Friday, June 8, 2012


We're like a broken record telling you that you can't find great Chinese food on DC's Chinablock.  This article in the Washington City Paper made me wonder if we were missing something.  If big name chefs like Mike Isabella (Graffiato) and Scott Drewno (The Source) have found Chinese food they like in Chinatown, maybe we just need to look harder.

I decided to give Ming's a try for takeout after one particularly long day at work.  I was immediately impressed with the clean, and modern decor and the cheerful hostess. I placed my order and asked her to have it ready in an hour so that I could pick it up on the way back from acupuncture (side note: Dr. Wu on 6th street is the best).

An hour later, the hostess was waiting for me by the door with a smile and two giant bags of food. I ordered extra so we could have leftovers for lunches during the work week and a $50 order at Ming's got us enough food for about 7 large meals.

We tried the following dishes:
  • Eggplant in Hot Garlic Sauce - really liked the sweet and spicy sauce on the eggplant. It was drowning in sauce but that's nothing a bowl of steamed rice can't cure.
  • Ma Po Tofu - Perfectly cooked tofu but the sauce lacked the kick that we're used to. Next time I would ask them to turn up the heat.
  • Chicken Pan-Fried Noodle - Wins the award for most confusing dish.  Normally we order pan-fried noodles or "Hong Kong style" chow mein and get a dish of veggies, meat, and crispy noodles coated in a sauce. When you toss the noodles, the sauce softens them up.  Ming's serves a box of fried noodles along with a huge portion of what appeared to be egg drop soup with mushrooms.  Very tasty but just not what we expected.
  • Crispy Spicy Pork Chop - Source Chef Scott Drewno recommended this dish in the City Paper article and for good reason.  Just like the name says, they are both crispy and spicy.  This is the kind of dish I could get addicted to.  Watch out for the bones. You don't want to chip a tooth.
Are we ready to proclaim Ming the king of Chinablock?  Not until we've done a proper head to head comparison with Mike Isabella's favorite New Big Wong. However, the next time someone asks for a Chinese food recommendation in Chinatown proper, I'll send them to Ming's.

Second Thoughts from B

I don't know that I have any more insights or anecdotes about Chinese food left in me to tell.  It seems like every other post is about traveling to China with my family, some old wives tale from my grandmother, or bemoaning the exodus of Chinese restaurants to Maryland.  But I can tell you that I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality and quantity of our order.  Quality and quantity.  Hmmm, maybe I do have another story to tell. 

My grandmother loved Chinese food.  More specifically, she loved gathering the family together, planning the entire menu (I don't think I looked at a Chinese food menu until I was in my 20s), and watching her grandkids delight in the flavors of the "old country." 

But perhaps even more than that, she loved getting a good deal.  Most grandmothers greet their grandkids with a warm hug and the standard hi and how are you...  In my case, I often got that hug but it usually was accompanied by the current price per pound of produce from the grocery store.  Nothing says, "good to see you" like the going rate of cantaloupe at Safeway...

Anyway, my Pau Pau (grandmother in Cantonese) would have loved Ming's.  Quality and quantity equals value.  Delicious, delicious, value.
Ming's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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