Saturday, May 25, 2013

I drove 100 miles for Chinese takeout

One of the outstanding dishes I picked up at Han Dynasty in Philadelphia, above, is Pickled Vegetable Soup with Flounder, which I heated up at home, below.

Editor's note: Today, I discuss takeout from a Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia, a restaurant bathroom with mouthwash and the first fresh wild salmon of the season to arrive at my Costco Wholesale.

Now that I've got your attention, I should explain the heading of this post:

I did drive 100 miles to Philadelphia on business, and I did stop for takeout from Han Dynasty, a Szechuan restaurant on Chesnut Street, before returning to North Jersey.

The food was still warm when I got home.

This is seriously spicy Chinese food, with the menu showing heat levels from 1 to 10. 

They also achieve a 10 on the Sasson Sniffle Scale:

It seems spicy food contains a chemical, capsaicin, which causes inflammation in the nerves and elevates the production of mucus, hence all that sniffling.

Most dishes listed on the Han Dynasty menu have a corresponding number to indicate spiciness.

I ordered Pickled Vegetable Soup with Flounder (4) for $9.95; Dan Dan Noodles (8) for $7.95; Home Style Tofu (3) for $12.95; and Chinese Cabbage with Dry Peppers (2) for $11.95.

Portions are generous and after my first meal the evening I arrived home, I have enough left for one or two more meals.

Han Dynasty's Chinese Cabbage, Dan Dan Noodles and Home Style Tofu.

I enjoyed all of them, especially the liberal use of fresh ginger, but the Dan Dan Noodles were topped with minced pork. As a non-meat eater, I had to remove the pork before sampling them.

I called the restaurant today, and was told the Dan Dan Noodles can be made without minced pork, though there is no indication on the menu the dish contains meat.

This branch of Han Dynasty, in Philadelphia's Old City, also doesn't have brown rice.

The terrific soup was crowded with many pieces of fresh flounder, and the homey Chinese cabbage dish included shells of red pepper without the spicy seeds.

I also liked the fried tofu dish, but there was much too much oily sauce.

The second bowl of Han Dynasty's Pickled Vegetable Soup with Flounder before I reheated it in the microwave.


Right after I wrote this, I had a second bowl of Pickled Vegetable Soup with Flounder, discovering that a lot of fish, pickled vegetables, ginger and hot peppers had settled to the bottom of the large plastic takeout container.

My mouth is on fire, but it was even better than the first bowl.

Han Dynasty, 108 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pa.; 1-215-922-1888.

Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese barbecue restaurant on Cooper Square in lower Manhattan, provides mouthwash in the men's bathroom.

Closer to home

Fresh wild sockeye salmon from the Copper River in Alaska arrived today at my Costco Wholesale in Hackensack -- 8 days after the first shipment to Seattle, Wash.

The price was $14.99 a pound, and I was able to find a fillet of 1.1 pounds, enough for two or three meals.

The season's first fresh wild salmon.


  1. Now you've gone and done it, Victor. According to the Huffington Post, the US Geological Survey is going to stop measuring earthquakes by the Richter scale and start measuring them on the Sasson Sniffle Scale.


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