely, and were adhering better to the beans than is the case with some versions.

Overall, it was a very promising indication of great food to come. They're still tweaking things in the kitchen, both in terms of hardware and recipes, so it will still be a little while until they're a final, buffed-up production, but I for one am happy to taste their experiments!

I usually get grumpy about places that are open for business and not fully ready, but in this case, even the work-in-progress is pretty delicious, so I'd encourage you to go anyway. And just keep in mind that it's only going to get better!

The hours are a little up in the air right now, they'll eventually be open fairly late, but until traffic picks-up, I wouldn't assume that they'd be serving past 9 or so. But you never know, it's worth checking. Sorry I didn't remember to get a phone number - I'll post it if I find it...

And again, once they're feeling like they're up to speed, we'll get a group together, post some pictures, let you know which dishes we think are especially great. But in the interim, go, and just ask Han for advice, he should be there most of the time.

Edited by philadining, 24 December 2009 - 11:54 AM.


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#12 KatieLoeb

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 07:22 PM

:angry: Grrrrrrr.....

After having to bolt from my shift at work to a mortgage closing, I still had to go ransom my car with the flat tire from the garage around the corner from work. Then I had to be up insanely early to go get the tire fixed before being in today at 10am. Were today not Xmas Eve it wouldn't have been a problem, but I didn't want to be stuck with no car for 2 days. I totally missed out on this, but was thinking of you jealously last night standing around in the freezing cold in Sou' Filly waiting for my cab, sincerely wishing I was just a bit further north in Old City, eating delicious food at Han Dynasty.

They might see me sooner rather than later. After all, Xmas is the day the folks in my tribe go to movies and eat Chinese. It could totally happen...

Katie M. Loeb
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#13 TarteTatin

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 08:35 PM

Hey, Katie-We're thinking of doing that very thing ourselves...let us know if you go! Susan
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#14 Greg Ling

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:05 PM

Greetings Katie, let me know when you are going also, would love to join.
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#15 KatieLoeb

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:17 PM

I got home too late on Xmas day to call anyone and missed out on my fix. However, no plans for Sunday if anyone is game. PM me or call. Y'all know where 2 find me... :smile:

Do we have an actual phone number or hours of operation yet? Just a thought.

Katie M. Loeb
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#16 BarbaraKMarshall

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:48 PM

Sorry, I've been trying to make a post that included pics from Han's Friends and Family dinner the wednesday before opening but each time the entire post got lost and I frustrated. Word from Han's Manager, Mike, is the liquor license should be in effect by March.

#17 BarbaraKMarshall

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:50 PM

Greg and Katie, Ian and I are thinking about going in tomorrow early evening possibly between 4-5...

#18 BarbaraKMarshall

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 10:09 PM

Here are most of the dishes Han served at the friends and family dinner at the new restaurant. Only 2 things: the Taiwanese Sausage and Sauteed Water Spinach With Garlic were devoured before I could get a pic with my cell phone. Please excuse the hurried posting but as this is my fourth attempt, it's gotten less elaborate each time:
One view in the dining room
IMG_0094.jpg

Cold and Spicy Beef Tongue and Tripe
IMG_0102.jpg

Pork Ribs
IMG_0103.jpg

Pickled Cucumber with Dry Hot Pepper
IMG_0105.jpg

Tea Smoked Duck
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Lion's Head Meatballs
IMG_0111.jpg

Chicken with Dry Hot Peppers
IMG_0113.jpg

Deep Fried Shredded Beef
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Green Beans with Minced Meat
IMG_0115.jpg

Flounder with Vegetables
IMG_0116.jpg

Fish and Vegetable Soup
IMG_0118.jpg

Han has already made plans with a local farm to have his waste vegetable oil recycled and is also having his mom's floral greenhouse restored to grow veggies for the restaurant. More details to come!

#19 percyn

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 07:31 AM

Congratulations to Han on opening his 3rd place in record time and growing his Sichuan empire :biggrin:

#20 percyn

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:56 AM

Saw this after my previous post...

In today's inky, Craig Laban lists Han Dynasty in his list of noteworthy reviews for 2009.

#21 Rich Pawlak

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 09:43 AM

Barb, you posted pics of some of my favorite Han Dynasty dishes. I cant WAIT to get to the Center City outpost.

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#22 KatieLoeb

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 08:05 PM

Planning a New Year's Eve sojourn to Han Dynasty Center City. It's still BYO, so something sparkly will be both appropriately festive as well as going with the food. Anyone that would like to join in, PM me. No particular time set yet, but Han says he'll stay open long enough to watch the ball drop and the fireworks are just outside the front door at Penn's Landing...

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#23 BarbaraKMarshall

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 02:29 PM

I went in with Ian monday night for dinner. Han and Mike were there working on the menu. For now, Han's handwritten the menu, it's all authentic and as usual, he's more than willing to order for you.
Here's some pics of what we had:

Since Ian missed the friends and family I ordered the Cold Beef and Tripe since he has an extra special love for offals.
IMG_0139.jpg

Noodles with Hot Meat Sauce
Similar to Dan Dan noodles sauce but with less sesame paste.
IMG_0141.jpg

Peking Style Pork Belly
IMG_0143.jpg

Rabbit in Dry Hot Pot
IMG_0144.jpg

#24 KatieLoeb

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:34 PM

Delightful New Year's Eve repast at Han Dynasty CC. Han was kind enough to help us choose some appropriate dishes (more like we told him a couple of things we really wanted and he chose the rest) and the resulting feast was excellent. Spicy Noodles with ground pork (I think), hot oil dumplings, pork belly (oh yeah!) followed by Cumin Lamb (my favorite), Rabbit in Dry Hot Pot and snow pea shoots. Everything completely delicious. Rabbit was tongue numbingly laced with Szechuan peppercorns. Really yummy and unusual. We found that sparkling wine, Argentine Torrontes and Gewurtraminer are all excellent accompaniments. Won't be long before they see me again. Will be bringing some coworkers in soon too...

Actual menus have arrived, so that should make ordering easier for those of you that haven't ever tried any of the other Han Dynasty outposts. But the best idea is to let Han do the work and figure out what you'll like. He's pretty good at that.

Katie M. Loeb
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#25 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 04:39 PM

That was such a great meal. I never made it to either suburban location, so I'm so happy Han opened one in Center City. He's also a real hoot! I think my favorite was the pork belly. I'm looking forward to working my way through the entire menu, so if anyone else wants to go, PM me.
Karen C.

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#26 KatieLoeb

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 12:04 AM

Am I forgetting an entree?? I keep thinking there was something else that I'm not remembering... :unsure:

Katie M. Loeb
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#27 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:45 PM

I think you covered it all. I think we did order other stuff, but it never made it to the table.
Karen C.

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#28 philadining

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 01:01 PM

OMG these wontons in chili oil are crazy delicious.

So, I think it might be time to do a wholesale invasion. I'll post something official with all the required language shortly.

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#29 mod*betty

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 06:04 PM

Cliff and I were at the Exton branch today, figuring spicy food might warm up a cold day. We'd totally be into a Center City Han D get together- keep us posted!
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#30 mssurgeon81

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 06:29 PM

I'm in! On call Tuesday and Sunday night but otherwise free....
Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"
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