|1) Peking Duck
Yes! Real house-made Peking duck hangs from the kitchen windows at Vienna’s newest Chinese restaurant with other various meat and poultry at Lotus Garden. Roasted and hung to dry and drip for hours, the purpose of this process is to create an extra thin, crunchy layer of crispy skin on each cut of meat.
|2) Free Salted Peanuts
Hooray for freebies! Score a complimentary dish of warm, boiled and salted peanuts as you wait for your meal. Be careful though, they’re quite addicting and each dish on the menu is packed pretty generously. As you wait-try and pick up each little guy with your chopsticks without letting them slip on to the table. 😉
|3) Pan Fried Dumplings
These hand-made dumplings come boiled or pan-fried. We chose the
|4) Fried Chicken Wings
I used to frequent this little Chinese restaurant down the street from my house, because I loved the Chinese fried chicken wings they had there. After it closed down, I’ve always been searching for other Chinese restos that had them. It’s a simple spin on chicken wings, but I love them because they’re dry rub, extra crispy, and tossed in little fried pieces of garlic and herb–an alternative to the usual saucy wing.
|5) Roast Duck Noodles
Stopping by for the hand-pulled noodles alone is worth a trip to Lotus Garden. I wish they’d put ‘noodle house’ in their name somewhere, because their hand made noodles really do put some neighboring ‘noodlehouses’ to shame–and it’s also cheaper! For $8.95 a bowl, you can either have ‘thin’ or ‘extra-thin’ hand-pulled noodles with roast duck, beef, chicken, spare ribs, roast pork, beef brisket, lamb or seafood.
|6) Special Garlic Chicken
My favorite thing about this dish is that even though it was obviously slathered in batter and deep fried to a massive crunch–the meat is actually really tender, juicy and flavorful. Sprinkled in chopped herbs and tiny bits of fried garlic, it’s perfect to eat with a bowl of rice, because it’s on the saltier side and gives the muted taste of rice a good kick (especially when you mix in the fried herb topping).
|7) Canton Fried Sliced Fish
This dish originates from the ‘Fujian’ district of China and is actually not on the english menu. It’s written in Chinese on the little plastic menu against the wall for some odd reason, and is one of the only dishes I ordered that actually came with any lotus in it. The dish comes with battered and fried slices of fish, topped with sauteed lotus root, peapods, carrot and green peppers.
|8) Scallop Stuffed Shrimp Balls
I’ve seen crab claw stuffed shrimp balls on other Chinese menus, but I’ve never seen this before. I love seafood, so chopping it up and stuffing it with even more seafood, deep frying it and slathering it in deliciously thick brown gravy with a few stalks of bok choy (which kind of makes you feel a little less guilty about the main event…) is a little unfair. Considering I’ve never seen this dish anywhere else in NoVA, I’ll definitely be back for it!
|9) Beef Chow Fun
Think of this as the Chinese version of Thai pad see ew with a little less sweetness and more salty soy, scallions, bean sprouts and chubbier noodles. You can pretty much find this at any Chinese restaurant (I ordered it, because it’s my favorite Chinese noodle dish of all time) but if you stop by Lotus Garden, don’t forget to check out some of the items mentioned earlier that are unique to their menu.
Lotus Garden, 224 Maple Ave West, Vienna, VA; 703-255-9888; www.lotusgarden.webs.com.