You might think it couldn't be done, but the Yenching Palace, has done it. They're transformed an old Hot Shoppes, certainly a piece of Mainstreet U.S.A., into, well out exactly a palace, but a charming Chinese restaurant. As swning here, a mirror there, a lot of grasspaper and Chinese porcelains tastefully displayed heve given the place a touch of class, a 1a Chinese, that it certainly never had in its former life. Our family happens to find the food more interesting, too. And, although the Yenchings prices stand in the moderate range of those charged in Northern Virinia's Asian restaurant, you can feed a family of four quite adequently for $90 and get a little Chinese fortune philosophy on a scrap of paper in the process. Tea, rice and fortune cookies come with the main dishes. The evening we visited the Yenching several other families were dining there as well. Almost as soon as we were shown to our table, our waiter stood ready to shove a booster seat under our 3-year-old. In other worlds, the Yenching is ready for the younger set. First off, we parents ordered wine, and the boys decided on cokes. Then we began pouring over the menu, which is extensive. Since it was late, we skipped the soup although we were intrigued with the exotic choices: seaweed egg drop, chrysanthemum fish. Winter melon and mustard green and bean curd soups. I'm determined to return and try something called Twin Ball Bean Thread Soup. Most of the soups range in price from $1 to $2 per person, uniteral action, including the use of military force in Panama,, if the canal is closed for any reason. The Senate must still approve the scond treaty, which would gradually turn control of the canal over to Panama by the year 2000. Votting not to retty: Byrd (Ind), seo 1(R), though shark's fin runs $3 per person. We went on to the main dishes of which there are approximately 50, not including a dozen or so special rice and/or vegetable concoctins. The cheaper items range from $5 to $550. Most seafood dishes are in the $6 to $750 range, with lobster Cantonese or Szechuan priced at $950 and $975 resspectively. A whole Peking duck costs $16. Our 6-year-old seafood freak insisted on ordering butterfly shrimp, $650, eight of which arrived lying seductively on a bed of stir-fried Chinese cabbage and covered with a delicate sauce. We also ordered moosh beef ($550), a blood brother of moosh (also known as mooshi) pork, cooked with the same tree ears, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, ginger, etc. Our waiter brought it steaming to the table and proceeded to fill and roll our first round of pancakes, which are 25 cents apiece. Thus sudden oppurtinity to eat with their fingers while in a restaurant delighted our boys, and they munched right through the moosh beef-with lots of plum sauce, of course. My husband and I were a little disappointed. The moosh beef, although it shares many of the same ingredients with its relative, lacks an essential one-pork-and, as a consequence is not quite as tasty. The pork Szechuan that my husband ordered supplied the meal's fireworks. The children wouldn't touch it. I consumed two glasses of water with my helping and my husband declared it "just right". The Yenchings owner, Jane Shaw, is very accommodating to families. If the restaurant is not too busy, a tour of the kitchen can be had for the asking. Since it was a school night we skipped the cook's tour and dessert and asked for our fortune cookies. Armed with our Chinese sayings-I got the encouraging news thut "Old age makes us wise and more foolish"-we paid our bills of $25, without tip, and vowed to return for the Sunday buffet, $3.25 for all you can eat.[WORD ILLEGIBLE]

Atmostphere: Relaxed and inviting.

Price range: Most dishes from $5.00 to $7.50.

Hours: Open seven days a week; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Friday and Saturday; noon to 2:30 p.m., Sunday buffet.

Credit cards: All major credit cards.

Reservations: Not required.

Special f acilities: Booster and high chaiis available. Accessible to the handicapped.