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Apr 29, 2009 10:52 AM

Best Chinese/pan-Asian Dumplings in Cambridge?

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. Quingdao on mass ave, hands down

    1. 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

          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

            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


              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

                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

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

                  1. re: pocketviking

                    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

              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

                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 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

                  Yummm...Quindao three delight dumplings (you get a lotta dumplings in an order) plus their crispy house low 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

                    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

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

                    2. re: CambridgeFoodie

                      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

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

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

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

                          1. re: CambridgeFoodie

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

                          2. re: Bob Dobalina

                            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

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

                          1. re: yumyum

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

                        3. re: CambridgeFoodie

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

                      2. 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. 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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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.