I always try to visit the Chinatown of any place that I go to. I mean I love eating all cuisines and always make it a point to try the local cuisine. I am not one of those who must have my rice regardless. I guess it is just something comforting when in a foreign land.
So I found myself in Washington's Chinatown one evening. It is quite a small place and choices of eateries are quite dismal. My friend, Mili came to the rescue and suggested Chinatown Express which was where I dutifully went.
Think kopi-tiam style setting, it was a huge place actually as the restaurant occupies two rooms. You have two ladies making the dumplings at the entrance and you are greeted by posters posted everywhere of a picture of the chef making his own handmade noodles. Now it would have been crazy if I don't go for the handmade noodles.
I ordered a seafood noodle soup and couldn't resist a portion of Xiao Long Bao as well.
Now, from the point when I placed my order to when both dishes arrived, I swear that it could not have been more than 5 minutes. So if you take out 1 minute for the waiter to walk to the kitchen and hand in my order, the food arrived in less than 4 minutes. Seriously, this is truly the most express of express. Even the whole process of making instant noodles take longer than that.
Xiao Long Bao $5.95
First to arrive were the XLB. Oh no!! You can't make good XLB in that short a time. I knew even just looking at it. This were pre-made and left to be steamed for goodness how long and just waiting for someone to order so that it can be served.
The dough was too thick and dry from oversteaming. I feel like I'm eating cardboard skin. Any soup or broth has long since evaporated, the only tiny saving grace was the meat which were still edible. In the end, I took out all the meat to have with my noodle soup and left the skin out.
Seafood Noodle Soup $6.50
Moving on to the seafood noodle soup. This had the opposite fate. Soft without being floury, with the noodles swimming in a simple light soup base. You know that these are handmade noodles and you can tell that it is fresh. I really enjoyed the noodles.
So if you find yourself in Chinatown Express in Washington, stick to the handmade noodles!
Chinatown Express, 746 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Thai Place is located within the George Washington University vicinity and a mere few minutes walk from Foggy Bottom station. This is the nearest station to the Lincoln Memorial which was where I wanted to go.
Before I start the 6 blocks walk, it was time for some lunch and I chose this student haunt.
Siam Steak - slices of marinated beef with chef's special sauce stir-fried, topped with ginger and scallions $15
The food came out really nicely presented which was a bit of a surprise The chef's special sauce is spicy and the ginger only further heighten the spiciness. I would describe the meal as good and tasty.
Thai Place, 2134 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Foggy Bottom/West End, Washington, DC 20037
Washington Eats: Transport back to the 50s era & beyond