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Jo Jo Taipei kills Mary Chung!!

Just went to Mary Chung's for the Dan Dan noodles and dumplings and was disappointed.

What is the big deal with Mary Chung? Granted the prices are great at Mary Chung's, but for a little more, Jo Jo Taipei kills Mary Chung's Dan Dan Noodles, dumplings, and scallion pancakes!!

Jo Jo's Dan Dan noodles are thick, firm and chewy, while Mary Chung's were just typical egg noodles. Jo Jo simply is fresher, uses better quality ingredients and has a much nicer atmosphere.

Am I missing something?

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  1. I haven't tried Jo Jo's yet, but I don't think you're missing something. While I like Mary Chung and enjoy their dan dan noodles and a handful of other dishes, it's not what I consider great. Their suan la chau shou (the wontons in a spicy, vinegary soy sauce) also gets raves here, and when I tried them I just though they were meh. The sauce is pretty good, but their wontons are way too meaty and too firm - not at all fluffy as a good wonton should be. In comparison to other Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood, it's heads above the rest but it doesn't hold a candle in my opinion to the best in MA.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kobuta

      Don't how much it has changed, but Mary Chung seemed pretty ordinary when I ate there a few years ago (wasn't bad, just ordinary). Agree that there were places that were leagues ahead in terms of deliciousness.

    2. I like Mary Chung for the nostalgia factor and I've had excellent food there on occasion. In addition to the suan la chow shou the scallion pancakes can be very good. *Can be* is operative here.

      I agree that Jo Jo Taipei is much better, and I've had better scallion pancakes at Fuloon (stuffed with pork) Quingdao and Taiwan Cafe. The best scallion pancake I've had recently, or maybe ever, was at Winsor.

      3 Replies
      1. re: yumyum

        Ditto, MC for nostalgia, Jo Jo for all around deliciousness. I haven't been that impressed by MC, but did not want to rain on the CH party of worship that was going on.

        1. re: yumyum

          I wish I had nostalgia as a factor. Some friends swear by this place, but to me it is the epitome of mediocre Chinese food. Totally agree on the suan la chaoshou: tough and doughy, not silky and tender like I like my wontons.

          The Cantonese selections are deplorable. As a Cantonese who grew up in SF I go by the beef chow fun index. They don't even use fresh fun here and I don't think soy sauce and garlic are what make chow fun. Ugh, so bad.

          Then again, I would definitely go here for "bad, American Chinese" which I sometimes crave. I mean, their General Gau's is solid, for what it's worth.

          I hate to hate, but I can't think of any other place that is more overrated.

          1. re: oniontears

            Interesting that in this thread everyone agrees that Mary Chung is mediocre. I happened to try it again last week, as I do every few years because of the raves it receives on Chowhound, and always have a so-so meal and wonder why it's so beloved.

        2. i thought everyone went to mary chung for suan la chao shou and that's pretty much it. i still really like them there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jylze

            I agree, and I'm pretty sure that view has been put out there several times, including recently. So it's funny this thread has the tenor of "I dared not speak because everyone says it's amazing, but ...". Plenty of qualified praise like this out there on the board.

            1. re: chickendhansak

              There was a recent chow outing where folks raved about MC across the board. My experience is that most of the food at MC is mediocre most of the time. This runs in counter to that other thread.

          2. we went to mc last week, my dc posted a review, and we thought it was pretty poor. the more recent review on this site, raving about how MC is heaven by 3dogs, actually made me question the value of reviews on chowhound. i just cant imagine anyone with any knowledge of chinese food, or really for that matter, anyone who has eaten at numerous spots in chinatown, would use the term heaven and MC in same line.

            8 Replies
            1. re: bostonfoodz

              It's reviews like 3dogs et al and the ones here that make me value the reviews on chowhound. People are willing to think independently for themselves, rather than engage in a lemming like group think. Everyone has a different opinion on food and I'm glad we're all able to (1) express those diverse opinions in a friendly respectful way, and (2) decide on a individual basis how to weigh these diverse experiences.

              1. re: limster

                Thank you, limster!

                I look forward to learning more - and hope I enjoy every delicious morsel along the way!!

                1. re: bostonfoodz

                  OK - I loved it.

                  I never said I was an expert in Chinese food. Never tried to give that impression. I DON'T have the same experience that others have. No, I haven't eaten at numerous spots in Chinatown - so I send my apologies to you and anyone else who disagrees with me.

                  However - the day that everyone has to conform to the same parameters - that would be sad.

                  1. re: threedogs

                    It's an utter and complete fallacy that there are objective 'good' and 'bad' restaurants and Boston area restaurant experiences. Where one lived, how often they eat what how often where does not change this simple fact. Questioning the validity of others' experience simply demonstrates that this simple fact is not understood.

                    Reading Chowhound consistently reveals a fabric of peoples' experiences and values that supports one's own subjective journey through what the Boston area offers.

                    Mary Chung: it's inexpensive, Mary is an institution. Proximity matters, a lot. Many people associate it with their experience at MIT or Central Square and therefore it can be powerfully evocative of their over-all experience at that time in their lives. Or they like it for some other reason :).

                    Threedogs, thanks for your post, I hope you'll continue to share your experiences; they are (as limster more eloquently states) specifically what makes Chow valuable.

                    1. re: Carty

                      I get the whole "it's old-school MIT/Kendall" thing... but come on, MuLan has been around for what, 5 years? New school wins. Especially when there's more than one good dish on the menu.

                    2. re: threedogs

                      Just as you are totally entitled to love MC, others are every bit as entitled to disagree. Out of respect to your opinion noone even posted disagreement to your original thread, for the internt that is pretty respectful if you ask me.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        "Just as you are totally entitled to love MC, others are every bit as entitled to disagree."

                        Totally agree. Disclaimer posted under the 'MC-Heaven' Report.

                        ;-)

                  2. Haha, I find it kind of amusing that Mary Chung is getting so much buzz here. I went there for the wontons and the noodles, I loved them (though I agree the noodles should be the wider, softer kind, the sauce was very well made). Some other things were fine, but I would not ever be putting this place up next to the "real" Chinese places in town, and probably only make it there for those dumplings, which I like for their firmness, meatiness, sauce. I mentioned in another post the less tangible and non-food related aspects that I think make it a fun place to go.

                    To be honest, the best version of that dish I ever had was made by Xiao Long at New Taste of Asia, but I can't get them anymore.

                    I had the suan la wontons at JoJo, and while I generally like that place a lot, the dumpling dish was awful, the sauce overly sweet and the dumplings overcooked.