One of the most celebrated Sichuan / Schezuan restaurants in Philly is Han Dynasty. Owner Han Chiang was able to parlay his success into several other outposts throughout the city and fairly recently, even in NYC (I believe the count is up to 8?). Still, that doesn't mean the location in Old City is forgotten.
In fact, this past year, they moved across the street to a renovated location which is modernized and more grandiose - in tune with Han's interests (not a bad thing!).
So when my mother and sister were in town, the GF and I decided to take them to this Old City hotspot to enjoy some lunch.
Dan Dan Noodles [$7.95]
We started with the requisite dan dan noodles, which showcased noodles that retained the sauce quite well. The sauce was a mix of pork and chili tempered by peanut. The crispy nuggets of pork were nice bursts of salt and flavor.
Spicy Crispy Cucumber [$6.95]
My mom seemed uninterested and unimpressed by the fact that I was excited for the spicy crispy cucumbers. But after one bite, she was genuinely surprised. In fact, she kept trying to guess the recipe. The spiciness hits you in the back of your throat, but you can't help but go back for more bites of the cool, crisp cucumber.
Dumplings in Chili Oil [$6.95]
The dumplings were flat and wide, with little nuggets of pork within. Studded with sesame seeds which offered texture, the chili oil bath wasn't overpowering.
Garlic Sauce Style Pork [$11.95]
Ginger, garlic, bamboo, bell peppers
The GF's favorite is the garlic sauce pork and this dish offered juicy bits of pork, bamboo, and ginger, which were accented by the garlic sauce.
Dry Pot Style Chicken [$15.95]
Bamboo shoots, bell peppers, Sichuan peppercorns
I love the three cup chicken and the pork belly dishes here, but I decided to branch out for some dry pot chicken. This may be my new favorite dish. Like crispy bits of popcorn chicken, this was incredibly crisp, juicy, and almost delicate. Apparently there's no batter used - it's just triple flash-fried. A must order. Just watch out for the whole bits of peppercorn!
So if you're looking for a great meal with Sichuan/Schezuan flair, Han Dynasty still has you covered. Just in a sleeker package.