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Han Dynasty


philadining
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Han Dynasty

Exton Plaza

260 North Pottstown Pike

(in the plaza with the McDonalds)

610-524-4002

Mon-thurs 11am-10pm

Fri & Sat 11am-10:30 pm

Sun 11:30am-9:30 pm

Thanks to Saxchick's tip, we headed over to this new place in Exton last night.

Service was super-friendly, very helpful, they were more than happy to give us advice, recommending the more traditional dishes, rather than looking at us incredulously, or warning us off of them.

The guy we were talking to, I had the sense he was one of the owners, said their chef used to be at Tifco's. I'm not sure exactly who's who, in relation to who's at Chung King Garden, but this chef did look familiar from the old days at Tifco...

The main, fancy, bound menu has the usual suburban chinese stuff. It might be fine, but not all that interesting. The "authentic" dishes are found on the back of the take-out menu, and there's a good selection. Lots of the Sichuan Faves that look familiar from the old days at Tifco, and also some Taiwanese, and authentic Cantonese.

We had to check one of the old standards, the Double Cooked Pork:

gallery_23992_3606_45546.jpg

This was fairly thin-sliced pork belly, fairly fatty and more gently cooked than some, but it had great flavor with the fresh chiles, hot oil and scallions. The thicker meat at Szechuan Tasty House downtown gives that version an edge in my book, but this was pretty darn tasty.

From the Taiwan section: Sausage Fried Rice

gallery_23992_3606_30859.jpg

This was pretty standard fried rice, but the addition of the sweet sausage made it really delicious. It's going to be hard to resist getting this as a side dish every time...

And the star of the evening, also from the Taiwan section: Chinese Meatballs.

gallery_23992_3606_3690.jpg

These were great, impossibly light, airy, yet substantial meatballs. I don't think I've ever had a meatball this tender that still held together, I didn't even think it was possible! The guy we were talking to said his mom made them, from a secret recipe, and I believe him...

Lots more to try, we got a menu marked up with his recommendations, but I suspect you could get someone to give you advice. He said it was crazy busy on saturday evenings, so you might not get quite as much personal attention then, but any other time, they're happy to explain things and give advice.

It's still early, but this place looks promising.

Thanks again Lauren!!

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Han Dynasty

Exton Plaza

260 North Pottstown Pike

(in the plaza with the McDonalds)

610-524-4002

Mon-thurs 11am-10pm

Fri & Sat 11am-10:30 pm

Sun  11:30am-9:30 pm

Thanks to Saxchick's tip, we headed over to this new place in Exton last night.

Service was super-friendly, very helpful, they were more than happy to give us advice, recommending the more traditional dishes, rather than looking at us incredulously, or warning us off of them.

The guy we were talking to, I had the sense he was one of the owners, said their chef used to be at Tifco's. I'm not sure exactly who's who, in relation to who's at Chung King Garden, but this chef did look familiar from the old days at Tifco...

The main, fancy, bound menu has the usual suburban chinese stuff.  It might be fine, but not all that interesting. The "authentic" dishes are found on the back of the take-out menu, and there's a good selection. Lots of the Sichuan Faves that look familiar from the old days at Tifco, and also some Taiwanese, and authentic Cantonese.

We had to check one of the old standards, the Double Cooked Pork:

gallery_23992_3606_45546.jpg

This was fairly thin-sliced pork belly, fairly fatty and more gently cooked than some, but it had great flavor with the fresh chiles, hot oil and scallions. The thicker meat at Szechuan Tasty House downtown gives that version an edge in my book, but this was pretty darn tasty.

From the Taiwan section: Sausage Fried Rice

gallery_23992_3606_30859.jpg

This was pretty standard fried rice, but the addition of the sweet sausage made it really delicious. It's going to be hard to resist getting this as a side dish every time...

And the star of the evening, also from the Taiwan section: Chinese Meatballs.

gallery_23992_3606_3690.jpg

These were great, impossibly light, airy, yet substantial meatballs. I don't think I've ever had a meatball this tender that still held together, I didn't even think it was possible!  The guy we were talking to said his mom made them, from a secret recipe, and I believe him...

Lots more to try, we got a menu marked up with his recommendations, but I suspect you could get someone to give you advice.  He said it was crazy busy on saturday evenings, so you might not get quite as much personal attention then, but any other time, they're happy to explain things and give advice.

It's still early, but this place looks promising.

Thanks again Lauren!!

The meatballs looked more like "Lion's Head" and it is not a Taiwanese dish but rather Shanghaiese. Also, I am not sure if sausage fried rice is Taiwanese.

Leave the gun, take the canoli

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They list both under "Taiwan Dishes" on their menu.  I don't know if that is a mistake, or if they make a Taiwanese version of these dishes. I'm not sure where the meatball-creating mom grew up...

Sicily probably..... :cool:

Leave the gun, take the canoli

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They list both under "Taiwan Dishes" on their menu.  I don't know if that is a mistake, or if they make a Taiwanese version of these dishes. I'm not sure where the meatball-creating mom grew up...

Sicily probably..... :cool:

Did Rocco Dispirito's Mom leave him for a new job with more job security?

Sorry I could not resist. :cool:

**************************************************

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

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did take out ...

ma po tofu ... very nice, decent amount of spice, loved the ground pork, sausage fried rice ... was quite tasty, and got the lamb and cumin again cause i had to see if it was spectacular the second time ... it was! i really like this place (even more so cause i can walk there!)

"The perfect lover is one who turns into pizza at 4am."

Charles Pierce

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Been there 4 times in the last 2 weeks....this place rocks !! These were impromptu visits, so I had to rely on my camera phone for some lousy pics

As Philadining said, the staff is very helpful and the owner is super cool, making recommendations and bending over backwards by offering to make any special dish which may not be on the menu, when they are not very busy (Mon-Wed). The are looking to increase clientel soon, so please visit as often as you can before we loose this gem.

I always start with some Sichuan Dumplings in Hot Oil - Chao Shou (红油抄手)

gallery_21049_398_32606.jpg

and Jia-Jiang Mein (aka Chinese Spaghetti)

gallery_21049_398_30545.jpg

I have also tried the

Pork with Jalapeño (actually these are not Jalapeño but a long pepper) - very nice dish and I am trying to get them to make it with small green chilies

gallery_21049_398_9261.jpg

Yesterday, I got the Sichuan Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

gallery_21049_398_673.jpg

Wife for Mongolian chicken which was also good.

When I told the owner about eGullet he said some crazy guy in a ponytail was here taking pictures and mentioned the site....hmmm...wonder who that could be :raz:

Anyway, grab a friend or 12 and go visit this place.

Cheers

Percy

ETA: Yes, the Chef is ex-Tifco and left Chung King garden in Chinatown 7 months ago. Next time the owner is going to have the chef make me some pork belly with pickled vegetables....hmmm pork belly.

Edited by percyn (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Went for what is turning into my weekly dinner trip to Han's Dynasty and ordered:

The original spaghetti and meatballs (from the old old country)

gallery_21049_162_27809.jpg

These pork meatballs were really fluffy, though apparently a different (less fluffy more hearty) version of the ones Jeff got.

gallery_21049_162_28679.jpg

More Pork (leg?) - I was telling the owner about the pork butt at Four Rivers in Chinatown and he said...we have something like that (not on the menu). Indeed they do...only it is a slightly spicier, which makes it even better in my book.

gallery_21049_162_8300.jpg

gallery_21049_162_7900.jpg

Now I have enough leftovers to last through the weekend. Seriously, we need to organize a eG group dinner and order the pork and meatballs.

Cheers

Percy

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LION'S HEAD MEATBALLS.

I love 'em! Imagine being a kid and having a meatball that feels like it's the size of your head placed in front of you. It's an endless, glorious meatgasm.

Anyways, Percy, you should definitely organize a dinner! I'd be curious to see what their other Shanghai/Taiwanese specialties are like. In particular, I wonder if they have beef tendon noodle soup, or oyster pancakes, or fried pork chops.

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they have some nice rooms in the back with the round tables and lazy susans for a big group. i'm in if you're going!

"The perfect lover is one who turns into pizza at 4am."

Charles Pierce

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  • 3 weeks later...

Grabbed some take-out.

Noodles in Szechuan Beef Soup

gallery_23992_3894_96361.jpg

Tender, meaty cubes of stewed beef, with a bit of fat, tendon and other stuff to give some chew, in a delicious, spicy broth. Noodles had a great firmness that still soaked up the flavors of the broth. (And for take-out, the noodles were packed separately, so they didn't get soggy, which was nice.)

Shredded Pork with Peking Sauce

gallery_23992_3894_18089.jpg

Really nice version of this classic: delicate pork in an almost sweet, tangy sauce, with shreds of scallion.

Both were really delicious. This is serious food

We totally need to get a big group together, it's really torture trying to narrow down the choices!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

Based on all the feedback here, we tried Han Dynasty for a late lunch yesterday. I grabbed a takeout menu on the way to our seats, and the chef/owner spotted me doing it--he came over to our table and pointed out that now their bound menus now include their authentic dishes (many, many more than on the takeout menu).

Everyone was fantastically friendly, and the chef offered to order for us the next time we come. We're going to take him up on that.

Oh, right, the food. Had to do the chinese spaghetti, and the double cooked pork. Both fantastic, with just the right amount of spice (a lot). Also had some wontons (great filling, delicate wrappers rather than the doughy ones from the more american-chinese takeout places). The taiwanese-menu's fried rice with sausage was my wife's favorite; she loves the sausage in it--I think it's called "lap xuong."

Thinking of going back tonight. Off to go make some leftover pork belly egg porn for the breakfast thread....

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Jaredrakes, glad you liked it and look forward to the breakfast post.

Han, the owner, said they are updating the menu, starting the weekend. Includes all the old favorites, plus some new dishes.

I ordered the Pickled Pepper Chicken and Pork Belly with pickled vegetables and the leftovers also make for a good breakfast.

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Sichuan Pickled Pepper Chicken and Pork Belly

gallery_21049_162_12360.jpg

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I ordered the Pickled Pepper Chicken and Pork Belly with pickled vegetables ...

sounds like you needed to invite peter piper over for that meal. ;-)

glad they're adding "the good stuff" to the regular menu. now if i can only get them to automatically give me chopsticks, i'll be happy. we truly need to plan a large gathering at this place. the back rooms with the lazy susans would make for a good time.

"The perfect lover is one who turns into pizza at 4am."

Charles Pierce

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I was there Friday and had the spicy beef noodle soup and the dumplings. It was excellent!

I talked to the owner for a while who talked about the guy with the ponytial taking pictures. He must think we are a cult.

He was saying we need to try the frogs legs and that hot rabbit ding will also be available again. I can't wait.

**************************************************

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

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I talked to the owner for a while who talked about the guy with the ponytial taking pictures. He must think we are a cult.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

You mean we aren't? :unsure:

Hot Rabbits Ding! Oh yeah. I'll definitely make the drive out there to finally get a chance to try my favorite badly-translated-Chinese-menu item. If we were to do this on a Monday or Tuesday when they aren't so busy and I'm likely to be off work that would be grand.

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

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I talked to the owner for a while who talked about the guy with the ponytial taking pictures. He must think we are a cult.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

You mean we aren't? :unsure:

Hot Rabbits Ding! Oh yeah. I'll definitely make the drive out there to finally get a chance to try my favorite badly-translated-Chinese-menu item. If we were to do this on a Monday or Tuesday when they aren't so busy and I'm likely to be off work that would be grand.

Would definitely like the opportunity to meet some of the local egullet folks for a Han-athon after all this lurking.

And how can I not go back and try the "sliced pork kidney"....which I believe was on the "cold items" section of the menu?

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  • 3 weeks later...

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

gallery_23992_5053_83542.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_105702.jpg

I could just eat this and be pretty happy.

(Cold) Beef and Tripe in Hot Sauce

gallery_23992_5053_29669.jpg

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!

gallery_23992_5053_15355.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_110965.jpg

The wontons themselves are not spicy, but the broth has a good dose of chili oil in it.

Fried Taiwanese Sausage

gallery_23992_5053_54390.jpg

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.

gallery_23992_5053_58596.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_21858.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_22478.jpg

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 Peppers

gallery_23992_5053_34327.jpg

Steamed Pork Belly with Rice Powder and Pumpkin

gallery_23992_5053_31018.jpg

Pork Belly with preserved Vegetables

gallery_23992_5053_71829.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_14656.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_47095.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_71334.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_121949.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_89841.jpg

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

gallery_23992_5053_12512.jpg

Because there is no such thing as too much Chinese sausage.

Spicy Soft Shell Crabs

gallery_23992_5053_10258.jpg

Perfectly crispy and bursting with juice, and as you can see, a bit spicy too!

Pork Stew

gallery_23992_5053_97939.jpg

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.

gallery_23992_5053_40997.jpg

Also some sweet mochi were a lovely finish to the meal.

gallery_23992_5053_31802.jpg

I'm afraid that we might have used up all the paper in their cash register...

gallery_23992_5053_11208.jpg

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 (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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8:30 in the morning and i'm STILL full! :)

that was a fabulous dinner and great fun. i haven't pigged out like that (both literally and figuratively with all that pork belly) in a long time.

to enhance jeff's commentary, the three cup chicken was made with a cup of alcohol (i'm guessing rice wine?), a cup of sesame oil and a cup of soy sauce with some sugar to sweeten it. it was quite tasty!

did i mention how happy i am that i live close enough to walk to this place?

hope everyone made it home safely in the downpour!

"The perfect lover is one who turns into pizza at 4am."

Charles Pierce

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What, no duck?!

Wow, everything looked so good. How spicy was the rabbit ding? The one at Chung King was painfully spicy but really tasty.

I'm sorry I missed it. I'm up for Part Two whenever that may be.

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

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