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June 2004: Chinatown Express

The floor show at this modest Chinatown restaurant, best viewed from the sidewalk in front, is a chef who makes fresh noodles in the front window.

The floor show at this modest Chinatown restaurant, best viewed from the sidewalk in front, is a chef who makes fresh noodles in the front window. He mixes and stretches the dough, folds it back on itself, restretches it, repeats the procedure several times, gives it a snap, and it collapses into perfectly formed noodles. The appreciative audience on the sidewalk often applauds.

The dumplings, lai mein, are served—either stir-fried or boiled—as meal-in-a-bowl soups with a slice of beef or chicken for the low price of $4.95. The other main attraction at Chinatown Express is the Shanghai soup dumpling, listed on the menu as "Steamed Bun (Pork) (8 pieces)." These dumplings filled with broth are a bit of a challenge to eat but worth the effort.

Chinatown Express, 746 Sixth St., NW; 202-638-0425. No wheelchair access.

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