Kung Pao Chicken at China Express

Lately, I’ve been telling my friends about this Chinese food place that I’ve been claiming is the best Chinese food I’ve ever had in the area. Their eyes widen. “What’s it called,” they ask. “China Express.” We share a laugh.

It’s not the name that distinguishes China Express; it’s their food. Now, let me be the first to say that I don’t eat a lot of Chinese food, and that I am not claiming in any way that this is the best in the area. It’s just the best that I’ve had. Has Chinese cuisine been largely Americanized here in the United States? Yes. But, disclaimers aside, this place really is very good, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

China Express is located in Tyson’s Corner, Va., in a pothole-laden, dingy strip mall of sorts. I guess it’s not exactly a strip mall; it’s the kind of place you go to get raw textiles and stuff. I think there’s an upholstery outlet there, as well as an autoshop. To get to China Express, you’ve got to drive all the way to the back. Park anywhere, it really doesn’t matter. Or, you can get it delivered to you within a three mile radius.

They’re known for their Kung Pao Chicken, and I’ve gotten it there twice now. Each time, I find myself unable to stop eating, even if I want to. The sauce is NOT SPICY. It’s very savory and deep in flavor. The chicken is akin to the chicken nuggets you can get at Chick-fil-A. The veggies are fresh and crisp, and along with the peanuts help lend some crunch to the soft chicken. If you want it a bit spicier, this dish contains the dried red chili pepper that is trademark in Kung Pao. Just cut it up and mix it in––it’s not hot by itself.

And just check out that spring roll. It’s filled with cabbage, mushrooms, and some other things. Great for dipping into that sauce. Lastly, let me tell you that this cost me $6.75! Totally worth the money.

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