might move to boston
thinking of moving to boston from philly in the spring. food is my main influence in a move. we are addicted to vietnamese, malaysian, and indian. looking for good recs on both restaurants and grocery stores. also, are there good farmers markets, and maybe some nice mexican markets?
any other things you think we should know would be appreciated
Welcome. I think that food-wise Philly-Boston is a lateral move.
Here are a few to get you started
Vietnamese: Pho Hoa, Ba Le (Dorchester) Xin Xihn (sp?) (Chinatown) Mei Sum Bakery(Chinatwown)and BaLe (Dorchester) for Bahn Mi
Malaysian: Penang (Chinatown) Aneka Rasa (Allston)
Indian: Tamarind (Harvard Sq), Namaskar (Somerville), Indian Dhaba (Allston) Woodlands (Framingham), Udipi Bhavan (Lowell?)
Bonus: Cambodian: Floating Rock (Revere) If you like the three cuisines that you mention, you'll LOVE Floating Rock
I also don't think of Boston as a step up over Philly, food-wise. And certainly real estate is more expensive here. That said, Boston is a safer city and our access to the oceans and mountains is much easier, and the overall nature of the city is denser in the European sense, which leads to a certain kind of urbanness and even urbanity at times that many people find fetching in its own way.
There is some good Mexican food, but overall Boston has more Central and South American immigrants (especially in East Boston) than Mexican.
Unlike Philly, we don't have the vast farmlands of Penn. and NJ nearby that attract migrant agricultural labor. There are farms with great alluvial soil in lovely river-bottom towns like Concord (pace stereotypes, not all of New England has rocky soil), but overall farms in these locales are smaller and more specialized towards dairy, farmstand vegetable and small flocks of animals.
For Vietnamese. try Pho So 1/Pho 2000/Pho Hoa, all in Fields Corner (Dorchester), or Pho Yuen Dong (my favorite) in Quincy.
For Indian, my favorites are India Quality in Kenmore Square, Kebab Factory in Somerville, Classic India in Quincy, and Shanti in Dorchester.
All of the above are reasonable and lean toward less Americanized, more authentic dishes.
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I've lived in both cities and like them both. Sadly we dont have anything quite so nice as the Italian market or other (permanent) farmers markets in Boston, but the local produce at the weekly neighborhood markets (or if you want to go out of the city, at the farms) can be fantastic from May to October. But restaurants are generally very good, both in the city and in surrounding towns. A definite advantage of Boston is year-round good fresh seafood. You will probably hear a lot about grocery destinations depending on what neighborhood you choose, but I'd say that another plus of Boston is that there are several very good supermarkets specializing in Asian products (especially Super 88). When I miss Philadelphia cuisine, what I mostly miss is the good smoked meats.