What to eat in Chinatown?
We'll be in Boston in two weeks, and I've allocated at least 1 meal to Chinatown. I've read plenty of recommendations on restaurants, I'm looking for recommendations on WHAT to eat. I'm adventurous, my wife not so much, and neither of us really know much about chinese food. This may be our only meal in Chinatown, preferrably non-seafood (we've got plenty of seafood on our agenda), not Peking duck (not sure I can plan it), not dim sum. Here in Lubbock we have maybe 8-10 Chinese restaurants, very popular for cheap buffets and combo plates. I'm looking for something I can't get at home.
I like the Peach Farm and East Ocean City. You will find that most of Chinese places in Boston lean heavily on seafood due to the fact that there is an abundance of it in the area. You might try a half portion os tea smoked roast duck which can always be ordered without advance notice. The clams with black bean sauce are also a great choice along with a lobster done Chinese style stir fried with scallions and ginger. The peach Farm also has shrimp with garlis has is very good. I am sure you find the Chinese food in Boston much different and better than in Texas. Enjoy
Here are my favorite dishes at Peach Farm. If you are only going to one restaurant in Chinatown, in my opinion, it should be Peach Farm.
They have the best hot and sour soup anywhere. Get a single-serving bowl if your wife won't eat it. The "small" bowl that they have on the menu is enough for four people.
Get a half roast-duck. It's on the bone, but there's plenty of succulent meat; I think you'd love it. They also make a great version of orange-flavored beef; the half chicken with Ginger and Scallions is fantastic, if you like fresh ginger. Pork in Garlic Sauce, Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, Strange Flavor Chicken...all really good.
Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Tofu Family Style, and if you like vegetables, get the chinese broccoli in garlic sauce (I can't remember now, but it might be spinach in garlic sauce...anyhow, it's really great).
I know you said no seafood, but if you change your mind, get the shrimp with walnuts, the Peach Farm special flounder, the clams in black bean sauce, or the 8 delights hot pot.
Whatever you order will be great; just do me a favor and stay away from the traditional Chinese-American dishes on the menu (fried rice, egg foo yong, chow mein). I'd hate to see you waste a visit on that stuff.
Given your specifications -- not seafood, not peking duck, not dim sum, mix of adventurous palates and not so much -- I'd STRONGLY recommend Taiwan Cafe. Their menu is much less seafood-intensive than some of the other board favorites (like Peach Farm), and more to the point, they do everything on their menu well -- there's nothing we need to warn you against.
Unlike almost every other restaurant in Chinatown (many of which are superb, but primarily in their specialties), TC doesn't put chinese-american dishes on its menu to cater to people who "wouldn't like" the real stuff. Which isn't to say it's all duck tongues and pig intestines -- there are lots of items on the menu that would appeal to less adventurous palates, it's just that you don't need a secret handshake or special menu in order to find what they take pride in. The staff is also pretty helpful about telling you if a pork dish is, for instance, made with an especially fatty cut that you may or may not want.
As for specific dishes, some of my favorites are the pan-fried dumplings, the eggplant with basil, the beef with poblano peppers, the chinese sausage appetizer, mustard greens with tofu and edamame, just to name a few. Lots of people like the steamed soup dumplings, although I'm not nuts about them. If you do a search you'll find lots of other recommended dishes. Good luck and let us know where you end up and how you like it!
Try the Shanghainese food at New Shanghai. Ask for the "pearl meatbals" - meatballs coated with a layer of glutinous rice and steamed; it's on the white board as you walk in (might be in Chinese, but it worth the tiny extra effort of asking what the items are). 4 flavoured tofu is actually kaofu, a gluten rather than a tofu dish, sweetly flavoued (although not as sweet as the versions you'll get in Shanghai) with a hint of dark spices like star anise. Pan fried pork buns are a great Shanghai street snack. I really like their stir-fried rice cake with pork & veg. Consider the stir fried beef with green peppers. If they have glutinous rice dumpling with rice wine and osmnthus flowers for dessert ("tang yuan" - on the white board) get it, it's great.