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Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant Chinatown

Just opened at

Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant
61-63 Beach Street
617-426-8899

I had some really excellent buns there Saturday:

Char siu bao
crispy fried taro ball with pork inside
Oval shaped fried thingy also with pork.

Very good renditions of all three items.

Lots of seating.

The menu also says "Dim Sum Bakery Congee Noodles Rice."

There are two separate menus, one more snacky congee, rice plate, the other more sit down faire. Some very interesting casserole dishes.

Definitely like to give it a whirl for some of the other dishes.

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  1. Allstonian and I stopped in there with our dim sum crowd last weekend. I had a perfectly respectable pineapple bun filled with coconut.

    1. Seconded on the char siu bao, and found the place to be cheery and the counter help very pleasant. Looking forward to going back.

      1. oval shaped fried thingy could be Hom sui gok? sticky and football-shaped? http://www.flickr.com/photos/55017688...

        3 Replies
          1. re: barleywino

            Went this past saturday with some friends who I went to Hong Kong with this past fall. We sat in the very empty dining room. We tried a few dishes--Portuguese Chicken casserole with spaghetti (at the servers reccomendation.), shredded beef congee, ma po tofu, scallion pancake, and ham and egg sandwich. Was dreaming of getting tasty hong kong style congee but it fell a little short. Pretty bland in flavor. Tofu was tasty. Scallion pancake was great-light and crispy. The casserole was very interesting. baked pasta on the bottom covered with crispy fried chicken with a very thick egg custard on top that browned under a salamander. The chicken was tasty but overall the dish was very heavy and the custard was a little much for our liking.

            The best thing of the day was the Portuguese style egg tart-Nadas- that is so popular in Macau. I found it to be better that what is available in East Cambridge and rival what those from my favorite Sunrise Bakery in New Bedford. We enjoyed our time there and the staff was friendly but it won't be entering into my regular c-town rotation

            1. re: iloveporkbelly

              Hmmmm. sorry the sit down dishes were not that exciting at first taste. The buns are as good as any in Boston so you might want to give those a whirl next time.

          2. I was there yesterday and had the pork bun, woo gok (Taro) and hom sui gok (oval thing). The woo gok is very good and the other two were OK. . They also have an lunch and dinner menu (noodles, congee , rice plates and some main dishes). Its kind of a combination of Ho Yuen and Hong Kong Eatery.Overall, there is a certain sameness to this new venture and had hoped for something out of the ordinary, but I quibble.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gourmaniac

              I agree that it is in a similar mold to other Boston places. That said, all of the stuff I ate was hot out of the fryer or oven which is a big plus.

              I hold out that the congees and other items are worthy as well.

            2. Went to Great Taste on Beach Street this past week. I'm surprised that no one recommeneded the wonton soup. I haven't tased a better wonton soup in Boston. My wife had the chicken, salted fish, tofu and rice dish - solid Cantonese comfort food - which she enjoyed. This is a great little addition to Chinatown.

              1. Went back again tonight to Great Taste. Some of the kitchen staff were dining on abalone and scallops over rice vermicelli with garlic and ginger on a large shell. A tremendous dish. Also had the minced beef with egg in the rice bowl and wonton soup. This is becoming a go-to place because you can order anything under sun and the value is fantastic. The staff is efficient and helpful, there is normally at least one large group having a great time (Germans tonight), plus there are the take-away sweets from the bakery.

                7 Replies
                1. re: JohnnyQ1960

                  I went for lunch yesterday based on your report, and all the others of course, but I really wanted that scallop/abalone. The helpful staff told me it was actually bean thread noodles on the shell, but they were out of them! :(

                  I had shrimp in rice noodle (chow something, always forget the Cantonese!), and shrimp and chive dumplings, which i expected to be the flat pan-fried ones, but were big steamed ones. very fresh and chivey tasting, very pink shrimp. Very good. Very reasonable.
                  i had a chat with the owner afterward who told me to "bring my boyfriend", becasue i complained I didn't get to Ctown enough these days...

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    GG/Striper, Pleased to be an inspiration for 2 chowhounds whose opinions I respect. Chinatown to me is all about value which is why I love the Windsors, Pho Haus and Great Tastes of the world. Also love the little rat cakes they sell in the bakery.

                  2. re: JohnnyQ1960

                    Inspired by the follow on posts, I finally ate a meal there as opposed to just buying buns. I had the spicy fried pork rib rice plate. Okay for starters I think I ate the best $6 meal in Boston. A bit similar to a prep at Best Little Restaurant.

                    It took a little while to come out. It was obviously made upon ordering: Big meaty pork ribs perfectly deep fried, crispy outside, meaty and juicy inside, the fried ribs were covered with a nice scattering of fried garlic, red dried chilis, and fresh green chilis. I should not have finished the generous portion, but I did ;-). Frankly, the execution was spot on perfect. The work of a talented chef, delicious!

                    It is after meals like this when I question going to some of the pricier places in town only to (with some frequency) eat lesser fair.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      I noticed the twin lobsters in ginger and scallion were $15.95 there!

                      1. re: galleygirl

                        More or less same price as Jo Jo Taipei which does a superb rendition.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          I'll have to get there for that...Do they serve wine or beer?

                  3. After reading all these positive reviews, I finally made it there for lunch today with my cousin. Fantastic Cantoese food!

                    We decided to both get the beef brisket/beef tendon noodle soup. The menu says either brisket OR tendon, but we requested both, which was not an issue. It took quite a long time to come out (at least 15 minutes), but the brisket and tendon were very very tender. We also love the broth - a Cantonese broth, not the spicy and super salty Taiwanese broth which we had at Gourmet Dumpling House. A great deal @ $4.75, and it even includes 2 stalks of shanghai bok choy.

                    We saw lots of fried rice and fried noodle dishes ordered by fellow diners. They are huge in size and looks great. For just $5.75 a dish, it can easily be shared by 2. The aforementioned baked casserole (Portugese chicken; or spaghetti bolognase) takes about 20 -25 minutes to prepare, so don't order those if you're in a hurry.

                    The menu is extensive, and apart from what's been mentioned, the walls have items in Chinese only - the ones that caught my eye are clay pot rice dish. One is the chinese sausage clay pot rice; another is chicken + shitake clay pot rice. I think there ae a few more choices; but right now it's too hot for clay pot.

                    We didn't try the dim sum.

                    Overall, I think this is a great addition to Chinatown, as like someone said, this place serve comfort Cantonese food. The prices are hard to beat too. I definitely will be going back again!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: y2000k

                      Just went to Great Taste for brunch today, Wow, the best deal I've had in a while.

                      We got the fish congee with fried dough, chicken casserole, and some buns from the bakery (it's nice that they let us bring them to the dining room!) We spent less than $20 including tips!

                      The congee was tasty, not sticky, didn't look like it's been simmering for hours like congee we usually get. The fish was generous, nice and tender. Love the fried dough too (still warm!)
                      The casserole was nice. It was fried chicken on top of egg fried rice. Something I don't see that much in Chinatown...
                      The buns are as good as the ones I get elsewhere. They're bigger, I couldn't finish one all by myself (after the meal)

                      The 3 of us were so stuffed. I agree, we probably shouldn't have finished them...

                    2. Just had the first meal I wasn't floored by - the spicy fried squid. It was hot out of the fat, and the first half of the squid were delicious, but got progressively more painful to eat, gravity having pulled a lot of the grease toward the bottom. Definitely not as good a fry job as on the scallion pancakes or fried ribs. Or maybe I'm just a fried seafood wuss now - I remember actually enjoying extra greasy seafood in my younger days. The Portuguese tart made up for it though - the cream/sugar/egg balance was perfect, not too much egg taste and texture.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nsenada

                        Okay yesterday I tried the Portugese tart at Great taste, wow. Truly amazing. Better then the rendition I have had at most of the Portuguese places in the area, truly awesome. I want more now!

                        Also was comped one of their "wife cakes" a few weeks back. Usually this pastry is one of those Asian baked goods that is a bit of a mystery to me. Sort of gummy filling with an oily crust? Even at my beloved Yi Soon I don't care for them. Great Tastes version was a different story. The filling had some of the subtle melon taste that it should, the crust was flaky and delicious. The person who gave it do me did so with great pride. He may have been the owner. He said people say to me "better than NY, better than Hong Kong." I believe him. It was subtle but excellent.

                      2. A Fall Update:

                        Great Taste is now my go-to place for no-fuss, comfort Cantonese food. I grew up in Hong Kong and I long for Cantonese food.

                        Their beef brisket and beef tendon are out of this world. Very tender. I've had that in noodle soup (which I prefer over the Taiwanese style); as well as in curry over rice. Delicious.

                        Last night I brought my husband to try their Hot Pot rice. They offer 4-5 varieties but only listed in Chinese banners posted on the walls, NOT on the printed menu. We tried the traditional Chinese sausage hot pot rice. It was nostalgic for me. They use stainless steel pots instead of clay pots, but I still got the fried/dried rice on the side/bottom of the pot. Hot pot rice takes 30 minutes.

                        We also had a plate of garlic stir-fry pea shoots, and pan-fried shredded pork ho fun noodles. Wanted to try the dim sum but they stop serving at 4pm.

                        BTW, I asked the waitress about the dim sum. She said all dim sum is made by the chef on site, not from outside.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: y2000k

                          y2k, how does their beef tendon compare to Hong Kong Eatery's? Thanks

                          1. re: barleywino

                            Sorry, I never tried the beef tendon at HKE. I don't think I would even want to go elsewhere for beef tendon/brisket except Great Taste.

                        2. Definitely have to go back to try their restaurant side, and maybe a few more bakery items. I did a comparison of their wife cakes with Crown's this weekend, and Crown's wins by far. I found Great Taste's to be really strange - a bigger "cookie" but very flat. The insides didn't have the sweet slightly melon-y taste I crave; instead, it was just a slightly salty (!) filling that was really off. I'm not ready to write off all their bakery items yet, but that item alone wouldn't compel me to visit them more regularly.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: kobuta

                            wow, this has motivated me to google wife cake, and see it, and the description...One of those pastries I've never tried; now I'm very intrigued...Thanks!

                            1. re: galleygirl

                              Yi Soon sells em. They are fairly plain.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                Could be; winter melon is subtle,to say the least...I guess I'm just intrigued by the combination of flavors...

                                1. re: galleygirl

                                  More of a subtle sweetness than any particular winter melon taste (winter melon in itself is also very plain tasting). I like the flakiness of the outer layer and with the slightly "chewy" (not gummy) filling - not too sweet.. I used to be spoiled by the baker right at the bottom of my sister's apartment in Hong Kong, where I used to get one freshly baked every morning. Heaven!

                          2. Went tonight and had their superb scallion pancakes. DC had the pork chop with black pepper sauce with noodles, which was delicious and had crisp red and green bell peppers. I had their version of ma po tofu, which was disappointing. It had small chunks of pork, peas, carrots (I think), red pepper flakes, and a brown sauce. It did not seem to have chili oil and was not all that spicy. Still, a very enjoyable meal for less than $20!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: STL BOS

                              Re the Ma Po tofu - since Great Taste is really a Cantonese restaurant, it probably doesn't do the best version of ma po tofu. I love this place and always stick with the Cantonese dishes.

                            2. Had an enormous steamed pork bun there this weekend. Absurd amount of tastiness for $1.50. It might actually be my vote for best steamed bun in Boston right now. Based on freshness and the inclusion of a scallion which just hit the perfect note.

                              I also love them at Mei Sum and the other place with the big TV down the block from the arch, but this was really top notch with pork, sausage, and egg which was not overcooked (hard to do).

                              Dang that was good. I'm hungry.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                what a coincidence. I had one of their dai bao (big steamed bun) yesterday for the first time and I heartily agree. Best and biggest one I've ever had. There is also black mushroom and water chestnut inside in addition to the ingredients StriperGuy just pointed out. The dough itseld is also light and fluffy.

                                1. re: gourmaniac

                                  I hadn't seen this thread before going out to lunch, but did a double take when I saw someone eating it. It was ginormous, and looked totally homemade. I also saw some kind of meat in a metal pot that looked amazing. I opted for the salty spicy fried pork chops - very similar to the fried spareribs, but slightly lighter (though you get a ton of meat).

                                  How is the dim sum? the dumplings looked very fresh, and also homemade.

                                  1. re: gourmaniac

                                    I had one yesterday too. I'm really impressed by Great Taste. The quality of their ingredients seems to be a bit higher than some of the other delicious bakeries.

                                2. FWIW, last week I bought a turnip cake and a new year's cake (nian go) from the Bakery side. Both are made on site; and only available during Chinese New Year. [They also offer water chestnut cake for CNY, but I didn't get that one.]

                                  The nian go is pretty standard fare; the turnip cake is quite good. You can actually see strips of turnip in the cake - unlike those in dim sum places where you never can find one strand of turnip. The cake is on the giggly side - didn't come out well when I tried to pan fry it in slices. However, reheating them (steaming in microwave) comes out great.

                                  On the restaurant side, today I tried ONE item from the dim sum menu - the shrimp & chive dumpling. Verdict? Just so-so. The filling is plump and great, but the wrap is too starchy, and it's not as steaming hot/fresh as Winsor.

                                  Someone else asked me what else I like at Great Taste. I'm still a huge fan of their beef brisket (牛腩), as I find it with great flavor and tender. Last week I had their beef brisket w/curry over rice. Today I had their beef brisket & onion lo mein.

                                  As I've mentioned before, I'm Cantonese and I really like Great Taste because I find their food very authentic. I find the Taiwanese or Shanghainese cuisine flavors too "strong".

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: y2000k

                                    Cool thanks for the insightful comments.

                                  2. Just had their Portuguese Tart again (post cholesterol blood work). So good...