Where to Get the Best Chinese Food Around DC on Christmas Day

Pamela G. Knowles

These are some our favorite Chinese restaurants around DC right now, all open for takeout and delivery on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—whether you’re celebrating the great Jewish tradition of eating Chinese food on December 25, or just craving Peking duck after opening presents. Indoor dining is suspended in DC and nearby Maryland counties, so plan for carryout in those areas. In Virginia, diners can still eat inside at a reduced 50 percent capacity, though a number of businesses are still to-go only. Note that hours may be shortened due to Covid restrictions and the holiday.

And now: happy eating!

Bob’s Shanghai soup dumplings. Photograph by Scott Suchman

A&J
4316 Markham St., Annandale, 703-813-8181; 1319 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 301-251-7878
These dim sum houses have a large, loyal following—so yes, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and order early (you can now opt for contact-free carryout and order online). We love feasting on spicy wontons, dan-dan noodles, beef rolls, smashed cucumber salad, and spicy beef soup. It’s hard to go wrong, unless you under-order.  

Bob’s Shanghai 66
305 N. Washington St., Rockville; 301-251-6652
This longtime restaurant is known for soup dumplings so flavorful they don’t need the accompanying dipping vinegar. The checklist menu of 100-plus Cantonese, Szechuan, and Taiwanese small plates can be intimidating to navigate, but you’ll feel like a pro ordering the fragrant cumin lamb and the spicy fried tofu. Order delivery here via GrubHub (for takeout, the restaurant is usually cashless).

China Wok
8395 Leesburg Pike, Vienna; 703-893-4488
Focus on the Chinese menu at this strip mall spot near Tysons Corner—that’s where you’ll find the signature Peking duck, crunchy “kingdom” pork chops, and Hong Kong shrimp blitzed with green pepper, and Phoenix fish. We like to kick things off with a round of pork dumplings wrapped in house-made dough. Order delivery and pickup online here.

City Lights of China DC and Bethesda
1731 Connecticut Ave.. NW; 4953 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda
There may be flashier Peking duck games in town, but the bird—half or whole—from these longtime Dupont and Bethesda restaurants is a sleeper hit. Other tasty items include the homemade dumplings, any crispy chicken dish, Shanghai noodles, moo shu, and beef with broccoli. Both are open for takeout and delivery on Christmas.

Dolan Uyghur
3518 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-686-3941
Noodles are likely what will get you hooked on Uyghur cuisine, a crossroads of Middle Eastern and Chinese flavors from China’s Muslim minority. Chewy hand-pulled laghman noodles with stir-fried beef and vegetables are the signature attraction at this Cleveland Park dining room, while wider ribbons star in the “big plate chicken,” smothered in a spiced gravy with potatoes and peppers. Order online here.

Delicious dim sum at A&Jin Rockville. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Fahrenheit Asian
1313 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean; 703-646-8968
The perfect antidote to a wintery day: one of the bubbling cauldrons at this soup and noodle house. Order a signature hot pot  such as thin-sliced lamb and clams or spicy beef, all of which arrive on a fiery burner with house dipping sauces. We’re also partial to the searing ma po tofu.  Don’t leave without an order of homemade pork dumplings. A lesson from the pandemic: the dumplings and soups travel well (order online here).

Full Key
2227 University Blvd. W., Wheaton; 301-933-8388
It’s tempting to stick to the list of proven hits—say, the justly famous shrimp-dumpling soup—but this Hong Kong–style eatery is the sort of place where you can order with abandon. Pan-fried whole cod, spooned with ginger-scallion soy sauce, is a worthy detour. So, too, a platter of glossy roast duck, pork, and soy-sauce chicken. Check out the menu here.

Great Wall Szechuan House
1527 14th St., NW; 202-797-8888
Warm up on Christmas Day with the fiery ma la menu from May Kuang and Yuan Chen’s takeout spot on 14th Street. Spicy wontons, ma po tofu in a searing gravy, and ma la pork chops are all winners. Can’t stand the heat? The varied menu also includes items for tamer palates like General Tso’s chicken, Singapore rice noodles, and Peking duck. Takeout only.

Crispy fish at Tiger Fork. Photograph courtesy of Tiger Fork

Gourmet Inspirations
2646 University Blvd. W., Wheaton; 301-929-8818
This once-crowded dim sum hall has gone into full takeout and delivery mode in the pandemic. Good news: that means all-day dim sum with 40-plus dishes to enjoy from the comfort of your home. It’s easy to fill up on shrimp rice-noodle rolls, chive dumplings, spare ribs, and taro cakes, but you’ll also want to try tender braised beef tripe or sweetened custard-like tofu. You can order online here.

Holy Chow
1331 Lamberton Dr., Silver Spring; 301-649-5466
Christmas is like this  Kosher-Chinese restaurant’s Super Bowl—they’re currently taking advance takeout and delivery orders for “the big event” on Christmas Eve and Day. The classics are all here: egg rolls,  lo mein, kung pao, moo shu, and more. Order online here.

Little Sheep
6799 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church; 571-405-6947
At this Eden Center outlet of the Chinese hot-pot chain, you first pick a broth (we go half-and-half with chili-laced spicy and mild “original”). Then you accessorize it with raw ingredients you cook yourself in the bubbling liquid. Take a cue from the place’s name and focus on the ovine offerings, including shaved lamb shoulder and lamb wontons, then load up on veggies, glass noodles, and tofu.

Peking duck.
Peking duck at Q by Peter Chang. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Mark’s Duck House
6184-a Arlington Blvd, Falls Church; 703-532-2125
This storefront remains a standard-bearer of Hong Kong–style Chinese cooking—from the crackling-skinned Peking duck and marvelous lacquered roast pig to a dizzying array of soups, seafood dishes, stir-fries. Don’t miss shrimp-and-pork wonton with brown vinegar and red chili sauces in addition to the meats, plus beautifully stir-fried greens and steaming noodle soups. In addition to takeout, look for delivery via GrubHub.

Panda Gourmet and Xi’an Gourmet
2700 New York Ave., NE; 202-534-1620; 316 N Washington St., Rockville; 240-660-2985
Szechuan heat-seekers have flocked to the DC flagship as well as newer sister restaurant Xi’an Gourmet in Rockville. Start a meal with noodles—we love the dan dan and chilled spicy noodles—before moving on to huge portions of fish filet with silky tofu and chilies, ma po tofu, and kung pao chicken. Order from Panda Gourmet here, and Xi’an Gourmet here (both are takeout only).

Peking Gourmet Inn
6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 703-671-8088
We love feasting on duck at this 42 year-old institution from restaurateur Eddie Tsui, which has lured a spectrum of celebrity guests from the Bushes to Ovechkin. The details make this bird stand out: house-made hoisin and fresh pancakes, scallions grown on the Tsui family farm in Purcellville, and servers who expertly hew the moist meat and crackling skin. Round out a festive meal with stellar plates like shrimp with garlic shoots. The restaurant added takeout and limited delivery in the pandemic. 

Panda Gourmet Cheap Eats 2016
A takeout spread from Panda Gourmet. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Peter Chang, Mama Chang, Q by Peter Chang
Locations in Arlington, Rockville, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, and Bethesda
At his eponymous chain of Szechuan restaurants, Hubei-born chef Peter Chang specializes in airy scallion bubble pancakes, numbing stone-pot dishes, and dry-fried eggplant showered in chilies. His newer venture, Mama Chang, is a family-run affair that pays tribute to the female chefs in his family with homestyle dishes and wonderful seasonal specials. Q by Peter Chang, his finer-dining Bethesda restaurant, is open for takeout and delivery on Christmas (we’re eyeing the delicious duck). All locations are takeout and delivery only for the holiday.

Shanghai Taste
1121 Nelson St., Rockville; 301-279-0806
Ultra-light soup dumplings are the draw at this bustling cafe. On weekends, the place serves up a pan-fried version, less liquidy but no less delicious. Round out the meal with a salad of mustard greens and edamame, plus salt-baked ribs with noodle soup. Call for takeout.

Henan-style hand pulled noodles with lamb at Uncle Liu’s. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Tiger Fork
922 Blagden Alley, NW; 202-733-1152
The Blagden Alley hotspot is sold out of their Christmas pre-set meal, but they’ll open online orders for a la carte items on Christmas Day at noon (first come, first serve). Look for classics like dumplings, noodles, and whole fried fish. Order here for takeout and delivery.

Uncle Liu’s
2972 Gallows Rd., Falls Church; 703-560-6868
Hot pot might be in this restaurant’s name, but it’s no longer the main attraction since the former owners of Tempt Asian in Alexandria took over. The best finds are concentrated under the “chef specialties” section of the menu—in particular, the handmade noodles, whether cumin-scented strands stir-fried with lamb and peppers or the wide, chili-oil-soaked ribbons in the “city large plate chicken.” They’re open for takeout on Christmas.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Ann Limpert

Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Jessica Sidman

Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.

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