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Chow crawl suggestions for Chinatown, Allston, and Eastie?

I have a young relative coming to visit who's adventurous about food. I have plenty of ideas of my own about a weeknight evening Chow crawl, where we visit a neighborhood -- I'm thinking Chinatown, Allston, and Eastie on successive nights -- and stop in for a single dish or two at three or four walkable places.

I would love Hounds to chime in with their own suggested single dishes in these neighborhoods, and if you're feeling ambitious, your own proposed crawl. Thanks!

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  1. CHinatown: (since it's evening, I would skip Winsor) start with 1 order (shared between 2 people) of salmon belly drizzled with hot sesame oil (O-Ya), then to Penang for 1 shared order of roti canai w/ curry sauce, then to HOng Kong Eatery for 1 shared order of crispy pig (specify center cut) w/ hoisin dipping sauce, then to Peach Farm for 1 shared order of ginger-scallion fresh soft shell crab (skip if frozen, or replace with salt and pepper live baby shrimp); if still hungry, finish at New Shanghai with an order of wontons in chili oil and a root beer float at the diner on the corner to wash it all down ...save soup dumplings and roast beef in scallion pancake for your Allston crawl at Jo JO Taipei

    9 Replies
    1. re: barleywino

      Gee whiz barley, I think you nailed it. Whew, I'm full just reading that post.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        the root beer float is for the "young relative"...reward for being adventurous ;)

      2. re: barleywino

        Great Chinatown list...The only thing that I would add is stopping at Eldo House for their Big Buns to bring home for the next day's breakfast.

          1. re: ScubaSteve

            good thinking...and maybe some fresh lychees in case the young relative has never had them before...I also like the (non-Chinese) palmier from Hing Shing bakery by the arch

            1. re: barleywino

              Great steamed buns and steamed spongecake at Hing Shing, too.

            2. re: ScubaSteve

              HAH! Are you just being way out there again?

              1. re: ScubaSteve

                I was waiting for something like this...

                1. re: ScubaSteve

                  LOL! Thanks for the laugh, "Sir-Eats-A-Lot!"

            3. east boston

              el buen gusto - pupusas
              rincon limeno - crema de rocoto, arroz chaufa, mazamorra morada
              el paisa - tres leches flan
              taqueria jalisco - birria de res
              taqueria el rancho grande - tacos de cabrito, tacos de la cabeza
              angela's cafe - guacamole, gorditas con chorizo
              el jardin - pan de queso, pan de bono
              frio rico - peruvian style empanadas
              meridian market - meridian special

              chinatown

              penang - roti canai
              xinh xinh - roasted quail, hot and sour soup (canh chua), duck leg soup (mi vit tiem)
              taiwan cafe - any rice plate or lunch special
              gourmet dumpling house - pork soup dumplings (xiao long bao)
              new shanghai - double cooked pork belly
              best little restaurant - fried squab, soy braised duck
              vinh sun - roast suckling pig

              allston

              color - korean fried chicken
              korea garden - spicy pork bulgogi
              buk kyung II - ja jang myun, ganpoongki
              jo jo taipei - three cups chicken, eggplant with garlic sauce, taiwanese shaved ice
              wisteria house - pork belly bun (gua bao)
              pho viet - banh mi
              misono grill - stone pot bibimbab with pork bulgogi
              kantin - salt and pepper pork chop, roasted meats on rice
              ken's ramen - clear ramen
              s&i thai - pad ga pow moo krob, braised pork leg on rice (kao ka moo)
              grain and salt - haleem, nihari
              cafe brazil - feijoada, rabada

              10 Replies
              1. re: galangatron

                I'd add Shanghai Gate to the Allston list. Dish recommentations are a function of how adventurous. I love standards there like soup dumplings, Paradise Mountain Chicken, the Beef with Crullers is a fun variation on basic pepper beef, lions heads of course, and Yu Xiang Pork is a fun sort of Chinese taco idea. if she's adventurous to the one up brag to your friends level (I've had younger family members like that), I've also over the past month or so tried duck tongues (off the specials board - interesting and surprisingly tasty but there's some getting used to in how they look and feel to eat) and Stir-fried sponge gourd, tomato, beans, pickled Vegetable, gingko nuts, ham, bamboo shoots, shrimps, fish maw, which is a lovely light jewel-like summer weight veggie dish with the fish maws acting as lightly fish tasting sponges. Also like the fuzzy squash with ham as a pretty summer weight dish.

                1. re: galangatron

                  I don't have a lot to add to galangatron's Allston suggestions, except for a stop at YoMa for pretty much any of their salads, and a visit to Yi Soon bakery where I'm addicted to the cookies that are just narrow strips of puff pastry sprinkled with coarse sugar and almonds> I also often just pick something random from the shelves and usually find it to be good - last time was a bun filled with sweet black bean paste and mochi.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    i completely forgot about yoma. i second the suggestion for any of the salads (thot) as well as the sanwinmakin, rich buttery semolina based cakes studded with raisins

                    1. re: galangatron

                      I was there just last night and looking at the description of the sanwinmakin, they sounded interesting but I was already stuffed form apps and beer at Deep Ellum followed by 2 salads and a mixed appetizer sampler at YoMa. (BTW, they've revised the menu at YoMa again, and dropped a few things I'm sorry to lose, specifically both the big lentil fritters and the deep-fried gourd appetizers. Didn't register other changes in detail.)

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        you probably wouldn't have had room for the sanwinmakin if you were already full from dinner. they're very rich and heavy

                        i'm surprised they took the butheejaw (gourd tempura) off the menu. that was one of their more traditional items. i wonder if they're available upon request

                        1. re: galangatron

                          Barmy did ask about the butheejaw and the lentil fritters, in hopes of gettign an order of the latter, but he was told that they take too much time to prepare.

                    2. re: Allstonian

                      The meeshay at YoMa is wonderful, too. Slow-roasted pork with rice noodles and pickled mustard greens.

                    3. re: galangatron

                      If you don't start too late in Allston (by 6:30-7ish), start at Padaria Brasil Bakery. Have a vitimina de abacate (avocado shake) with some added guarana powder (guarana em po, which is more common with other fruit shakes, but will add some energy)... if they have peanuts (amendoim) you could try one straight and one with amendoim and guarana. I tend to avoid Pao de queijo in the afternoon when its often stale, but you could ask about that, otherwise get something sweet to try later such as yuca cake (bolo de aipim). From there color is a short trip up the road, S&I is another good next stop, Jo Jo Taipei is a bit further. If you head onto the Super88 food court or start there, La Mamma's is one possible stop on the way and you can see what is happening at Cafe Belo's takeout (if they had the full restaurant I would suggest a stop for an adult refreshment).

                      With Cafe Brazil its a bit out of the way and feijoada is a weekend thing and a bit heavy for a crawl. galangatron is on the right track for their better dishes, most from the pratos caseiros. I would suggest sitting in their small bar or the front room for an (excessively chilled) beer and some aperitivos, the frango a passarinho, maybe a small plate of liver and onions, quibbe, torresmos or chicken hearts with fried mandioca. Their salada is pretty iceburg heavy but with palmito it might help cut the grease. Its also close to Deep Ellum for a adult refreshment or Fernet, but if the relative isn't 18....

                      Does the young relative need any food for the train/bus/car ride back? Definitely get some Lychee and snacks from stores in Chinatown. If they are a youngster bubble tea either at Super88 or Chinatown.

                      El Paisa has a smaller version of the bandeija paisa (around $8) which is more crawl oriented, see if they have their house made morcilla and order something with that, try the arepas with chicarron or something. Also if you have gone more heavily ethnic in the other neighborhoods, in Eastie you have Italian options, can stick to tacos or rotisserie chicken in latino, and hit up Royal Roast Beef... and there is Ecco.

                      1. re: galangatron

                        Maybe just me, but I'd replace going to Color with Privus for their (Bon Chon) Korean
                        fried chicken. Get nothing _but_ the chicken..I have found even the plain white rice to
                        be subpar, but their chicken is great.

                        1. re: amatto

                          i haven't had the bon chon chicken at privus so, despite the many glowing reviews, i was hesitant to recommend it

                      2. Eggplant with basil and Simmered 3 Essence Chicken Legs at Gourmet Dumpling House followed by Bun Rieu at Xinh Xinh followed by Roast Duck at Wai Wai.
                        If still hungry, go for En Toon Mor Fai at Montien followed by ABC at Penang.

                          1. For Chinatown, the rice sticks with chicken and mild preserved snow cabbage at the Hong Kong Eatery are tough to beat, as are their scallion pancakes. The vegetable dumplings are a good bet at the Taiwan Cafe, and the fried calamari at New Jumbo seafood is excellent.

                            For Allston, I love nearly everything at Shanghai Gate, which may be my favorite Chinese restaurant in the Boston area. The beef dumplings there are tremendous, but really, there aren't many low spots on their menu. Grain and Salt is a decent place to go - they have a nice version of chicken tandoori there. I'm going to throw in the Common Ground as well, not because their food is incredible, but because it's a neat place to hang and listen to music over a beer or two. And if you don't mind walking up Harvard Street into Brookline, Dok Bua may be the best Thai restaurant I've been to inside Route 128. Love the tom yum koong soup there....

                            Eastie? If you want old-school, Jeveli's is a neat place. The food won't blow you away, but there are some standouts, including the escarole soup. El Paisa, which I know you know about, is a good spot, with some great fried chicken turnovers there. There's Santarpio's, of course, and Rino's, which is a very underrated Italian restaurant. And Angela's Cafe, which I don't need to say anything about here, as I'm thinking you know the place at least as well as I do (oooooh, that mole.....).

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: hiddenboston

                              Grain and Salt can be VERY hit or miss.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                I agree. It was dreadful last time I was there.