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Best authentic chinese food in the area?

s
Swankalicious Dec 20, 2008 04:20 PM

I'm looking for garlicky beef tendon, shrimp noodle, weird, exotic stuff...not your basic kung pao chicken. I want hot, spicy, and unusual. Where to go?

  1. s
    sb6 Oct 30, 2009 10:54 AM

    If you're willing to make the trip to Chestnut hill than you definitely have to go to Bernard's in the Chestnut hill Mall. It is definitely the best Chinese food I have had in greater Boston. It is on the pricey side for Chinese food but is definitely worth it.

    -----
    Bernard's Restaurant
    199 Boylston St Ste E201, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

    35 Replies
    1. re: sb6
      h
      hargau Oct 30, 2009 02:10 PM

      Bernards is very good Americanized chinese food but this thread is about authentic chinese food i thought.

      CK Shanghai on the other hand i have found to not be authentic or good. Have been a few times and always left very dissapointed.

      1. re: hargau
        z
        Zatan Oct 30, 2009 02:40 PM

        FWIW I normally stick to the places we all know of as authentic (with a couple of exceptions and as the mood strikes me), but see my recent comment on CK Shanghai http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/659469 and I will stick with my impressions then that the dishes we had were mostly well executed and fit into the "authentic" category well enough to make me happy. Then again, it was my first and only visit there, and I'm not sure how they've done in the past.

        1. re: Zatan
          h
          hargau Oct 30, 2009 03:57 PM

          last time i went was about a year ago. I have given up on the place, never enjoyed a meal there. Maybe its better now, but your review also strikes on one of my pet peeves when something is listed as spicy in bold RED on the menu and you specifically ask for it SPICY above and beyond that and it comes not spicy at all.

          Also other then the wontons i dont see any of the items you mention on the menu. http://www.ckshanghai.com/menu.html
          Was there a special menu or was it just that you were friends with the waiter??
          edit: i found the "hot and spicy" imperial duck listed.

          1. re: hargau
            z
            Zatan Oct 30, 2009 04:21 PM

            Acquainted I'd say, and it is true he knows that I am familiar with "real" Chinese food so it's possible the dishes were even tweaked for me. Since it is billed as Shanghainese I wouldn't expect the heat levels to go too high anyway.

            But yes, some the items I mention were not on the regular menu, rather part of the new "dim sum" menu. This would not be my choice for authentic Chinese, but if I lived in Wellesley and didn't want to drive too far I think it would be fine. I had the feeling that they were beginning to see that Americanized is not the only way to go, and that the chef can actually cook the real thing if he wants to (I believe this).

            1. re: Zatan
              h
              hargau Oct 30, 2009 05:38 PM

              I agree not to have high hopes for spicy in a Shanghainese place but why even offer those dishes then? Seems 3 of the 5 things you ordered were billed as "hot & spicy" and were not. Looking at the menu i dont see much i would even considor Shanghainese. They dont have the dimsum menu online, i assume that one is.. Whats online looks like mostly Cantonese and Americanized stuff and a few of what i call "yuppiezed" sort of "specials" to try to appeal to the wellesleynites. Then a handfull of pseudo sichuan...

              I would be curious to see the dimsum menu though as im a big dimsum fan. It would be really hard for them to do better then Uncle Cheungs in Framingham for Shanghainese dimsum or even Shanghainese in general

      2. re: sb6
        gansu girl Oct 31, 2009 04:33 AM

        I'm with hargau - Bernard's is nowhere near authentic, but is fresh and well-prepared. And it is ridiculously expensive, IMHO.

        GG
        http://www.semisweetonline.com

        1. re: gansu girl
          e
          emilief Oct 31, 2009 06:18 PM

          Bernards may not be authentic but the food is delicious, fresh and well- prepared. The best thing is that it is amazingly consistent. I have never had a bad anything there and when you order something it will be exactly the same as last time.The roast duck is fabulous- crispy skin and moist meat. The roast chicken is also delicious. Clams in black bean sauce ( not on the menu- usually a special) are yummy. When they have them the pea leaves are amazing. Expensive but the serving easily feeds four.
          The shrimp in black bean sauce and crispy shallots, and the shrimp in avocado in a sake sauce are wonderful. Great attentive service. If you order an appetizer with 4 pieces (e.g. eggplant stuffed with shrimp) and there are 5 at the table they will give you 5 pieces. OK so I love this place. You won't find beef tendons (never figured out the attraction to this awful dish) but you will have a tasty, if unauthentic meal.

          1. re: emilief
            StriperGuy Oct 31, 2009 06:34 PM

            Yah, I guess if you don't like beef tendon then some of the more non-Americanized Chinese food is not for you.

            If done properly tendon, really is just like chewy noodles.

            I love tendon, but it took me a while to understand the subtleties of some Asian foods where chewy, crunchy, or (heaven forbid to Western tastes) slimy textures are prized.

            To call it an "awful dish" with no qualifier (like "in my opionion") is a bit harsh. There are those in Asia who consider blue cheese (moldy dairy products after all) revolting as well. And gosh, lobsters are really just giant underwater bugs, seriously.

            My general guiding principal is if someone, somewhere on earth, thinks a particular dish is tasty I try to go into it with an open mind. If you go in thinking "tendon, that has to be weird" it is pretty hard to get past one's preconceived bias.

            If suburbanized, sanitized Chinese food is the defines your comfort zone so be it. But by not straying beyond that zone you are ignoring one of the great cuisines of the world. There was a time when eating sushi, tofu, pesto, or guacamole was just weird to the American palate. We've come a long way I suppose...

            1. re: StriperGuy
              h
              hargau Nov 1, 2009 01:32 AM

              You dont have to be a Tendon fan to understand authentic. When a "chinese" menu features Pad Thai, Dishes with "sake", "angel hair pasta", Miso, Udon, etc.. this is always a warning for me..

              I dont argue that the food is excellent and very fresh and i think the place is excellent. Im just saying the original poster (and title) was asking about the best authentic, not the best tasting or freshest, etc...

              1. re: hargau
                c
                cambridgedoctpr Nov 1, 2009 01:25 PM

                China is a big country where food is prepared in manifold ways. So, I doubt that there is an authentic way of making a dish, merely variations.

                My favorite restaurant in the NE is Jean-George where the French chef makes fusion food that is very inauthentic. So?

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                  h
                  hargau Nov 1, 2009 01:29 PM

                  The "so" is simply: Chowhound is a big forum with many posts prepared in manifold of ways. This particular one was asking about "I'm looking for garlicky beef tendon, shrimp noodle, weird, exotic stuff...not your basic kung pao chicken. I want hot, spicy, and unusual. Where to go?"

                  Are you suggesting that since there are McD's and KFC in China, that they should also be considered?

                  1. re: hargau
                    c
                    cambridgedoctpr Nov 1, 2009 01:45 PM

                    I want food to taste good, and I merely point out that there is no way to decide authenticity as there is no standard for the correct way to prepare a dish. This is Chinese cooking, not the French language where there is a body of experts deciding purity.

                    Enjoying Von Gerichten's 3 star MIchellin Guide restaurant - while not getting authentic French food - does not make me a fan of KFC.

                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                      h
                      hargau Nov 1, 2009 01:54 PM

                      Never said it did..

                      When a place features things that were not even originally from the country, typically one can say those are not authentic.. Is there a such thing as an authentic Chinese Crab Rangoon? Or authentic general gau's chicken? What about the authentic Chinese Udon or Miso or Pad Thai?? I never once said that the food didnt taste good or that i didnt like it.. If the original poster made a post looking for tasty non-authentic food it would be a different conversation. Im just pointing out that just because something is maybe made or available in China, doesnt make it authentic chinese food... You wouldnt recommend your french place for someone asking about good pizza, would you?

                      1. re: hargau
                        c
                        cambridgedoctpr Nov 1, 2009 02:04 PM

                        crab rangoon is probably an authentic San Francisco dish. As to the other dishes, I have not seen them at Chinese restaurants.

                        Jean-George does not make pizza though they have a cheese-burger for lunch which I have not tasted. I bet it is good.

                        As I said earlier, I enjoy CK Shanghai but only because i ask the chef to make something special - something off the menu. Many places will accomodate their better customers and make something more interesting. As to thier authenticiy, I am not sure.

                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                          h
                          hargau Nov 1, 2009 02:13 PM

                          Well i gave those examples because they are all on the menu at Bernards.. True most chinese places will have Crab Rangoon and the like to cater to those that want them. However, what i like to do is mentally remove all those sort of dishes from a menu and take a look at what is left. Sometimes there is very little left.... http://www.menupix.com/menudirectory/...

                  2. re: cambridgedoctpr
                    StriperGuy Nov 1, 2009 11:05 PM

                    Your statement that there is not such thing as authentic Chinese cuisine is absurd at face value. Do you actually read chowhound? Do you eat out anywhere other then Jean-George?

                    I could certainly write a paragraph or two defining "Authentic" but based on your statement above I think that excercise would be fruitless. Further to compare Bernard's (not authhentic by any stretch) in Chestnut Hill with the myriad restaurants in Boston that actually do prepare food in a manner that consistent with traditional preparations typical of one region or another of China is also just plain missing the point.

                    I am actually not particularly a fan of Mr. Von Gerichten's fussy cuisine. Nor do I particularly care for Yoma here in Boston, the fussy heir to a sort of Japanese fusion throne here in Boston.

                    You are entitled to your likes and dislikes, but to deny that there is any way of differentiating between the traditional cuisines of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, and sanitized, nouvelle Westernized fair is absurd at face value.

                    1. re: StriperGuy
                      barleywino Nov 2, 2009 02:27 AM

                      Striper, I think you meant to say "O-Ya", not "Yoma" , right?

                      1. re: barleywino
                        StriperGuy Nov 2, 2009 05:31 AM

                        Whoops, O-Ya it is.

                      2. re: StriperGuy
                        c
                        cambridgedoctpr Nov 2, 2009 05:47 AM

                        as i said, china is a big place and Chinese cuisine is growing and developing; it is not a bee stuck in amber. There are no rules that make something authentic.

                        That being said, I like Chinese home cooking, and I have not been a big fan of french food in Boston though I am always willing to try something different and want to be pleasantly suprised.

                        I do like Mr. VonGerichtens's food but that does not stop me from liking home-style chinese food, too.

                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                          h
                          hargau Nov 2, 2009 06:01 AM

                          I have no idea what french cuisine has to do with anything here..I dont think anyone said you dont like home-style chinese food if you like french.. There certainly are rules regarding what makes something authentic. There are authentic Sichuan dishes and authentic Sichuan restaurants. Same for Cantonese, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, etc.. They all have specific authentic dishes that one would expect to find at a restaurant specializing in that food. Again your saying if someone makes it in China or you can buy it in China, its authentic Chinese food. I guess we can all agree to disagree...

                          1. re: hargau
                            galleygirl Nov 2, 2009 06:16 AM

                            I just read "The Last Chinese Cook", a fabulous explanation of authentic Chinese regional cuisine woven thru a fictitious novel.

                            1. re: galleygirl
                              t
                              Taralli Nov 2, 2009 06:24 AM

                              GG, if you mean "The Last Chinese Chef", loved it too.

                              1. re: Taralli
                                galleygirl Nov 2, 2009 06:27 AM

                                Yes, I did mean that; not caffeinated yet...I adored it, can't believe I hadn't heard of it before!

                            2. re: hargau
                              StriperGuy Nov 2, 2009 06:45 AM

                              Hargau,

                              To your statement, "there certainly are rules regarding what makes something authentic. There are authentic Sichuan dishes and authentic Sichuan restaurants. Same for Cantonese, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, etc."

                              In Boston I would at to that various regional styles of dim sum, Teochew (Best Little Restaurant), Foochow (Pot Luck Cafe), Beijing (Beijing Star in Waltham), and Hong Kong (numerous Boston places) cuisines. All of which have good to excellent representation here in Boston.

                              Again, as you said above "They all have specific authentic dishes that one would expect to find at a restaurant specializing in that food."

                              None of those places would serve Pad Thai or Miso anything...

                    2. re: StriperGuy
                      e
                      emilief Nov 1, 2009 09:44 AM

                      No, sububanized, sanitized does not define my comfort zone-I eat almost everything. However, I had the beef tendon at Sezchuan Garden in Framingham and thought it was something other than food. Chewy noodles sound good! but these were definitely not. I have been to many countries, including Japan several times, and have eaten all the odd things they put in front of me. But sorry, not tendon! If you could tell me where they prepare it like chewy noodles I'm up for trying it!!

                      1. re: emilief
                        StriperGuy Nov 1, 2009 10:24 AM

                        Gotcha on the adventurous eating. I like tendon at Jo Jo Taipei, Shangri-La, and Wisteria House, though I will admit that chewy noodles to some is funky and weird to others.

                        -----
                        Shangri-La
                        149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

                        Wisteria House
                        569 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                        JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
                        103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                        1. re: emilief
                          barleywino Nov 2, 2009 02:35 AM

                          try the braised beef tendon at Hong Kong Eatery, where it is usually very soft and tender (usually they mix it with beef stew but you can request "tendon only")

                          -----
                          Hong Kong Eatery
                          79 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111

                          1. re: barleywino
                            z
                            Zatan Nov 2, 2009 02:33 PM

                            Love that stuff. Actually, I'm a big fan of tendon, and at HKE I usually get the wonton noodle soup with that.

                            Years ago in Beijing, a friend of mine arranged a banquet dinner for several people attending a conference, and his preferences showed clearly as I kept asking "so, what's this dish?" and he would reply, "umm, that's another tendon dish....". Haha. There was an amazing variety of textures and flavors.

                            I also dig deep for it in pho when I'm eating that and am disappointed if I don't get any. It always seems that my friends who don't like tendon get all of it and they find it amusing that I want to take it from them.

                            And I can snack all day on the cold spicy tendon from Taiwan Cafe....

                            1. re: Zatan
                              StriperGuy Nov 2, 2009 02:38 PM

                              You've got to try the versions at Shangri-La, Jo Jo, and Wisteria House. All very good.

                              -----
                              Shangri-La
                              149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

                              Wisteria House
                              569 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                z
                                Zatan Nov 2, 2009 02:49 PM

                                Do any of those, or do you know of any places, that serve other tendon dishes? The cold, thin-sliced (or shaved) tendon is great, as is the stewed one from HKE, but now I'm recalling that long ago banquet and want more.....

                                1. re: Zatan
                                  9
                                  9lives Nov 2, 2009 03:11 PM

                                  The menu at New Shanghai lists a dish, "beef tendon w hot and wild pepper sauce." Haven't tried it yet.

                                  eta..also an ox tendon with tripe w chili sauce

                                  -----
                                  New Shanghai Restaurant
                                  21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                                  1. re: 9lives
                                    z
                                    Zatan Nov 2, 2009 03:18 PM

                                    That sounds worth a try!

                                  2. re: Zatan
                                    StriperGuy Nov 2, 2009 04:06 PM

                                    Hmmm, tendon 7 ways?

                                    Total non-sequitor, but if any place could do something interesting with tendon for some reason Winsor dim sum comes to mind. All the others above to do cold version, though very different renditions.

                                    1. re: StriperGuy
                                      z
                                      Zatan Nov 2, 2009 04:13 PM

                                      different tendons from different animals cut differently.....I was impressed. I don't know, may have been a "tendon" restaurant, though I do recall a young man pouring tea from a long-spouted teapot with great precision from several feet away. Based on the food I would not think it's a tourist place though, haha.

                                      As with many things Chinese, it's all about texture, and then infinite variations with their wonderful flavorings....

                                      1. re: Zatan
                                        9
                                        9lives Nov 2, 2009 04:24 PM

                                        I edited it in but in case you miss it, there's also an ox tendon/tripe chili sauce dish on the NS menu.

                  3. r
                    rpglancy Oct 27, 2009 06:50 AM

                    If you live near/can get to North Cambridge, Qingdao Garden (widely touted as the best hand-made dumplings in the area) is a hole-in-the-wall place. They always have a number of hand-written specials, in Chinese and English, usually comprising of exotic seafood and/or vegetables. They also have a whole section of the menu of more traditional dishes, rarely found at other Chinese-American joints. The majority of diners here are Chinese people and Asian American families, which is always a good sign. It's not much to look at, but the food is amazing and it's a family run business.

                    Qingdao Garden Restaurant
                    (617)492-7540
                    (617)492-7541

                    Address:
                    2382 Mass Ave.
                    Cambridge, MA 02140

                    http://qingdao-garden.com/default.aspx

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: rpglancy
                      c
                      cambridgedoctpr Oct 29, 2009 11:59 AM

                      i buy frozen dumplings from Mu Lan in Cambridge and Gourmet Dumpling House - which are more expensive - in Chinatown.

                      Are these dumplings better?

                      I have been to Qundao Garden once - was unimpressed - and have not returned.

                      -----
                      Gourmet Dumpling House
                      52 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                        StriperGuy Oct 29, 2009 12:13 PM

                        You area pretty spot on with your dumpling purchasing. Also try Wang's Fast Food on Broadway in Somerville.

                        1. re: StriperGuy
                          q
                          qianning Oct 30, 2009 08:23 AM

                          it really depends on what type of dumpling (jiao zi) skin/wrapper one prefers. mulan's are made with egg whaite incorporated into the dough, qingdao and wang's have no egg. i prefer the latter, but many prefer the former.

                          i'm pretty sure all of the above use ground, as opposed to hand minced, meat in their dumpling's, which makes a big difference, hand minced meat is the sign of good home made jiaozi, but alas, almost nobody in asia, let alone here, does this professionally any more.

                          i haven't made it to gourmet dumpling house yet.

                          -----
                          Gourmet Dumpling House
                          52 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                          mulan
                          228 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    2. Dr.Jimbob Dec 25, 2008 09:04 AM

                      To recap and emphasize, for authentic regional cookery:

                      all-around: FuLoon in Malden (gets raves for its Sichuan cookery, but arguably their Shandong and Cantonese cookery is even better, and one of the most impressive ranges of real deal Chinese cooking that I've seen on the East Coast.

                      Sichuan (this is key for hot, spicy and unusual, in order of preference):
                      Sichuan Garden in Brookline Village and Woburn
                      Red Pepper in Framingham
                      FuLoon
                      Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham and B'rica
                      Chilli Garden in Medford
                      Zoë's on the Cambridge/Somerville line

                      Northern Chinese:
                      FuLoon; Qingdao Garden in North Cambridge

                      Taiwanese (in no particular order)
                      Jo Jo Taipei (by reputation only; haven't set foot there yet) in Allston
                      Gourmet Dumpling House and Taiwan Cafe in Chinatown
                      MuLan in Kendall Square
                      Shangri La in Belmont

                      Shanghai:
                      Wing's Kitchen in Chinatown
                      Shanghai Gate in Allston

                      IMO, CK Shanghai and Mary Chung are OK for Americanized Chinese, but not my go to for something hot, spicy or unusual.

                      -----
                      FuLoon
                      375 Main St, Malden, MA 02148

                      Zoe's
                      289 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

                      Sichuan Garden
                      295 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

                      Redpepper Chinese Restaurant
                      17 Edgell Rd, Framingham, MA

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Dr.Jimbob
                        Bob Dobalina Dec 26, 2008 06:10 AM

                        Chilli Garden pretty well kicked my butt the other night - "medium spicy" kung pao chicken (from the Szechuan menu) was full of peanuts, not a sniff of celery chunks, and those hell-acious peppers were somewhat chopped up to bring the heat. Also from the Szechuan menu, had the braised beef short ribs, which were coated in more chopped peppers - good flavor - could have stood to be braised a bit longer, but the chewy cartilege-y bits around the bone were not bad. Quenched the fire with the "crispy vegetables and garlic sauce" salad - odd but delightful assortment of green crunchy veggies in a flavorful creamy dressing.

                        1. re: Dr.Jimbob
                          lipoff Dec 26, 2008 10:28 AM

                          I agree with Dr. Jimbob's excellent post very much, although I want to add one addition:

                          For northern style, although I do like Qingdao Garden, I find Wang's in Somerville to be the very best.

                          I just had Christmas dinner there last night, in fact.

                          We had the following dishes:

                          xiao3 luo2 bo si1 (Sweet and Sour Shredded Turnip)
                          liang2 mian4 (Sesame Cold Noodle)
                          cong1 you2 bing3 (Scallion Pancake)
                          su4 jiu3 cai4 shui3 jiao3 (Vegetarian Leek Dumpling)
                          chuan1 wei4 la4 zi ji1 (Szechuan Style Bone-in Chicken)
                          yu2 xiang1 niu2 rou4 (Yu Shang Beef)
                          xiang1 gu1 you2 cai4 (Shanghai Cabbage with Black Mushroom)

                          I'm sure the turnip comes from a jar, but it's still so terrific. The texture is snappy, the taste is complex, and the occasional sliver of ginger and hot pepper adds to the dish.

                          The cold noodles are freshly made, served with cucumber and winter melon matchsticks. Tonight there was an addition that I'd never seen before --- a drizzling of hot oil on top.

                          The dumplings at Wang's are nearly without comparison. Similar is style to Qingdao, but I find the Wang's dumplings just a little more delicate and the flavoring a little more robust.

                          The scallion pancakes at Wang's used to be consistent and the very best in Boston. Unfortunately, they've lost that consistency, alternating now between "very good" and "the very best", but sadly more often the former. I think Jo Jo Taipei may do the best, consistently high range of Northern Style pastries now.

                          The Szechuan Style Bone-in Chicken also used to be a better dish. Now there are many fewer peppers in the dish, the chicken pieces are a bit larger, there's some sugar water added to make a glaze and it's topped with sesame seeds. This change seems roughly consistent with this dish being listed in English translation under the house specialities, as well as on the Chinese language only portion of the menu on the "Northern Pastries Page" where it has always been.

                          Yu Shang Beef may be an Americanized dish, but it's actually quite terrific here. Their "Yu Shang" sauce is light, a touch sweet, with chopped peppers and water chestnuts and miniature mushrooms.

                          I prefer to have the pea pod stems there when available, but last night we had the shanghai cabbage and large black mushrooms. The mushrooms have a taste not to my liking, but the cabbage is excellent --- fresh and bright.

                          I do feel that Wang's has slipped a bit, but they still rank as one of the very best in Boston.

                          -----
                          Wang's Fast Food
                          509 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

                          1. re: lipoff
                            c
                            cambridgedoctpr Oct 25, 2009 10:46 AM

                            when CK is not busy, he can make the best food in Boston.

                            But when things are busy, especially on a week-end night, the food is merely good.

                            Most of the best dishes can only be gotten by requesting that the chef make something special using a particular base: such as make a duck dish or a pork dish.

                            The glory days of their dumplings are a thing of the past.

                            1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                              c
                              cambridgedoctpr Oct 25, 2009 10:50 AM

                              Here is a link to CK Shanghai

                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                c
                                cambridgedoctpr Oct 26, 2009 07:53 PM

                                here is the link

                                -----
                                C K' Shanghai Restaurant
                                15 Washington St, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481

                          2. re: Dr.Jimbob
                            d
                            drbangha Nov 1, 2009 10:30 AM

                            Dr. J- what do you recomend at Fuloon of the Shandong and Cantonese variety? I absolutely love the Szechuan stuff.

                          3. steinpilz Dec 23, 2008 05:51 PM

                            I'm sort of an innocent regarding Chinese food but my understanding (from Chowhound) is that Taiwan Cafe, Mulan, Sichuan Gourmet, HK Eatery, King Fung, Peach Farm, Wings, and others, are all quite authentic.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: steinpilz
                              9
                              9lives Dec 23, 2008 06:10 PM

                              Those will all serve you well. I'd add Fuloon and you covered it pretty well..maybe China Pearl (this week) for dim sum and add New Shanghai as a possible contender..and you won't go hungry..:)

                            2. gansu girl Dec 22, 2008 12:06 PM

                              Jo Jo Tai Pei on Brighton Ave. in Allston and Shangri La on Belmont St. in Cambridge are two of our favorites. Both have Americanized Chinese stuff, but both also have very good, much more authentic dishes. Both are consistently delicious.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: gansu girl
                                Harp00n Dec 22, 2008 12:30 PM

                                Hi gansu girl,
                                Shangri-La is near the top of my list as well, along with both locations of Sichuan Gourmet and Chili Garden. But to avoid any confusion for curious Hounds it's just over the Cambridge line in Belmont.

                                Harp

                                -----
                                Shangri-La
                                149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

                                Sichuan Gourmet II
                                271 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01701

                                1. re: Harp00n
                                  gansu girl Dec 22, 2008 12:35 PM

                                  I stand corrected! I guess there is *now* one place in Belmont I'd recommend to eat!

                                  1. re: gansu girl
                                    n
                                    newyorker1 Dec 23, 2008 06:20 AM

                                    I'll third Shangri-La -- if you want northern dim sum on weekends, get in line before the open at 11:30am, otherwise you'll likely need to wait for the tables to turn over (it is filled with Chinese families on weekend mornings/early afternoons.... I've been less impressed with their dinner offerings but they can't be beat for dim sum. (though Jo Jo Taipei's XLB beats Shangri-La's bit a little bit IMHO.)

                              2. n
                                newyorker1 Dec 22, 2008 11:03 AM

                                Jo Jo Taipei in Allston has become my go-to "in town" Chinese restaurant -- in addition to well-executed standards, they have northern dim sum-type items and generally convenient on-street metered parking. Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica is my absolute favorite, but JJT is a close second and much more convenient for me now that I no longer work near SG.

                                Chili Garden is on my "to-try" list. Fuloon is also a good bet. CK Shanghai, alas, I was not very fond of on my one visit there.

                                1. u
                                  umami76 Dec 22, 2008 09:14 AM

                                  Everyone says CK's Shanghai in Wellesley is the best!..

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: umami76
                                    h
                                    hargau Dec 22, 2008 12:20 PM

                                    Not everyone, Ive been 2 times and both were very underwhelming. Wont make the mistake a 3rd time

                                    1. re: umami76
                                      TheTrout Dec 23, 2008 04:37 AM

                                      On 2 visits to CK's, my wife and I were puzzled at how sweet the main dishes were, none of the food we ordered had pineapple, tangerine or mango. As a matter of fact, shrimp
                                      with Yu Shiang garlic sauce tasted like it was swimming in a candy flavored syrup. What's up with that? Has their food been 'dumbed down" to American tastes? Given the positive hype we'd heard, CK's failed our test for good, authentic Chinese food.

                                    2. b
                                      Baiye Dec 22, 2008 06:25 AM

                                      I second Sichuan Gourmet (Billerica and Framingham) and Chilli Garden in Medford. Both make a lovely tendon in chili sauce appetizer.

                                      I can't think of a place that has garlicky tendon, though.

                                      -----
                                      Chilli Garden
                                      41 Riverside Ave, Medford, MA 02155

                                      Sichuan Gourmet
                                      502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Baiye
                                        p
                                        pemma Dec 22, 2008 08:25 AM

                                        I third Chili Garden in Medford. (fyi they also have an "American" Chinese menu and even though it's nice to have some old fashioned American Chinese now and then, they don't do this food very well.) Their Szechuan food is great though.

                                        1. re: pemma
                                          jgg13 Dec 22, 2008 09:21 AM

                                          I finally managed to get some Chili Garden fare, as they recently showed up on my Foodler listing (getting there has been such a roadblock that I've never managed. It also took me a while to figure out where it was, as the Chinese coworker who first pointed me there 7 or so years ago referred to it as "Spicy Garden"), and it was quite good. The only reason I haven't tried it again was that the first time I was thinking about ordering food was last night and I figured they'd shoot me in the face if I requested something delivered to Central Sq from Medford in the snowstorm. :)

                                      2. TheTrout Dec 22, 2008 06:06 AM

                                        Sichuan Garden, 295 Wahington St. in Brookline gets my vote. I have taken colleagues from China to eat there, and they're thrilled to be handed a "Chinese" menu. No, not the English menu written in Chinese, but dishes geared towards the Sichuan Chinese palate. The staff is also very happy to help non Chinese speakers navigate that menu.

                                        1. f
                                          fredid Dec 22, 2008 01:37 AM

                                          Fuloon in Malden is just great - Many specific dishes mentioned in reports on CH. The menu is very large - so many interesting things. We've also found a number of highlights, so do some research here and I think you'll be very happy. Just one example: Many of us were introduced to Szechuan peppercorns here, and had our tastebuds (already pretty experienced!) transformed!

                                          1. Sgt Snackers Dec 21, 2008 07:46 PM

                                            For Sichuan, I'm a fan of Chili Garden in Medford. They have some really authentic Sichuanese dishes that veer towards the somewhat exotic (the spicy beef tongue is fantastic).

                                            1. a
                                              AHan Dec 21, 2008 06:58 AM

                                              Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham fits the bill. not sure what area you are looking for. Had the beef tendon a couple of weeks ago, good stuff.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: AHan
                                                t
                                                teezeetoo Dec 21, 2008 04:16 PM

                                                I wouldn't know if chinese food was authentic. I can tell you that Shanghai Gate is excellent, generally full of Asian diners, and has a menu with wonderful odd stuff on it. The staff is always pleasant and I consider the food one of Boston's great treasures. Is it authentic? I've never eaten in Shanghai.

                                              2. Prav Dec 20, 2008 08:32 PM

                                                You may want to specify which region of China you're interested in tasting... then you can get more specific responses.

                                                1. s
                                                  sinned61 Dec 20, 2008 07:50 PM

                                                  Go to Mary Chung in Central Sq Cambridge.....Mass Ave.
                                                  GREAT stuff!!!!

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: sinned61
                                                    jgg13 Dec 21, 2008 03:16 PM

                                                    I preface this w/ saying that I love Mary Chung, but I don't know that "authentic" is the word I'd use. I think I'd say "american-chinese executed tremendously well"

                                                    1. re: sinned61
                                                      b
                                                      Baiye Dec 22, 2008 06:26 AM

                                                      Great, if you stick to the Suan Lo Char Shou.

                                                      1. re: Baiye
                                                        jgg13 Dec 22, 2008 07:12 AM

                                                        A bit of wisdom I was told once which generally has held true (in both directions) is to stick wtih the specials that they list on the front of the menu. I've found some things there that I didn't like so much and some stuff outside of that list which I've enjoyed but it's a good start.

                                                        1. re: Baiye
                                                          Allstonian Dec 22, 2008 08:06 AM

                                                          Even the suan la chow show aren't reliable - I've been a fan since Mary's first opened, but the last time I ate there they were terrible, way too much chili heat with no other flavor at all.

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