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China Express

/ Updated on May 26, 2014

China Express is the stereotypical neighborhood Chinese restaurant — except that the food is better than what you might be used to elsewhere. With only about 10 or so tables and a bustling takeout business, the phone rings constantly as those rectangular bags with the stapled tops go flyin' outta there. China Express is located in Bethany Beach in the Seaside Village strip center on the west side of Rt. 1 just south of Sea Colony (they share the center with the Verizon store, Subway and the Dollar General).

“Z” is the value-added at this tiny installation. He is part of the family that owns the place. He mans the front counter and pitches-in bussing and running orders. He's very friendly and actually quite funny. Add that to the cute tchotchkes he's got strategically displayed on the counter (there's always at least one little airplane or flying pig circling overhead), and China Express changes from “just a carryout” to an enjoyable Bethany Beach experience.

The menu is predictable (that's not a bad thing for an eatery where you carry your food home in a bag). The eggrolls have always been fresh and crispy (they don't sit on a steam table or under one of those infrared “Denny's” lights). I also really like the Fried Wontons. They are the best I've ever had. (I get them without the — cheese…yup, you heard me. Cheese! Really, “Z,” what were you thinking?) Don't miss the crackley fried dumplings with the savory pork filling, either. The usual lineup of soups is there, including Egg Drop, Wonton and Hot & Sour. I've had them all and they're delectible.

The Seafood Combination entree is their best-kept secret. For a paltry $14 or so, you get a surprising amount of lobster, shrimp and scallops combined with the standard Chinese veggy mix and a silky sauce. My favorite dining companion loves the Happy Family (pork, chicken, beef, shrimp and scallops all together with crispy veggies). That same companion also can't get past the General Tso's Chicken (indeed, bubula, who can?). It's spicy and freshly sauteed, moist and delicious. I've been witness to the happy consumption of the various Sweet and Sour dishes and the Szechuan preparations with just about any protein you can find in there. The eggy Pork Fried Rice makes for a nice little nosh “for the table.”

One of my favorites is the Kung Pao Chicken. Again…you see a little Chinese place in a strip center and you expect that the food's been on a steam table for 9 hours. No, not so at China Express. “Z” gives you your choice of veggies and type of chicken. In other words, it all gets thrown in the wok the minute you order it. Regular readers know that there is a similar restaurant in Rehoboth Beach that does the same thing. But it's a sit-down place with alcohol and all the bells and whistles. And it's in Rehoboth. And “Z's” in Bethany.

I evaluate restaurants within the context of price and what they do best. Is this $25-a-plate fine dining? Of course not. But I have to tell you that the food is up there with some of the best I've had when it comes to neighborhood Chinese fare. So if you're motoring anywhere north of Ocean City, MD, but south of Rehoboth Beach, and you're in the mood for a down-home Chinese dinner with freshly cooked food (either eat-in or carryout), then this is the place.

China Express' menu link courtesy BethanyRestaurants.com. When the site opens, just click the menu images to see them.

China Express has different hours on- and off-season, so call first (302) 537-9956. (L., D.). Price range: Inexpensive -.

The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

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  1. Avatar fran hasson says:

    I eat there often, have been pleased everytime. I especially like the spring rolls, won ton soup, and garlic chicken. Great family restaurant with “you are my favorite customer” treatment! It works everytime with me!

  2. Avatar Anthony P. says:

    Foodie!!!! Visited on August 14 and what a disappointment. To start we were served “BBQ” spare ribs which had been heated up so many times that the meat was as dry as tree bark and basically inedible. These were followed by a dish of mixed vegetables,seafood and meat in “garlic sauce.” Garlic Sauce should be sweet and slightly tangy-with-a-bite. The sauce covering our dish at CE was sour and luke warm. Horrible. Last but not least was the lo mein. Lo mein noodles are supposed to be tossed in peanut oil and spices, so that the flavors just coat the noodles, it should then be served hot. Our “lo mein” was swimming in some kind of soy sauce mess, which was so abundant that it appeared we had ordered noodle soup. Wow…well, the Wonton soup was edible, as were the fried noodles that preceded our meal. In short, we’re still looking.

  3. Avatar Dave G. says:

    Excellant dining experience. Food is always fresh and delicious. Z goes the extra mile customizing your order and providing prompt service. Much more than a takeout place the small dining room allows for great attention to detail, the large fried noodles (cooked on site) hot mustard and duck sauce are a real treat while waiting for the entree. With mom in the kitchen food quality is consistent !!!

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