Broccoli: The great thing about Chinese food is that there are almost always plenty of meat-free dishes to choose from. The downside to trying to find a lighter-fare option at a Szechuan style restaurant like Han Dynasty. Often their dishes are drenched in oil and sauce and their tofu is fried. On that note: honestly, Han Dynasty is worth the extra calories because this is truly delicious, authentic fare (just try to have some portion control on the family style plates, which are HUGE).
I always start out with the spicy cucumbers as an appetizer. They are light and a refreshing way to start your meal. If I’m eating with someone who will share my veggies with me then I will order a tofu dish to supplement. But if no one is feeling the veggie-love then I order the eggplant with garlic sauce as my main dish (it’s just that good). I always go for the cumin style tofu or the long hot pepper style. I like a lot of heat so cumin style is great for me. It’s spicy to the point that my eyes are watering (tears of Szechuan-style joy), but I’m not trying to find a huge glass of milk to put the fire out. They fry their tofu in order for it to hold up in their sauces (which are the focal point). The cumin style tofu is perfectly crispy with a super spicy outer coating that still maintains flavor (as opposed to the spicy taking control) and is served with delicious peppers and onions thrown into the hefty coating of spice. The menu doesn’t specify that you can order cumin style tofu. but trust me, you can.
Bacon: While the veggie dishes may be top-notch, Han Dynasty has really mastered the art of meat preparation. They offer 10+ different ways to order your chicken, beef, pork, scallops… and even rabbit (if you’re into that – I’m still tentative). I went with a classic, chicken Kung Pao style. While it is rated as a 3 on the spicy scale, which Han Dynasty conveniently works into their menu, what’s nice about this restaurant is that you can adjust the heat level to your tastes. I went with the 3 just because I know that Han doesn’t mess around with their spice – and I wasn’t in the mood to have my taste buds destroyed anyway.
I recommend following my lead; the Kung Pao chicken definitely still had some kick, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Served sweet-and-spicy with peanuts, celery, and chili peppers, this Kung Pao may be the best there is. Han Dynasty has the amazing ability to elevate all of their flavors and transform a relatively standard dish into an indescribably delicious experience. I also ordered the fried dumplings to go along with my chicken, because I really just can’t go to a Chinese restaurant and not get some. These dumplings also prove Han Dynasty’s masterful skill of this cuisine; they were perfectly crispy with just the right amount of pork on the inside. The sauce that comes with it also accompanies the dish perfectly by adding a slightly spicy tang to the already delicious dumplings.
Overall, if you’re in the mood for an authentic, incomparably delicious Chinese food experience, whether vegetarian or carnivore, Han Dynasty is definitely the move. While we may not be doing another Bacon & Broccoli review of the restaurant again anytime soon, we will definitely be frequenting this Asian food-lovers paradise more often. Side note: they have a great happy hour menu and deals that anyone can enjoy.
Address: 3711 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
Hours: Mon-Sun: 11:30am-10:30pm; delivery: 11:30am-9:30pm