You find oodles to eat in Boston’s Chinatown. (Photo: Alamy)
When Asian immigrants flocked to the south end of Boston, they brought a multiverse of culinary stylings. If you want to put together the perfect meal in one of the nation’s best Chinatown destinations, bring your walking shoes and an empty belly.
Dim Sum-Thing Special at Hei La Moon
Purists say Hei La Moon doesn’t count as a Boston Chinatown destination because it’s north of Beach Street. Regulars know better. The massive dining room is packed on weekend evenings, and the restaurant’s reputation for dim sum, the Chinese cousin of tapas, keeps visitors coming back. While their menu has all the Chinese-American standbys, the second menu written entirely in Chinese is where things get fun.
Chinatown Cherry Pick: Dim sum’s small dishes and variety are a perfect way to prime the taste buds. For something fun, but not excessively brave, order the shark fin dumplings (named for their appearance, not their filling).
Pho from Ordinary
No matter the cuisine, there’s a hole-in-the-wall with vinyl booths and Spartan decor that does it best, and Vietnamese pho is no exception. What Pho Pasteur lacks in extravagance, it makes up for in rich sauces and vibrant herbs. To many, pho is just soup, but to Bostonians who know Chinatown, the variety at Pho Pasteur is what the doctor ordered on a blustery day, or a loss to the Yankees.
Chinatown Cherry Pick: The menu is longer than an Ayn Rand novel, but with nothing over $15, you can keep swinging until you hit something you fall in love with. Order the bun mang vit, featuring duck leg and bamboo shoots in a belly-warming broth.
Peach Farm to Table
OK, maybe it’s more like tank-to-table, when fish and crustaceans are removed from behind aquarium glass to be expertly prepared by Cantonese chefs. Peach Farm serves the
essential Boston Chinatown seafood dinner, and it’s a favorite late-night place for post-karaoke comfort food. Depending on how late you’re willing to dine, their 3:00 a.m. closing time also allows you to avoid crowds.
Chinatown Cherry Pick: Pretty much anything in Peach Farm’s black bean sauce is going to be right on the money, but do try the clams as well. The mollusks provide a briny rush, and the sauce is thick and hearty, with an approachable kick.
All in Great Taste
You’ve run the gamut of Asian cuisine in Boston’s Chinatown, but to deny yourself a traditional Chinese dessert would be in bad taste. So a trip to Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant is in order. There are plenty of daring dishes on the menu (like salt and pepper frog), but save that for another go-round. The bakery stands apart with traditional cakes and pastries hard to find this side of Hong Kong.
Chinatown Cherry Pick: Their price point allows you to sample other delicacies, like a traditional Chinese egg tart. A simple flaky crust gets filled with gooey egg custard for a perfect after-dinner treat.