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Best Chinese/pan-Asian Dumplings in Cambridge?

pocketviking Apr 29, 2009 10:52 AM

Any ideas, Chowhounders? I love Mary Chung's suan la chow sho (on a good day, when the sauce works)--ditto for their Peking ravioli-- but have been underwhelmed by what's on offer elsewhere, What am I missing?

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  1. Prav RE: pocketviking Apr 29, 2009 12:31 PM

    Quingdao on mass ave, hands down

    1. m
      Misterie RE: pocketviking Apr 29, 2009 02:28 PM

      In addition to MC's suan la chow sho and Quingdao, I'll also give props to Wangs in Somerville (I know you said Cambridge, but Magoon Square isn't that far).

      20 Replies
      1. re: Misterie
        StriperGuy RE: Misterie Apr 29, 2009 02:45 PM

        Which imho tops MC and Quingdao.

        1. re: Misterie
          CambridgeFoodie RE: Misterie Apr 29, 2009 05:00 PM

          Wang's is a longtime board favorite and I've visited it because of the good buzz from Chowhounders. IMHO, I think this place is overated (and I've visited it several times to make sure I wasn't ordering incorrectly or just caught them on an off night).

          I love the scene of watching a few generations in the kitchen making dumplings. And while the pork/shrimp dumplings I favored were good, I wouldn't go out of my way for another batch (and 50 count bag).

          My verdict: good, not great.

          Better overall Chinese retaurants, imho, are Peach Farm and New Jumbo Seafood.

          1. re: CambridgeFoodie
            9lives RE: CambridgeFoodie Apr 29, 2009 05:14 PM

            Peach Farm and New Jumbo are great restaurant but the OP is looking for dumplings in Cambridge.

            I don't think of either restaurant as having great dumplings or a great assortment, they don't sell in bulk,and they're not in Cambridge.

            1. re: 9lives
              CambridgeFoodie RE: 9lives Apr 29, 2009 05:33 PM


              As this post has evolved (and crossed into the Somerville area), I was posting my opinion on a restaurant that was mentioned by others.

              1. re: CambridgeFoodie
                9lives RE: CambridgeFoodie Apr 29, 2009 05:56 PM

                I must have missed the mention of Peach Farm or New Jumbo...which don't serve particularly noteworthy dumplings.

                So how are they "better" for someone looking for dumplings?

                1. re: 9lives
                  pocketviking RE: 9lives Apr 29, 2009 06:05 PM

                  Thanks, all! I'm looking forward to crossing city lines to check out Wang's & will continue my frequent MC runs.

                  1. re: pocketviking
                    barleywino RE: pocketviking Apr 29, 2009 06:17 PM

                    If you're going to go as far as Wang's, consider a trip to Jo Jo Taipei in Allston for a variety of dumplings, including the best soup dumplings ("mini steamed buns" on the menu, a.k.a. xiao long bao; request crab) in the area

            2. re: CambridgeFoodie
              StriperGuy RE: CambridgeFoodie Apr 30, 2009 06:09 AM

              Hmmm, I'm shocked, they are on my permanent rotation as one of the best all around Chinese places in Boston. Of course they do not do the "Usual Items" but rather more authentic Chinese dishes so that may be why you are disappointed. I can think of a dozen dishes I have eaten there that I have had nowhere else. And with regards to the dumplings I don't think of Peach Farm or New Jumbo as doing anything special at all. In fact in both cases would not be surprised if they steamed them out of a frozen bag from one of the local noodle/dumpling providers.

              At Wang's however, the delicate wrapper and unusual fillings (pork and fennel in particular) are really quite noteworthy and in a different class than almost any other in Boston.

              Funny, though I am also a regular at Jo Jo Taipei I don't think I have ever made it past the soup dumplings there. Will have to expand my Jo Jo dumpling horizons.

              1. re: StriperGuy
                CambridgeFoodie RE: StriperGuy Apr 30, 2009 06:35 AM

                Well, the fact that we have different tastes has been repeatedly demonstrated over the years - which is fine. I love Chinese food (frequent west coast chinatowns and just came back from Shanghai) and quite simply don't believe Wang's is as good as the buzz. That said, while I don't regularly order Americanized Chinese food, I'll freely admit to being less adventurous than you are (garnered from reading your posts).

                The sole reason why I brought up New Jumbo and Peach Farm is to identify Chinese restaurants that I prefer...no commentary on their dumplings.

                That said, I am now intrigued by Quingdao and plan on trying it tonight. Would appreciate any general recommendations on what to order from Quingdao.

                1. re: CambridgeFoodie
                  ethnicchick RE: CambridgeFoodie Apr 30, 2009 07:06 AM

                  Yummm...Quindao three delight dumplings (you get a lotta dumplings in an order) plus their crispy house low mein...my personal favorites for simple straightforward...also like their szechuan hot chicken (esp. if you enjoy the flavor of M. Chungs suan la) and fried rice ... but, honestly, NEVER had a bad dish there...

                  1. re: CambridgeFoodie
                    StriperGuy RE: CambridgeFoodie Apr 30, 2009 07:34 AM

                    Ahhh I see. I am a Big Peach Farm fan for pretty much anything from the sea. Ate a 3lb. lobster there once that was amazing. Have also done several 10-course Chinese New Years events at Peach Farm and was always delighted.

                    Most of the really noteworthy menu items at Wang's definitely come under the "not your usual" realm...

                    1. re: StriperGuy
                      Aromatherapy RE: StriperGuy Apr 30, 2009 08:14 AM

                      And Wang's does have some real misses. Avoid anything Sichuan except the chicken (and that's not outstanding).

                    2. re: CambridgeFoodie
                      smtucker RE: CambridgeFoodie Apr 30, 2009 08:22 AM

                      Cumin Lamb. Thinly sliced lamb cooked with cumin served over a bed of crisp lettuce. Brings me back time after time. The Pork Chop Noodle soup is excellent. Other items I enjoy, scallion pancakes, twice cooked pork, spicy green beans. But I haven't explored the entire menu since I must have the lamb every visit.

                      1. re: CambridgeFoodie
                        Bob Dobalina RE: CambridgeFoodie Apr 30, 2009 08:36 AM

                        Pork with cilantro at Qingdao is pretty addictive.
                        I also think the singapore rice noodles are a good rendition there.

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina
                          CambridgeFoodie RE: Bob Dobalina Apr 30, 2009 08:56 AM

                          Thank you...please keep those suggestions coming....we plan on ordering several dishes to taste.

                          1. re: CambridgeFoodie
                            yumyum RE: CambridgeFoodie Apr 30, 2009 09:13 AM

                            I like their soup noodles with minced pork and pickled vegetables. Second the cumin lamb.

                          2. re: Bob Dobalina
                            CambridgeFoodie RE: Bob Dobalina Apr 30, 2009 07:29 PM

                            An excellent meal at Qingdao tonight...we tried the pork/fennel dumplings, cumin lamb, pork with cilantro, and the garlic eggplant.

                            A great meal and the waitress even said that we could go down the street and buy a few beers from the liquor store to accompany our meal (...we tipped her well).

                            Thank you for all of the recommendations and I'll definitely be back (the cumin lamb was truly the star dish).

                        2. re: StriperGuy
                          yumyum RE: StriperGuy Apr 30, 2009 07:48 AM

                          I love those pork and fennel dumplings. Even better if someone brings you a bag for your freezer. ;-)

                          1. re: yumyum
                            StriperGuy RE: yumyum Apr 30, 2009 09:33 AM

                            Only the best of chow-friends would do something so thoughtful.

                        3. re: CambridgeFoodie
                          jylze RE: CambridgeFoodie May 1, 2009 10:15 AM

                          i agree. i like wang's, but don't understand why it seems to be so loved. noteworthy, but not buzzworthy.

                      2. galangatron RE: pocketviking Apr 29, 2009 09:23 PM

                        i like the jiaozi (northern chinese dumplings) at quingdao garden, wang's fast food, and mulan

                        it's not cambridge but billy tse in revere and su chang's in peabody also have suan la chow show on the menu. they're not quite as good as mary chung's version but are a nice alternative

                        1. t
                          tsackton RE: pocketviking Apr 30, 2009 07:23 AM

                          Zoe's just across the border in Somerville (on Beacon St) -- I had their sichuan steamed spicy dumplings a few nights ago and thought they were quite good.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: tsackton
                            pocketviking RE: tsackton Apr 30, 2009 03:58 PM

                            Have been to Zoe's several times & am always disappointed, though I do really like their cold tofu, cilantro & jalapeno app. Have had pan-fried & steamed pork dumplings there (eh) but not the spicy ones you mention. I'll give the joint another shot. [Anything for a good-to-great dumpling...]

                            1. re: pocketviking
                              jgg13 RE: pocketviking May 1, 2009 07:01 AM

                              I find them to be pretty inconsistent, but with some consistency on a day-of-the-week basis. I've always just figured it has to do with who is working.

                              1. re: jgg13
                                hckybg RE: jgg13 May 1, 2009 07:47 AM

                                I wouldn't say their dumplings are standouts, but they are fine. Their entrees, on the other hand, have been really great each time I've been. I have been especially happy with their chongqing chicken, cumin lamb, and ma po tofu. The lion's head meatball was also very good last time I went.

                                1. re: hckybg
                                  jgg13 RE: hckybg May 1, 2009 07:57 AM

                                  Those are all favorites of mine. I also like the water cooked beef and a couple of other things which aren't coming to mind right now.

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