Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Han Dynasty Center City


  • Please log in to reply
110 replies to this topic

#31 KatieLoeb

KatieLoeb
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 9,156 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 09 January 2010 - 07:43 PM

Make it happen, Uncle Phil. I'm in if it's on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Keep us posted. If we get the big group together again I know it'll be just as much fun as Royersford was. Bring it on!!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#32 kosoffj

kosoffj
  • participating member
  • 45 posts

Posted 17 January 2010 - 02:17 PM

probably a dumb question but are there things you can recommend that AREN'T spicy?

I would love to try this place but we would take our son who has a pretty big palette but can;t do the spicy, and i think my husband would like one non spicy dish to mix it up as well :) i've already noted the spicy recommendations - thanks!

#33 KatieLoeb

KatieLoeb
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 9,156 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 17 January 2010 - 05:02 PM

Three Cup Chicken is a non-spicy but still very savory dish. I thought I saw it on a menu there, but it doesn't seem to be listed on the Philly Han Dynasty online menu. West Lake Beef Soup is pretty mild. Needs red vinegar and white pepper to jazz it up, which I have at home for when I get it take out. The Scallion style, Crispy Rice style and Black Bean style dishes are listed with no spiciness score, as are several of the Vegetable dishes, so I presume they're not hot. I've had the Eggplant in Garlic sauce and sauteed Snow Pea shoots and both were delicious and not hot.

Talk to Han. After he insults you for having no palate, he'll steer you right. :raz:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#34 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 18 January 2010 - 11:50 AM

Sorry for the delay in reporting, there were a lot of photos to tweak!

As was mentioned in another thread, about a dozen of us got together at Han Dynasty on Chestnut St for another of what has become a semi-regular feast. As we generally have done, we just let Han bring us whatever he thinks we should be having. We gave him a little bit of notice, so he was able to come up with a few special items that are not regularly available, including a Sichuan Hot Pot.

We started with an array of cold appetizers, which is a strength of this kitchen, then some wontons and noodles, then a Sichuan Hot Pot, then the parade of main dishes... Somehow we managed to eat pretty much all of it...

Pickled Carrots
Han100114Carrots.jpg

Cold Pork Belly in Chili Oil
Han100114ColdPorkBelly.jpg

Fu Qi Fei Pian: Cold Tripe Tongue and Beef in Chili Oil
Han100114FuQiFeiPian.jpg

Cold rabbit with peanuts
Han100114RabbitPeanuts.jpg

Wontons in Chili Oil
Han100114DumplingsChiliOil.jpg

Dan Dan Noodles
Han100114DanDan.jpg

Then came the hot pot, divided in the middle to offer a spicy broth, and a milder one, in which to cook an array of sliced ingredients.

Han100114HotPotBroth.jpg

Han100114HotPotAction2.jpg

Han100114HotPotBeef1.jpg Han100114HotPotChicken.jpg
Han100114HotPotTripe.jpg Han100114HotPotTripe2.jpg
Han100114HotPotFish.jpg Han100114HotPotMushrooms.jpg
Han100114HotPotNoodles.jpg

Then the main dishes:

Ma Po Tofu
Han100114MaPoTofu.jpg

Dry Fried Green Beans
Han100114GreenBeans.jpg

Frog in Dry Pot
Han100114FrogDryPot.jpg

Lamb with Cumin
Han100114FLambCumin.jpg

Beef in Hot Sauce
Han100114BeefHotSauce.jpg

Tilapia in Spicy Bean Sauce
Han100114FishBeanSauce.jpg

Taiwanese Sausage
Han100114Sausage.jpg


I quite enjoyed all of the food, but of course had some favorites. The Frog in Dry Pot was just delicious, enough to make it worth fighting around the little bones. They don't have frogs on the regular menu, but anything cooked dry pot style is pretty delicious. Love those Dan Dan Noodles. The sauce on that fish was great... But I'd be happy to have any of those dishes again, in fact I hope to have them all again eventually!

I'm not completely convinced that Hot Pot is worth all the trouble: in the end, you're just boiling things in broth. But items cooked in the spicy side were pretty good, especially those slippery mushrooms. It's probably lots more fun to do with a smaller group with the pot in the center of the table, each person customizing what he or she wanted to cook, but our gang was too large to make that practical. I'd certainly try it again sometime with 6 or 8 people. They don't offer Hot Pots regularly at this time, but keep an eye out, they could be added, perhaps on certain days of the week.


To finish this extravaganza, a dessert, a sweet soup.

Han100114Dessert.jpg

The "Lucky Winner" that found the red tapioca pearl in the soup was cajoled into doing something embarrassing or painful, some sadist at our table suggested taking a shot of chili oil. Which actually gave us an idea for a Sichuan Cocktail...

Han100114ChiliBomb.jpg

I think they had to call in reinforcements to clear our table. I know I needed some help just getting myself out the door after all that food!

Han100114Aftermath.jpg

We fought back the spice with an aray of fluids: I hope some of the wine drinkers were taking notes... I was sticking to beer, and was surprised to find so many different kinds of beer that were matching nicely. I enjoyed the sweet, fruity Peche Lambic from Lindemann's; the equally fruity, but more sour, Kasteel Rouge; the surprisingly dry, yet appley Ephemere; and the hoppy Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA. I even liked the Dogfish Head Jiahu, based on the reconstruction of an ancient Chinese brew, extrapolated from residue found in an archeological dig. I didn't like it enough to buy more, but it was interesting... And an elegant sweet French Champagne tasted REALLY good at the end of the meal, calming the buzzing taste buds.

Han100114Bottles.jpg


So, big thanks to everyone who came, it was great to see some old friends, and make some new ones. Hope we can do it again soon! And of course big thanks to Han for getting it together, while running around trying to also take care of some other tables! And to the chefs, who knocked out some knock-out food.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#35 I_call_the_duck

I_call_the_duck
  • participating member
  • 1,243 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia via New York

Posted 19 January 2010 - 09:36 AM

Holy crap, that looked great!! I wish we were able to make it, but please please please, philadining, organize another one soon, and we'll go.

Or we'll just have to make a special trip by ourselves soon anyway. Or both.

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 19 January 2010 - 10:10 AM.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#36 KatieLoeb

KatieLoeb
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 9,156 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 19 January 2010 - 03:07 PM

I'm not completely convinced that Hot Pot is worth all the trouble: in the end, you're just boiling things in broth.


Yeah, but....

I think the whole point of trying the same item both savory and spicy is to see how it changes and what's different about it in the different preparation styles. I really enjoyed trying the same items both ways. I thought it was quite instructional.

There was a metric buttload of food/drinks at that table. And the shots of chili oil and <gasp> the shot of Szechuan Peppercorn oil were worth the cost of admission alone. Scary stuff. But the food and drink and comraderie were outstanding. Thanks to Uncle Phil and Han for making a fabulous feast for us. I'll be ready again soon, just not too soon. I'm still recovering. **burp**...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#37 kosoffj

kosoffj
  • participating member
  • 45 posts

Posted 19 January 2010 - 06:05 PM

thanks katie, we will def have some of the spicy stuff for us but our 4 year old will just have to put up with han's insults lol.

from looking at philadining's pics a) it all looks awesome b) son would love those dumplings (i suck the spicy sauce off at szechuan tasty house, so they are a little spicy but he loooves them) and he would love those string beans!

can;t wait to try it :)

#38 Andrew Fenton

Andrew Fenton
  • participating member
  • 3,352 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 19 January 2010 - 06:53 PM

I can confirm that the three cup chicken and dumplings are a hit among the toddler set. You might also try the sweet potato croquettes, which also went over very well with the short people in our group.

#39 kosoffj

kosoffj
  • participating member
  • 45 posts

Posted 20 January 2010 - 09:07 AM

thanks andrew! adding it to my list :)

#40 percyn

percyn
  • society donor
  • 2,597 posts

Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:25 AM

Stopped by Han's latest outpost on Monday. Couldn't stay for a late lunch / early dinner, but did grab some wontons in Chili oil and the Cold Pork Belly in Chili oil to go.

The porkbelly is great on some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Who needs regular smoked bacon when you have spicy porkbelly? :raz:
CIMG7782-1024.jpg

#41 Sfuffy

Sfuffy
  • participating member
  • 111 posts

Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:08 AM

The wife and I had dinner at Han's on Thursday night. We went right after work and were the first ones in the place. At first, Han just dumped off the menus and left us to our own devices. But then I talked about reading about the previous week's eG dinner and my wife (who's half-Chinese) knowingly asked him about some of the ingredients in the dishes. I guess he realized we weren't some bumpkins looking for the usual thing and started to engage us.

We began with the Dan Dan noodles and the Cold Rabbit with Peanuts. The noodles were very good and we liked the flavor of the rabbit but, to be honest, the diminishing returns of the high bone to meat ratio made it a little frustrating to enjoy.

For our mains, we had the Fish in Dry Pot and Han suggested Pork Belly in Black Bean Sauce. My favorite was the Pork Belly - a relatively simple dish but well-done. The Dry Pot was good but it was a bit blander than we expected - especially for something listed as a 10 on the heat scale. Not sure if Han dialed it down for us.

One unusual thing marred our enjoyment of the entrees. Early on, my wife encountered a chalky, alkaline taste–like baking soda, she said. She thought it might have been her water glass so she got a replacement but the taste persisted throughout the meal. Initially, I didn't have this issue but then I had the same problem. The taste lingered and definitely had an impact on our meal. We had no idea what it was.

Cut to the next day and my wife had some of the leftovers for lunch. Everything was fine at first but then she encountered the same taste which seemed to originate in the bamboo shoots in the Dry Pot. This explained why it took a while for me to notice the taste at dinner as I started with the Pork Belly and she the Dry Pot. It's not like we haven't had bamboo shoots before so we're not quite sure what would cause this. My wife speculated that perhaps there was something in the liquid they were preserved in.

#42 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:24 PM

I can totally sympathize with you about the rabbit with peanuts possibly being too much trouble - but then again, I do always enjoy it, so for me, it might come down to what mood I'm in.

But I think you're definitely right about the dry pot dishes: they have not been as hot as they're supposed to be. I don't think Han is dialing it back, I'm pretty sure that the chef doesn't believe him that non-Chinese can handle it!

The versions I've had at the other Han Dynasty branches have been much spicier. That said, I think the dry pots here would be the best of all of them, if the heat were kicked-up to where it should be. I found them pretty delicious even as-is, but I miss that stronger burn and tingle that I remember from other examples.

As for what you described as a chalky, alkaline taste, I wonder if it might just be the after-effects of the Sichuan peppercorns. You might be describing something else, because I never think of it as chalky or like baking soda, I usually get more of a metallic sensation, but those Sichuan peppercorns can definitely make your water taste a little odd!

The fact that it seemed to creep-up on you, especially in the leftovers in the dry pot, makes me suspect that they could be the culprits though... I'm pretty confident that the bamboo shoots in the dry pots are fresh, so I doubt it's a preserving liquid, but they certainly do soak up the surrounding flavors, so they may have become impregnated with that weird tingly numbing spice of the Sichuan peppercorns, which can then make other things taste a little strange. I'm kind of addicted to it now, but I found it disorienting at first.

I'd try again with the dry pot. I always thought the default setting was very hot, but maybe the chef needs a little more convincing. I'm going to get one again soon and specifically ask for it at the traditional spice level, and see what happens...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#43 mssurgeon81

mssurgeon81
  • participating member
  • 50 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia, PA

Posted 26 January 2010 - 01:20 PM

Totally craving those Dan Dan noodles, and seeing the pictures only made it worse!! I may have to stroll down to Front and Chestnut and get Han to whip me up some takeout...
Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"
Philadelphia, PA

#44 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 27 January 2010 - 01:14 PM

Amusing post about Handy Nasty, errr, Han Dynasty, on Phoodie>>

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#45 handmc

handmc
  • participating member
  • 778 posts
  • Location:PA

Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:37 PM

Out in Royersford they have baby bamboo shoots in Chili Oil. If they have that a center city you should give it a try it was crazy good. One night Han went in back and made me chicken with dry hot peppers "his way" which means massive amounts of yummy garlic, if you can ever talk him into doing that for you, you should it made a great dish even better!

**************************************************
Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"



--------------------
One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

#46 KatieLoeb

KatieLoeb
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 9,156 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 28 January 2010 - 03:54 PM

Amusing post about Handy Nasty, errr, Han Dynasty, on Phoodie>>



That's hilarious. And so very illustrative of the Han experience. Handy Nasty it is. :laugh:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#47 SaxChik

SaxChik
  • participating member
  • 195 posts
  • Location:West Chester

Posted 29 January 2010 - 02:31 PM

ha, we've been calling it handy nasty since he put up his website ... handynasty.net!
"The perfect lover is one who turns into pizza at 4am."
Charles Pierce

#48 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 18 February 2010 - 02:38 PM

More love for Han Dynasty in the press (and competing titles for Han himself - I vote for Sergeant Pepper...)

Trey Popp in the City Paper: Sergeant Pepper


Penn's 34th St magazine: Sovereign of Spice

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#49 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 17 March 2010 - 08:09 AM

Another good review for Han Dynasty, this time from Adam Erace in the Philadelphia Weekly.

A perfect 10 followed, a sizzling dry pot of shrimp served in a mini wok on a live flame. It hissed and spat hot oil as I worked through the crispy crustaceans and whole dried chilies, both spice-hot and temperature-hot, rousing tastebuds I didn’t know I had, chiseling every flavor into sharp relief.


Read the full review>>

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#50 KatieLoeb

KatieLoeb
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 9,156 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 17 March 2010 - 11:04 PM

I just enjoyed dinner at Han Dynasty last night, and had some of the leftovers when I got home from work tonight. Han helped me pick out a delicious meal to share with my friend who swore he didn't love spicy food. He did by the time we left. But I still got all the leftovers because he was still shellshocked by his first Han Dynasty experience. Definitely a win-win for me! :biggrin:
I still have some flounder and soft tofu left over for lunch tomorrow. Really looking forward to it...

The PW review is excellent and well deserved. It's nice to see that favorable word-of-mouth and the local press has been so beneficial to the restaurant. But we all still need to go there and keep them busy. Often.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#51 Tim Dolan

Tim Dolan
  • participating member
  • 507 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 13 June 2010 - 08:43 PM

Hands down, my current favorite things to eat in the city are the wontons in chili oil and any hot pot from Han Dynasty. Also, he told me that he started doing a tasting on the 1st Monday of the month. I think he said it was like $25, and he just sits people down at one big table and he does all the ordering. Definitely gonna try and make it to the next one.
I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...
Homer Simpson

#52 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 15 June 2010 - 09:04 AM

Next time you go, ask if he has soft shell crabs. The kitchen had run out of them when we were there last, but Han made us some regular hard shell crabs in the same style, and those were great - my dining partners tell me the softshell version is even better.

HanCC-crabsR.jpg

We also had the excellent Dan Dan Noodles, and some snow pea greens. Then we asked Han for something with pork, anything. It's not on the menu, but it's worth asking him if he'll make it for you:

Shredded Pork with Garlic Chives

HanCC-PorkGarlicChivesR.jpg

It's not especially spicy, actually quite subtle, but absolutely delicious, with the gentle garlic/onion flavors of the chives, a just-right hit of salt, just a touch of chili spice, some cooling cucumber... really good.

Nice to see that the food is only getting better, and I noticed Han actually has some staff on the floor, so maybe he won't collapse from running around trying to serve ALL the tables... But it's still worth asking for him, to get some advice when ordering. I know the menu pretty well, but I still want to know from him what to get on any given day.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#53 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:28 AM

I have always enjoyed the Tea-Smoked duck at the Han Dynasty in Exton, and even more at Royersford. I'd been a little disappointed that it wasn't on the menu in the center city location, but - good things come to those who wait!

Han-TeaDuck.jpg

It's deeply smoky, almost tasting like southern barbecue, yet still moist and meaty. I especially like the crunchy bits... It's a complex preparation involving steaming, smoking, drying, braising and deep-frying, over the course of a few days, so if they run out, they run out, they can't whip-up another one to order.

The Royersford location also has a version in beer sauce that is also good, but there's something very appealing about the plain duck.

It's not at all spicy, so it's a good choice for folks that have a low threshold for chili heat.


On the other hand, if you have a high threshold for chili heat, try the Lamb in Hot Sauce.

Han-LambHotSauce.jpg

You can order any of several things in this sauce, but I think lamb is one of the best versions.

Nice to see Han Dynasty Center City just getting better and better...

Edited by philadining, 21 June 2010 - 11:29 AM.


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#54 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 14 July 2010 - 01:19 PM

We'd heard some rumors about Craig Laban being spotted at Han Dynasty recently, but we figured he might just be addicted, like we are... Turns out he's reviewing it this sunday - July 18. I predict a game-changing 6 bells.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#55 percyn

percyn
  • society donor
  • 2,597 posts

Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:31 PM

Hope Han did not share his...hmmm...commentary on the Americanized part of the menu this time :raz:

#56 philadining

philadining
  • participating member
  • 2,603 posts
  • Location:Philaburbia

Posted 18 July 2010 - 09:58 AM

Three Bells for Han Dynasty from Craig Laban.

Congrats to Han, and everybody in the kitchen.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

#57 Tim Dolan

Tim Dolan
  • participating member
  • 507 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 18 July 2010 - 12:54 PM

Awesome review. And totally deserved. I'm happy for them. Gonna have to stop by tonight to beat the crowds!
I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...
Homer Simpson

#58 percyn

percyn
  • society donor
  • 2,597 posts

Posted 18 July 2010 - 06:04 PM

Congratz Han !! You did it again !! :biggrin:

#59 KatieLoeb

KatieLoeb
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 9,156 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 18 July 2010 - 08:15 PM

Hell yeah!! That's awesome!! Go Han...Go Han...Go Han!

Posted Image

Dancing the happy dance for you Han! Way cool. Mr. Laban is definitely not so easy to please, so 3 Bells is seriously high praise. He was practically waxing poetic. Well deserved for both you and the staff.

Does this mean we all won't be able to get seats anymore? :unsure:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#60 bsims

bsims
  • participating member
  • 19 posts

Posted 20 July 2010 - 11:12 AM

Being a suburbanite, I've eaten at both the Exton and Royersford locations. With the exception of the default place setting being silverware instead of chopsticks (perhaps a pet peeve, but it somehow takes away from the authenticity - odd to me, given Han's vocal opinion about americanized cuisine, but I digress) and have found it to be a treat. However, it seems like a key point of the overall experience, if not food itself, is Han and his personality - this carries over to the print reviews as well. Given the ever expanding empire, has the dining experience at Exton and Royersford gone down any? At least, I'll assume that most of his attention would be focused on the city location now...