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Han Dynasty 2


philadining
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Chowfun and I went last night, and spent a lot of time speaking with Han. He was a funny guy, and he is passionate about the food and his business.

He insisted, after getting to know us a bit, on taking the menus from us and handling the ordering himself.

We had a few of the dishes above, and all were outstanding, superior to the food at either of the places on Arch Street.

Cannot wait to go back! :raz::raz:

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The photographer was supposed to be there yesterday, so lets keep our fingers crossed.

BTW, it is official...Laban's Han Dynasty Royersford review will be printed Sunday APril 19th.

I'm really curious to see how this'll rate on the bell-scale. I suspect, in company of its overall greater Phila scenario, it'll be two bells for great food, nice ambiance, good consistency.

If the bell scale truly turned out to be based on the "fulfills what it aspires to be" scale, then Han should get about 16 bells out of 4, imHo (capital H) give or take a couple bells.

Our recent first visit to HD2 after countless visits to HD Exton was met with very warm greetings for our party, including a 1-year-old for friday lunch (on her third peep, we always make a run for it, don't wanna be "those" people--but staff truly seemed happy to see the kid!).

Food was perfectly spiced, perfectly executed (Crisp, fresh, hot, balanced). I can only hope against my own dining convenience that Han gets what he deserves in the LaBan review. Planning one last gorge before sunday....

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I read the review in my early edition of the paper last night, and was pleased at how the eG'eers had such an effect on this restaurant being reviewed! A couple of thoughts:

* Philadining's photos have always helped me to try new foods that I might not have normally ordered, but he makes them look so damned tasty- thanks Jeff!

* I admit I was surprised when Han told us himself that he doesn't personally think his American Chinese food is all that great. If I were not knowledgeable about authentic Chinese (which I am not) and knew what to order from reading the Gullet, I may not be favorably impressed with the restaurant to even try some more adventurous dishes, if a simple one that I ordered was less than impressive.

* Glad the mention of Sly Fox was highlighted, as CH and I have made it a ritual to get a growler or two on the way over to HD2.

Hope to see the lines out the door!

<a href='http://retroroadmap.com' target='_blank'>Retro Roadmap - All the Retro, Vintage and Cool Old places worth visiting!</a>

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Just read the review in the Inquirer and about the dinner.

I have been away for a while and I am sorry I missed the dinner, even though the distance from home, Yardley, is substanial, but I am always have been willing to travel and have driven many miles for a good dinner.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf

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I have two thoughts, having been one of the lucky attendees to the Egullet banquet:

1) Will we be able to dine out anymore with Jeff now that he's famous beyond his wildest dreams?

2) No matter your place in the journalistic universe, always accept an Egullet invitation!

My take on the Han Dynasty2 banquet hosted by Jeff in February on my blog. Not as exhaustive as Jeff's take on his Philadining blog, but I hadn't yet stopped sweating.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Awesome! Great that Han and the crew has gotten their due. Only two bells but reads more like 2.5-3. He most definitely liked it. Oh - and he reminded me about the drool-worthy Cumin Lamb. Mmmmmmmmm.... :smile:

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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It's true Rich, the phone has been ringing off the hook: movie deals, agents, marriage proposals... I'm afraid I can't be bothered with you little people anymore.

But seriously, while I'm sure a lot of us here would have given Han Dynasty 17 bells, Laban's 2-bell review is probably a good result. Three bells might have created an unreasonable expectation that it's a fancy, formal restaurant, and that's not what it is.

Like Percy, I'm surprised to hear that Laban thought the standard Americanized Chinese dishes were so bad. I haven't tried any at Royersford, but sampled a few at the Exton branch when dining with groups, and I thought they were pretty tasty! I prefer the traditional stuff, but if you happen to be in the mood for a gloopy sauce, you could do worse!

Laban's point is valid: anything on the menu should be good. But it makes a certain sense that a chef from China schooled in the native cuisine in Sichuan province might not even know what those dishes are supposed to be like. Or maybe, as Laban suggests, they just don't care that much about those dishes.

Whatever the case, the message from the review is spot on. This isn't a place to visit for Beef and Broccoli and Lemon Chicken. If you like that, that's fine, there are plenty of other places around to find that stuff. Hopefully this review will bring some more folks out to Han Dynasty who are looking for the food that this place does best.

I'm really happy that our collective eGullet obsession has helped focus some well-deserved attention on this place. And it really was all of us. Sure, my photos might have given Laban an extra prod, but credit goes to Katie for piquing his interest with an invite to our extravaganza, to Lauren and Percy for getting us all excited about the Exton branch way back when, to everybody that came to our big dinners, to everyone who went on their own and shared their experiences. It surely was the combination of all those factors that helped get this place on many people's radar, not just Laban.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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good for han! i giggled a little at the "entertainingly frank" comment. true dat. we haven't had much "american" chinese food at either of the HD, but i do think their straight up roast pork fried rice, dumplings and hot and sour soup are better than most. i miss seeing han in exton, but i hear he's there every monday now. whenever my husband and i go to HD in exton, we think of ourselves as the "alpha caucasians." the only thing i think han needs to change is to put a dash in his website name ... break up the name the wrong way and han dynasty becomes handy nasty. :)

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

Charles Pierce

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I agree with SaxChic. The Hot & Sour soup at Han Dynasty is one of the better renditions I've had. Up there with Szechuan Tasty House and Lee How Fook, in my estimation. And they're so nice at Han Dynasty they give away containers at the end of the night because they make if fresh every day. Really, does it get any better than that?

Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

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 agree with SaxChic.  The Hot & Sour soup at Han Dynasty is one of the better renditions I've had.  Up there with Szechuan Tasty House and Lee How Fook, in my estimation.  And they're so nice at Han Dynasty they give away containers at the end of the night because they make if fresh every day.  Really, does it get any better than that?

I thought the Hot and Sour soup was good but unremarkable. Better than I'd expect at any old chinese joint, but not even in the same ballpark as the other stuff at HD2. Han apparently agrees, as he told me it was no good when I tried to order it (after having read the reviews on this thread) and gave us something else instead. At the end of the night he gave us a couple of take-out containers, so maybe (probably) I would have enjoyed it more piping hot in a bowl there.

I would bet that in a different context, say your neighborhood chinese place, all the standards would be enough to keep even discerning people coming back. It's just that in the elevated company they keep at Han Dynasty, hot and sour soup and friends look pretty bad in comparison. And I doubt that Han actually telling diners that they are eating something bad improves the subjective experience of the dishes.

Personally, I love that aspect of the place, and having Han do the ordering is an element of the experience with which I wouldn't want to part. "Entertainingly frank" is an understatement. When we asked if there was anything for dessert, he told us "Not really. I've got some green tea ice cream. From Genuardi's."

It will be exciting to see what he does with a place in the city, when he can presumably do away with the concessions to suburbia and really stick to the things he wants to be doing. Until then, though, this place is definitely more than worth the trip.

Edited by HD73 (log)
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  • 3 months later...

Went to HD2/Rofo on Thursday night solo, as hubby was busy. Had "not your mother's chicken and dumplings" and a nice chat with Han. Seems as if he's going to be doing a once a month tasting night, so I signed up on the mailing list. Thought folks here would be interested! He also had incredibly kind words for both Jeff and Percy, and the eGullet gang in general. I have to echo that sentiment, as I would not have known about this gem of a place without you guys!

<a href='http://retroroadmap.com' target='_blank'>Retro Roadmap - All the Retro, Vintage and Cool Old places worth visiting!</a>

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I had the duck in Beer sauce tonight. Its the tea smoke duck in a beer sauce with dried and pickled chilis, ginger, lotus root, garlic, leeks, shitake mushrooms and flower peppercorms. Oh man that broth! Hot, beery did I mention hot! Whoo hoo exactly what I wanted! This is a wonderful dish!

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

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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  • 1 month later...

Went to Han Dynasty 2 last night with the wifey for a "Han's club" dinner since it was the first Monday of the month. Turns out he had not advertised the event for this month as he got a new chef and wanted to give him a chance to settle in. We were glad to be Guinea pigs.

We started with West Lake Soup - We have had this before at Han's place, but this version had al dente vegetables which give this soup some texture.

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Chicken w/Crispy Rice - Since my wife cannot tolerate extremely spicy food, I had requested some non-spicy dishes. What arrived was a dish like I have never tried before. Chicken in a sweet, sour and savory sauce poured table side over crispy rice puffs, making then sizzle. The textures and flavors were unique and pleased those who like spicy and non-spicy cuisine.

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Kung Pao Chicken - Pedestrian dish, right? WRONG!! The breath of the wok was evident from the flavor bursting from the golden nuggets of chicken, accented by the nuttiness of the peanuts and a slight kick from the dried chilies.

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Lamb w/Cumin - Another dish I have enjoyed at Han's but this version had the lamb extra crispy and while the cumin was pronounced, it was not overpowering.

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Whole Fish in Sichuan Sauce - Fresh Talapia in a delicious sauce, what more can I say?

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Garlic stir fried romaine lettuce - Nice crunchy accent to the fish and rice.

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Stir fried scallops - Tender almost tempured sea-sweet scallops punctuated with cilantro and peppers

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Scallops w/Baby Bok Choy - Delicate dish which allowed you to share the subtle flavor of the scallops and mushrooms. Not my personal favorite, but a very good dish nonetheless.

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This was a memorable meal indeed as I was planning to go bad for lunch were it not for some things that needed my attention at work. The new chef is clearly very talented and we left with very full bellies.

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We were thinking of going last night but weren't sure if the tasting that Han had mentioned was still going on. Thanks for posting the photos, they definitely make me think that we'll be heading there sometime soon and trying some of the dishes you had! Hope to hear about the next tasting so I can put it on our respective calendars.

<a href='http://retroroadmap.com' target='_blank'>Retro Roadmap - All the Retro, Vintage and Cool Old places worth visiting!</a>

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  • 5 weeks later...

He mentioned to me once that if he did open a place in Philly, he liked University City. It wasn't anything more than him just throwing out an idea though.

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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AWESOME NEWS!!! A Han Dynasty closer to home for us city folk would be most welcome. I can hardly wait until he opens up. I'm sure I'll be one of the first in line. If anyone gets news on when this is happening and the exact location I'll be happy to plan the first eG Han Dynasty dinner in the city. Woo-hoo!

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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Matt and I went to Royersford for dinner tonight and got to have a nice long chat with Han. He bought Joe's Peking Duck House on 2nd and Chestnut. He's hoping to be opened December 1st. He had looked in University City, but couldn't find a Chinese restaurant for sale (he wanted to get directly in and open up with minimal work involved). He's also eventually going to have a liquor license, too.

Locally, Han said he has tasting nights the first Monday of every month and thinks we need to have another eG dinner in Royersford. I'm all for that.

He fed us well tonight. We told him to surprise us, so he started us out with cold green bean noodles in chili oil. Hard to eat with chop sticks (slippery), but delicious and hot. He then brought us pork shoulder with bok choy in a spicy, but sweet sauce. It was kind of stew-like. Melt in your mouth pork and I could have drank the sauce. The other dish was twice cooked fish and peppers. It was pieces of a white fish, breaded and fried twice. It had chili oil, hoisin sauce and some other stuff on it. Super crispy, yet not the least bit greasy. Matt and I could have licked the plate if people weren't watching. The pork shoulder and twice cooked fish aren't on the menu, but I highly recommend asking for them.

Sorry, no pictures. We were starving and dove in before thinking about photographing.

Consider yourself up to date on the latest Han gossip.

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

Charles Pierce

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