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Sep 6, 2006 12:09 PM

Chinese menus with pictures?

After lots of time spent perusing the online menus of King Fung Garden, Taiwan Cafe, Peach Farm, Jumbo Seafood, East Ocean City, etc., my head is swimming with items like "sliced frogs", "chilled five-spice duck tongue", "fish head with ginger", and "chilled jellyfish". Wanting something interesting and authentic that I can't get back home (Lubbock, TX), I'm concerned that some of the menus don't seem approachable by a novice (particularly Taiwan Cafe) and if I stick to things I think I understand by their titles, I'll miss out on something really good.

So, do any of the top Chinatown restaurants have the big wall of pictures of menu items? Help!

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  1. I tend to agree with the writer Bill Bryson, who warns that there are two types of restaurants you should never go to: Those attached to a bowling alley and those with pictures of their food on the menu. :-D

    Having said that, I believe (someone please confirm this for me) that East Ocean City might have pictures on their menu. Most of the other places in Chinatown don't, though.

    Perhaps it's worth doing dim sum so you can see what all these items look like without actually having to try them?

    3 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      what i have been doing is orderiing the best that i can off the menu and then ordering one dish that me (or the group) think is outrageous or completely whack. you never know until you try.

      1. re: hiddenboston

        I think that statement is true except for Dok Bua. I love their picture book and think the food is great. Unfortunately, it's Thai and not Chinese like the OP wants.

        1. re: hiddenboston

          East Ocean City does not have pictures of the food in their menus. Unfortunately it's also not half the restaurant it once was.

          I agree with the warning about avoiding restaurants with pictures of the food on the menu. Along with Chinese restaurants that advertise cocktails before food (ugly flashbacks of tiki rooms in central Jersey, back when that was the only option in town!), real-deal blues bars (though that's changing these days), and just about anything directly across the street from a major tourist attraction with touts trying to rush you in (more relevant in Europe than in Boston).


        2. Though I sort of understand how the warning makes sense, I've been in lots of Chinese and Thai restaurants that have all or most of a wall devoted to pictures of the dishes, with numbers that match up to the menu items. In one favorite, under each picture is the name of the dish in Mandarin.

          1 Reply
          1. re: deubster

            I think you only have to beware places where they have pictures of food on the menu that comes from stock photos, rather than their own kitchen.

          2. Maybe Bill Bryson never went to Asian restaurants! ;-D (I'm guessing he was talking about the IHOPs and HOJOs of the world.)

            So East Ocean City has gone downhill? That's too bad; the last time I was there (about a year ago), it was outstanding.