Best Cheap Chinese

City Paper

3111 St. Paul St., (410) 889-0031,

English is often only the third-most-popular language at this Charles Village hole-in-the-wall gem. Most popular is Mandarin Chinese, due to all the Chinese students from Hopkins who fill up the tables to get an authentic dose of the food they left behind at home. Second-most popular is Spanish, due to all the construction and landscape workers who recognize the best prepared-food bargain in the city: less than $6 for a lunch special of chicken and shrimp kung pao with hot-and-sour soup and hot tea. A big Chinese-American menu and a big sushi menu are supplemented by an extensive Chinese menu with such great stir-fry dishes as pork stomach and pork with black fungus.

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