Cheap Eats 2015: Full Key

Where we get our favorite shrimp-dumpling soup.


Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Full Key


2227 University Blvd W
Silver Spring, MD 20902

Forget the cramped, aged dining room. Forget the sometimes gruff service. Forget that they don’t have any beer or wine. Forget all that and focus on your bowl of shrimp-dumpling soup—the delicate broth; the light, tender bundles of noodle; the juicy mix of plump shrimp, pork, tree-ear mushrooms, and white pepper tucked inside. It will taste the same next week, if you go, and the week after that, too. The soup, a staple in the Cantonese canon, has changed not one iota in the two-plus decades Full Key has been around. And that’s why you come here—for consistency and the quiet mastery with which this kitchen cranks out dishes that everywhere else taste flat, such as a wonderful casserole of bubbling beef, peppers, and onions ignited with a palmful of black pepper.

Cuisine: Chinese

Where you can get it: 2227 University Blvd. W., Wheaton; 301-933-8388

Also good: Soy-sauce chicken; roast pork; congee with beef, squid, and peanut.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.