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philadining

Han Dynasty Center City

111 posts in this topic

Am I forgetting an entree?? I keep thinking there was something else that I'm not remembering... :unsure:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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

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I think you covered it all. I think we did order other stuff, but it never made it to the table.


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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OMG these wontons in chili oil are crazy delicious.

So, I think it might be time to do a wholesale invasion. I'll post something official with all the required language shortly.


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Cliff and I were at the Exton branch today, figuring spicy food might warm up a cold day. We'd totally be into a Center City Han D get together- keep us posted!


<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'm in! On call Tuesday and Sunday night but otherwise free....


Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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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

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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!

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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

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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.jpgHan100114HotPotChicken.jpg

Han100114HotPotTripe.jpgHan100114HotPotTripe2.jpg

Han100114HotPotFish.jpgHan100114HotPotMushrooms.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

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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 (log)

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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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

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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 :)

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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!


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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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