Cheap Eats 2015: Hong Kong Palace

Where we go for our favorite mapo tofu.
Photograph by Scott Suchman.

One bite of the tongue-numbing mapo tofu is enough to know that this is a true Szechuan restaurant, Cantonese only in name. Chef/co-owner Liu Chaosheng has built a mini-empire in Washington with Uncle Liu’s Hot Pot, China Jade, and Cafe Hong Kong. Ironically the Palace is the most unembellished, with a plain dining room and large, value-friendly portions that arrive in haphazard order. No matter—you’re there for the kitchen, which sends out expertly crafted dishes such as smoky bacon with black beans and peppers, Chengdu salt-and-pepper shrimp tossed with garlic and chilies, and pillowy sesame balls filled with sweet bean paste.

Cuisine: Chinese

Where you can get it: 6387 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church; 703-532-0940

Also good: Chengdu Zhong’s spring dumpling in hot chili oil; cumin lamb; dan-dan noodles; fish with pickled-vegetable soup.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
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.