China Garden, Arlington (VA)

China Garden
1100 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22209

Sorry for the belated blog post. As many of you know, I had an election to help run and it finally came to an end yesterday – with a victory!

In any case, last week I flew to Washington, DC to celebrate the wedding of two of my vary good friends. Since it happened to be a long weekend as well, I decided to invite a number of my friends in DC for some Dim Sum. Since not many of DC’s Dim Sum places are metro accessible, I settled on China Garden, which is a block from the Rosslyn metro stop. This, of course, allows many of my car-free friends to join in on some delicious Chinese food.

I arrived about 20 minutes before my group was supposed to arrive in order to ensure we had a table around the time I had scheduled the brunch. We had a table in about 30 minutes, which isn’t too bad by Dim Sum parlor standards. As we got seated, I quickly realized that many of my friends there were new to Dim Sum (and I am glad that they were willing to try something new, sight unseen!). That, however, wasn’t a big problem as I took over managing the ordering from the food trolleys.

Over the course of brunch we ordered the following items: Daikon cake, Sui Mai, stir fried green beans, pork spareribs, rice noodles with dried shrimp, roast duck, bbq pork buns, potstickers, sticky rice, Singapore style rice noodles, fried eggplant, egg custard tarts, pineapple buns, sesame balls, and vegetable chow fun. I may have forgotten some. Needless to say, this was a lot of food, even for my 8 friends and myself.

China Garden

I didn’t get to eat all of the items as I was partially busy loading the lazy Susan on the table with more items. However, of the items I did eat, most were fairly on point. The daikon cakes were perfectly pan fried, allowing a crunchy exterior with a nice and warm chewy interior. The sticky rice had roast duck in addition to the chicken, which made the flavor marvelous. The Singapore style noodles were also good, with noodles perfectly stir fried and tossed in with curry. The potstickers were also good too, with a skin that was not too thick and a nice crunch from the pan frying. The desserts were all fantastic and reminiscent of what I could get back “home” in Southern California.

However, some dishes were not as great. The sui mai, a standard on how you can measure Dim Sum parlors, were a little dry and a bit dense. It had reasonable flavor, but suffered from a combination of steaming too long and the meat in the sui mai being packed a little too tight. The pork spareribs were also not that flavorful and just seemed like they were steamed with a little pepper and black bean paste to garnish. The vegetable chow fun was overly sauced, making the noodles soggier than usual and drowning out some of the flavors of the vegetables.

As for the service, it was pretty efficient. Tea pots were refilled with hot water at a good clip. People’s glasses of water were also refilled reasonably fast. The bill was pretty good too, coming to about $133 for the 9 of us, which is certainly cheaper than what I would spend if I were to go on a traditional brunch at a restaurant on U or 14th Street.

I am so glad I could introduce a number of my friends to Dim Sum and to eat some of the food I grew up with. Almost all the food was delicious as well, adding to a wonderful experience and weekend in Washington DC. As one of my friends stated after Dim Sum, “Note to self: Whenever Jon Wong asks you out to Asian food, GO”, which definitely made me proud. Now onto my next task, getting my DC friends to taste the delicious Asian food in Rockville, Annandale, and Falls Church.

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