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June 2005: A & J Restaurant

Though better known for northern Chinese dim sum, these cafes also ladle up wonderful steaming soups, like the fiery spicy beef and the memorable pork chop, that make for good eating any time of day.

You can have your soup and your dim sum, too. Put together a meal of several items, such as the stogie-size pork pot stickers, razor-thin shavings of pork and beef, vegetable dumplings, pickled cabbage, and steamed spareribs with spiced rice powder.

Northern Chinese dim sum champions bread over noodles—try the thousand-layer pancake, made with flaky pull-apart dough. Both restaurants, with their contemporary look, attract young Chinese expats. In Annandale, faux stone and a mural of historic China set the scene. Rockville sports walls of yellow and cinnamon with trapeze lights flickering above.

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