By: Josh Dunford
When you are walking down Race Street in Philadelphia’s Chinatown at any time of the day, you will see a very long line of people. Right next to this place is a noodle shop and a Halal Guys restaurant. You go to the back of the line, wait for a long time, think about giving up and going somewhere else, and then finally get into the restaurant.
You sit down at a table and choose from a bunch of different dishes and they come to the table. You eat them and understand the long lines. You then go home and daydream about the place and come back over and over, and never get tired of it. When people ask you where are the best places to eat in Philadelphia, you say here without even thinking about it.
This has been my and a lot of other people’s experience here. This place is a Philadelphia icon, and it is on many people’s list of best places to eat. I have been coming to this restaurant every time I am in Philadelphia since I was a little kid. They changed locations once, but now they are located on Race Street.
They have many different things on the menu but when we come here we get the same things every time. We always get brisket noodles, scallion pancakes, cucumber salad, and pork soup dumplings.
The scallion pancakes are the appetizer. Normally we are in the car for two and a half hours driving from where we live to Philadelphia. This is usually the first thing we eat. For those you don’t know, scallion pancakes are unleavened flatbreads folded with oil and scallions. They are usually very light and crispy and fall apart easily. These go perfectly with all the other things we get.
The brisket noodles are one of the greatest things on Earth. If I go and eat a 20 course meal and I am so stuffed I feel like vomiting, I would still come here to get the brisket noodles. I actually eat brisket every year for Rosh Hashanah (which is a Jewish holiday) but I don’t think any brisket can compare to the one here. The brisket melts in your mouth and has a very good flavor. And Asian meat always heals my soul, and this one is no exception. The noodles are perfectly cooked and you can slurp them with ease.
The pork soup dumplings here are some of the best ones I have had. For those of you who do not know, soup dumplings, also known as Xioalongbao are dumplings filled with pork and broth. To eat them you usually have a spoon in your hand, and your chopsticks and you poke a hole into the dumpling and let all the fluid go out into the spoon. After you put it in the spoon you sip it and then eat the dumpling which still has pork in it. This is perfect if you want to be a surgeon but are terrified of blood and people’s insides, as you are just doing it on a dumpling. The broth is very flavorful and the pork is always the best. A pro tip-do not eat this whole or you’ll get third degree burns in your mouth.
The cucumber salad is very refreshing and healthy after the meat, noodles, broth, and scallion pancakes. It is just cucumbers that are cut into rods, some Asian herbs, and some kind of dressing. I’m not sure what the dressing is but it is very good.
Aside from the food, the service is pretty fast but they are always very crowded. Try to come at an off time (not right at 12 for lunch or not right at 6 for dinner) and it is cash only. To get here from Temple (if any students are reading this) take the SEPTA to City Hall, go into Chinatown, and go on to Race Street.
More reviews will come soon.
For more of these and recipes/blogs go onto WHIPradiotu.com and the entertainment section.