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Has anyone eaten at Mary Chung in Cambridge?

I was watching the food network yesterday and was watching a show called the kitchen detective. They were in Boston and they met up with a young man who attends Harvard. The student took the host (the detective) to his favorite places to eat in Harvard Square and they wound up at Mary Chungs. It looked really delicious and I love Mandarin Chines Cuisine. Has anyone been there who thinks their food is something special? I would love some thoughts on Mary Chung's. Thanks!

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  1. I don't imagine many knowledgeable diners will call it authentic, but I love the place. The owners are Taiwanese, but I think they shine on the Sichuan (Sichuan-American?) dishes. Favorite dishes include suan la chow show, pork dumplings with a fiery sauce underneath (look for it under Soups), yu hsiang anything, especially pork (lots of garlic and chilli), homestyle (shredded) beef, yang chow minced chicken (served with pancakes for wrapping), ma paw tofu, hot sweet sour cabbage.

    There's plenty for Americans who want American Chinese, too (my mother-in-law loves the crab rangoon, which I have to admit are pretty tasty for an abomination). It's no Chinatown eatery, but the food is very fresh tasting and consistently executed, a good value. It's one of my favorites. Closed Tuesdays.

    1. Get takeout from t here all the time. I love General Gao's but rarely order it because i dont want to take a risk nappy, gray "chicken" balls. Mary Cung's serves up some of the best I've had. Nice crispy gooey outside, white meat inside. The broccoli is cooked to perfection.

      1. like the hung shao pig feet. suan la chow show is good too

        3 Replies
        1. re: galangatron

          Mary Chungs is vg. Also, nearby (about 3 min walk) is a place I prefer over MC... Royal East on Main St. in Cambridge... it's opposite Bertucci's and right next to Salts (chef at Salts just voted one of the top rising chefs in America in current Food and Wine mag).

          1. re: WineTravel

            I know we like a lot of the same places, but I have had terrible experiences at Royal East. They use frozen machine-cut carrots and peas in some dishes. It's my nightmare of American Chinese food. Blecch! I much prefer the terribly-named Pu Pu Hot Pot as my fallback when Mary Chung is closed.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Surprising... I would never think they use any frozen vegetables... Ive never found that. I'll have to ask the owner about that next time I go. Find that hard to believe. I typically order the following items, which are always fresh, always great.

              > Won Ton soup... killer won tons.. seems like a lot of people order the dish that has the same wontons with a spicy sauce... I prefer the soup.
              > Pan fried dumplings - appetizer
              > Spring rolls (wife likes em)... I admit these are just ok
              > Yellow chive with pork
              > Twin Lobsters with ginger and scallion.... they only use hard shell... live from tank
              > Pea Tendrills... when available... they hand pick them every day if they are available in the market... sooo good.
              > Sauteed spicy green beans... always fresh
              > Steamed Whole fish... they are live from the tank... very fresh

              Sometimes they get live king crab, which is served in 2 courses. If they have it, I always get it... but its not often. Its Unreal.

              They have so many repeat customers... and many Chinese customers... which is always a good sign. Anyway, I've always had nothing but great chow there.

        2. Mary Chung's has a big following in my office. They go about once a month and order on the hot side. Dan Dan noodles is their favorite.

          1. We generally like other chinese restos better (Zoe's, Quing Dao, Grand Chau Chow), but Mary Chungs does have a special place in my heart. Their moo shi is great, as are lots of other things, but the dish I like best is Shrimp With Stumble Eggs. Not only is it tasty, it makes me laugh when I order it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: litchick

              I am a huge devote' for years. I like the hot pickled cabbage, dun dun noodles with shredded chicken, egg rolls. the suan la chow show is the best. MMM MMM MMM! The hot spicy eggplant is amazing. It is a slice of heaven.

            2. dun dun noodles, Peking ravioli, and dry-fried beef.

              1. Love Mary Chungs! Wish it were closer to my work. We probably go once a month. I can't go in there without getting suan la chow show. Dan dan noodles are great. I also really like the yushiang eggplant or yushiang broccoli, dried cooked beef is really good, and they have great sichuan green beans. It may not be totally authentic, but it's totally yummy which is all that matters in my book.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MrsCheese

                  .....truly..if there ever were a 100% WORTHY chowhound joint, Mary's is it. In my top 10, maybe my top 3.

                2. Like some Taiwanese places, this place serves food from a few regions -- I've noticed mostly Sichuan and Shanghainese dishes on the menu. It's been a while, but I thought the food was ordinary, certainly not in the same league as Sichuan Gourmet or New Shanghai et al.

                  1. Dan Dan noodles are a must!

                    1. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned their soup dumplings (XLB), which they translate as small steamer buns with pork and serve with vinegar and slivered fresh ginger. Addictive and not too big.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: chowcat

                        Thanks so much for all of the info on this restaurant. I really appreciate and respect all of your opinions. Chowhounds are the best!

                        1. re: chowcat

                          In all my years dining here, I've never seen this dish, nor known it was XLB: awesome tip!

                          Is this because (I'm guessing) it's only on the dim sum menu? I've never done this here. Does anyone know: is it cartless dim sum?

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            It is cartless. Mostly Taiwanese style. We tend to go to Shangri-La, though the lines have been getting longer and longer.

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              Best XLB in Boston, IMHO, though sadly only during weekend dim sum.


                          2. I agree with all the posts in support of Mary Chung's. Husband just tried Royal East suan la chow sho and said it was not nearly as good. We try everyone's and have never had any as good as Mary's. She's there most days, watching over things and greets everyone like she knows them.
                            and yes, cartless dim sum.
                            BTW, cash only.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: LauraBear

                              I just got back from dinner at Mary Chungs and I really enjoyed it. I took my family there for our daughters birthday. I think I ordered too many spicy dishes. I love spicy food but I think it was too spicy for my parents. The dan dan noodles were really delicious and I also got the chow sho which was wonderful. The only dish that wasn't for me was the general gaus chicken. I never order general gau's but it came highly recommended. The shrimp in spicy tomato sauce was really good too. If you love and appreciate spicy food this is a great place. It's like hell night for chinese food!