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China Express

Posted by DID 16 Nov 2009 7 Comments


With all of the cold and rainy weather, last week was a great time to try the homemade noodle bowls at China Express on HWY 54.

The first two pages of China Express’ lengthy menu are full of the standard cheap Chinese options, all served with rice and an egg roll and all less than ten dollars. We avoided those pages and immediately flipped to the back of the menu, where you’ll find a small handmade Chinese noodles section.

I ordered the Jam Pong (noodles with shrimp, pork, scallops, squid and vegetables in a spicy hot soup). I was a wimp and requested the Jam Pong to be mildly spicy and was given the option of Chinese spicy or Korean spicy. Our very nice waitress could only offer that Korean meant red sauce spicy. I choose Korean. The Jam Pong came with a Kim Chee appetizer, which was fresh, tangy and vinegary.


A huge steaming bowl, piled high with veggies, arrived moments later. The broth was deep and rich, while the veggies added a nice crunch contrast. The shrimp, scallops and squid were plentiful – but it was the doughy noodles that stole the show.


My friend ordered the Stewed Beef Noodle Soup (note: the menu says there are limited qualities of this dish available daily). It was a deep, beef broth full of bok choy, hunks of meat and those lovely noodles. Both portions, priced at $8.99, proved to be more than enough for two meals.


Though it will be hard to ever order anything other than the noodle bowls, there is a “house specialty” section on the menu with an intriguing $24.99 braised sea cucumber dish and a $22.50 Korean salad. These two dishes are almost ten dollars more than anything else on the menu and probably deserve a sampling.

It should come as no surprise that you’ll find China Express in the ethnic food mecca that is the 54-55 crossroads.

China Express
2223 NC-54
Durham, NC 27713
(919) 544-7013


  • Burz said:

    This place is amazing! I’ve been going there for over a year and always get the Jan Pong. They have a smaller portion for $6.99 or something like that, and it’s great for just a lunch portion. Go big or go home and try it a little spicier next time. Oh and as for the spices, Korean Spicy = similar spices to the kim chee, and Chinese Spicy = more of a hot oil (less of that “red spice” from the kim chee).

    Last thing… lunches are really crowded but they have a fast turnover.


    judas_escargot replies on November 17th, 2009 at 9:15 am:

    The “red sauce spicy” would be the addition of red chili pepper paste, as Burz mentioned in the first post, the same stuff used in the preparation of many types of kimchi. Thanks for the writeup, I didn’t know about this place and I’m out at 54/55 all the time… I’ll definitely be checking this place out.


  • BVal said:

    For the quality, price and quick service, China Express has been my go-to while working in the park for going on 15 years. The hot and sour soup is the best I’ve found in the Triangle.


  • Nando said:

    I went last for lunch week with my wife. She ordered the Jam Pong and I got one of the combo platters (shrimp Kung Pao). My platter was good (fresh, crunchy veggies and not too salty) but her soup was much better. She didn’t get the Korean style, she got the Chinese. Having lived in China for a year, she said it was pretty good and comparable to some of the ones she had there.


  • mommoo2 said:

    We have eaten there for years. My former boss used to give us $$ for lunches for the whole team! Their faves – hunan beef or hunan chicken. My fave = the hot & sour soup! No restaurant is better & I don’t know what their secret is.
    One of my former co-workers from Taiwan LOVED China Express – He swore that their hot & sour soup was the BEST all around! No argument here! Best H&S soup in town – even better than PF Chang – my 2nd fave for h&s soup.
    More recently friends & co-workers love the Jon-Pong,heated up with pepper to your liking. I’m not a big seafood fan so have not yet tried. I’m sure it’s fabulous if that’s your pref.


  • Jeff Bundy said:

    I have eaten there for YEARS. The price of combination platters are unheard of amd more than ample serving. The best sweet and sour dishes around. The meat/poultry is acutally cooked in the sauce….it’s not just poured over it. You can’t beat it!


  • jared said:

    you should all go to china king if you like chicken. they have the best chicken wings in durham! there to die for! there a review on this website


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