This story was updated December 2022
These are some our favorite Chinese restaurants around DC right now, all open for in-person dining (unless otherwise noted), takeout, and/or delivery on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The “Jewish Christmas” tradition is one of our favorites, whether you’re craving dim sum, Peking duck, hot pot, or delicious kung pao delivery.
4316 Markham St., Annandale, 703-813-8181; 1319 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 301-251-7878
These dim sum houses have a large, loyal following—so yes, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and go early (you can now also opt for carryout and order online). We love feasting on spicy wontons, dan-dan noodles, beef rolls, smashed cucumber salad, and spicy beef soup. It’s hard to go wrong, unless you under-order.
Bob’s Shanghai 66
305 N. Washington St., Rockville; 301-251-6652
This longtime restaurant is known for ultra-flavorful soup dumplings—best enjoyed in the spacious dining room. The checklist menu of 100-plus Cantonese, Szechuan, and Taiwanese dishes is a lot to navigate; favorites include the fragrant cumin lamb or spicy fried tofu. Order delivery here via GrubHub (for takeout, the restaurant is usually cashless). Note that holiday orders estimate 60-90 minute wait.
8395 Leesburg Pike, Vienna; 703-893-4488
Focus on the Chinese menu at this strip mall spot near Tysons Corner—that’s where you’ll find the signature Peking duck, crunchy “kingdom” pork chops, and Hong Kong shrimp blitzed with green pepper, and Phoenix fish. We like to kick things off with a round of pork dumplings wrapped in house-made dough. The dining room is open, or you can order delivery and pickup online here.
City Lights of China DC and Bethesda
1731 Connecticut Ave.. NW; 4953 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda
There may be flashier Peking duck games in town, but the bird—half or whole—from these longtime Dupont and Bethesda restaurants is a sleeper hit. Other tasty items include the homemade dumplings, any crispy chicken dish, Shanghai noodles, moo shu, and beef with broccoli. Both are only open for takeout and delivery, no dine-in.
3518 Connecticut Ave., NW, 202-686-3941; 13872 Metrotech Dr., Chantilly, 703-817-2730
Noodles are likely what will get you hooked on Uyghur cuisine, a crossroads of Middle Eastern and Chinese flavors from China’s Muslim population. Chewy hand-pulled laghman noodles with stir-fried beef and vegetables are the signature attraction at this Cleveland Park dining room, while wider ribbons star in the “big plate chicken,” smothered in a spiced gravy with potatoes and peppers. Dine-in or order online here, as well as third-party platforms.
1313 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean; 703-646-8968
The perfect antidote to a wintery day: a bubbling cauldron from this hot pot and noodle shop. Signatures include thin-sliced lamb and clams or spicy beef, all of which arrive on a fiery burner with house dipping sauces. We’re also partial to the searing ma po tofu. Don’t leave without an order of homemade pork dumplings. Note: the dining area is small. You can also order takeout online here.
2227 University Blvd. W., Wheaton; 301-933-8388
It’s tempting to stick to the list of proven hits—say, the justly famous shrimp-dumpling soup—but this Hong Kong-style eatery is the sort of place where you can order with abandon. Other tasty options include pan-fried fish with ginger-scallion sauce, or a barbecue platter with roast duck, pork, and soy sauce chicken. Check out the menu here.
Great Wall Szechuan House
1527 14th St., NW; 202-797-8888
Warm up on Christmas Day with the fiery ma la menu from May Kuang and Yuan Chen’s takeout spot on 14th Street. Spicy wontons, ma po tofu, and ma la pork chops are all winners. Can’t stand the heat? The varied menu also includes items for tamer palates like General Tso’s chicken, Singapore rice noodles, and Peking duck. Dine-in, takeout, and delivery available, and you can order in advance online here.
2646 University Blvd. W., Wheaton; 301-929-8818
This popular dim sum hall breaks out the carts starting at 10:30 AM on weekends, but you may want to get there earlier on the holiday—especially since they’ve limited capacity in the pandemic. It’s easy to fill up on shrimp rice-noodle rolls, chive dumplings, spare ribs, and taro cakes, but you’ll also want to try tender braised beef tripe or sweetened custard-like tofu. You can also order online here.
1331 Lamberton Dr., Silver Spring; 301-649-5466
Christmas is like the Super Bowl for this Glatt Kosher-Chinese restaurant, the only one of its kind in the area. They’re currently taking advance takeout and delivery orders for “the big event” on Christmas Eve and Day. The classics are all here: egg rolls, lo mein, kung pao, moo shu, and more. Order online here for pickup, while delivery is offered to specific neighborhoods.
Mark’s Duck House
6184-a Arlington Blvd, Falls Church; 703-532-2125
Mark’s storefront remains a standard-bearer of Hong Kong-style cooking, from Peking duck to lacquered roast pork. Don’t miss shrimp-and-pork wontons with vinegar and chili sauce, beautifully stir-fried greens, and steaming noodle soups. In addition to takeout, look for delivery via GrubHub and dine-in.
Panda Gourmet and Xi’an Gourmet
2700 New York Ave., NE; 202-534-1620; 316 N Washington St., Rockville; 240-660-2985
Szechuan heat-seekers flock to the DC flagship, located in a Days Inn on New York Avenue. There’s also newer sister restaurant Xi’an Gourmet in Rockville. Start a meal with noodles—we love the dan dan and chilled spicy noodles—before moving on to huge portions of fish filet with silky tofu and chilies, ma po tofu, and kung pao chicken. Order from Panda Gourmet here, and Xi’an Gourmet here. Both are also open for in-person dining (no alcohol).
Peking Gourmet Inn
6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 703-671-8088
We love feasting on duck at this decades-old Falls Church institution from restaurateur Eddie Tsui, which has lured a spectrum of celebrity guests from Psy to Ovechkin. The details make this bird stand out: house-made hoisin and fresh pancakes, local scallions, and servers who expertly hew the moist meat and crackling skin. Round out a festive meal with stellar plates like shrimp with garlic shoots, or a shareable scorpion bowl.
Peter Chang, Mama Chang, Q by Peter Chang, and Chang Chang
Locations in Arlington, Rockville, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, and Bethesda
At his eponymous chain of Szechuan restaurants, chef Peter Chang specializes in airy scallion bubble pancakes, numbing stone-pot dishes, and dry-fried eggplant showered in chilies. Mama Chang, a family-run affair in Fairfax, pays tribute to the female chefs in the Chang family with homestyle dishes and wonderful seasonal specials. Q by Peter Chang, the family’s finer-dining Bethesda restaurant, is a must for Peking duck and dim sum. The latest, Chang Chang in Dupont Circle, serves a modern Chinese menu for dine-in and Chang classics to-go. All are open for dine-in and to-go on Christmas Eve and Day.
1121 Nelson St., Rockville; 301-279-0806
Ultra-light soup dumplings are the draw at this bustling cafe. On weekends, the cozy place serves a delicious pan-fried version. Round out the meal with a salad of mustard greens and edamame, plus salt-baked ribs with noodle soup. Dine-in or call for takeout.
922 Blagden Alley, NW; 202-733-1152
For the sixth year, Shaw’s Hong Kong-inspired hotspot is offering a set takeout menu for 2 to 12 on Christmas Day. Eight sweet and savory dishes included smashed cucumber salad, seafood-fried rice, mushroom chow fun noodles, a Hong Kong-style barbecue plate, and more ($85 per person, order via Tock). On Christmas Eve, the restaurant is offering its regular menu for dine-in.
2972 Gallows Rd., Falls Church; 703-560-6868
Hot pot might be in this restaurant’s name, but it’s no longer the only attraction since the former owners of Tempt Asian took over. The best finds are concentrated under the “chef specialties” section of the menu—in particular, the handmade noodles, whether cumin-scented strands stir-fried with lamb and peppers or the wide, chili-oil-soaked ribbons in the “city large plate chicken.” They’re open for takeout and dine-in on Christmas.