Do you have a favorite Chinese restaurant? I had 2 until last week, now I have 3! My go-to places are Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, VA and Full Key Restaurant in Wheaton, MD. There was a time when driving the distance to Virginia, DC and Montgomery County was not a big deal, but these days I like to stick closer to home and explore the charm of Baltimore. Don’t get me wrong, I still like going down there, but you can find many of the same shops in Howard County and Baltimore now. That said, there is no place like Peking Gourmet Inn and Full Key around here! So to me, as long as they keep serving up their delicious menu, it’ll always be worth the drive down (please let there be no traffic on 295/95!). It would be nice if there was a good authentic Chinese restaurant closer to home. What? There is? Grace Garden in Odenton you say? Thanks Kat and HowChow! A new restaurant to add to my go-to list.

I remember in high school I used to order so much Shrimp Lo-Mein from Fast Wok on Route 40, they knew me by name (a little embarrassing). I went out to the mall with some friends senior year and I ran into the Chinese guy who worked there and I said ‘hi’ and waved at him. My friends thought I was crazy waving to a stranger. ‘He’s the guy from Fast Wok.’ I said. They laughed so hard, I don’t think they looked at me the same again. Anytime we get together now and order Chinese take out, someone has to bring up this story!

We don’t order Americanized Chinese take out food much these days. Instead, we dine in at proper Chinese restaurants with a more authentic menu. Goodbye General Tso! So the other night we called our couple friends (my best friend and her husband) and met up for dinner at Grace Garden. They are avid readers of food blogs and yelp reviews and came prepared with a list of dishes to order. Take a look at what we had (I wrote the descriptions from the menu)…I feel like you’re going to go out for Chinese tonight! 😉

fish noodles

Fish Noodles – Fresh Noodles Handmade with Ground Fish, Sautéed with Chinese Sausage, Mushroom & Cilantro

pocket tofu

Pocket Tofu – Lightly Fried Velvety Homemade Tofu Mousse Mixed with Shrimp Paste, Braised in Choice of Sauce

crispy eggplant

Crispy Eggplant – Crispy Fried Eggplant Coated with Chef’s Spicy Sweet Sauce

garlic blossoms

Sautéed Seasonal Vegetables – Garlic Blossoms

braised pork belly

Braised Pork Belly with Mui-Choy – Thick slices of Seasoned Pork Belly, Slow-Cooked with Preserved Mustard Cabbage

spicy garlic pork

Spicy Garlic Pork – Shredded Pork and Dried Tofu Stir Fried with Special Spices

golden shrimp

Golden Shrimp – Crispy Fried Head-On Shrimp Coated with Salted Egg Yolk & Crisp Garlic

sichuan fish filets

Sichuan Fish Filets – Fish Filets Braised in Hot Chili Broth with Peppercorns, Sichuan Ma-La Style

We were a party of 4, how we ended up ordering 8 dishes is a mystery to me. We told ourselves we’d order the Fish Noodles (as recommended by HowChow) and 1 dish each and share the lot. I guess there were too many good dishes so we just went for it. After placing our neverending order 😉 we watched the table beside us get served their meal. OH NO! WHAT’S THAT DISH THERE?! SHOULD WE CHANGE OUR ORDER?! They had the Sautéed Whole Sole Flounder (Flounder Filets Sautéed with Seasonal Vegetables, Served on Edible Crispy Bones. Looked very impressive. The menu states that you have to order it a day in advance.) and a platter of Lemongrass Spareribs (Deep Fried Spareribs Stir Fried with Lemongrass and Dried Scallions). Calm down lisbeth, 8 dishes is MORE than enough. We’ll come back another time for these.

Everything was really good but my favorite dishes of the night were the Fish Noodles, Crispy Eggplants, Garlic Blossoms and Braised Pork Belly. Who would’ve thought such a delicious and popular restaurant (the place was packed) would be tucked away behind a liquor store in Odenton. Do you have any other hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Maryland? Please share in the comments section below. If you haven’t tried Grace Garden yet, it’s a must eat. Try it out and let me know about your experiences there!

Happy Eating! (More like drooling over the photos 😉 )

7 comments on “grace garden…best chinese in the area?”

  1. I went a few years ago with a bunch of friends. One friend ordered in Chinese for us off of their “special menu” and we were lucky enough to have the whole fish dish. I’m not sure if he had ordered that in advance or not… Everything was really good!

    • Hi Sophie,
      I’ve been curious about Hunan Taste. Any must eat dishes? We pass through Catonsville often, will definitely give it a go next time we’re in there! Thanks for the rec.

  2. The pork belly with mui choy is my mom’s favorite dish. We always make sure to order it at any restaurant that carries it. I’m glad it got on your “short” list!

    Next time you go back, their HK-style beef curry stew is also phenomenal. =)

  3. I haven’t been to Grace Garden yet – I’m a bit wary of crossing the border to Anne Arundel county for unknown reasons, but here’s my list of places that serve passably authentic Chinese/Taiwanese food to my palate:

    Chopstixx in Elkridge – for their Street Meals menu that is pretty authentic from what you’d eat in Southeast Asia with a heavy Chinese influence

    Noodles Corner in Columbia – their Chinese menu which has three cup chicken, pork with bamboo shoots, and a couple other dishes that tend towards the Taiwanese cuisine side of things

    The long list of dim sum/Cantonese places in the Silver Spring and Wheaton area: Silver Fountain, Good Fortune, and Full Key which you’ve already mentioned

    A & J’s in Rockville – for their Szechuan (spicy) beef noodle soup, which is the best I’ve had so far on this side of the country, especially with their handmade noodles. I will drive the distance for outstanding beef noodle soup, and only this one has made the cut. They’ve got some other “small plates” which people usually translate to “northern dim sum,” but that’s not accurate. They’re more like accompaniments/side dishes in the Korean style but not included in price of meal and you choose what you want, from the spicy cucumber salad or the tofu, celery, carrot salad…

    Bob’s Shanghai 66 in Rockville – they were better than I expected for Shanghainese food, which is well known for soup dumplings.

    • Hi S Chou.
      This is fantastic! Crossing the border isn’t so bad – AA county won’t bite hehe 😉 I used to eat at Noodles Corner all the time in high school and college, but haven’t been back for some time now. Will def try these places out and maybe I will write about one or two of them. Thanks for the list!

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