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[plan] Han Dynasty Center City Dinner - Thurs, January 14


philadining
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Getting a group together for dinners at the Han Dynasty locations in the Philly suburbs has become an informal tradition among many of the Philly-area eGullet folks. Now that they've opened a Center City location, it feels like time to do one there! We'd organized them informally in the past, but here's a more structured invite:

Han Dynasty has a new location: 108 Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia. (It's almost all the way to Front street on Chestnut, on the South side of the street, near Kabul and the Mexican Post.)

We're getting a group together on Thursday, January 14, at 7:30 pm.

This dinner needs to be limited in size to 15 people. PM me if you want to come, the group will be chosen on a first-come, first served basis (but please be aware that a few spaces have already been reserved by previous communication.) If there is enough interest to warrant it, we'll do more dinners at future dates.

Cost will be approximately $30 per person. Cash makes things MUCH easier in a large group.

It's BYO. Folks often bring beer or wine, often something to share. We don't want to do any accounting on the drinks side, so feel free to bring something for yourself and/or to share, or not, but the drinking part is fully voluntary.

We are allowing Han to choose the menu for us, we will have no decisions to make, there will simply be a large number of dishes to be passed family-style, no special orders for individuals. We're happy to have anyone join us, but if that style of dining does not appeal to you, this is not the right dinner for you.

We will be served a wide variety of foods, including beef, pork, seafood, organ meats and vegetable dishes, all presented as large dishes to share. If you do not eat one or more of those types of food, you MAY still be able to make a satisfying meal from the other items, but the point of this kind of dinner is to sample many different dishes, so if you avoid SEVERAL of those foods, this may not be the right dinner for you. We're not being judgmental, it just makes us sad to see someone not eating.

In the future, we certainly could organize a more tightly focused dinner with a more specific menu for people with specific dietary restrictions if there is interest, but if, for instance, you don't eat pork, you might want to give this event a pass. There's going to be some pork.

Han Dynasty serves authentic food from Sichuan province. MUCH OF IT IS VERY SPICY!!! Not every dish will be incendiary, but a large percentage of them will have a significant presence of chili peppers, sichuan peppercorns and other spicy ingredients. If you do not like spicy food, this may not be the restaurant for you! Many dishes are oily and and/or salty, that's part of the cuisine, so if you do not like those kinds of foods, this might not be the right dinner for you!

After all those attempts to dissuade you, I should say that most people who have come to the previous dinners at the suburban restaurants have enjoyed them very much, even if they chose to skip a dish or two. A few of us have eaten at this new location a few times already, and can give assurances that we'll have a wonderful meal. But we have had experiences where people did not have as good a time as we'd hoped, because they did not care for this style of cooking.

Again, the available seats are limited, and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. We do not require a deposit, but please honor your reservation, the rest of us will be on the hook for your dinner bill if you just don't show up.

Please PM me if you are interested, I'll get back to you ASAP about whether you made this cutoff, or to ask if you'd be interested in another trip at a future date.

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"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I would love some recommendations as to what kind of beverages to bring. I was thinking that some kind of sparkling wine or crisp lager might go well with Han's food but having never eaten at his restaurants I'm just guessing. Premixed cocktails (i.e., like a pomegranate margarita)? White wine?

All I have in my wine cabinet right now are a bunch of red wines, so I probably need to go shopping :biggrin:

Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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I think you're on the right track - we've had pretty good luck with German-style white wines, and many kinds of beer. Interestingly, some sweeter Belgian-style beers, like fruit lambics, have been good matches, but almost any refreshing brew would be good. I was about to warn against high-alcohol anything, but I remembered that Victory Golden Monkey rocks with this food...

I have a big bottle of Dogfish Head Jiahu that I'm bringing, I'm very curious to see how that plays with the food. (It's based on Penn archeologists' guesses at the components of what they think is the earliest known beer, derived from residue found at an excavation in China.)

I haven't had a red wine that plays well with this kind of spice, but I suppose there could be some...

Sparkling is a nice idea. I think we've had good luck with bubbly rieslings and other similar things. I'm not sure we've tried a classic dry champagne-style anything, but you never know...

Katie?

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I would love some recommendations as to what kind of beverages to bring. I was thinking that some kind of sparkling wine or crisp lager might go well with Han's food but having never eaten at his restaurants I'm just guessing. Premixed cocktails (i.e., like a pomegranate margarita)? White wine?

All I have in my wine cabinet right now are a bunch of red wines, so I probably need to go shopping :biggrin:

Beer is good, sparkling wines are good. My personal preference is for white wines with good acidity and a little residual sugar, like Riesling, vinho verde, and some chenin blanc and pinot gris.

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I've been enjoying the 2008 La Yunta Torrontes my last few visits. A bargain at $7.99! Torrontes is from Argentina and is a slightly sweet and aromatic wine with good acidity to balance it (much like good riesling). Spot on perfect for this sort of food. Any Torrontes would be fine, too. Doesn't vary as wildly as riesling in residual sugars. Sparkling wine that isn't too dry (Cava, Prosecco or demi-sec) or other aromatic and slightly off dry whites like Gewurztraminer, Vouvray, Viognier, etc. would work well too. Those of us there on New Years Eve shared a nice Pierre Sparr 2007 Reserve gewurztraminer from Alsace that was also ideal with the cuisine and was purchased right around the corner at the store on 2nd Street above Chestnut in the middle of our dinner.

Red wines are a tough call with spicy foods. Problem is the alcohol content of reds can be up to 14.5-15% which quite literally throws fuel on the fires inside your mouth. Something lighter with low tannins and acidity like dolcetto could work, but I personally prefer to stick to the sorts of wines described above or beer. YMMV.

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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Sarah:

A bit of searching of the PLCB website prior to heading to the store might help you from being disappointed. Just search for the grape varietal or name of wine, then sort by price or product name (I think they come up alphabetically initially) and then check if your local store has it. If you go to one of the bigger stores like 12th & Chestnut, you're likely to find a much wider selection.

Looking forward to sharing dinner on Thursday!

edited to add:

I forgot to mention that Oregon and Washington State also produce some rocking good examples of Alsace varietal whites like riesling, gewurztraminer and pinot blanc, as well as some lovely Chenin Blancs that come from South Africa. I'm going to try hunt down a bottle or two of the South African myself, just because I met one of the premier winemakers from there several months ago and was blown away by how delicious the wines were. I suspect if I'm able to find the bottling I enjoyed it'll be close to making angels weep with the food at Han Dynasty.

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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Thanks Katie! Sadly I'm all too familiar with the 12th and Chestnut store; when my mom came for a visit I think she was a little alarmed that our cashier knew my name!

I'm going to see what I can find in the way of Gewurtz and Riesling, and if I can find a less-dry sparkling rose I think that will be yummy.

I just finished rereading through the thread on the previous excursion to Han Dynasty (the suburb edition) and now I'm starving. Can't wait for Thursday!

Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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Sadly I'm all too familiar with the 12th and Chestnut store; when my mom came for a visit I think she was a little alarmed that our cashier knew my name!

:laugh: Awesome. I guess mom's no longer concerned about you having made friends here in Philly, eh? :wink:

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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Sadly I'm all too familiar with the 12th and Chestnut store; when my mom came for a visit I think she was a little alarmed that our cashier knew my name!

:laugh: Awesome. I guess mom's no longer concerned about you having made friends here in Philly, eh? :wink:

If it were *my* mom, she'd be shocked I'm going into a liquor store. Then she'd probably take me straight to an AA meeting. :blink:

Have fun y'all! I wish we could make it, but maybe next time!!

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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Yeah, my mom cherishes this fantasy that I have an occasional glass of wine, never drink beer, and have never had anything stronger than an amaretto sour.

I forego the gin martinis, rye manhattans, and tequilas when she's in town :wink:

Can't wait for dinner tonight!

Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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I was there on Tuesday night, wontons in chili oil and lamb in dry pot were seriously better than ever. Those wontons are truly a little spicy bite of perfection. Han told me that the lamb in dry pot was one of his favorite things on the menu, which makes sense because it's completely delicious. Lip-numbingly spicy, slightly pungent, very tender lamb, what more can you ask for? Szechuan Tasty House has officially been put into retirement in my book. It's that good.

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

Homer Simpson

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I'm waiting for Jeff to post pics from dinner, since there is no way I will be able to remember all the dishes we ate (even Han was impressed by the amount of food we put away). I will say that pretty much every dish was a star - clean, brilliant flavors with blazing spices. I do remember the wontons in chili oil, the spicy green beans, the ma po tofu, and the noodles as being standouts, and I can't wait to go back and have them again!

It was a thoroughly magical evening with amazing food and wonderful company. So nice to meet all the eGullet folks....and props to Jeff for drinking a shot of chili oil at the end of dinner!

Can't wait for the pics....

Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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