Dave and I visited Philly this past weekend for a little getaway. In all our 10 years of dating, we haven’t ever really been on a vacation just for us! Pretty crazy huh?! Trips have always been for weddings or visiting friends. There was one weekend we stayed at his parent’s summer home in New Hampshire but I feel like that doesn’t count.
I decided that after my exam was done we were going to go on a little vacation. Dave and I absolutely loved the Philadelphia food scene when we were there for his first marathon two years ago. So when I saw cheap flights on JetBlue, I thought it was perfect. We got round trip flights for both of us for about $200!
I was studying so Dave did most of the planning. I like to let him do most of the planning anyways because he usually wants to make sure we get everything in that we can and I might be a little more relaxed with the planning for trips. As you can imagine, our trip was very food-centric. I was eating so much that I was feeling sick! And I couldn’t help myself because every single food place we went was amazing. I should thank Dave for doing all the research because I’m sure that not ALL places in Philly are amazing as the ones we have visited.
One of the places we visited for lunch was Han Dynasty in Old City Philadelphia. Since we had gotten up early and had a big dinner ahead of us, we were eating early at 11:30 AM-right when the place opened. We were the first ones at the door! I wasn’t able to get a good picture, but the inside of this place because the lighting was pretty dark but this place was HUGE! There were really high ceilings and it seemed like you were in an old castle. They had a bar and some TVs there for the sports watchers. But if you weren’t into sports or what they were showing, most of seating was far enough away that it shouldn’t bother you.
Han Dynasty is a family style restaurant, which means the dish sizes are designed so that you order a bunch of dishes and share with the group. I love this style because it means you can eat so many different dishes and flavors. The only problem with Dave and I going on vacation with just the two of us is that our stomachs can only fit so much. Thankfully they did have lunch portions, but the full portions would probably be too much for us to eat by ourselves anyways.
Before ordering, the server warned us that the dishes can be pretty spicy. Dave told me prior to our arrival that he read they weren’t afraid to give some real spice to their dishes and I got really excited. Dave and I both love spicy food. After receiving our warning, we asked the server what the best appetizers were. He immediately said the dan dan noodles and spicy crispy cucumbers. Dave read about the dan dan noodles being really tasty here so we just went with both the servers recommendations.
The dan dan noodles were rated with a spicy level of 8/10 with 10 being the spiciest. And they WERE spicy but they also had a great flavor. I hate when dishes are overwhelmed with spicy and the flavor is lost. The spicy crispy cucumbers were rated a 6/10 and were nothing compared to the dan dan noodles. In fact, they actually complimented the dan dan noodles well and allowed our mouths to cool down. I loved the texture of the cucumbers because they had a satisfying crunch to them different from a regular cucumber.
For our “main” dishes, Dave and I knew we wanted the “long hot pepper style” with beef. We love this dish whenever we got to the Dumpling Cafe in Boston or other Asian restaurants. We were only planning on getting this dish but the server suggested us getting another dish since we were getting the lunch portions. One of the server’s favorites is the “dry pepper style” with triple flash fried shrimp (you can also get chicken, fish or scallops) with long hot and dry chili peppers.
After eating the dan dan noodles, I was a little nervous about eating the shrimp. I let Dave be the tester and see how hot he thought it was. He said that I HAD to try it. I did…and oh boy it was so wonderful! The shrimp were so plump, fresh, and the breading was spicy but sweet. It almost was buttery.
Han Dynasty has 4 other locations in Philly and one in NYC. If you ever pass by one, I highly recommend stopping in and stuffing your face!
Note: This ended up being a pricey lunch for us. We were definitely splurging because it was our vacation. But you can make it more affordable if you order less and still get full! I think we would have been fine with 2 lunch size portions.
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