A native of Hong Kong, Chef Brian Eng masterminded a menu of healthy family recipes infused with fresh, handpicked ingredients and devoid of MSG. A smattering of starters, such as a duo of crispy egg rolls ($3.25) and hot-and-sour soup ($2.95–$4.75) prevent mouths from chugging a bottle of soy sauce. Made-to-order mains include the beef in a nest, sliced beef doused in onion-infused gravy nestled in a soft bed of Cantonese pan-fried noodles ($7.25–$10.75), and the empress chicken, a jewel-encrusted chicken frolicking with peppers and onions in a barbecue sweet-and-sour sauce ($7.00–$10.50). Diners can cast a net around the silver shrimp and scallops served on broccoli next to a pool of cream sauce ($10.45–$15.50). A quintet of almond cookies ($1.25) rounds out the meal more eloquently than a soliloquy from a bilingual Shakespeare impersonator.
Twin Dragons Restaurant's chefs prepare a sprawling menu of Chinese cuisine without the use of MSG, lard, or butter. Using high-flame woks, they stir-fry their entrees with very little oil, ensuring that their meals—made with hand-trimmed lean beef and 99% fat-free chicken breast—do not carry greasy residues. They also gladly keep out specific ingredients upon request.
At Little Panda Chinese Restaurant, plates of beef and chicken glisten with sweet, tangy Asian sauces. The cooks prepare Chinese classics, along with Thai and Japanese dishes, to make for an MSG-free menu with plentiful, opportunities to sample veggies, chicken, shrimp, or beef. House specialties include steak and shrimp delicacy—beef and jumbo shrimps sauteed with vegetables, slathered in spicy black pepper sauce—and mongolian beef—pan-seared beef in a spicy Chinese barbecue sauce. Vegetarian options include spicy szechwan vegetables and vegetable pad thai.
At iChef Chinese Cuisine, the chefs don't believe their patrons should be limited to the same Chinese food American suburbanites have been eating for decades. That doesn't mean you can't find familiar favorites like crab rangoon, lo mein, kung pao beef, and chop suey there. Rather, it means that in addition to American-style Chinese food, the restaurant also offers authentically prepared Chinese selections. That menu features traditional dishes where meat, seafood, and veggies alike have starring roles: for example, spicy beef mingles among tripe, fish fillets come with ample servings of chinese broccoli or baby bok choy, and heaps of noodles compose Sichuan?style soups with a kick.
The integration of American and Chinese tastes extends to weekday lunch, too, when entrees are served with soup, rice, and fireworks suitable for July Fourth and Chinese New Year. Weekends, however, host dim sum service with a more traditional flair. The bilingual menu at iChef Chinese Cuisine attempts to satisfy nearly every craving, so vegetarians shouldn't expect to feel left out. The authentic menu offers tofu dishes, spicy saut?ed vegetables, and filling mushroom-centered entrees. Meanwhile, the "Unique Vegetarian" section of the Americanized menu supplements the usual sauced veggies with imitation meat made with soybean, wheat, and rice protein.
Chefs at Szechwan Restaurant demonstrate their mastery of flavor juggling and elegant presentation with authentic Chinese dishes served in a serene, art-filled dining room. Chefs sauté sizzling beef with bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms ($15.95), and the ma-po spicy bean curd ($8.95) combines the power of crushed red pepper with the elegance of a high-society woman wearing long, white boxing gloves. Crispy sesame chicken luxuriates in a tangy brown sauce ($12.95), and three-flavor scallops ($15.95) chant incantations around cauldrons of sweet, hot, and sour sauces. Szechwan Restaurant also pours sweet and tangy specialty drinks, including the tropical mai tai ($5.95) and the blue hawaii, a combination of piña colada and citrusy Blue Curacao so remarkable it's set to become America's 51st state ($5.95).
Historic Downtown Wheaton embraces many of the boutique gift stores, chic spas, and diverse culinary offerings that populate the historical storefronts of the western suburb’s walkable central shopping district. Before embarking on a day of checking off gift lists or simply sightseeing, slip under the colorful awnings at Front and Hale Streets to sneak a breakfast bite at the Egg Harbor Café, where The Handler sandwich tucks egg, bacon, and cheese onto a gourmet pretzel roll ($8.95). Eco-friendly gift shop It’s Our Earth's “buy recycled” philosophy unfolds space for ample creativity in the form of Snack Journals ($7 each)—fun notebooks reimagined from SpongeBob and Spiderman snack boxes that make the dog eating one's homework a slightly likelier excuse.