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Insanely Good Super Cheap Porky Goodness

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I posted this on this thread here, but it was so good it really deserves it's own posting.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/609705

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

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, very 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.

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  1. is that not the essence of "chowhound"? i recently read the thread about an overpriced meal at dairy joy in weston after eating the twin lobster, with scallions and ginger at jo jo for 16 dollars. the staff couldnt have been nicer and we didnt have to eat at pinic tables in the parking lot. laughing all the way to the bank.

    1. Great Taste is fantastic. It is one of the best two or three price:quality places in Boston, and it's pretty high up there for quality alone. I have more familiarity with the bakery items and the drinks, which are really just fantastic and significantly better than most other Chinese bakeries and cart dim sum places in town.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Luther

        Then you gottah try the cooked dim sum off the menu....

        1. re: galleygirl

          Any specific dishes? And can you tell me what the situation is regarding ordering stuff from one side on the other side? I never attempted to order menu dim sum from the bakery, just the items in the steam tray and whatever's right behind the counter. And it would be neat to be able to order a ham seoi gok and a po taat while sitting in the waiter service area and have them bring those over.

          PS best hot milk tea I've ever had, including in HK

          1. re: Luther

            They are very accomodating, from my one experience. If you can actually pronounce those in Cantonese, I'm sure they'll bring them over! I liked both the shrimp and chive dumplings I had (big and fresh tasting) and the shrimp noodle roll. I saw some dry fried chowfoon that looked good, too...

      2. I have to get there this weekend. It sounds like a true pork fest...

        1 Reply
        1. re: wellington

          I agree-- I am heading to Great Taste ASAP!!!

        2. I just hope they continue to deliver food on this level. It they can it would really be remarkable.

          13 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy

            So after reading this post I went and ordered the Pork Ribs last night for dinner, and your description was bang on. They were really incredible, much better than Best Little Restaurants version (and I love BLR). Great find, I might go back today for lunch.

            1. re: Matt H

              I gotta say, I keep thinking about the dish. I want to go back and eat it again, and again. I can't get it out of my head.

              And I agree, much as I absolutely love BLR, I mentioned it only for reference; this version is both different, and I will admit, better.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                Also went today based on your rec. Excellent dish. It's different than fried spare ribs in garlic sauce from best little restaurant and closer to Royal Pacific's salty spicy pork chop on rice, which i would also recommend. All in all, good value and taste. I also tried their dim sum items yesterday. Har gau, stuffed bean curd skins and sticky rice in lotus leaf. The sticky rice was very god, but the other two dishes are not up to other places in town (Hei la moon and Winsor specifically. Great taste has an advantage of one stop shopping, kind of a combination of Hong Kong Eatery, Eldo and Winsor.

                1. re: gourmaniac

                  I look forward to trying this dish asap. Does anyone have a link to or scan of this restaurant's menu? Thank you.

                  1. re: gourmaniac

                    I recently had their sticky rice in lotus leaf with pork, peanuts, and Chinese sausage inside and it was as good as any I've had in Boston. Maybe better.

                    I do agree that it is nice that they have so many different kinds of food.

                    Wishing I read Mandarin so I could read the specials on the wall.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Tried on your recommendation today, excellent spicy spare ribs!

                      1. re: CambridgeFoodie

                        Same here - quite tasty, as were the scallion pancakes (which were almost too greaseless). Way too full for a portuguese tart, though I was sorely tempted.

                        1. re: CambridgeFoodie

                          I need to get back there with some friends and do some real damage to the menu.

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            out of curiosity, since I have not had spicy spare ribs until today, is there a restaurant that the board can recommend that sells these spare ribs as an entree (as opposed to a rice plate)...I'd like to get a full plate of these delicious ribs.

                            I have found it hard to communicate with Great Taste over the phone for carryout. I'd love to be able to just say, I want a styrofoam box full of these ribs, hold the rice, and just tell me the price. Sadly, this is not possible.

                            Thank you.

                            1. re: CambridgeFoodie

                              Aaah the vagaries of a chow-worthy place. Order 4 rice plates, you are still ahead of the game...

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                I noticed that Peach Farm sells it as an entree. Has anyone tried it there?

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  At $24, you are at about the average price for a mid-upper range entree for 4 orders. Sounds like a good deal when you put it that way.

                                2. re: CambridgeFoodie

                                  I've been there several times, and in my experience, they would modify anything to your liking.
                                  I see that the price of pork chop and spareribs are the same, so you could order it as an entree for $8.50. Just tell them you want rib with spicy salt (while showing the waitress/waiter the pork chop with spicy salt). It worked for me! (and, yeah, I speak no chinese, so that's what I usually do)

                  2. Went twice since reading the thread. First got the spicy pork rice plate. Everything said here is true and then some. Simply awesome. Yesterday went back but wanted to try something else. Got the short ribs in black bean sauce. I was really hungry but it was just "ok". Noting all that special. Maybe I was spoiled by my first exp. I am def going back but I am very hesistate to order anything but the plate of Insanely Good Super Cheap Porky Goodness

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ac106

                      Forgot to mention, those that got the beef with ginger and scallions and pork with bamboo shoots said they were very good.

                      1. re: nsenada

                        Just had lunch there again, and the scallion pancakes were the best I've had in Chinatown, fried absolutely perfectly. We also got some kind of deep fried pork dumpling, that again showed the expert touch with deep frying - light and uniformly crispy on the outside. It's innards were quite good, too, it seemed like a freshly made dumpling. I think there was some sausage in with the ground pork, and maybe some pine nuts. I ordered General Gao's chicken, which was good, but I was so full by the time I started eating it that I was unable to really evaluate it properly. I brought back some Portuguese tarts, and hope to eat at least a fraction of one later today.

                      2. re: ac106

                        Hmmm, interesting, between you and nsenada two more data points on other dishes. Definitely hard to get past the IGSCPG.

                      3. Is it eat in only or can you order take out as well?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: TomH

                          I'm sure they'd do take out. But as this dish is deep fried it would not benefit from sitting around.

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            This restaurant must be wondering, why have some many people been requesting this dish in the last week!

                            I'd like to make it back for another round today!

                        2. I went to Boston this weekend and was absolutely overjoyed with this dish! What value!!!!!!! I must try to find spicy spareribs in NY like that! :) Thanks.

                          1. I also headed to GT last weekend because of the OP - but have got to say that I was less than happy with the plate! OF the three things we ordered, the beef w/ chinese broccoli was probably the best and their kung pao was decent - but the ribs were easily the worst plate of the night. However, I've got to say that GT offers pretty good food - in a nice quantity - for the price. I'll probably be going back.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: nader

                              I got the pork ribs at GT about 2 weeks ago and was also disappointed with dish. The exterior texture was great but that's about it. They definitely forgot to season the ribs that I got as it just tasted like pork with some MSG sprinkled on top. There was a small handful of garlic and pepper rings. As I got down to the bone, I also got a hint of uncooked meat/blood taste because the outer shell of the bone was still a bit pink. Lastly, there just wasn't a lot of meat on the bones. I would have much rather gotten my traditional salt & pepper pork chop plate instead.

                              1. re: avial

                                This was my experience as well.

                                1. re: Taralli

                                  Mine was somewhere in between. The ribs were OK and the rice is great but the dish was overall blah for me. My enthusiasm for the place is not dulled.

                                  1. re: Taralli

                                    Ditto!

                                    Makes me suspicious that they have rotating cooks in the back - Overall, not a bad meal (for 8, so a number of dishes were tried) but not an exciting one, either!

                              2. Based on this rave, I decided to try the ribs yesterday at lunch. They certainly were absolutely delicious and I think the OP described them perfectly. I don't know if I'll get the dish again, only because it's just very rich and heavy and I was tasting it for the rest of the day. Plus, I can't eat that much rice at one time and ended up throwing most of it away.

                                I do want to go back and try some other things though, because it does seem that everything I saw coming out of the kitchen while I was waiting for my food, looked delicious.

                                1. Just out of curiosity, I've always wondered what the right way to eat the fried ribs, porkchops, etc. Chopsticks never really seemed appropriate, is it just a pick it up and eat it by hand kind of thing, or is that gauche?

                                  1. Yesterday, at 2:30 PM, I found myself by the Bayside Expo Center, not having had lunch yet. Going home meant taking the Red Line.... my stomach rumbling, I remembered StriperGuy's post and decided to stop off in Chinatown to try the spicy fried pork rib rice plate at Great Taste. Holy cow, this was nirvana in the mid-afternoon. My meal was every bit as good as StriperGuy describes.

                                    Clearly, further serious research on the rice plates at Great Taste is required. Beef with bitter melon sounds so good on a warm, muggy afternoon...

                                    1. I visited Great Taste yesterday and enjoyed the Spicy Salted Rib rice plate very much. For $6, it was a real deal. But insanely good? I dunno. The portion was tremendous, and the food was fine quality. That said, there was nothing here that elevated this dish beyond the "really good." I do recommend this dish, and apologize for quibbling, but the "IG" moniker (insanely good) seems a bit hyperbolic.

                                      1. I went to Great Taste a few days ago specifically to try this dish. And amazingly, I couldn't find it!
                                        I checked the menu for the spicy fried pork rib rice plate, and asked the available staff, but no luck,. There was a similar sounding pork chop (not rib) rice plate, but the 2 servers seemed to think that was not what I wanted. Time of day was weekday lunch.

                                        StriperGuy, if you see this -- do you know anything more? I realize it was a while since your original post. But they couldn't really have taken it off the menu, could they? After all, you probably sent them more than half their customers.

                                        Has anyone else had this recently?

                                        Thanks very much in advance!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: RJR

                                          Haven't been in a while. Sorry I am no help here. Pork chop sounds right. Perhaps the redid the menu a bit.

                                          1. re: RJR

                                            I'm looking at an old (from the summer) Great Taste menu, it's called "Spicy Salted Spare rib on Rice". It is under the rice plates, right above the spicy salted pork chop on rice. Unfortunately they don't speak very good english there, so best of luck!

                                            My 2 cents, if your interested, was that it was good, although maybe not as legendary as the thread makes it out to be. It's basically just as the name entails: Spare ribs, salt and pepper fried with chiles on rice. I think there was maybe some veg on it. Basically a heart attack in a box. Probably better as a bunch of dishes being shared than being the only dish you eat for lunch.