Making Fast Food From Scratch

Jo McGarry
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Friday - November 25, 2005
| | podcast Podcast |

Richard and Adela Chan offer ‘real’ fast food at Chinatown Express
Richard and Adela Chan offer ‘real’ fast food at
Chinatown Express

The weekend after Thanksgiving is no time to be thinking about cooking. Chances are you’re still eating leftovers, or trying to get rid of some dried-out turkey.

So takeout is the way to go, and a fresh, new, take out restaurant has opened right where you or someone in your family is probably headed today - Ala Moana Center.

Just below the center (by Blockbuster and I Love Country Café), Chinatown Express has opened a fast food option for those on the go.

Owner Richard Chan believes in making “real” food from scratch, and he takes the time to make sure that everything - yes, even those tasty sauces - are made fresh in the kitchen each morning.

“We are a little crazy to still be doing this,” he says, looking at the array of fresh produce in the kitchen and the dozens of dishes on the menu at his neighboring restaurant, I Love Country Café. “But I really believe that people want to eat well, and that they don’t want dishes that are filled with additives and MSG.”

Chan has made a very successful career running the I Love Country Café chain, offering healthy dishes such as salads, sandwiches and homemade “lite” meals, but he also does a roaring trade in comfort food. Plate lunches are a specialty and offer two entrees and a starch. Choices include local favorites like Loco Moco, Chicken Katsu Curry and Hamburger Steak, and there are some other finely tuned dishes that feature healthy choices such as BBQ Tofu and Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetables with Chicken.

I love the salads at I Love Country Café, and one of the reasons that Chinatown Express has opened is that Richard wants to give regular customers even more options.

“We have people who love our food who come two and three times a week,” he says. “And with Chinatown Express, they can now come and eat freshly made Chinese food too.”

Richard’s goal is to bring back some well-loved older-style dishes like stuffed bitter melon and taro duck, but for now you’ll find some tried and true favorites on the menu at Chinatown Express.

Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken and Mapo Tofu are on the new menu - with the addition of some tasty dishes for Chinese food connoisseurs, like Pig’s Feet with Li Hing Sauce.

Remember them when you’re done with shopping over the holiday season and take some time to relax.

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