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philadining

Han Dynasty Center City

111 posts in this topic

According to Michael Klein, "Meat & Potatoes, the Food Network show hosted by Rahm Fama and devoted to meat sandwiches, is in town today through Friday to shoot at the Original Nick’s, Han Dynasty, and Village Whiskey. Be aware of dining room closures." Han's gonna get some national exposure!


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

Charles Pierce

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I talked to Han's mom today and she said they filmed for 12 hours (11am-11pm) for an 8 minute segment. She thinks it'll air in March.


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

Charles Pierce

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Hansill-menu.jpg

The uncharacteristically inauthentic food served at Han Dynasty on Monday 12/13, the result of an experiment in cross-cultural collaboration, was truly interesting and delicious. Unlike many fusions, the flavor combinations generally didn't feel forced, even when they were in some cases, quite novel.

I'll attribute that to the natural way in which the collaboration arose: chefs David Ansill and Sam Jacobson eat at Han Dynasty frequently, so they're familiar with Sichuan flavors, even if they don't use them in their everyday cooking. Han Chiang might make a big deal about the authenticity of the dishes at his restaurant, but he lives in contemporary America, and eats American food, so at least coming up with ideas was probably not a huge stretch for any of them.

But whether new combinations work on the palate as well as they do in the imagination is another question altogether. I'm not sure how many failed experiments there may have been along the way, but everything that arrived on our table was quite successful, or at least to my personal liking...

Amuse: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Chili Oil

Hansill-soup.jpg

Salmon Carpaccio, Tofu Sauce, Chili Oil

Hansill-salmon.jpg

Pigs' Ears, Cabbage, Pickled Turnip

Hansill-pigear.jpg

Flat Iron Steak, Arugula, Sichuan Vinaigrette

Hansill-steak2.jpg

Hansill-steak.jpg

Sweetbreads with Roasted Salsify

Hansill-sweetbreads.jpg

Tea-Smoked Ribs

Hansill-ribs.jpg

Sichuan Shredded Potato

Hansill-potato.jpg

Tendon and Mushroom "Noodle" Lasagne

Hansill-lasagne2.jpg

Warm Ginger Cake, Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream, Chili Ginger Walnut Syrup

Hansill-dessert.jpg

I quite liked it all, but those ribs are haunting my dreams. The Lasagne was pretty great too, recalling an elegant Dan Dan noodle, in a different shape... the Beef was pretty straighforward, but delicious, it wouldn't be out of place on any modern bistro-ish place in the city. The pigs-ear was boldly spicy, and perhaps the least fusiony of anything, it seemed pretty fully Chinese, but had a unique texture, and played a nice bright counterpoint to some of the richer dishes. The sweetbreads were like what you wish General Tso's could be - a tangy sauce over a crispy, yet creamy nugget. And that dessert! It was controversial: the ice cream was just ringing with Sichuan peppercorn, like the strongest mint ice cream imaginable, except it wasn't just tingly, it was numbing too... I thought it worked really well with the sweet cake, and enjoyed it overall, but several folks thought it was too much. But hey, it was interesting!

Despite a few last-minute cancellations, they had a large crowd at two seatings, so I think it was a success. Chef Jacobson was already talking about perhaps doing something similar out at his restaurant, Sycamore. I hope so...


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Sucks that I had to work that night and miss this. Looks awesome. What an interesting collection of dishes they came up with! Any clues on who influenced which ones?


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 for the report and fabulous pictures - sorry I missed it.

I WANT THOSE SWEETBREADS!!

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Think any of these items might make it onto the normal menu?


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

Homer Simpson

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Think any of these items might make it onto the normal menu?

Unlikely... that style is just not the Han Dynasty thing. We did beg and plead and offered our first-born children to Han if he'd put those ribs on the menu. I think that's actually a traditional dish, but their kitchen's tea-smoking skills are so awe-inspiring that those ribs were more than your average smoky meat. I think everyone should make a point to ask for them, maybe they'll show up as a special, at least!

Katie - I'm sure some dishes were mostly created by of one of the three, but they seemed to want to keep that somewhat vague, saying that it really was a collaboration, that each contributed something, be it an idea or an ingredient, or production of some component. I don't know whose inspiration resulted in each course, but even the ones that were Sam's or Davids, probably used Han's chili oil, etc. I think the steak might have been Han's idea, but I'd bet somebody else cooked it. The dessert is a good example: the cake was all Sam, riffing on a traditional English Christmas pudding; the ice cream was obviously Han-inspired (although I don't know who actually made it); the syrup was David's.

We've been lucky to have a bunch of chef collaborations in town lately, I hope they keep going!


Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I wish you'd made it as well, Katie! It was quite an experience. I agree with all of Philadining's comments about the meal.

Philadining- Franklin Fountain was responsible for the creation of the ice cream.

I too doubt if any of these items will wind up on the menu but also hope to have those ribs again :)

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I don't think I have seen anyone mention this dish at Han Dynasty in this thread yet, but the spicy cucumbers are unbelievably good. I admit that the combination sounds a little strange (at least it did to me before I tried it), but it works perfectly. There is a hint of sweetness to go along with the heat of the chili oil and the crunch of the cucumber.

If you have not yet tried this dish, I highly recommend it.

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Our man Han's gonna be on the Food Network (Meat & Potatoes) on March 21st. The episode's called Meat with Heat. Be there or be square!


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

Charles Pierce

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Han was kind enough to accommodate a last-minute reservation, we called a little rudely close to closing time, but I'm so happy he managed to squeeze us in. The food was great, our visiting VIP was happy, Philly seemed cooler than ever.

The convention and visitor's bureau ought to give Han an award or something: I've sent lots of visitors home raving about how great the food is in Philly, after just one visit to Han Dynasty...


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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DVR set for Monday's upcoming "Meat with Heat" episode. I can hardly wait to see Han on TV. This should be most intriguing.


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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Great episode of Meat & Potatoes featuring Han Dynasty as well as one of my other all time faves, my "Death Row Meal" restaurant, Cochon in New Orleans.

The Dry Pepper Lamb looked delicious. Didn't realize there were quite so many ingredients in there. Perennial fave Dan Dan Noodles also make an appearance. And Han managed to slip in an insult to the host by telling him he was ugly. :rolleyes: Awesome. Congrats to Han and the staff on their TV debut!


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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Agreed! Amazing that they filmed for 11 hours for 11 (or less) minutes of air time. Would have liked to see more Han and less Rahm, but Han did a great job and really came across professional. Three cheers!

Great episode of Meat & Potatoes featuring Han Dynasty as well as one of my other all time faves, my "Death Row Meal" restaurant, Cochon in New Orleans.

The Dry Pepper Lamb looked delicious. Didn't realize there were quite so many ingredients in there. Perennial fave Dan Dan Noodles also make an appearance. And Han managed to slip in an insult to the host by telling him he was ugly. :rolleyes: Awesome. Congrats to Han and the staff on their TV debut!


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

Charles Pierce

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Looks like all the exposure Han has been getting is paying off. I tried to slide in there last night with 2 other people at 6:45 and were told it was an hour and a half wait! At this point I might be better off trekking out to Royersford, which by the way I stopped at two weeks ago and it was just as good and spicy as Center City.


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

Homer Simpson

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Yeah, we've gone in on weeknights a few times recently, and it's been packed. I think we were late enough in the evening that we didn't have to wait long, but yes, they're busy...

I'm losing track of the movements of the chefs out in the burbs: I think the original Royersford chef is now at the Exton location. In any case, I've been getting really great food at the Exton lately. I chatted with Han's mom there recently, and I seem to recall her saying something about the chef that's now at Royersford recently coming back from China, but I haven't been to that branch recently to sample his cooking.

Paradoxically, I like the inconsistency. You'd think that uniformity and reliability would be more desirable, but I actually enjoy the fact that each chef has an individual style, and is better at some dishes than others. The trick is finding out which dishes are his specialties. You can always ask!


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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sorry if this is old news but, i was here tuesday night and han dynasty is no longer byob. except on tuesday nights.

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Oh, right, Bill, thanks for mentioning this, we discovered the same thing recently and I meant to post about it. We brought beer and wine, so we didn't ask about what they had to sell, or ask prices, but they seemed to have at least a few decent beers.

The "corkage" ends up being basically glass-rental, for $1 per glass. Of course I generally prefer straight-up BYOB, but I can't really complain too much about that. In the grand scheme of things, that's not much money if I want to bring my own, and in many cases I'm sure I'll just buy their beer.


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Has anyone noticed that the food at Han Dynasty is missing the Szechuan peppercorns recently? Someone made this complaint a month or two ago but I hadn't been recently. I went a couple days ago and had several dishes which have in the past had szechuan peppercorns in them (mapo tofu, dan dan noodles, the cabbage side dish), and the tongue-numbing, brain-pleasing effect was absent from all of them. Their absence was obvious in the cabbage dish because they were visible in the dish last time I had it.


Edited by Buckethead (log)

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I haven't been to Old City in a few months, but I did hit up the Royersford location two weekends ago. They offered a pickled chili and garlic braised pork shoulder as a special and it was phenomenal. It was a huge hunk of bone-in pork shoulder, complete with a thick sheen of meltingly soft pork fat, bathed in a mildly spicy (by Han's standards) chili-garlic sauce. The pork fat was amazing. It was like rich pork butter. Mmmmm, pork butter. I would slather that stuff on everything if I could. The ensuing clogging of my arteries probably took a year or two off of my life, but it's not like I'm trying to life forever or anything.


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

Homer Simpson

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Has anyone noticed that the food at Han Dynasty is missing the Szechuan peppercorns recently? Someone made this complaint a month or two ago but I hadn't been recently. I went a couple days ago and had several dishes which have in the past had szechuan peppercorns in them (mapo tofu, dan dan noodles, the cabbage side dish), and the tongue-numbing, brain-pleasing effect was absent from all of them. Their absence was obvious in the cabbage dish because they were visible in the dish last time I had it.

I had the dry fried pork last night. Definitely had Szechuan peppercorns in it. Good stuff!

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We were here a few weeks ago... a saturday for lunch. And we noticed the same thing: no peppercorns. And the food was ...ok, but not up to our previous visits.

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