Worth the Trip
Shiny Slippery Shrimp
Ping by Charlie Chiang's, 4060 Campbell Ave., Arlington, 703-671-4900.
This dish is much like the renovation of the Shirlington restaurant itself, which had been Charlie Chiang's from 1987 until February: splashy, sleek and accented with red.
Small shrimp are dipped in a potato starch-cornstarch-water batter and deep-fried for 1 minute. Then they are swirled in a sticky sauce made with garlic, ginger, Sriracha chili sauce, ketchup, Chinese cooking wine, white vinegar and sugar. The glistening heap that arrives at your table stays crunchy, sweet and fiery down to the last bite ($10).
Enjoyed with a companion dish such as the soft and herby Taiwanese Salted Radish Omelet ($8), such a repast proves that two small plates can be better than one.
-- Bonnie S. Benwick
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