Dumpling Queen, 13942 Metrotech Drive, Chantilly, VA, closed Tuesdays, 703-378-4222 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Washingtonian | Ylp]
An unusual bundle of real Chinese dishes and for-America corruptions. But the best items here are excellent: get the Xianjiang pork spare ribs, one of the better Chinese dishes in this entire region. The fried tofu with chiles. The cold noodles and dan dan noodles. I am told that soon, in about a month’s time, they will be gearing up their menu with a full set of Chinese offerings. Then this will be one of the very best Chinese restaurants around, it is already worth a visit.
Thanks for the recommendation. Those ribs are lip-smackingly delicious! Easily one of the best Chinese – and rib – dishes I’ve ever had.
Have been a few times since reading about DQ for the first time here. Thoughts:
Xinjiang Ribs: VERY good. Very interesting mix of cumin, ground….peanuts??…five spice powder, and some other spices/herbs I can’t identify. It’s a pretty sizeable portion of ribs. Makes practically a whole meal for 1 person, and a good appetizer for 2 or 3. Definitely a unique taste I haven’t had elsewhere. The coating is crunchy and the ribs are tender, practically falling off the bone. NOTE: These ribs are NOT on the printed menu, so you’ll need to verbally ask for them.
Dumplings: Have eaten various kinds. So far my favorites are first the Pork & Dill dumplings, second the Lili’s Special dumplings. It is worth the extra buck to get them pan-fried. Visually they’re not the prettiest dumplings you’ll ever see but the taste is good. NOTE TO DUMPLING QUEEN: Please use FRESHER, BETTER QUALITY SHRIMP in your various shrimp dumplings. The shrimp filling tasted “off” and I won’t order them again unless the quality improves.
Chive Pocket: They give you two of them and I must say these are really tasty. A good appetizer for 2 people. Two will practically fill one person.
Scallion pancake: Have noticed some inconsistency in the preparation. One time I got the pancake and it was thinner and usual and extra crispy…and LOVED it. Other times I’ve gotten it it’s been thicker and grilled as long and thus more chewy than crispy…in other words, meaning that if it’s prepared the second way, it’s no different than the thousands of scallion pancake versions across the DMV and thus nothing special. Next time I’ll try requesting if they can make it thinner and crispier than usual, and see what I get. If they’ll make it like the first time I had it, I’ll order it again. If they won’t do that on order, I won’t bother ordering it again.
Dan Dan Noodles: Not bad but I’ve enjoyed other places versions better.
Fried Tofu with Chilies (called something like “spicy and tasty tofu” on the menu): Was good, and I do like tofu, but have had this dish at other locations and liked those versions better.
Stir-fried Rice Cakes: Was just OK, would eat again if someone I went with ordered it, but probably wouldn’t order again myself.
Basil Eggplant: Good, a little oily, but good. Would get it again.
Shrimp Scallion Noodles: Wasn’t what I expected. Not bad, but won’t order again. Basically just shrimp with shredded scallion & onion on top of plain noodles with just a little light sauce. Way too many noodles, nowhere near enough shrimp or sauce.
Stir-fried Bamboo: Just OK. Again, wasn’t what I expected. It was tender, white (baby?) bamboo, not the more golden, denser bamboo shoot I was hoping for. Not a terrible way to get your vegetables…but the sauce or taste didn’t impress me.
Thoughts on 2 dishes at DQ not discussed previously:
Egg and Tomato Noodle Soup: This noodle soup, along with the “three meat delight noodle soup” which I have not yet tried, fall under the category of “Da Lu Mian” translating as “Gravy Noodles” in Mandarin. (This is why sometimes you see “Groovy Noodles” at some other Chinese places. They mean “gravy”.)
I’ve had Da Lu Mian, Gravy Noodles, at other locales around the area. My favorite used to be at the now-defunct and long-since closed “Peking Village” in Merrifield…whose old space I believe is now occupied by a Peruvian Chicken place next to the well-known burger & fries place.
I’ve never had “Egg & Tomato” Gravy Noodles. Usually, when Chinese folks eat the soup that has over decades been transformed into what Americans now know as “Egg Drop Soup”…or, more appropriately, Dan Hua Tang (Egg Flower Soup)…it’s usually with egg and tomato in the soup. This is typically how Chinese folks eat their Egg Drop Soup. (No crispy noodles, either…that’s also an American thing.) In China, we regularly had tomato mixed in with the “egg drop”.
What makes DQ’s “Egg & Tomato Gravy Noodle” soup unique is that I could clearly taste cumin in the broth. I’ve never had a Chinese soup…or any soup, for that matter…contain cumin. Well, none that I could recognize as cumin. Perhaps I’ve eaten Indian Sambar or Dal with cumin in it, but there were so many other spices I couldn’t isolate the cumin’s flavor.
Verdict: DQ’s Egg & Tomato noodle soup is good. Good, but not phenomenal. If you’re curious, by all means I encourage you to try it. But since I’ve discovered other items at DQ whose flavor I like much better, I’ll focus my spending on those instead, and probably not order it again simply from a “saving my spending back for my flavor buck” perspective alone.
Stir Fried Eggplant, Pepper, and Potato: In Mandarin this is called “Di San Xian”, or “three treasures from the earth (i.e., “from the ground”).
This was GOOD. And it’s a dish I absolutely WILL spend my $$ on again.
Imagine thick-cut french fries, together with sauteed/stir-fried eggplant and green pepper for flavoring, smothered in a delicious Chinese brown sauce which has just enough hot pepper in it for a slight little bit of spicy.
Kind of like a Chinese Poutine without the cheese, and with eggplant and green pepper thrown in.
The “french fries”…and they are really BIG potato wedges..did not appear to be deep fried, but pan-fried instead. No matter…they’ve still got a taste close to the french-fry (thick cut “chips”, actually) taste. I really REALLY enjoyed this dish and will DEFINITELY get it again.
It is NOTHING like the “potato and green pepper” dishes I’ve had at other Sichuan places around the DMV region. This one’s kind of unique. And I definitely recommend it if you like french fries, sauteed green pepper and sauteed eggplant. It’ll hit the spot. Definitely NOT a dish for the diet-conscious or figure-conscious.
But DEE-LISH. At least, it was to me!