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What we know as Chinese food in Sri Lanka is actually a localized version of Authentic Chinese cuisine. In fact China being such a vast country has its own cuisines very different to each other in various regions. Actual Chinese food is less oily than what we are used to and uses subtle seasoning to really bring out the flavours of the foods being prepared.
We are so glad that someone is making an attempt to introduce real Chinese food to the food courts in Sri Lanka. China Express as its name suggests is not only doing that but also doing it express fast. Located at the Food Studio at One Galle Face, the China Express is one of two Chinese-inspired kiosks.
The menu is very very simple and consists of 3 types of meals, the vegetarian, chicken or beef and seafood. Pricing depends on your choice and is quite affordable and value for money considering that you get a nice bowl of steamed rice with the curries. We also like how China Express serves their meals so that you get to see exactly what is being served on to your plate and the colours all look wonderful.
Let’s start with the Vegetable which by far was our favourite (and we aren’t even vegetarian!). The reason of course lies in the fact that this meal doesn’t give you the usual carrot and cabbage Chopsuey that we are used to. Instead what you get is Braised Green Beans, Mapo Tofu, Tossed Wood Ear Mushroom and Chinese Scrambled Egg. You can choose to not have the egg if you are vegan and request for an extra portion of veggies instead. Each of the options has a distinct flavour and combined with the steamed rice is perfection in every bite. We highly recommend a bite of rice coupled with a veggie at a time so that you actually taste each of the different flavours. The mushroom was best for us because of the saltiness and the texture of it that went well with the rice.
One has a choice of two varieties of Chicken in the Kung Pao Chicken with Peanuts or the Stir-Fry or the Beef Stew. We would go with the Kung Pao simply because of the Peanuts but the Beef Stew is also great. Combine the thick stew gravy with the rice and we will just have only that and not even miss the large chunks of meat that come with the dish.
Seafood lovers are spoilt for choice with Garlic Prawn, Sweet & Sour Fish, Braised Cuttlefish or the classic HBC being your options. The Garlic Prawn again is great with the rice specially if you lather it with the thick, fragrant gravy but do try the HBC too. It’s definitely one of the better ones in Colombo.
Overall China Express definitely falls in to a list of favourites at the Food Studio and return visits are definitely on the cards.
So here’s our review…
Location ***** (Who doesn’t know OGF these days!)
Ambiance ***** (Clean, bustling food court!)
Service **** (Express fast!)
Food **** (Some pretty different Chinese dishes!)
Overall **** ½
Price Range: 350 rupees upwards
Opening Times: – 10:00am – 10:00pm daily
Address: Food Studio, One Galle Face
Reviewed and Photographed by Sanura Gunawardana