Shang Hai Best Deli, Eden Center, Falls Church, VA

This little place opened a couple months ago, and is an all-purpose mom-n-pop cafe selling baked goods, Bánh Mì, hanging roast ducks and pig cleaved and sold by weight (are you listening, RJ Cooper?), Sinh Tố, and a few daily specials.

I went with one of the daily specials, and I’m really glad I did. Cháo Huyết ($7.50) is a bowl of everything that’s right with the world – nominally a rice porridge with coagulated pigs blood, it’s more soup-like than congee, with sprouts, two strips of wonderful dark-meat chicken (this porridge is sometimes offered as Cháo Huyết Long, the “Long” being innards which this did not have), seasoned with ginger and scallions, and also the best ficelle-like bread (known as quai) I’ve found in Eden Center.

Noodlepie has a very informative piece about this dish here, and what I had looks almost exactly like the picture that has close-ups of the quai.

Not much English spoken, so you may have to do a lot of pointing. Point to this. This dish is cooked to order and will take about 10-15 minutes to prepare.

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