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.