Han Palace opened in McLean, Virginia last summer, right in the thick of the pandemic. The restaurant, which is owned by Rockville, Maryland-based China Garden’s Chris Zhu, features an extensive daily menu of Cantonese dim sum as well as other traditional dishes.
I opted to get takeout from Han Palace and was skeptical about how it would handle a 40-minute trip home, since I’m so used to associating dim sum coming hot off the cart. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll admit I did eat a couple of things in my car as soon as I got it, as I couldn’t resist the wafting aromas, but the majority of it was consumed back home and held up well.
Situated in an office building in Tysons Corner, it’s hardly the most glamorous location, but the restaurant itself is nice, spacious and airy. It looks quite grand inside, with multiple spaces and private areas.
The takeout operation is a well-oiled machine. When I walked in, there were bags and bags of takeout lined up on the bar, and the staff was very efficient with getting the order to me quickly. Since we’re still in Covid times, social distancing to enter was enforced and a hand sanitizer station was available by the door.
While there is a full selection of Cantonese dishes available as well, made-to-order dim sum is the focus and what I was there for. My assortment of dim sum included some of the usual suspects: shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, barbecue pork buns and pan-fried chive dumplings. The wrappers for all of the dim sum were phenomenal – light in texture and beautiful in appearance, with colors ranging from green to white to pink.
Overall, they were nicely filled, fresh tasting and reasonably priced in the $5-$6 on average range. I also liked the pan-fried turnip cake, which was lovely and smooth, with a subtle turnip flavor.
To finish the meal, I had the purple gold yolk bun and the almond ball with custard. The former is visually striking, with a purple color and gold design on top, and filled with soft egg custard. It was lovely, but the almond ball ended up being my favorite.
Although dim sum is the highlight, other popular dishes on the menu include the Peking duck, the extensive selection of noodle dishes and the congee with various toppings.
For a part of Northern Virginia not famed for dim sum restaurants, it’s a great choice whether for everyday dim sum or a special occasion. And given that there’s plenty more to explore on the menu, I’ll be back for sure.
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