Many American Chinese restaurants serve exactly that—Americanized Chinese food. But not Sichuan Pavilion. Okay, so the menu does feature a seemingly endless list of the usual suspects––kung pao chicken, mongolian beef––but even the least discerning eye will catch a difference on this menu—specifically, a section labeled “Authentic Entrees.”
It's from this corner that DC restaurateur Casey Patten orders his favorite Chinese dish in the city: chicken with hot dry peppers. As he told Eater, Sichuan Pavilion's chefs punctuate this flash-fried, predominantly dark meat dish with Chinese chili and Sichuan peppercorns, creating a potent punch that, like a kiss from an exceptionally handsome jellyfish, "leaves the best tingly burn." Coincidentally the website did some investigation of its own at Sichuan Pavilion a month or so later, when contributor Mary Kong left with one important takeaway: order the mapo tofu. A spicy black-bean, tofu, and pork dish, Kong dubbed this Sichuan classic one of DC's "10 Chinese Dishes Real Chinese People Eat".
Meiwah is a distinctly Chinese American eatery found in downtown Washington DC. This highly-rated restaurant consistently ranks among the city’s best, thanks in part to a huge, eclectic menu that features all of the classics. But unlike the typical Chinese place, Meiwah also has a wide range of fresh seafood and lamb dishes, as well as “Atkins-Friendly” chicken dishes that are bread-free. Food is served by attentive wait staff in intimate dining spaces on two levels, with design details that include colorful, themed murals and paintings as well as a set of 19th century wood and metal doors. These features give some Asian character to the restaurant, which is otherwise modern and sleek.
Every year, Ching Ching Cha founder, Ching Ching, spends several months exploring different tea regions in China, Taiwan, and Japan. The resulting bounty keeps Ching Ching Cha stocked with more than 70 different kinds of tea, as well as various products, including tea-related accessories such as teapots, teacups, and tiaras. Inside the Chinese teahouse, sunlight streams from skylights onto rosewood tables and chairs that provide a cozy setting for prolonged sips during daily tea times, when customers can enjoy the drink with tasty tea snacks including homemade dumplings, coconut tarts, and almond cookies.
Under red droplights that resemble Chinese paper lanterns, seared tuna glistens atop a Rising Sun roll. On the other side of the sushi bar, a uniformed chef slices more fresh fish, packing it into 1 of 17 specialty rolls that grace Wok and Roll’s menu. Out of view from the dining room’s lacquered tables and rows of sake, a wok sizzles with chow mein and rice noodles, the other half of Wok and Roll’s pan-Asian offerings. Dishes such as peking duck and hong kong shrimp-wonton soup source recipes from across China and pair with beers from Thailand, Singapore, and Japan, as well as with daiquiris mined from the Earth’s liquid fruit core.
Shanghai Lounge doesn't reinvent traditional dishes—instead, its Asian-fusion culinary team honors the classics by whipping up more than 70 of them. Mongolian beef, stir-fried with onions and scallions, and tofu with cabbage vie for diners’ affections with chicken dishes such as curry chicken, ginger chicken, and general tso’s chicken. Teriyaki eel or sweet-and-sour fish delight taste buds with more exotic proteins. Bubble tea, or pots of hot green, black, or oolong tea, wash down the hearty cuisine spreads.