Philadining Home

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Taiwanese in the 'burbs

We were thrilled to find good Taiwanese food at Empress Garden in Philly's Chinatown, but we had already found a good source, in an unlikely location. Han Dynasty in Exton, PA is not an exclusively Taiwanese place, but features several specialties, and does them really well.

There's excellent Sichuan food there (the Chef was formerly at Tifco's China Bistro in its heyday, then opened Chung King Garden in Philly's Chinatown, before returning to the suburbs) but Han, one of the main players in the restaurant, is from Taiwan, and brought some of his favorites with him.

I'll post more about the other things one can get there, but for now, let's examine some of the Taiwanese dishes we like.

Taiwanese Sausage

This is dangerously addictive, perhaps the perfect beer snack. Take a slice of this sweet, salty, fatty sausage, top it with a thin slice of raw garlic, take a bite, have a swig of beer... It's really hard to stop!

Lions Head Meatballs

These are amazingly light and airy, yet hearty and porky.

Three Cup Chicken

This is a real crowd-pleaser: a little sweet, a little boozy from rice wine, with a good hit of ginger and garlic, what's not to like? I can't figure out how this hasn't taken over the world.

Porkchop Rice

Self-explanatory, simple, but delicious. The porkchop itself was juicy and a little smoky, and the whole plate adds the tartness of pickled vegetables, the tanginess of a fermented egg, and the sweet saltiness of the ground pork drizzled over the rice.

Sausage Fried Rice

Because it's always a good idea to have more of that sweet sausage insinuating itself into whatever it can...

There's lot's more traditional food to be had at Han Dynasty, much of it Sichuan and blazingly spicy. Do yourself a favor and try some of the unusual dishes, there's an opportunity for some real thrills here. If Han's there, just ask him for advice, he'll guide you through the best offerings on the menu, or perhaps something that's not even on it.

Han Dynasty
Exton Plaza
260 North Pottstown Pike
(in the plaza with the McDonalds)

Mon-thurs 11am-10pm
Fri & Sat 11am-10:30 pm
Sun 11:30am-9:30 pm

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