Hong Kong in Arizona

I still remember the first time my husband (then boyfriend) suggested going to a new restaurant he had found: Asian Cafe Express. I admit, the name didn’t appeal to me.

All I could think about was, Chinese American?… “No, let’s find something more authentic”, I said. He proceeded to show me pictures of the food, yelp reviews, and I reluctantly agreed to go.

We stepped in and were greeted by the friendliest staff. The restaurant itself was a bit older. Food pictures adorned the walls and a mix of both booth and tables were on the floor. We were told to sit anywhere we’d like and then provided with menus.

I opened it and staring back at me was the “AZ Style Menu”. There you have the option of ordering your typical Chinese American favorites: Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken, etc.

Except my husband had been holding on to information.

If you kept flipping the menu, you’d find the “Hong Kong Style Menu”. And let me tell you, that menu – that’s where you want to order from.

There you have your selection of Hong Kong food classics: Salt & Pepper Shrimp, Chow Fun, Chow Mein, and so on. My husband said, “We’ll get a couple of dishes but know that when we go to LA, that’s where we’ll taste the good stuff.”

It’s now been close to 5 years since we came across Asian Cafe Express.

Verdict: The BEST Hong Kong diner in not only Arizona but in my humble opinion, the entire West Coast.

I’ve now been to countless Hong Kong style diners across Arizona, California, Nevada, and Washington. Yet nothing like Asian Cafe Express. If you’ve never been to a Hong Kong style diner, I highly recommend going in a group setting. Sharing food with those you love and eating “family style” makes this style of dining that much more worth while.

Must Order

Throughout the years, we’ve tried multiple things from their menu and try to switch it up whenever we go. Though there’s one dish we MUST get EVERY time: their Salt & Pepper Squid – 鹽椒鮮魷(辣). This dish… this dish is the sole reason as to why other diners have not been able to beat this place out.

Crispy and garlicy, some might say a bit spicy; this dish takes your palate through a one of a kind culinary experience. Those crispy garlic bits can stand alone. Put it on some rice and, you got yourself a meal.

Other Favorites:

Beef Chow Fun (Dry) – 干炒牛河

A true Hong Kong classic. These meaty stir-fried thick wide noodles will leave you reaching out for more.

Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs – 糖醋小排骨

Perfectly fried spare ribs thrown together in a sweet and sour sauce. This is a great “safe” dish for those with minimal experience with Hong Kong or Asian food in general.

Combo Chow Mein (Crispy Pan Fried Noodles) – 什錦炒麵

Crispy pan fried noodles thrown in a delicate light sauce. At first, the noodles are crispy and crunchy. But as they soak up the sauce, the noodles become soft and flavorful.

Combo & Fried Tofu Hot Pot – 八珍豆腐

Don’t think Shabu Shabu. This dish allows ingredients to sit and soak in a thick sauce.

Hong Kong Style Fish Fillet – 红烧鱼片 (off the Canton Set Dinner)

GINGER GINGER GINGER. These deep fried fish fillets refresh the palate as they are thrown in a ginger based sauce.

Mixed Vegetable Stir Fried with Minced Garlic – 蒜炒什菜

The wok hei (breath of a wok) is felt throughout this dish. When I tell you I never knew vegetables alone could be so good – I mean it.

When going to Asian Cafe Express, don’t expect anything fancy. Instead you will get a local, family owned restaurant with amazing food. Hoping you all get to try and enjoy this Arizona Hong Kong gem.

1911 W Main St #3, Mesa, AZ 85201


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