DC Chinatown

Every time my boyfriend takes the cheap Bolt Bus or the reliable Vamoose down from NYC to visit me in DC (NEVER take Amtrak– don’t support those overpriced, always-tardy fiends!),  his visit includes a dirt cheap meal in Chinatown.

Smaller than NY’s Chinatown, DC’s version is easily walked in its entirety in 6 minutes. I have eaten at five different places in DC Chinatown, but as I keep exploring new joints, I’ll keep adding them to this post. Here are some worth mentioning so far (favorites are bolded).

Chinatown Express on 6th between H and G is famous for its window display of a dude kneading and shaping fresh dough into soup dumplings and noodles. Wash it down with a cold Tsing Tao.

China Boy on 6th Street between H and I, take a friend and split a “crepe” (roasted meat between thick, gummy sheets of rice) and the chan foon noodle dish. Freshly made on the spot. $13 total for one crepe, one order of chow foon (which was enough to split and be full) and 2 drinks.

Wok n’ Roll has a sweet happy hour deal Monday-Friday from 5 to 8 of $1/piece of nigiri sushi, and $2 beers (Bud and Bud Light… booooo. I want Japanese beer). The sushi choices for happy hour are solid, with yellowtail, eel, and spicy tuna among the options- not just the b.s. choices like california and cucumber.

Kanlaya on 6th Street next to Chinatown Express has decent Thai food and sits under a Burmese restaurant that I’ve been meaning to try.

…and today we tried Matchbox for the first time. It’s not Asian, but they’re famous for their wood-fired pizzas. After a spicy “The Fire” bloody mary (loved the pickle slab in lieu of the celery) and the cozzi carozza (fried mozzarella) appetizer, we split a pizza with mozzarella di buffala and seranno ham. It was good but when in Chinatown, stick to the Asian fare.

Eateries aside, I popped into Da Hsim Chinese gift shop on 7th Street between H & I where they were selling all kinds of fun Chinese items like eating utensils/ceramics, Asian condiments hard to find in your typical grocery store, those cats with the waving paws, fat little Buddhas, silk slippers… It’s catered to the local Chinese crowd, not tourists, so it’s extra fun to check out. I bought some fish sauce and Sriracha (big bottle for $3.10… can’t beat it) for the stirfry’s I often make at home.


  1. Aaaah I missed Chinatown on my last trip and my stomach aches for Chinatown Express dumplings…next time you're there eat extra for me! :)

  2. If forgot that you are in DC. If it's not too weird, we should meet up!

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I’m no tourist! I have studied in Europe, taught in Southeast Asia, and volunteered in Africa. Blending in with the locals and eating weird new things are priorities when I travel… Though I’m not above the fun touristy musts.


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