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Fearless Critic restaurant review
DC
Food
Feel
Price
8.9
5.5
$15
Chinese
Casual restaurant

Hours
Sun–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–11:00pm

Features Delivery, outdoor dining
Bar Beer
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted

www.hkpalace.webs.com

Falls Church, VA
6387 Seven Corners Center
Falls Church, VA
(703) 532-0940
Hong Kong Palace
General Tso surrenders to Szechuan peppercorns

In the space formerly known as Saigon Palace, with Home Depot and Barnes and Noble as mall-mates, Hong Kong Palace is the premier Szechuan place around. It used to be all about Cantonese, but the menu has changed…and the result is vastly improved over anything it did before. Szechuan is much more spice-intensive than other Chinese regional cuisines. The almost 100% Chinese clientele here is encouraging, as is the seizure-inducing website that is barely in broken English.

As this place is totally authentic and excellent, we could just drop you off and say “order whatever,” but as we acknowledge that the menu looks a little intimidating—even to those who have stepped outside of General Tso’s greasy clutches—we’ll try to give you some guidance.

We highly recommend the most popular dish from the region, ma po tofu, sizzling hot in its bean-and-chili oil with minced meat. If you’ve never tried those acerbic Szechuan peppercorns before, you will never forget the taste. Lamb with cumin is excellent, dan dan noodles are very good, and—as of right now, at least—not bastardized with peanut paste like some more Americanized versions. Beef with bamboo shoot is a great, approachable dish for the squeamish, as are Chengdu dumplings. But hands down the most addictive thing here is a hot pot of fish and chilies.

Even if you’ve never extended yourself past sesame chicken and those other gooey, bland takeout losers, you should come here and experiment. Dive right into those specials, and you won’t be sorry. But do prepare for some mouth-numbing spices. On the spice scale, Szechuan is capable of pain only elsewhere seen in Thai food, and numbness that’s not seen anywhere else. If you’re not ready for that, just ask for it mild, and try to work yourself up to higher heat, where the flavors are enhanced.

For less than $20, in other words, you can become a happier, wiser individual.

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