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Best Local Asian Restaurant 

Readers' Pick

click to enlarge food_peter_chang.jpg

Scott Elmquist/File

First place:

Peter Chang

Various locations
peterchangrestaurant.com

Second place: Mekong

Third place: Fat Dragon Chinese Kitchen

Peter Chang is one of Richmond's most elusive chefs. His food and his story are beloved, but with eight restaurants in Virginia and one in Maryland, he's not easy to track down. You never know when he's going to pop in for an appearance at one of his restaurants, so his presence always surprises and delights.

The James Beard Award nominee has cooked in kitchens all over China and the U.S., and the dining scene here lost its collective mind when he opened a restaurant in Scott's Addition in the summer of 2016. His Short Pump location was already wildly popular, of course, but this new city spot offers a more posh, metropolitan experience with an emphasis on wine and other drinks.

Chang is known for his creative spins on classic Chinese dishes. He's not afraid to mix and stack unusual flavors and he doesn't shy away from chili peppers, so come prepared for unusual profiles and sometimes extreme heat. Menus include Americanized staples like lo mein, but you'll also find an entire section called "Grandmother Home-Style Cooking," with items like three peppers chicken on hot iron plate and pan-fried jalapeño beef.

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