Admittedly, I enjoy the convenience of having Bed, Bath & Beyond, a large movie theater, Chipotle, some of my favorite fine dining restaurants a stone’s throw away in Chinatown. However, I wish all of it did not come at the expense of a nearly non-existant Chinese presence in Chinatown. I wish the only Chinese “market” (whose stock is limited to the most basic condiments and staples that fit on two shelves) did not also sell single-servings of alcohol. I wish the most authentic and delicious dim sum did not require exiting the District.
Of the few Chinese restaurants that have survived in Chinatown, most/all cater to tourists, including Chinatown Express, at the corner of 6th and H. Tourists often gather outside the restaurant window where staff pull fresh noodles and fold dumplings. I can’t say that I would recommend sampling their entire menu, but there is one item that is a carryout favorite of mine — the stir-fried fresh noodles with chicken.
Not to be confused with the chicken lo mein (which I assume involves non-fresh noodles), the fresh noodles can be ordered stir-fried or in soup and with beef, chicken, seafood, or vegetables. At $6.50, the generous portion of noodles (and it’s mostly noodles and not much else) are simple and can easily be enough for two meals (for the disciplined eater :)). Another option is to go Sandra Lee semi-homemade and beef up the nutritional value by adding your own stir-fried veggies.
It’s nothing fancy. But the fresh noodles at Chinatown Express are tasty, quick and cheap. . . and one of the few reminders of Chinese in Chinatown.