Posted by Carten Cordell / Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
If you’re a Chinese food addict and live in Virginia, chances are you’ve heard the name Peter Chang. This past weekend, the famed chef opened Peter Chang China Cafe in Fredericksburg.
The man with an ever-growing fan base, Chang has been called “arguably the best Chinese chef in America and without a doubt the most intriguing one,” by Garden & Gun, and has been featured in Bon Appetit, Oxford American and The New Yorker. With locations in Glen Allen, Charlottesville, Williamsburg and now Fredericksburg, Chang keeps inching north. “Its a strategic move,” says Stone Shi, manager of Chang’s newest location, “our long term plan is to open a restaurant in D.C. or Arlington.”
The Fredericksburg location has 130 seats with about 4,000 square feet of what Shi says is a “traditional” Chinese restaurant. The executive chef, Wang Hao, is cooking in Fredericksburg while simultaneously being trained, like all of Chang’s chefs, for three to four months by Chang himself (which means Peter is in the building!).
Ninety percent of the menu is unchanged with the restaurant favoring family-style meals, but don’t feel guilty if you guard hot plates of golden mountain chicken (a plate of deep fried shredded chicken with carrots and green scallions) like it’s a pot of gold. China Cafe will have popular menu items from its Glen Allen location, including the Szechuan bang bang shrimp appetizer, a sweet and spicy combo and the hot and numbing dry beef, a play on beef jerky. Fredericksburg-only dishes include: soup steamed pork buns, stir-fried mushrooms and vegetable lettuce wraps, cumin lamb kebabs, fried shrimp and onion with chili powder, xihu beef and asparagus and stir-fried pork belly with cucumber.
As always, the restaurant will have a collection of beer and wine, both national and international, like Tsingtao, a Chinese brew, which Shi says tastes a bit like Bud Light, with a unique Chinese taste. Tsigntao has a nutty, but sweet and crisp flavor that pairs well with sushi and Asian cuisine. “It’s the best beer in China,” says Shi, “it has over 50 years of history.”
China Cafe will also be heavily involved in the local community. Starting next month, Chang will spearhead a campaign to keep kids healthy and hydrated. After reading an article about a Texas teen that died from heat exhaustion, Chang decided to donate money to make cold water readily available for local high school students. Chang teamed up with Dr. Joe Pisani, principal of Massaponax High School, and will donate five percent of each check to provide the Panthers with five-gallon water coolers in each classroom. / Peter Chang China Café, 1771 Carl D. Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg; 540-786-8988
Tags: Chinese restaurant open, Food and Dining, Fredericksburg, Gut Check, Lindsey Jenkins, Northern Virginia, Northern Virginia Magazine, northern virginia restaurants, NoVA, nova magazine, Peter Chang, Peter Chang China Cafe, Stone Shi, Szechuan chili peppers, Tsingtao, Wang Hao