Destination Washington DC: Jackey Cafe in Chinatown


While in Washington DC, I decided to make a trip to Chinatown. Wow, I was completely intrigued. This Chinatown is so different from the New York City one. This Chinatown is so clean and modernized. Unlike the New York City Chinatown, there’s no smell of fish and there’s no unidentifiable liquids leaking on the floors. There’s no loud street vendors or people trying to sell you fake purses or bootleg DVDs. To my surprise, I found a Regals movie theater there and also a Washington Sports Club. There were tons of big name restaurants like Legals Seafood, Fuddruckers, and much more. There was even a Hooters!!!

One of the tourist attractions here is this Friendship Arch, which is this traditional Chinese brick gate archway that hovers over the road.

Well, it was about lunch time and I wanted to go try out some local Chinese food joint. I came across a Wok n Roll Chinese and Japanese restaurant. This place was pretty cool. According to the sign at the door, it was once the boarding house were the conspirators of the Abraham Lincoln assassination met at.

I also came across Chinatown Express. It attracted my attention because through the window, you can see them making noodles and such. There were also tons of signs and posters advertising their popularity by local magazines.

I ended up eating lunch at Jackey Cafe, serving mostly Cantonese cuisine I believe. It seemed like a random place to choose, but I had a random craving for some Chinese Congee and I happily found it listed in their menu.

I ordered a fillet fish with preserved egg congee with a side of youtiao.

Youtiao are these strips of fried dough which complements the congee perfectly. They are crispy on the outside, and soft in the inside. They are lightly salted. I like to rip them into bit size chunks and soak them in the congee.

Fillet fish with preserved egg is my favorite kind of congee. You may wonder what preserved eggs are. Well, they are also known as the century egg, the hundred year egg, the thousand year egg,… I think you get the point. It’s pretty much a preserved duck egg. Usually it’s preserved for about 100 days. After it’s preserved, the egg yolk turns greenish and the egg white turns black. To me, the greenish center has an interesting flavor and has about the same consistency as cream cheese. The outside layer tastes like flavorless jello. It does release a strong odor, but it’s not a bothersome odor.

I have never ate preserved egg other than in congee. There’s usually only a handful of slices, possibly equivalent to about one egg. It’s often served in congee with either fillet fish or sliced lean pork. I’m not sure about the nutrition value of these preserved eggs though. I wouldn’t recommend frequent or large consumptions of these preserved eggs.

Well, I was very satisfied eating my congee at Jackey Cafe. The staff was very friendly. Once seated, they brought over the hot tea and gave me some recommendations of dishes from their menu. I already had my mind set on the congee before walking in, but it was nice to hear about the Cantonese style dishes they offered. My meal was very filling and the bill came out to about $8.00. They do offer lunch specials, but I fear that they would taste like dishes from those Americanized Chinese takeout places. I would be curious to try out their selection of Cantonese dishes though. Jackey Cafe opened until 3am or something like that. It appears to be a late night cheap food joint. There’s two levels to the restaurant. During the day, they serve lunch in the lower level, which was where I ate. It’s a small seating area with a large LCD television on the wall and a bar in the back.

Jackey Cafe on Urbanspoon

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  1. Micah

    June 2, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    LOL, the Jackie Chan Cafe. They spelled his name wrong.

  2. william

    November 13, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    U no what just because its called jacky cafe u dont have to assume is jacky chan. what about if the owner (MY UNCLE) wants it to be called jacky cafe? so stfu

  3. Micah Sittig

    November 15, 2009 at 8:55 am

    You're right, it was a bit of a nitpick, probably not worth pointing out. Still, ask your uncle what 成龍海鮮餐館 means…

  4. Sarah Dole

    August 11, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Excellent food!! We are from Florida and made our first trip to Chinatown having no idea where to eat. I asked a man in a suit who sounded like he lived in the area after overhearung him talking to his adult daughter about food, gift shops, etc. there. I told him I was looking for fresh and tasty food that wouldn’t give my children stomach issues. Price wasn’t an issue since this was a special first trip to DC for them. However, it was unbelievably cheap, especially for the quality and quantity you get. Per his recommendation, my family and I ate at Jackey Cafe the day before yesterday. The service was five star. (Very attentive) The food was served hot and had great textures(fresh). My husband and children loved their dishes but couldn’t eat it all(large portions even though we ordered from the lunch menu). They brought us to go boxes and a bag. Surprisingly, it was super cheap! $5-$6 per combo meal, which included spring roll, meat, rice, and unlimited sauces(4). I highly recommend the sweet and sour chicken. Their iced water was fantastic, a lot of places where I live is not. We ordered the lunch special. It fully met my expectations-large FRESH crispy chicken chunks, chunky cut pineapples/bell peppers/onions/carrotsand sides. I always worry about Chinese food making me sick, but we have had no stomach issues. The food is fresh and not greasy. Bathroom had tile walls and floors and it and the restaurant were super clean.We will go back before leaving DC. If you go, it is near a huge Chinese ornate arch that you MUST get a photo standing underneath. The metro is down on the corner near the arch, so there were people nearby, and a lady took a family photo for us. Great street, great food!

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