Tables of expat families are always a positive sign at a Chinese eatery, and this Szechuan/Cantonese dining room is no exception. Anything stoked with chilies is a good bet. This might translate to slippery pork-filled wontons in a chili-blitzed sauce, Chengdu-style mapotofu—a fire-breathing stew of pork and tofu with a flotilla of peppers—or spicy dried beef. Even if you’re not into palate-scorching, there’s good eating to be had. Dumplings emerge deftly fried, and a toss of tender house-made bacon contrasts nicely with smothered leeks. For those who are game, more adventurous dishes like yellow chives with bullfrog (it really does taste like chicken) or crunchy fried intestine deliver thrills, too.
Where you can get it: 16805 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville; 301-963-1570
Also good: Stir-fried snow-pea leaves or spinach with garlic; Hong Kong–style fried rice; Chengdu-style eggplant with hot garlic sauce; cucumbers with sesame oil; twice-cooked pork with garlic leaves.