Asian Market Restaurants
- Tord Svenson
Boston has several major Asian markets. Mings in the South End has been a leading one for years. Mings opened a marvelous restaurant ajacent to the rear of its building. It is inexpensive, authentic and offers a wide variety of dishes. Even better --the place has a parking lot in the rear -- offering free parking in an area that is well patroled by meter maids.
Mings' competitor -- the 88 -- matches the market aspect of Mings -- but there is no room on its footprint for a restaurant. The solution was to go south -- a mile or so --to Dorchester and the South Bay development featuring a Home Depot, WalMart, etc. The 88 just opened a huge Asian foods supermarket that is amazing. They have announced a twelve restaurant food court on the second floor of their building. It is scheduled to open in Feb.
You can get there by taking the MBTA Red Line to Andrew and catching the free shuttle over to the South Bay Stop and Shop and walking a hundred yards from there. Driving there is easy heading south on Mass. Ave to the Edison Electric Depot and left into the South Bay --or via the Southeast Expressway down to the "South Bay" exit.
The 88 market is great fun -- as is Mings. You can get all kinds of Chinese finger food and pastries.
I'll report on the 88 restaurant court when its open in a couple of months. Meanwhile -- anyone who loves good Chinese food should try Mings resturant just over the Mass. Turnpike from Chinatown --two streets into the South End. The Portugese Fish Stew is a find. I love their fish! They will sell you a grouper based hot-pot for seven bucks or so --anytime. I tried the shrimp fresh out of their tank --but I can't find decent shrimp in Boston to save my soul. I used to eat the shrimp fresh off the boats in little towns along the Gulf of Mexico. Them days are gone forever :-(
re: PAUL DESORCY
Paul wrote --- "Are you talking about Ming's Cafe at 160 E. Berkeley Street?"
Yes --- We have eaten there a couple of dozen times. I think it used to be a pizza joint. My little Singaporean place was across the street (the Merlion). Ming's Market is just behind around the corner.
Ming's Café is inexpensive and has an ambitious menu. They have a 10 item porridge list, lots of chow foon choices, several hot pots, a 25 plus or minus vegetarian list, about 50 listed seafood items and a good selection of beef, pork and poultry dishes. A few examples:
#408 -the sea food with Portuguese sauce is good ( $5..95)
Sea food soup $4.95 -- Beef brisket with chow foon --- Pork and shrimp in curry sauce with chow foon -- Choy Sum chow foon --- Batter fried grouper in gravy hot pot ( $5.95) - Egg plant and hot garlic sauce - Fried baby octopus with spicy salt ( $5.95) - Striped Bass with hot soy bean sauce --- fried Chilean Sea Bass -- Stir fried scallops with Lilly Bulbs ($7.95) - lots of crab dishes - 3 Veal Chop dishes that we like - the young ginger and pinapple chicken is good -- crispy friend squab for $7.95 - fried honey quail ( $6.95)
(Prices may have gone up a little). There are specials posted on the walls -- in Chinmese --but the waiter/resse will translate gladly for you. Being connected with the large market gives Ming's direct access to what's best in produce.
Ming's Café's phone number is 617/338-8830 . This is a little out of Chinatown and they appear to close when the market closes -around 9 PM. There is parking behind the restaurant. It is very handy to the SE Expressway up E Berkeley. The ambiance is casual. The waitstaff has been attentive and they tend to remember you and what you like to eat. My minister, an always smiling Indian woman, and I eat there frequently and she usually orders the corn soup with plain rice --the soup is huge.
This has been a funky little corner of the South End. It is natural that Boston's Chinatown should expand into the empty commercial spaces here. How that will fit in with the homeless individuals who depend on the Pine Street Inn nearby remains to be seen. I have been privy to some fascinating conversations and body odor at the now defunct Merlion. Boston's Chinatown is emerging from the shadow of the Combat Zone and the under-construction Millennium Center next to Chinatown will change things in the direction of much more police presence and pressure to keep things "nice".
Ming's Café is an adventure that rewards anyone who loves good Chinese cooking., It's fun to spend time in the market looking at and smelling all the varieties of food - then go around the corner and have it served to you pretty much in a home-cooked style at prices we can all afford.