My first bite of beef with mushrooms didn't dazzle me — that is, until I bit into a chunk of fresh garlic. While tender slices of beef, fresh baby bok choy, and flavorful Chinese black mushrooms tasted fine, it really was the garlic that made the dish interesting. As for "yellow leek bean sprout and shredded pork," it didn't contain leeks, just lots of crisp yellow mung bean sprouts and succulent shreds of pork — a tasty, unlikely combination of two ingredients I love.

There were many tempting hot pot varieties, but we went with a classic: ma po tofu. It was easily enough food for two people, filled to the rim with a spicy, piping-hot concoction. Silky cubes of tofu cooked with mushrooms, red chile, scallions, ground pork, onion, and lettuce amounted to an extremely filling dish.

That would've been plenty, but we couldn't leave without trying a whole fish, prepared one of six different ways. We decided on the black bean sauce whole fish, a whole tilapia covered in a heap of cooked lettuce, green bell pepper, and onion. The meat was moist, and the black bean sauce was some of the best I've ever had — an incredible find for $7.99.

Using their noodles: Susan and Michael Leung turn out top-notch Chinese fare at Asian Café Express.
Jackie Mercandetti
Using their noodles: Susan and Michael Leung turn out top-notch Chinese fare at Asian Café Express.

Location Info

Map

Asian Café Express

1911 W. Main St., Ste. 3
Mesa, AZ 85201

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Mesa

Details

Chicken wings: $2
Chili sauce dumplings: $2
Singapore fried noodles: $6.48
Ma po tofu: $6.99
480-668-5910
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Asian Café Express, 1911 West Main Street, Mesa

It might take me until the 2012 Olympics to eat my way through the entire menu at Asian Café Express, but considering how affordable and craveable it is, I'll sure have fun along the way.

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