Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

What's up in Chinatown these days?


Furious Flav-or
 Share

Recommended Posts

Long time, no post, and, for that matter, no read. I hope you all are well and well fed. To the question at hand:

A buddy of mine doesn't know much about traditional Chinese and wants to eat in Chinatown on a Saturday. Having made the small trek to Exton for Han Dynasty on numerous occasions now, and with HD2 just down the road, I don't myself very compelled to go far afield for traditional Chinese, so I'm at a loss for info on good places down there.

Recommendations, please. I'd search, but, as I remember, the function is a bit iffy.

Thanks in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ken's Seafood. See recent Chinese New Year thread. There may be an eponymous thread or something you'll find if you gamble with a search.

Get the geoduck as a recession buster.

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ken's Seafood.  See recent Chinese New Year thread.  There may be an eponymous thread or something you'll find if you gamble with a search. 

Get the geoduck as a recession buster.

:blink:

Outta my pocket, or outta yours, Charlie?!

Where's this Lakeside (is it?) place that I've heard of? I'm not sure this guy is quite ready for jellyfish and sea cucumbers yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For less scary ingredients and excellent "Americanized Chinese", the recently reopened Ho Sai Gai at corner of 10th & Race is quite good. I was there with a large group a couple of weekends ago and enjoyed quite a feast. The Sizzling Rice Soup is a must-have, and the Cheesesteak Rolls are delicious with the spicy mustard on the table. All the usual suspects are well prepared. I enjoyed my Lychee Duck and my friend's Mu Shu Pork quite a bit.

For serious porky goodness you can't go past the door at Four Rivers. It's ALL GOOD. Order anything pork based and you won't be disappointed.

A second for Ken's Seafood.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses. I'm thinking of something along the lines of Han that has decent Americanized, as well as traditional Chinese. All recommendations are welcome.

Oh, yes, and hello, Katie. I'm being brave and poking my head up, despite my "admirers" elsewhere. And yes, the crap goes on ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Furious! I think the new Ho Sai Gai ought to be just the thing for you, from what you've described. There won't be any scary offal or unidentifiable ingredients, but they do a perfectly tasty rendition of almost any dish you can think of. It's a fairly broad menu. And I suspect they'd make off menu stuff too, if asked nicely.

Get the Sizzling Rice Soup. Trust me on this. It's delicious and everyone loves food that talks back. :biggrin:

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lakeside has closed.

Any of the places in Chinatown will have options for the timid, so your friend will be OK, pick what's interesting for you.

As others have mentioned:

Ken's Seafood, or Xiao Guan for Cantonese.

Dim Sum Garden for Shanghai specialties like soup dumplings, meatballs, noodle dishes, etc.

Zhi Wei Guan for Hangzhou cuisine, including soup dumplings, and other noodles and dumplings. Try the fried rice. Seriously.

Four Rivers for Sichuan. There are plenty of non-spicy things on the menu if your friend is not up for that.

Sang Kee for roasted duck, pork or ribs.

Scroll around some of these topics (like Chinatown Highlights) and I'm sure you'll find some dishes to focus on. But the best advice I can give is to ask your server. Tell him or her that you want to try some traditional dishes, and ask what's especially good at their place.

Some things are obvious: Ken's Seafood has tanks of live fish in the front. Plus, it's called Ken's Seafood. So get some live shrimp, or an eel, or a whole fish, or scallops. Ask them how it's best prepared. If you go to Four Rivers, get a classic dish from Sichuan province, like Ma Po Tofu, or Twice-Cooked pork, or Cumin Beef. Incidentally, they have some Shanghainese dishes here too, and they rock. Wu Xi ribs are awesome. The Special Sweet Ham is fatty, but tender and delicious.

Convince your server that you really want traditional food, and they'll give it to you. But it's bad form to send it back if you think it's weird...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses. I'm thinking of something along the lines of Han that has decent Americanized, as well as traditional Chinese. All recommendations are welcome.

Oh, yes, and hello, Katie. I'm being brave and poking my head up, despite my "admirers" elsewhere. And yes, the crap goes on ...

If you want Sichuan, how about Szechuan Tasty House? It has decent Americanized Chinese too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My latest foray to Ho Sai Gai, a late night visit on Friday evening after my shift, revealed that the fish dishes are also extremely well prepared and delicious. My dining companion and I shared a bowl of the Sizzling Rice Soup to start and then asked them to substitute Sea Bass for the Tilapia in XO sauce that was listed on the menu. We received a nice sized piece of fish (4x8x2-ish) with a delicious scallion XO sauce and some gorgeously perfectly steamed Chinese broccoli and baby bok choi on the side. The fish substitution brought the price of the dish up to $23 from the listed tilapia price of $14.95 but it was worth every penny. And the owners couldn't have been nicer. They asked us why we came in so late (restaurant workers too...) and if we'd been in before (yes, for both of us). We were given a small bowl of the owners "special walnuts" that take three days to make. Possibly the best version of candied nuts I've ever tried. Truly delicious. The XO sauce was explained in detail, the expense of some of the ingredients in it, etc. Overall, they seriously treated us like honored guests or family in their own home. It was lovely. The fact that they stay open until 4AM is an added bonus for folks like myself that get out of work pretty late some nights.

These guys are going to take a bite out of business from David's across the street, just on hospitality alone. The fact that the food is so good will filter out by word of mouth, I suspect. It's also the cleanest restaurant in Chinatown. The bathrooms are spotless. Definitely one of my new favorite places in Ctown.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is great to hear and hard to believe at the same time, but I trust your eG palate :raz:

HSG used to be a place to avoid at all costs(unless you were there to collect for the NYC 'people') :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm as surprised as anyone. But it's seriously really really good. I suspect that the years of experience with the store in Port Fishington off Aramingo Avenue have done wonders for their kitchen. Everything is delicious and the staff is bending over backward to be kind and accommodating. That alone goes a long way in Chinatown, given the general level of barely civil and often downright surly service. But the food is good too! Hard to believe.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Possibly the best version of candied nuts I've ever tried.

Almost as if they had been freeze-dried, they were so crunchy, no?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, the homemade candied walnuts were toothsome, but not crunchy on the outside. Seems whatever the three day long process of making them is, it makes them a bit softer toward the outside and crunchier in the middle.

They're delicious regardless.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm as surprised as anyone.  But it's seriously really really good.  I suspect that the years of experience with the store in Port Fishington off Aramingo Avenue have done wonders for their kitchen.  Everything is delicious and the staff is bending over backward to be kind and accommodating.  That alone goes a long way in Chinatown, given the general level of barely civil and often downright surly service.  But the food is good too!  Hard to believe.

I have always thought that the service in generel is much friendlier and accomodating to nonAsian people in Philadelpia's Chinatown as compared to NYC and San Francisco (the only other two I have explored multiple times). We are treated very well at Dim Sum Garden, Sang Kee, Thai Lake, Ken's

Seafood, Ocean City. We were treated badly at a place on Race near 10th that serves a very young crowd(I cant remember the name but they have a bar in the front and make a lot of Bubble tea drinks), but it was not a typical Philly Chinatown experience for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...