One would be hard pressed to find any American unfamiliar with the experience of Chinese takeout. It can almost be called a comforting and enjoyable experience, even if this cuisine is a far cry from the authentic culinary experience that truly represents Chinese culture. Here on the Hilltop, the names that immediately come to mind are Harmony Café, Kitchen Number 1 or Mie N Yu for a more upscale experience. Here are some of the lesser known, but still close-by spots for anyone looking for a true Chinese dining experience.

Shanghai Tea House – 2400 Wisconsive Ave. NW

Located at 2400 Wisconsin Ave., the people that frequent this establishment rave about the bubble tea. Diners often order the appetizers in a manner typical of that of a dim sum restaurant. The dumplings are made fresh daily and are consistently praised. I actually heard about this place when a friend of mine who had spent a lot of time in China said that this was her go-to place and that the dumplings were the closest to anything she had had while in Shanghai. However, many diners have noted that the portion sizes at this restaurant tend to be on the smaller side and that prices are a bit steeper than they would have liked. However, Shanghai Tea House has a reputation bolstered by its selection of rare teas and other offerings, such as scallion pancakes, vegetarian dumplings and coconut bubble tea. This is definitely a place worth visiting. Also, I just came across a take-out menu in the business school. It has now joined the stack of my other anti-Leo’s Friday night options.

Ching Ching Cha – 1063 Wisconsive Ave. NW

If tea is your thing, this is the place for you. This tea house offers just about anything you could imagine, from tisanes, to pu-erh, to artisan teas, along with the more common oolong, white and green teas. The food really is more of a complement to the pots of freshly brewed and meticulously steeped leaves and blends. However there are many appetizers and a special prix-fixe option called the tea meal. Diners love the ambiance and feel that the food has great presentation and is tasty, filling and healthy. A lot of the appendages used for tea are for sale as well. At 1063 Wisconsin Ave., Ching Ching Cha would be a great place to stop by for tea tasting with a light meal.

Meiwah – 1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW

This pick is a bit more out of the way than the other two choices. Located at 1200 New Hampshire Ave., Meiwah is also, unlike the previous two choices, an actual restaurant that is entirely focused on the food. Opened and owned by Larry La, this place competes with P.F. Chang’s across the street and, according to the diners, this place is by far the better of the two options. The restaurant serves the typical go-tos for a Chinese menu: sesame chicken, orange beef, kung pao chicken and noodles and egg rolls. However there is a larger selection of dishes, with good quality of the ingredients and flavorful sauces. Also, this restaurant maintains a superb sushi bar. Diners say that the sushi is very fresh and the quality and taste excellent. This sounds like a great place to go for an Asian-inspired meal.

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