Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Slobblog: Han Dynasty Episode II: Han Strikes Back

No, he will not let you fucking ruin his family recipe because you don't like mushrooms.

Since Slobfest began there has never been a repeat visit to a restaurant...until now. One of the most unique places to have a meal is Han Dynasty in Old City. Nearly every write up you will find about the 3rd of Han Chiang's restaurants will invariably discuss the spice and the owner himself. And after having the privilege of having him serve us during Han Dynasty Episode I: A New Roll of Toilet Paper, I'm sure that's exactly how Han prefers it.

He doesn't pull any punches, and while his quick to insult demeanor can be hard to adjust to, even for a bunch of guys like us, it soon becomes entertaining and enjoyable. The best part is, the food backs up anything he recommends.

Some quick stories to add to the legend of Han from our first Slobfest:
  1. One Slobfest member was denied some alterations to his meal and engaged in about a 10 minute back and forth on what to get that by the time Han left with our orders (which he didn't write down and there were like 8 total items) the Slobfest member literally could not tell you what he got due to Han's insistence on certain things.
  2. As all Slobfest members were leaving Han, he comes up to me and goes, "Next time, bring some hot bitches." (since we were all guys...see Slobfest rules). To which I said, "These are my hot bitches."
Now onto the second trip. With 3 Slobfest members that weren't at the initial Han Slobfest, they were already prepped for the service, spice, and the dan dan noodles.

We all arrived with a bottle of wine, so there was more than enough to go around. Although with Han's new liquor license, they still let you bring your own, but there is a corking fee. 

As we sat down at a large circular table in the restaurant we began to peruse the menu. With the many different options and spices (ranked 1-10; lowest to highest spice) there were a lot of options. The portions are family style, so you can easily share with others in your party. We did take note of a tasting menu and along with the promise of dan dan noodles, spicy food, and half of corkage, we were sold. 

Han Dynasty tasting menu
Regrettably our server was not Han, but on the plus side, didn't give us nearly as hard a time as Han would have. Although our obnoxious demands for spicy and weird stuff would have been eagerly met by the man himself were he present.

The courses kept on coming, about 20 dishes in all, complete with 2 orders of dan dan noodles. If you haven't noticed dan dan noodles are a must there. The food ran the range of the menu from cool and refreshing to hot and spicy. While there was doubt from our server if we could finish the food, we adequately destroyed all Han Dynasty had to offer with great joy.

We were all sweating and drinking vast amounts of wine and water to cool ourselves down. 

As a spice fan myself, I find Han not to be the spiciest, but more of a tasty spice. The special import spice Han uses along with the delicious chili-oils add flavor without totally making your mouth a blazing inferno. 

Those that love Chinese food are probably ready to make reservations already, but for those that don't, Han is not your typical Americanized Chinese food. It's not greasy or dense with breading. The food is fresh, flavorful, and quite simply, the best Chinese food I have ever had. 

Han Dynasty II was yet another success. We were all pleased and happy, but not quite gluttonous enough.

What do you do when you've just eaten a large amount of spicy food? You get ice cream of course! And with Franklin Fountain right down the street, how could we resist?

Banana split...
Franklin Fountain is an old school ice cream shop, established about 7 years ago, but feels like it was around for 10x that long. They have handmade ice cream and a crazy amount of delicious toppings.

We all got way more ice cream than we needed with only a couple people actually finishing their sundaes. The sundaes pictured were not completed.

I'll go into detail regarding my sundae below, and fellow Slobs are welcomed to chime in, but I went with the Southern Sympathizer. I had already had the Franklin Mint as mint chocolate chip is one of my favorite ice cream flavors, however, pistachio has quickly come on as a close second. The second ice cream flavor was rum raisin, which I have limited experience with, so in true Slobfest fashion, I subbed out the rum raisin for their specialty seasonal ice cream...pumpkin. To date, I have never had anything pumpkin related that wasn't awesome. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin beer, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin curry, and certainly pumpkin ice cream.The praline brittle and pecans were incredible, but it was the carmel and whip cream that pushed me over the edge to full grossness. But it was so good, that I had no remorse what-so-ever.

After that, we parted ways off to our own lives. We did bump into a sketchy looking guy asking us if we knew where the "parking garage" was. In our lameness we immediately pointed him in the direction of an array of parking garages, even asking, "Is it a covered lot or open lot?" only to be met by this man lighting a cigarette and slowly slinking away. It was only after this reaction that we were all convinced he was asking about drugs. We were just too lame to know this. So ends another Slobfest.

Looks horrible. I'll pass.

108 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922.1888
BYO/Liquor license/Corking fee

Franklin Fountain
116 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627.1899

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