Monday, May 2, 2016

Hong Kong Express -- 1533 S Garey Ave Pomona, CA 91766

My Meal Cost: $8.04. Health Rating A. Yelp 2 stars

Hong Kong Express sits in the middle of a strip mall whose main tenant is East Valley Community Health Center. HKE is a standard Chinese Fast Food joint where you can choose a 1 entree, 2 entree, or 3 entree combination which also includes chow mein and fried rice. In addition, they also have 1 and 2 topping bowls where you can choose steam table items as toppings over rice or chow mein. They also a variety of beverages (many with boba) and soups as well.

The space itself is clean, with several tables where you can dine or you can take-out. The woman behind the counter was friendly, but obviously not a native English speaker. I had to repeat myself several times in order to be understood and an African-American woman who came in looking for an ATM machine wasn't understood at all. Another customer explained to the woman what was wanted so we all learned that there was no ATM machine at this location.

I ordered a 2 entree combo so got chow mien and fried rice. As my entrees I chose the steamed vegetables and the ubiquitous, at places like this, Orange Chicken. I also ordered a medium Diet Coke. As with most places like this, the food was piled high, overflowing the partitioned Styrofoam container. A very large amount of food. At this stage in my life it's really too much for me as well (I should have ordered a bowl) but I wanted to do comparable dishes with the other two Chinese fast food places I've written about here.

The chow mien was a bit on the starchy and chewy side and lacked any flavor. A bit of soy sauce helped, but not much, especially given the amount that was on the plate. The fried rice was adequate but nothing special. I really couldn't discern any of the flavors although id did seem to have some chicken, egg, and scallions, but who could tell? I added a liberal amount of sriracha sauce which helped, but not a lot.

I love my veggies. The steamed veggies had that mild sauce that so many of these places have. The variety of the veggies was good and they weren't overly mushy. The orange chicken was . . . orange chicken. Nothing special here. This American Chinese dish which has become almost a joke is on every Chinese fast food steam table, but most Chinese will tell you they've never eaten it. A favorite story is one of my wife's Chinese students told her that she had gone to Costco with her father and was a little surprised when he bought a large amount of powdered Tang. The next day Orange Chicken was on the menu at her family's restaurant. Some places have the Chinese peppers to help flavor their Orange Chicken, this one doesn't and the resulting flavor was sweet, but not particularly flavorful. And the chicken underneath the copious amounts of glaze was somewhat dried out.

EXTRA: Sunshine Donuts -- 1545 S Garey Ave, Pomona, CA 91766

Two doors to the south of Hong Kong Express is Sunshine Donuts. While not a restaurant, it is a nice little donut shop that also serves ice cream, coffee, and beverages. For dessert I had a chocolate glazed old fashioned donut that set me back $.70. An "A" from the health department and 4 stars on yelp.

UP NEXT: Ponce's Restaurant & Bakery

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