Chinese and Fried Chicken?
Usually a restaurant is happy having a set of regulars customers for one cuisine. This interesting oddity has different sets of culinary fans.
South Valley Shopping Center 7700 F Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA 22306
M – Th 11am – 10:30 pm
F – Sat 11am – 11:30 pm
Sun 12pm – 11 pm
Chinese food is one of the most ubiquitous cuisines in America. Most major cities have a Chinatown, and every suburban strip mall has at least one Chinese place. Aside from burger joints, I think Chinese is the most American food in the country.
The problem is, just like Italian cuisine, the true nature of the food has become Americanized. It has lost its uniqueness and personality. In most "real" Chinese restaurants there are two menus; one is for American patrons and one is for Chinese patrons.
The latter is for people who know what Chinese home-cooking is and the delicacies that have followed families through the centuries. They also don't sell well to Americans looking for very straightforward Chinese staples.
This brings me to China 1, an odd hybrid of Old School Chinese cookery in a New World package. You have two distinct sets of customers here. The in-store diners and the take-out/delivery crowd.
The in-store diners come for the fried chicken. Half a fried chicken with fries is $5.65; with rice it's $5.95. Not only is it a deal but the chicken is fried to perfection. The cooks in this dive have real restaurant-style wok set-ups, get the orders translated into Chinese and cook this stuff so you get "the taste of the wok."
Bottom line: You have a place that can dish out perfectly prepared (if not exactly spiced) Southern-style fried chicken and fish as well as some of the best Chinese food around. And it's open surprisingly late for delivery places in the area.
Truth be told, the place is a dive, so don't expect eating in to be more than a treat to your mouth. Your eyes and ears won't be too excited.
On the Chinese side of the menu, start with Sesame Chicken/Beef, General Tso's Chicken, Pork Lo Mein (they make their own red pork), Szechuan Beef and the Singapore Chow Mai Fun. Also bear in mind, when they indicate spicy on the menu (available at the restaurant or with an order, no website) it has some kick.