Wok Express

Some of you saw this blog’s creation about a year ago, and wondered why there was nothing on it. Some of you thought it was a joke. Some of you didn’t give it a second thought.

But here, at last, is our first official food review, and let us tell you: It is not easy to write a food review when you are suffering from a food coma. We decided to start with a Chinese “Chow Mein + 1-item combo” sort of deal, an establishment known as Wok Express.

Wok Express is located in La Puente, just about halfway between West Covina (Where our contributors live) and Biola University (where our contributors spend a lot of time, and, in one of their cases, money).

Hole-in-the-wall is a vague term- we intend it not as an insult, but rather as a description of a restaurant that is easy on the wallet and gives you a chance to leave the lobster bib at home, and drink without extending your pinky.

Wok Express puts itself firmly into the category of Chinese take out from the moment you walk in the door. Combos A, B, C, are advertised on the menu, and large trays of egg rolls, orange chicken, and chow mein are sitting behind the counter.

Our contributors both ordered the Combo A ($6.12): Chow Mein, Fried Rice, and 1 item. Rafi opted for a double order of Chow mein along with his BBQ Pork, while Jonathan ordered the Orange Chicken.

Right away, this place earns bonus points for generous portions. “$6 for 6lbs. of food”, as Rafi put it.

Rafi, an employee of In-N-Out, is quick to point out the three-point policy: Cleanliness of the store, Friendliness of the associates, and quality of the food.

As cleanliness goes, Express Wok is above average, but not the best. The tabletops are all wiped clean, and the servers are all very careful in their handling of the food, never touching it, even though they all wear gloves. However, there is some collection of trash and dust on the floor, leaving this restaurant less than perfect when it comes to cleanliness.

Wok Express’ employees are truly friendly- as mom and pop employees often are. From warm greetings to timely service, these employees make a deep effort to connect with the customer and get them what they want.

The most important item, however, is the quality of the food.

Our contributors agree that the Chow Mein was excellent- thick noodles mixed with just the right amount of cabbage and onion. Some Chinese restaurants like to serve cheap, flavorless ramen-like noodles that masquerade as Chow Mein- none of that here.

According to Jonathan, the Fried Rice was satisfying, but nothing special.

Rafi found the BBQ Pork to be stuck in limbo… not bad, but not that great. It was well cooked pork, but none too flavorful. Jonathan tasted some, and agreed with his judgment: a little more sauce or marinade would go a long way in improving the pork. For what it’s worth, the meat was cut into neat slices, and the only thing that went into the take-out box was meat: no bits of fat or bone.

The orange chicken was good, but again, nothing too out of the ordinary. It was a little on the sweet side, so those of you who want a tangier or spicier orange chicken might want to look elsewhere (or add hot sauce). Again, however, the meat was well cooked, and had a good, crunchy texture.

We have decided to institute a few bonus awards in our reviews, and Wok Express earned a few:

• Anti-affirmative Action Bonus: Ethnic restaurants get bonus for employing their own ethnicity

• Non-Mexican restaurant Horchata Bonus

• Logo Bonus

Horchata and orange chicken may be an odd combination, but they really are amazing together- and the sheer novelty of having Mexican drinks in a Chinese restaurant is worth a bonus.

Some essential information in case you choose to visit Wok Express: They only accept cash. And yes, they do have bathrooms.

Honesty impels us to mention that Jonathan did have an upset stomach the night after eating from Wok Express... but it's more likely this was caused by something else, as his brother (who ate nothing from Wok Express) also had an upset stomach. However, to be on the safe side, we have deducted a half-star from the restaurant's rating.

Wok Express is a popular restaurant, and it earns its reputation by providing huge amounts of satisfying food at low prices. The whole time we were there, the line went all the way to the door (but moved quickly- add points for speedy service). If you need a bunch of food to satisfy your hunger, look no further; just beware the inevitable food coma. All in all, the food is enjoyable, but nothing special. The highlight, by far, was the horchata, which tasted like liquid awesome. If you're in the area and want a good meal (or two, judging by the portions), then stop by- but don't make a special trip.

3 Stars for Wok Express.

Wok Express on Urbanspoon

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