A and J Restaurant

1319-C Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
301-251-7878

Pros: Northern dim-sum taste, amazingly attentive staff

Cons: Does not accept credit card, might be intimidating for newcomers, extremely crowded

Northern Dim-Sum is an odd delicacy. If you are used to the more traditional southern Cantonese dim-sum variety, this is a very different taste. Dishes here are very meat-heavy, and vegetarian dishes are scarce.

For this amateur food critic, however, this restaurant brought back memories of weekend late-morning visits into San Francisco. The busy pace, ordering by checking off items on a list, and of course, the food. The fried dumplings were just like the ones my friend’s mom used to make. The zua bing, though a little crunchy for my taste, reminded me of the fun I had pulling endless threads of warm bing onto my plate. Then, there was the Za Jiang Mein, which has been a favorite from my youth. Memories flooded back as I ate here, taking me back to my youth. It was indeed a happy meal.

For those who are completely unfamiliar with this cuisine, I would definitely recommend coming here with someone who is well-versed in the cuisine, as the atmosphere can be a little intimidating. Nevertheless, the serving staff was amazingly attentive, especially given how busy the restaurant was. This is indeed a local favorite, so be prepared to almost literally rub elbows with your neighbors.

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