The Philadelphia area mini-chain, Dan Dan, serves up Sichuan and Taiwanese dishes. Dan Dan spun off from Han Dynasty’s University City location in 2015, with a first location in Rittenhouse Square and then locations in Ardmore and Wayne. Dan Dan has a 10-seat U shaped bar on the ground floor, with three tables for two in the front window and a six-seat communal table behind the bar. The balcony has 30 seats and offers a view of the bar and the street.
The menu is heavy on dishes with chili oil. I tried the pork belly with sweet garlic chili oil which was insanely tasty. It is a cold dish of paper thin sliced fatty pork belly dressed with diced garlic, slivered scallions, sweetened soy sauce and chili oil. It is on the small plate menu but it is a large portion that could easily be shared by two. The waitress sort of tried to wave me off the dish by saying that some people don’t like the texture of the pork fat, but I thought the dish was excellent.
Dumplings: The menu includes several dumpling options: wontons in chili oil, dumplings in chili oil, and pot stickers (chicken or veggie). The difference between the wontons and dumpling in chili oil, both of which are stuffed with pork, is that the dumplings are dressed with sweetened soy and chili oil (probably the same sauce as the cold pork belly) and the wontons are dressed with black vinegar and chili oil and so have a sour vinegar edge. Because I ordered the cold pork belly first and was surprised with how large it was and couldn’t restrain myself from eating it all, I only got one dumpling order: the wontons in chili oil. The wontons were tasty and had lots of excess dumpling wrapper to carry the sauce, but the sauce was crazy spicy. The the dish was so burning spicy I couldn’t finish the wontons and my mouth was on fire for like an hour afterwards. The vinegar chili oil sauce was way more intense than the sweetened soy chili oil on the cold pork belly.
The location: Dan Dan is located near Rittenhouse Square, in Philadelphia. It is on 16th street just south of Sansom street.