A Return to an Old Haunt

We discovered The Golden Szechuan Inn about 10 years ago when we first moved to Harford County and were living in a rental townhouse at Seven Oaks off Hansen Road in Edgewood. Back then, there was still a Blockbuster Video nearby. Back then, it was the only Blockbuster that carried DVDs. Ten of them. Times change.

We have been regular if infrequent customers for most of our years out here until our niece had an unfortunate experience, and we stopped going in solidarity with her. This was about three years ago. Now that she is in San Francisco, the ban has been lifted, and we had our Friday night dinner in our old haunt.

The menu has remained mostly unchanged. They still serve the Ginseng Chicken Soup I favor. The clear, light broth has an earthy flavor from the ginseng and often has a little gingery zing. There are also four our five modest strips of white meat chicken, but they neither add nor detract from the soup, and I quite frequently end up ignoring them.

My counterpart is partial to egg drop soup in general, and their egg drop soup in particular. It is thicker and richer than just about everyone else's. Plus there is an added depth of flavor that we believe comes from a little sesame oil.

There was one welcome addition to their offerings - a modest selection of Vietnamese noodle dishes that appeared to have  Thai influence, including pad thai and a number of basil dishes. I ordered rice noddles with chicken, basil, and tomatoes in a red curry sauce, anticipating something similar to Drunken Noodles. The sauce was flavorful but not as in your face as many of the curries I've eaten in Baltimore. The basil was whole and very forward, tasting almost like mint. The noodles were perfection. Topped with white meat chicken and fresh bean sprouts, this was not what I was expecting but was still highly satisfying.

Gareth ordered summer rolls for us as well. Pork, shrimp, lettuce and thin noodles wrapped in thin rice paper and served with the requisite peanut sauce, these were a refreshing substitute to the deep-fried egg roll that so often hit my belly with all the subtlety of a greasy torpedo.

We were very happy to find even a small menu of well-executed Vietnamese cuisine so close to home. I think we will  be visiting more frequently.

The Golden Szechuan Inn, like many Chinese restaurants in our area, also serves sushi. Their rolls are a generous size and are well-wrapped. The variety ranges from basic standards like California Roll and Salmon and Avocado to a selection of house specialties. They are located in Bel Air at the Great Intersection of Strip Malls at Routes 1 and 24 behind the Chili's.