Chinatown (also known as “Chinablock” in local lingo) and Penn Quarter are full of inexpensive chains you already know. Here are some of our favorite local cheap eats in the neighborhood. From the hotel, it is a 10-15 walk, or two stops on the Red Line.
Chinatown Express is known for its dumplings and fresh noodles; you can see them being made in the front window. To call it a hole-in-the-wall is generous, but the aforementioned items and accompanying green sauce are more than worth the $6. We’ve never tried the rest of the menu and have heard mixed reviews. If we’re in the mood for a full Chinese meal, we usually head to Eat First (also lacking in ambience). If you’re feeling adventurous, order off the specials listed on poster board.
For sandwiches, try Taylor Gourmet (apologies for their terrible website). They serve Philadelphia style hoagies made with fresh ingredients. The closest to Union Station is at 5th & K, in the City Vista complex. The 12″ sandwich is large enough for two.
If you’re in Adams Morgan, our favorite spot is Amsterdam Falafel. It’s known for its french fries (which are terrific, and large enough to share), and the extensive salad/toppings bar. Pro tip: pull out one or two balls of falafel, add toppings, and then return the removed falafel and top again.