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East Coast Chinese Food Express – CLOSED

Posted by MEZ 12 Feb 2013 7 Comments

A number of people have recommended we check out East Coast Chinese Food Express. They’ve been located inside the Kroger by the Highway 54 and Fayetteville intersection for quite some time. It’s a small café, mainly for to-go orders, but there are a few tables if you want to sit and eat in the grocery store. Everyone else ordering was a regular and on friendly terms with the owner at the register. Food is cooked to order, so it’ll take 10 to 20 minutes depending on how crowded it is. There are menus everywhere, so figuring out your options can seem a tad overwhelming. Make sure you take a look at them in addition to the printed English menu.

Slushies and bubble teas are available. Additionally, there is a Chinese menu with traditional Chinese dishes versus Americanized ones, and that’s what our readers have highly recommended—ask the woman at the register for it. I don’t speak or read Chinese, however, so I stuck with the regular menu full of Hunan, Szechuan, Cantonese, and Japanese preparations. And I can tell you that it blew my other options in South Durham out of the water.

The boneless spare ribs are definitely the best I’ve had. It’s a generous portion, and the pork is cut in thick slices. The sauce’s flavor is fantastic, and there’s plenty of it, so spoon that goodness over extra rice.

The rice itself was cooked well with no stickiness or clumping. It was great with the sha cha chicken, which we ordered at 3x spicy.

Was it that spicy? I’d call it medium, but that’s more heat than you can get at a lot of places. The chicken was tender and moist. There were crisp vegetables all over the place, the standard stir-fry mix of broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, baby corn, and water chestnuts. The sauce itself avoided oiliness and lent a light flavor to the stir-fry.

Our last dish was the beef mei fun.

The rice vermicelli was cooked perfectly, and the beef was good. Shredded cabbage and carrots were the main accompaniments, and they were also good, but the dish was a bit dry overall.

I’m bummed I didn’t notice the chicken-stuffed tofu skins until after I ordered. The Americanized options didn’t blow me away except for those spare ribs, but they were a lot better than my other nearby Chinese spots. What have people tried off the Chinese menu? I hear the eggplant is delicious, but that wasn’t on the American menu, either, so I’ll ask for a recommendation with it next time.

East Coast Chinese Food Express
202 NC Hwy 54
Inside the Kroger, South Durham
Open Mondays-Saturdays
11 am to 3 pm, 4 pm to 10 pm
$7 — $12

Reviewed 9 February 13.


  • gryphon said:

    Thanks for the find. I’ll have to check this out. The URL is incorrect, FYI. It’s http://www.eastcoastchinesefood.com


    MEZ replies on February 15th, 2013 at 3:51 pm:

    Thanks, I’ll update it in the post! Unfortunately, the link to the Chinese menu still doesn’t work. =(


  • tia said:

    We eat here often – after grocery shopping, lol. The food is delish. I want to try one of their teas soon


  • Foodie Penguin said:

    East Coast Chinese closed about five months ago. I don’t know why and I don’t if the couple will restart their business elsewhere.


  • Chris C. said:

    They’re BACK!!!!! The Chinese restaurant that used to be in the Kroger near Hwy 54 and Fayetteville Rd lives on! It has re-opened at 5410 NC Highway 55, Suite Y. They have uniquely remodeled the interior (formerly a club and bar with open mic night) with natural materials and a variety of asian accents. A distinct feeling of ‘charm’ and a good hole-in-the-wall find! BUT the best part is….the food is as good as it ever was!!!! The best chinese I have found in North Carolina in over 20 years!


  • Amanda B said:

    If you’ve been looking for the Chinese restaurant that used to be in Kroger on Hwy 54 and Fayetteville Rd in Durham – THIS IS IT! East Coast Chinese Express left its Kroger location about a year ago and reopened as East Coast Asian Bistro a few months ago.

    Its new location at 5410 NC Hwy 55, Suite Y, is tucked into the corner of the quiet Greenwood Commons shopping center. Previously take-out only, now it’s also a charming eat-in restaurant for lunch and dinner. If you love a good “hole-in-the-wall,” this is it!

    This is hands down the BEST Chinese food I’ve found in the Triangle and worth the trip to South Durham. In the months while they were closed and remodeling their new location I searched high and low for good Chinese food in Durham, to no avail. I’m SO happy they’ve opened their doors again!


  • Sarah said:

    Just to repeat Chris C’s and Amanda B’s posts: East Coast Chinese is open and as good as ever. The restaurant is in Papa Mojo’s former spot. Don’t miss the salty ribs and the chicken tofu skins!


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