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Hanzhou restaurant


brescd01
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My wife and I went to Chinatown in search of interesting food and we found a new and fascinating restaurant, Hanzhou Dumpling House at 925 Race. The restaurant specializes in Hanzhou style cooking, which is a sub-type of the Zheijiang style of Chinese cuisine, one of the eight principle varieties of Chinese cooking.

The soup dumplings they served were as good as Joe's Shanghai in NYC, if slightly different. The menu is restricted: the restaurant is not even one month old and the owners trimmed the menu when no one ordered the elaborate dishes. They have to be ordered in advance now. We did not begin to explore the menu but the flavors are clearly differentiated from the kitchen's Cantonese neighbors.

I highly recommend this place, if only for the wonderful soup dumplings.

Edited by brescd01 (log)
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I think this place was called Zhi Wei Guan, at least for a little while... If it is indeed the same spot, a few of us weren't knocked-out by the XLB a little while ago, but they were definitely in transition at the time. So I'm glad to hear you liked the dumplings this time, perhaps they've gotten it together.

We'd also had some regular dinner dishes that were really terrific, like pork tongue in "herb sauce" as well as a really different pork belly dish, that I hope are still available. Will have to check that out, so thanks for the heads-up.

I'm curious about the name change, they hadn't been Zhi Wei Guan for that long! But it might correlate with the switch to specifically Hanzhou cuisine.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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The owner said that her restaurant opened May 17, so if you ate there before that, this is a completely different restaurant. Trust me, the soup dumplings are the bomb.

I actually remember that discussion and I tried the dumplings when the restaurant was in its previous incarnation, and I agree, the place was mediocre. But now it is much more interesting with excellent soup dumplings and the restaurant is quite devoted to the Hanzhou cuisine.

To make things more confusing, I checked the restaurant's business card, and the previous name ("Zhi Wei Guan") is exactly what the owner wrote on it. So go figure.

Edited by brescd01 (log)
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Interesting, will have to check this place out. The most well-known Hangzhou-specific dishes (as opposed to just general Shanghainese dishes) are probably tung-po pork (meltingly soft steamed pork belly), beggar's chicken (chicken baked in a clay shell), and west lake fish (a whole fish in a slightly sweet black vinegar sauce). It'll be interesting to see their take on these three. If they don't offer them at all, then I'd question how much of their Hangzhou cuisine focus is just a marketing gimmick.

---

al wang

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This place really is terrific. The soup dumplings had some texture issues-- a couple were torn, a crying shame-- but the filling had this amazing, rich, meaty flavor. And a bowl of noodles with roast duck were great. I'm looking forward to a return.

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Just tried this place. I agree with Andrew - the soup dumplings had some texture issues. They had more filling and were not as soup-y as Dim Sum Garden (not sure if that's a good thing), but the filling was excellent. The noodle casing of the dumplings is not as delicate as what you would get at Dim Sum Garden. I also had the pork "stomach" (I think they meant belly) w/noodles. I don't believe the noodles were homemade - they were too perfectly shaped and had an almost al dente texture. The broth, however, was outstanding. Very rich. The pork bellies were ok (a little rubbery though), but I think not really my bag. I got sick of them after a while, so I would try something else next time. It's a difficult choice, but overall I would have to give the edge to Dim Sum Garden, mainly because their execution is much better. This place is still very new though, so in a few months they may turn out to be something special.

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Well, this isn't tung-po rou, but we did get a really great pork belly dish there which featured very tender, light meat, perhaps steamed before being quickly stir-fried with scallions and peppers. Hope that's still on the menu, it was excellent, and really different.

gallery_23992_5928_26317.jpg

Also, Pork Tongue in "Herb Sauce" had kind of a red-cooked thing going on, with a pronounced anise flavor, a little sweet, very tasty.

gallery_23992_5928_74149.jpg

But mostly, I hope they still have the pickles...

gallery_23992_5928_117605.jpg

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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A mob of us descended on Zhi Wei Guan for dim sum on Sunday. The blue awning still says Zhi Wei Guan, and that's the easiest way to find it, so I'm going to call it that for now!

A little googling reveals that Zhi Wei Guan is also the name of a well-established restaurant in Hangzhou, so I'm guessing that's its name, but they might just say "Hangzhou restaurant" to English-speakers. That said, I might just start calling it the Magic Kingdom of Dough, as advertised in the window.

gallery_23992_3847_187848.jpg

And we did indeed have our share of dough, mostly in noodles, a little in dumpling wrappers. We erred in not trying some of the breads, but we'll rectify this soon enough...

We started with cold Sesame Noodles

gallery_23992_3847_77857.jpg

Then two types of "juicy buns" (Xiao Long Bao.) One had pork; another had pork, shrimp and mushroom filling.

gallery_23992_3847_71325.jpg

I liked the flavor of the pork buns (didn't try the shrimp version) and overall liked this preparation, although the wrappers are a little thicker than I see as ideal. That said, they held-together, which is not always the case with the more paper-thin, delicate wrappers at Dim Sum Garden. So on one hand I'd like them to be thinner, on the other I appreciate that I was actually able to get the soup-filled dumping into my mouth... There's not quite as much "soup" inside as at Dim Sum Garden either, but still overall, the had good flavor and were quite enjoyable.

"Stir Fried Ground Meat in Chinese Chili Sauce" (Zha Jiang Mian)

gallery_23992_3847_5258.jpg

I liked this a lot. This dish is very good a few doors down at Nan Zhou, and Szechuan Tasty House offers something like it, but this one certainly ranks up there as one of the better ones.

I'm not exactly sure of what these were called on the menu - was it the "Emerald Shrimp Pork Water Chestnut dumpling"? Andrew? Katie?

gallery_23992_3847_181969.jpg

Hangzhou Duck Noodle

gallery_23992_3847_170519.jpg

Intense, sticky, sweet sauce, tender duck, noodles: automatically a new favorite thing to eat. I was caught dragging my finger through the sauce left on the place a few times.

Lamb in Oyster sauce - at least I think that's what it was... it's the only lamb I saw on the menu, although this didn't seem like any oyster sauce I'd ever had.

gallery_23992_3847_127151.jpg

Whatever it was, it was quite delicious. The only downsides were that it was a very small bowl, really maybe three or 4 inches on a side, and the lamb was very boney, so there was not a ton of meat to be extracted. But what there was, was very good.

Pork Tongue with Chinese Herb Sauce

gallery_23992_3847_98858.jpg

I liked this a little better when it was not in a noodle soup, but the tongue itself was very good. And I might have just been getting tired of the noodle soups... maybe it's fine this way!

Pork Stomach Noodle in Ginger Scallion Sauce

gallery_23992_3847_118988.jpg

It's dangerous game trying to get pork "belly" rather than pork "stomach" when the translations are a little vague... So this was indeed the stomach, not the fatty meaty belly. But in a way I'm glad we finally got this, I'd been wondering if I'd like it. And it was OK, not my favorite thing in the world to eat and I doubt I'd order it again, but I'd eat it if the situation arose.

Sweet Soup with Osmanthus Flower

gallery_23992_3847_295876.jpg

I'm normally not a big fan of these dessert soups, but I loved this one. There were fresh lychee, tapioca pearls, some sticky dumplings filled with black sesame paste, and the sweet fragrant petals of Osmanthus flowers. Really very nice.

I don't think we succeeded in getting a full overview of their offerings, but we got a nice taste of several of them, and I generally liked what we had. It's different from most of the other places in town, and has a few more things that bear investigating. How did we not get the "Pet's Ear Shaped mini dough soup"?!?! The house "super bun"? the "Yin-Yang bread"?!?!

Oh, wait, I know, let's go back!

The staff was very nice, especially in the face of our suddenly taking over almost the whole place and clamoring for food. The chef even came out at the end and took a picture with us, so I guess we didn't annoy them too much!

gallery_23992_3847_219544.jpg

three of our crowd missed the picture, out on a hunt for cash, or behind the camera, but this was most of the gang. See you all back there soon to try the rest of the menu!

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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The mystery dumplings were shrimp shiao mai, I believe.

I'll second that everything was delicious. They really couldn't have been nicer and they'll be seeing my face with more frequency when I need a soup dumpling fix, that's for sure. The only thing I didn't care for was the pork stomach thing. The stomach had a weird acrid aftertaste I really couldn't handle. The pork tongue was surprisingly good. Not something I'd have ordered on my own, but I'm glad I tasted it.

Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

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Make that three. Everything was great. My favorite was, anyone? Yeah, the duck. Really tasty.

The xaio long bao were good. I preferred the shrimp to the pork. As good as they were though, I like the ones at Dim Sum Garden better.

I'm not sure what else was in the lamb, but I did find a star anise when I was trolling the bottom of the dish for any little lamby bits.

The staff was super nice.

Definitely worth a return visit.

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

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Thank you guys for coming to my restaurant. I didn't expect our restuarant already get your attention.

Our restuarant is named " Zhi Wei Guan". We purchased this restaurant from "Dumpling House" which closed door after only operated for 4 months. Their dumplings was good, we have some customers come back for their dumplings. However, it takes more than just good food to run a restaurant. We originally was trying to run a restaurant with full menu to offering Hangzhou and yangzi river south surrounded area type of food. Because we miss our hometown's food so much. I have friends who live outside philly told me that they are rarely come to China town now because there are nothing new anymore, only Cantoness food which are too heavy and strong flavor. With more people come to US from northern part of China, we think we will have a niche market. However, our shareholders had different opinions at beginning, some worried no body here knows about Hangzhou Shanghai food, and thought we should keep some Cantoness food on menu to get some business from China town people, which mostly are Cantoness. It turned out to be a very bad idea. It caused seperation of shareholders after a few weeks. Then the shareholders still remain at the restauant agreed that we should following the original idea, stick to Hangzhou style food. I haven't been staying in China town for long, but I felt people are quit close minded, not many people would even want to try. Though we still didn't get customer within China town, we start to get students from Universities, and people from surround area of Philly, they are excited to know they can have food from Northern part of China, and we have customers come to our place and finish last drop of the noodle soup or wonton soup. However, they normally only visit China town at weekends. So It is very difficult to keep the full menu. We had to throw away tons of materials we prepared for the menu. We opened doors since late March, but after test the market for one and half month, during the period of time we closed and opened, opened and closed and doing lots of adjustment, then we got suggestion from expert that we should focus on our dough products. Offering different food style, although are very good, will not insure a restuarnt to survive. But offering some wide accepted food such as dumpling and noodles but doing it better will helps. So we announced official open on May 17th as Noodle and dumpling House. Though we didn't expect to get lots of customer, but for the first three weeks, we are start to breakeven.

People likes Noodles and dumplings, but Cantoness people are not good at them at all. It has been wide accept as wonton noodle here in US. But People of Northern part of China never eat wonton and noodle that way. Both wonton and noodle lost its own character and flavor. Noodles and dumplings are the popular food of Northern part of China. In some provinces people consume more dough foods such as noodles dishes than rice dishes. Dough foods is a big part of food in China. Dough food is an art too. Dough like the clay and can be made into all different shape and flavor, the change is endless. We will make more different noodles and dumpling with Hangzhou style, less suger, less salt, less grease, but with the character of fresh, light, graceful, and natural. See my other post about Hangzhou food.

If we would be able to survive and hopefully profitable, and we will offer dishes other than noodles and dumpling. Hangzhou has 36 famous traditional dishes including tea shrimp, Dong Po Meat, West Lake Sour Fish which has stories that can be traced back as far as thousand years ago. And 48 new named delicious Hangzhou dishes.

So as always, " If you don't like our food, only let me know; if you like our food, let your friends know."

Thank you again for visiting our restaurant. I hope you won't see us run out of business as several previous owners of this location the next time you visit us.

:rolleyes:

By the way, every Tuesday is our Sunday. So please don't visit us on this day.

Thanks again.

Helen

The owner said that her restaurant opened May 17, so if you ate there before that, this is a completely different restaurant. Trust me, the soup dumplings are the bomb.

I actually remember that discussion and I tried the dumplings when the restaurant was in its previous incarnation, and I agree, the place was mediocre. But now it is much more interesting with excellent soup dumplings and the restaurant is quite devoted to the Hanzhou cuisine.

To make things more confusing, I checked the restaurant's business card, and the previous name ("Zhi Wei Guan") is exactly what the owner wrote on it. So go figure.

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Wow, very nice pictures ! And nice comment. Me and my staff love them. I hope I can have the permission to post your comments on my website and our store board.

We had two chefs in the kitchen that day. This one on the picture are the person who is responsible for making noodles, such as how to make it smooth and tender, how to make it crunch, how to make it chewing, or how to make it has more flavor inside the noodle. Another younger one is doing the cooking, who didn't come out to take picture. His master is the Principle and director of Cooking School in China who had cooked food for central government's top leader including Deng, Xiao Ping. He and his investors is planning to purchase a big restaruant in China town. They had a target now. You guys probably know that restaurant too if I tell you the name. But I will keep it as secret for now. I will let you guys know first once it announce the acquisition.

You see, we are acdemic and we are in the process of hiring and trainning workers to make high quality dumplings and buns. Making juicy buns is a complex and skillful procedure, much more trouble than making normal dumplings. I personally prefer our flavor than our competitor. Not so much suger and oil, our meat has the fresh delicious taste of meat itself. And, We'll put more juice inside the buns as you wish.

Helen

A mob of us descended on Zhi Wei Guan for dim sum on Sunday. The blue awning still says Zhi Wei Guan, and that's the easiest way to find it, so I'm going to call it that for now!

A little googling reveals that Zhi Wei Guan is also the name of a well-established restaurant in Hangzhou, so I'm guessing that's its name, but they might just say "Hangzhou restaurant" to English-speakers. That said, I might just start calling it the Magic Kingdom of Dough, as advertised in the window. 

gallery_23992_3847_187848.jpg

And we did indeed have our share of dough, mostly in noodles, a little in dumpling wrappers. We erred in not trying some of the breads, but we'll rectify this soon enough...

We started with cold Sesame Noodles

gallery_23992_3847_77857.jpg

Then two types of "juicy buns" (Xiao Long Bao.) One had pork; another had pork, shrimp and mushroom filling.

gallery_23992_3847_71325.jpg

I liked the flavor of the pork buns (didn't try the shrimp version) and overall liked this preparation, although the wrappers are a little thicker than I see as ideal. That said, they held-together, which is not always the case with the more paper-thin, delicate wrappers at Dim Sum Garden. So on one hand I'd like them to be thinner, on the other I appreciate that I was actually able to get the soup-filled dumping into my mouth...  There's not quite as much "soup" inside as at Dim Sum Garden either, but still overall, the had good flavor and were quite enjoyable.

"Stir Fried Ground Meat in Chinese Chili Sauce"  (Zha Jiang Mian)

gallery_23992_3847_5258.jpg

I liked this a lot. This dish is very good a few doors down at Nan Zhou, and Szechuan Tasty House offers something like it, but this one certainly ranks up there as one of the better ones.

I'm not exactly sure of what these were called on the menu - was it the "Emerald Shrimp Pork Water Chestnut dumpling"?  Andrew? Katie? 

gallery_23992_3847_181969.jpg

Hangzhou Duck Noodle

gallery_23992_3847_170519.jpg

Intense, sticky, sweet sauce, tender duck, noodles: automatically a new favorite thing to eat.  I was caught dragging my finger through the sauce left on the place a few times.

Lamb in Oyster sauce - at least I think that's what it was... it's the only lamb I saw on the menu, although this didn't seem like any oyster sauce I'd ever had.

gallery_23992_3847_127151.jpg

Whatever it was, it was quite delicious. The only downsides were that it was a very small bowl, really maybe three or 4 inches on a side, and the lamb was very boney, so there was not a ton of meat  to be extracted. But what there was, was very good.

Pork Tongue with Chinese Herb Sauce

gallery_23992_3847_98858.jpg

I liked this a little better when it was not in a noodle soup, but the tongue itself was very good.  And I might have just been getting tired of the noodle soups... maybe it's fine this way!

Pork Stomach Noodle in Ginger Scallion Sauce

gallery_23992_3847_118988.jpg

It's dangerous game trying to get pork "belly" rather than pork "stomach" when the translations are a little vague...  So this was indeed the stomach, not the fatty meaty belly.  But in a way I'm glad we finally got this, I'd been wondering if I'd like it.  And it was OK, not my favorite thing in the world to eat and I doubt I'd order it again, but I'd eat it if the situation arose.

Sweet Soup with Osmanthus Flower

gallery_23992_3847_295876.jpg

I'm normally not a big fan of these dessert soups, but I loved this one. There were fresh lychee, tapioca pearls, some sticky dumplings filled with black sesame paste, and the sweet fragrant petals of Osmanthus flowers.  Really very nice.

I don't think we succeeded in getting a full overview of their offerings, but we got a nice taste of several of them, and I generally liked what we had.  It's different from most of the other places in town, and has a few more things that bear investigating.  How did we not get the "Pet's Ear Shaped mini dough soup"?!?! The house "super bun"?  the "Yin-Yang bread"?!?!

Oh, wait, I know, let's go back!

The staff was very nice, especially in the face of our suddenly taking over almost the whole place and clamoring for food.  The chef even came out at the end and took a picture with us, so I guess we didn't annoy them too much!

gallery_23992_3847_219544.jpg

three of our crowd missed the picture, out on a hunt for cash, or behind the camera, but this was most of the gang. See you all back there soon to try the rest of the menu!

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Helen, congratulations on a great restaurant and wish you much continued success!!

As others have mentioned, the food was pretty good and I should also mention that the price was amazingly cheap. I don't recall the prices off the menu, but the noodles with duck dish I got to go (yeah, it was that good) was only $6.xx, which is quite cheap considering it had maybe a braised 1/4 duck in it.

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Good to see places popping up that make a decent xiao long bao. Can someone get pics of the dongpo pork here (東坡肉). I don't live in Philly anymore, but I'm interested to see if this place makes a good version of it. also does this place have stuffed lotus roots? (糯米甜藕). Cool, thanks, good luck with the restaurant!

Edited by stephenc (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Finally made it back to Zhi Wei Guan, and proceeded to wonder what took so long...

(and I hear that great minds think alike, and we weren't the only ones to return on thursday!)

They had nice organic cucumbers as a refreshing starter

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It was getting late, and we just missed the last order of other Xiao Long Bao, but they did have special Beef XLB.

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These were very good, and I think significantly better the last ones we'd had there. And I didn't think the previous ones were bad, I just thought the wrappers weren't quite as delicate as they could be. It turns out that in June, the chef here had a visit from his master chef, apparently a well-respected figure in China, and they spent a lot of time working on juicy bun technique. And I'm glad to say that our local chef is a good student! I really liked these a lot, I thought the wrappers were much more elegant than before, and the flavors of the soupy filling were excellent. The ratio of filling to wrapper seemed just right too. Importantly, although the buns were very delicate, they did not fall apart, or tear as one lifted them to the spoon. (That's one thing that makes me crazy at Dim Sum Garden, a decent percentage of my XLB self-destruct before making it into my mouth....)

We also tried the (pork) Wontons, which also had very tender and light wrappers, in a subtle broth. They had a wonderful texture, and nice flavor.

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I forget the exact name for this next snack - Lover's Bread, or something funny like that. It's two pieces of steamed dough, and two of fried, served with a condensed milk dip.

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I especially liked the fried one, it was a bit like a nice fresh donut, but they were both good dipped in the milk.

We always like to have some greens, so we ordered some baby bok choi, which was simple, but perfectly tender, sweet and garlicky.

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Then the Hangzhou Duck.

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This was wonderfully tender duck, in an intense dark sauce. I really like this a lot, but I realize that we ordered this before on noodles, and I think it might be best that way, because the noodles soak up that wonderful sauce. And I like their noodles. Either way, get the duck. Be careful, there are bones.

And finally, our favorite for the night: Spicy Double-Cooked Pork Belly.

gallery_23992_5928_27599.jpg

The pork had been slowly cooked to soften and render the fat, before being stir-fried with peppers, onions and a complex spicy sauce. The texture of the pork was just great, but i think it was the sauce that really makes this dish special. We couldn't quite place the flavor, it's not especially spicy, but it is very boldly flavored, reminiscent of a curry, or maybe a little like Shacha sauce, but not quite... Whatever it is, it's delicious, we found ourselves compulsively spooning it onto rice, to get as much as possible!

All in all a really enjoyable meal. It's a very small place, and they're making food different from the rest of Chinatown, so it's a tough journey for them. I really hope people find this place, I think they'll find it to be an exciting alternative to the same-old stuff.

Everyone there is super-nice, and they're really excited to introduce people to this kind of cooking, so give it a try, I'm sure you'll be happy you did. I'll be back soon, there's plenty more we didn't get a chance to try, but mostly I just want more of that pork belly...

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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(and I hear that great minds think alike, and we weren't the only ones to return on thursday!)

Ha! I was there for lunch, and had the Hanzhou duck and an order of the XLB. The pork dumplings weren't ready yet, so I had the beef dumplings, which were an interesting change: very rich, like the pork, but with a flavor of, I guess, beef tallow. They were good, though I really like the pork better.

edited to add: evidently they are going through a lot of soup dumplings! Only a brief window for the pork ones, I guess... Good for them.

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Phoodie.info proposed a battle of the steamed juicy buns, pitting Dim Sum Garden against Zhi Wei Guan...

So far the response has been... ummm.... quiet...

Personally, I vote for Zhi Wei Guan, but if you feel strongly one way of the other, tell them.

There doesn't seem to be a poll widget or anything, so I assume one just leaves a comment.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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  • 3 months later...

Stopped in at ZWG on sunday afternoon, and was happy to see them packed. The two large tables were filled by one large group, much like we did a few months back, and really ought to do again...

Thankfully we were able to squeeze into one of the remaining tables. I had been thinking that I already had photos of everything we ordered, but realized later that we had a few new things that would have been good to document. Oh darn, I'll just have to get them again!

Started with pork juicy buns, which were really quite excellent. It's true that they're smaller, and with slightly thicker wrappers than those at Dim Sum Garden, but I think I like these better. They're a little easier to eat, and I like both the flavor, and the ratio of soup to meat to noodle. Nothing wrong with the Dim Sum Garden version, and I can see why someone might prefer the larger size, but I like these. So there.

Also had vegetable dumplings in soup, which had pleasingly tender dough filled with green vegetables, in a very nice chicken broth.

The Scallion Tofu Soup was excellent. There was definitely more going on than just scallions and tofu, but I couldn't tell you what.

Baby bok choy in garlic sauce was nicely done, no surprises, just good. The duck in the Hangzhou duck noodle was a little bony, but hey, it's a duck, they have bones.

It's a small place, with a small staff, so when they're full, especially when a huge group drops in on them, they can get a bit backed-up, but I actually didn't think it was all that slow, although Helen warned me that it might be.

As I was posting this comment I was surprised to see that I hadn't written about a visit a while back. We just had a few things, but they were good, one thing in particular.

gallery_23992_3606_44881.jpg

Ribs with Bean Curd were tasty, the spongy, yet firm, tofu soaking up the sauce in a very pleasing way.

gallery_23992_3606_4944.jpg

Pet's Ear Shape Dough Soup has an odd name, but you can see the little noodles, shaped something like small orecchiette, along with various meats and vegetables. I think there might usually be shrimp in it too, but they were nice enough to leave it out for me! It as a good soup, and the noodles had an interesting texture.

gallery_23992_3606_75507.jpg

But my favorite thing at that meal was unexpected: fried rice. This is very different from any other fried rice I've had, with a different texture to the rice itself, and a slightly smoky flavor. We had the mixed one that included beef and chicken and pork, along with various vegetables. It's the best fried rice I've had in Philly's Chinatown, distinct in style from most others.

The menu has a lot of photos now, so it's easier to navigate if you're not sure what everything is.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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A couple of friends and I tried ZWG the other weekend, largely on the basis of the recommendations on eG. I have to say, our lunch was sub-par. The xiao long bao were unacceptable: the skins were quite thin but they had been overcooked, and out of two orders, 4 or 5 dumplings had already burst when we received them. The Hangzhou duck noodles were very mediocre. Even simple stir-fried bok choy was overly greasy. We actually had to go immediately after our meal to Nan Zhou for some hand-drawn noodles to restore my faith in Philly's Chinese food.

I know there aren't a whole lot of other options for Shanghai/Hangzhou style food in town, but even if you're willing to head up to central NJ, there are significantly better options (Grand Shanghai in Edison, Shanghai Park in Princeton).

---

al wang

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Wow, sorry to hear that Al. I've had a few small complaints about the XLB from time to time, mostly that the crimped tops sometimes get a little tough, but over all the times I've been there, I've never had even one of them break apart. That's one of the things I like about them: they're tender and delicate, but not so fragile that they self-destruct.

I'm amazed to hear that your bok choy was greasy. The menu mentions how much less oily their cooking is than other styles, and I've generally found that to be true.

The Inky's Rick Nichols wasn't thrilled with the duck noodles either, but Lari Robling from the Daily News liked them better. They've been good enough when I've gotten them that I keep ordering them over again! I'll admit that it might be mostly about the sauce...

I've had good luck here overall. It's not always perfect, but I've never had any major disappointments. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to try it again, but I suspect you could have a better time if you did, it seems to me that you hit them at an unusual low point.

Thanks for the tips about the Shanghainese places in Jersey, we'll have to go check those out.

I tend to look at the glass as half-full here in Philly: we DO have a Hangzhou-style restaurant; we have good Shanghainese food at Dim Sum Garden; Taiwanese at Empress Garden and out in the burbs at Han Dynasty in Exton (and now in Royersford); Sichuan at Chung King Garden, Four Rivers, Szechuan Tasty House, and again at the Han Dynasties; Chiu Chow at Ong's; Fujianese and more at Pot Luck. And then there's plenty of really great Cantonese hiding among the Americanized places if you dig a little. There are Chinatowns in many cities that don't offer that much. And that's not even counting Burmese, Malaysian, Vietnamese...

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Just to clarify: I generally love Philadelphia's Chinatown, and I think it has a lot to offer: that's partly why I was so disappointed at my recent meal. Like you say, there are a number of excellent Cantonese and Sichuan places. The Vietnamese restaurants are better than anything you can get in Manhattan, and that's not even counting the places in South Philly.

I have to assume I just hit ZWG on a bad afternoon. It wasn't particularly crowded, but we did come at a slightly off-hour (around 1:30PM). I have to believe based off of all the raves on this thread that they're capable of better food...

---

al wang

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