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South China in Alexandria - Report

Steve | Sep 22, 201305:57 AM

A group of eight Chowhounds got together at South China in the Van Dorn section of Alexandria to try out Huaiyang Cuisine – DC’s only source of this cooking from the riverine area north of Shanghai. Among other things, known for it’s sweet take on many dishes.

We ordered:

Nanjing Salty Duck
Jingling Smoked Fish
Osmanthus Lotus Root
Pingqiao Tofu Soup
Yangzhou Meatball
Liangxi Crispy Eel
Spicy Baby Cuttlefish
Wuxi Fried Ribs
Spicy Rabbit Pot

The food was mostly unremarkable. The standout dish was the crispy eel. In execution, it seemed to come out of another kitchen. Long, thin river eel deep fried to a golden brown and served moderately sweet. I can’t say it had any river flavor, but it was beautifully executed.

The Wuxi Fried Ribs came out as just another version of red-braised meat, popular throughout the region and Shanghai (there is a similar dish on the menu, grandma’s red braised meat, which features pork belly). I had the pork belly version the week before. This is outright done better and more complex at Pacifica Café in Gaithersburg, MD – but you have to order it in advance there since it takes days of preparation.

Two of our dishes were Sichuanese – the Rabbit pot and the baby cuttlefish. There are many similar dishes on the menu. These were well executed, but they’d be a lot more potent at a Sichuan restaurant.

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