China 1 Offers Chinese and Fried Chicken
This spot holds the unique distinction of providing both great fried chicken and fish and some of the best, most authentic Chinese food in the area.
Aside from burger joints and pizza places, Chinese is the most available food in the country. Over the decade,s I've only met one person who didn't have a Chinese restaurant in their city. And once he tasted it, he couldn't get enough.
The problem is, just like Italian cuisine, the true nature of the food has become Americanized; the great "melting pot" has blunted the edges and standardized the ingredients. 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. The specialties also don't to sell well to Americans looking for straightforward Chinese staples.
This brings me to China 1, an odd hybrid of old-school Chinese cooking that has almost successfully split itself in two, doubling its happy customers. You have two distinct sets of customers here: in-store diners and the take-out and 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 have real Chinese 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.
Truth be told the place is a dive, so don't expect eating in to be more than a treat for 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, they have no website) it has some kick.
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