Staying in the Dupont Circle area of Washington DC meant we had a huge choice of restaurants within the immediate vicinity of our hotel (including Kramers literary café, which is set inside a bookshop…yep, it kills me that we didn’t end up eating here, discovering its existence only right at the very end of our stay).

Nonetheless, we were glad to discover Ping Pong, which, while it has locations in locations as far afield as Washington DC, Sao Paulo and Dubai, is in fact a chain originating in London (where it has by far the most sites). It proved a perfect pit stop for amazing dim sum, speedy yet friendly service, and a chilled-out yet buzzing atmosphere. It is evidently popular, and not without good reason.

The DC branch offers sunny views of the neighbourhood (well, it did on the day we were there at least) and was keen to advertise its many deals, including happy hours and all you can eat. We were never once left wanting for iced water and yet service was not at all intrusive. During our time in DC, we were constantly surprised at what good value for money locals can get in restaurants, and Ping Pong was no exception to this. We both plumped for the Dumpling Collection, which retails at $18 in the DC branch and is not available at the London branches. While we were waiting, we dived into their non-alcoholic cocktail collection, choosing a mouthwatering goji, mango and mint drink, which was refreshing yet vibrant – just the ticket for a warm sunny day in DC after a three-hour train ride.

The Dumpling Collection then arrived – and it was well worth the short wait. Consisting of two hoi sin vegetable puffs, 2 shrimp rolls, 1 vegetable and tofu roll, and 6 dumplings (chive, beef, scallop and shiitake, seafood, crab, and shrimp). It sounds hard to believe, but in the face of the dinky steamed pouches of goodness, we were totally full afterwards and couldn’t bring ourselves to sample dessert (a shame, as the roasted pineapple and coconut spring roll looked lush!).

There is really something here for every customer, from sharing platters to vegetarian collections, and the staff are always happy to help those who are beginners to Chinese food. Even if you’re a regular at your local takeaway, chances are you’ll experience something totally different here – it’s a fresh take on traditional food, done simply and with high quality ingredients, in a totally satisfying way.

In total, this came to $49.50 including tax (€37, or €18.50 a head; £30, or £15 a head) – and as mentioned, we were totally full and satisfied by the end of the meal. Frankly, you could spend that in McDonalds and not come out with anything near as healthy or delicious. I urge you to visit; put it this way, it’s a good job a loyalty card is among their offerings. (US site) (UK site)