Look up “hole in the wall” in the encyclopedia, and you’ll probably find a picture of Hong Kong Palace in Falls Church. OK, dated reference. But to give you an idea of the visual, picture solo patrons spreading out with the newspaper across their table while they languidly drop Sichuan food into their mouths. There’s no particular attempt at atmosphere, because there’s no need for one. The food speaks for itself.
Fans of spice will be delighted by the heaping portions of brick-hued victuals. The greatest pleasures to be had may well lie in slurping up a bowl of dan dan noodles. Though it’s listed among appetizers, the $8.95 dish is substantial enough for a meal. Floppy wheat noodles, a hair thinner than fettuccine, are slick with chile oil that burns just enough to compel the eater toward another bite. Ground pork and wilted spinach provide some variation in texture and absorb the spicy flavors.
The la zi ji, described on the menu as “diced chicken with hot peppers,” is a study in numbing spice, but the chicken is so finely diced that it can be hard to locate within its crisp jacket. Next time I want something beyond the dan dan noodles, I’m more likely to order the cumin ribs again. The segments of fall-apart-tender, bone-in pork are indeed coated in cumin, an ingredient that combines especially well with the crisp red peppers and onions in the dish. There are also both dried and fresh chiles, which bring along a welcome slap of heat. In the category of “hurts so good,” this stalwart remains one to watch–and taste.
6387 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church
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