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Great Taste Dim Sum

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Hit it today. Never done sit down dim sum before. Must reiterate that at the bakery counter their large steamed pork buns are amongst my favorites.

The report:

- Char siu bau, good, but not my favorite. Like them better at Winsor
- Shrimp dumpling soup with veg and noodle excellent, beautiful dumplings
- Fish fin dumplings, perhaps steamed a tad too long for the sake of the wrappers, but the filling was superb with a definite fresh veg note as well as nice shrimp and maybe a tad of chicken
- Classic dim sum dish of bits of boney pork ribs with black bean, and a smidge of poblano, steam/braised and in this case on a bed of taro chunks. Perhaps the best version of this I have had. I poured the dregs of the sauce into my soup spoon so as not to miss a drop.

Note, folks sharing our large table had the following that I MUST try:
- Turnip cake in XO sauce, but in this case DEEP fried. It was all I could do not to grab a chunk off of their plate. I love the Winsor version, but this, based on looks alone, might edge it out.
- They also had the VERY thick house made rice noodles (Mei Sum makes a superlative version) with thick slabs of pork inside and a very nice Chinese broccoli as part of the dish. It looked awesome. So much so, they ordered a second order, and they were 4 people eating a LOT of food so it must have been really good.

Also saw a very nice looking Chow Fun go by and a very nice Lo Mein. I usually don't order Lo Mein in Boston as I am generally disappointed as opposed to the good Cantonese places of my NYC youth, (why can't anyone get the proper wok-char and smokey flavor on Lo Mein in Boston?) but these dishes caught my interest.

Perhaps not Toronto/SF quality, but certainly respectable.

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  1. Speaking of turnip cake @ Great Taste, they also offer a dish called "Singapore-style turnip cake". It's listed on one of those many Chinese characters-only signs on the wall. This dish is available at all times, and it's deadly addictive. The turnip cakes are deep fried in the yellow/curry spice (that you get with Singapore-style fried noodles). It's a fairly big dish, I'd say 2-3x the size of the regualr dim sum portion of turnip cake.

    -----
    Great Taste
    201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

    1. Milford? Is this correct?
      By sit down Dim Sum, what do you mean?

      2 Replies
      1. re: trufflehound

        milford is definately not right, its in china town on beach street near the gate. I think they have the best bubble tea in china town too. They use lots of real fruits and ice cream in many of the drinks.

        1. re: trufflehound

          Milford is wrong, that was generated by chowhound's imbecellic, automatic location adder.

          On the bakery side that have some items to go or to eat at a small table or two after you order from the counter. On the restaurant side they have a small list of check what you want off the list of dim sum item's that are available on a sit down and order (as opposed to a to go) basis.

        2. Can I verify that the fried turnip cake with XO sauce is absolutely delicious, and the best rendition of this dish I've had thus far? When I ordered this with my dad, who is a die-hard, weekly dim sum fan, he and I were in heaven.

          The first time we had it, it was fried perfectly - not too dark, but the outsides where nice and crisp. The inside was soft and gooey, but not quite melting. We tried it another time, and the outside came out darker than usual, but they still tasted excellent (we came at a much busier time on the 2nd visit). It still remains one of my favorite things to eat there.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kobuta

            Thought that looked like a winner.

            I will also comment that while the noodles, veg, and dumplings in the soup were excellent, I thought the broth was a bit on the weak side. Tasting more of Maggi/bullion then chicken, etc. Getting a tad picky but...

            1. re: StriperGuy

              I'm with you there, Striper. And I don't think this is picky. After a bowl of too salty, monotone broth, I vowed never to get wonton or dumpling soup there again (though your rave on the shrimp dumplings might turn me around!)

              1. re: femmevox

                The shrimp dumpings, veg, and noodles made the broth itself somewhat irrelevant. If the broth had been better it would have been amongst my absolute fav Asian soups in all of Boston...

                1. re: femmevox

                  I've had their noodles in soup several times and I actually like it very much, but I tend not to drink up the soup when I eat out at noodle restaurants (unless it's a very unique place). I'll have whatever soup I get in my spoon with my noodles, but I always leave soup leftover in the bowl afterward. Maybe unduly influenced by my parents who insisted that the soups were loaded with MSG everywhere.

            2. Forgot to mention, on the wall they had listed twin lobsters for $17.95.

              16 Replies
              1. re: StriperGuy

                I was visiting Boston just this weekend and happened by this place late on sunday night. Having spent a good hour or so on a delayed train we were exhausted, starving and looking for something... ANYTHING to eat and followed our noses to Chinatown. Blind with hunger, we ordered the first thing we saw: a generic plate of stir-fried tofu and veggies with rice. While it was good, we were envious of the gorgeous looking pile of traditional chinese lobster with ginger and scallion that every other table seemed to be enjoying. It looked and smelled so wonderful, we went back just before our flight the next day to have some. The lobster was sweet and cooked and seasoned perfectly... and it was only $15.95!

                On our way out we stopped into the bakery to grab a few snacks for the ride home and were BLOWN AWAY by the steamed pork buns (not b.b.q. pork but a delicious mix of pork, sausage, veggies and salted duck egg), red bean buns, custard buns and perfectly made custard tarts.

                The next time I'm in Boston again, I am definitely going back.

                1. re: Pantagruelia

                  Yah, their steamed pork bun is amongst my favorite in Boston.

                  1. re: Pantagruelia

                    That's actually called a big bun and I agree it's excellent. The pork buns are smaller and only have bbq pork in them.

                    1. re: gourmaniac

                      I was unaware of teh spacific nomenclatur I jus knows da bun. Da bun ist gut.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Just ask for "da bao" (big bun) next time you're in there, they'll know exactly what you want...I'm still looking for those softball sized vegetable buns (tsai bao) i used to get at New Green Bo in nyc

                        1. re: barleywino

                          I always get the Big Bun with egg, salami, etc. They seem to serve it up just fine when I say "steamed pork bun", but from now on I'll go "da bao" just to play it safe.

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            Now you're talking! I guess the chinese sausage inside *does* resemble a salami, although i've never thought of it in those terms...hmm, chinese-italian fusion?

                            1. re: barleywino

                              That nubby chewy bit is definitely a cured meat product so far more salami than sausage in my book.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                In my dimsum group, when we get the sticky rice in lotus leaf packs at dimsum we refer to that bit as "the thumb"... It's good luck if youre the one who gets the thumb.

                                1. re: hargau

                                  Sign me up for the thumb. Best part as far as I am concerned.

                                2. re: StriperGuy

                                  That is a piece of chinese sausage (lap cheong) which is a hard very sweet and dense sausage unlike any western counterpart that I've had. It is cured and dried and may have some alcohol as part of the preserving.

                                  1. re: gourmaniac

                                    Technically if it is dried and cured it is a salami not a sausage. I've had it many times and it is also available in most Chinese groceries.

                            2. re: barleywino

                              Unique (AKA "Ravioli") in Allston (on Harvard between Comm & Brighton) has something called a jumbo vegetable bun stuffed with pickled vegetables - is that what you're looking for? See this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/732809

                              1. re: Allstonian

                                Thanks for the suggestion allstonian, I tried Uniques vegetable bun, the ones they gave me were not quite what I had in mind, but please post if you run across any other versions, thanks!

                                1. re: barleywino

                                  What did they give you? There do seem to be some communication problems there sometimes, exacerbated by the fact that the menus are confusing - the printed takeaway menu differs from wall menu *and* from online menu...

                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                    They gave me the correct item but the execution was more "homestyle" than what I was looking for in terms of size, shape, pillowy puffiness, freshness, etc. Ill just keep looking, thanks!

                    2. OK, this got my attention, Striper Guy. I have not had dim sum since our August Toronto trip and wasn't planning on it, but the gang was thinking of doing dim sum at China Pearl this weekend, so I suggested this instead. Can they seat a table of 14 easily (includes 8 kids, 2 who need high chairs)? Do they take reservation, or take a number and wait? Is it swarmed on weekends?

                      Also, just so I know what I'm looking for:

                      fish fin dumpling = yu chee gow?
                      shrimp dumpling soup = won ton mein? goon tong gow? something else entirely?

                      The deep fried lo bak go sounds very promising. Is this regular dim sum lo bak go deep fried, or more like the one at Shangri La served with the red chilli sauce?

                      -----
                      China Pearl Restaurant
                      9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: little.tiger

                        Don't remember all of the dumplings they have and most definitely do not know the Chinese names for em. I assume lo bak go is turnip cake and I don't know if they have regular version.

                        It's homey, cantonese style stuff. Not super high end, but very good. Heck ask them to serve you some of the da bao from the bakery side, I actually preferred it to their passable char siu bao.

                        It is NOT a huge space so for 14 I would get there early.

                        I have an amazing suggestion. There is this tremendous invention called the telephone. Give em a call.

                        Heck if you promise to get there on the early side maybe they will even have a table ready.

                        Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant
                        63 Beach St
                        Boston, MA 02111-2130
                        (617) 426-8899

                        -----
                        Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant
                        63 Beach St, Boston, MA

                        Beach St Cafe
                        35 Beach St, Manchester, MA 01944

                        1. re: little.tiger

                          The turnip cake at great taste is cut into smaller cubes and deep fried. It comes with xo sauce
                          This is the dish
                          http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/8OlvNJ...

                          Off hand, I don't believe great taste has a 14 person table. I believe they have on big round table (8-10) people, but I'm going based on memory so don't hold me to it.

                          1. re: tysonmcneely

                            That is true. I was assuming a split into two tables of 6-8.

                            1. re: tysonmcneely

                              Good to know, and you are correct. I called and asked about accommodating 14 and they said they could put two tables together for us. Thanks for the pictures.

                            2. re: little.tiger

                              I've mentioned this before on another thread re: Great Taste's lo bak go (turnip cake). Apart from the regular dim sum version, they offer a Singapore-style turnip cake. It's pan-fried with spicy/curry powder. It is SO addictive!

                              You're correct regarding the Yu chee gow. Not sure which type of dumpling you're thinking of re: shrimp dumpling. Wonton mein is wonton noodle soup.

                              -----
                              Great Taste
                              201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

                              1. re: y2000k

                                I'm not thinking of any shrimp dumpling in particular. I was just trying to figure out what was the "shrimp dumpling soup with noodles and veg" Striper Guy mentioned, since there are more shrimp dumplings than you can shake a stick at in a dim sum place. Wonton commonly have shrimp in the filling (along with pork), and also sometimes come with a green vegetable in the soup along with the mein, so that was my first guess, and the goon tong gow is the big dumpling served in soup and also contains shrimp, but I've never seen it with noodles and veg. I couldn't think of anything else close to his description, so I guessed those two. Anyway, regardless of what it is, I hope it's good!

                                1. re: little.tiger

                                  if you're looking for the big dumpling in soup crock, winsor has a version of this. A panfried fish dumpling is available at hei la moon and at that dimsum place (Grand Chinatown or something like that) in north quincy.

                                  1. re: little.tiger

                                    Hope you enjoy the place. Please report back. Not exactly dim sum, but I think they were doing a very reasonably priced twin lobster special too. Be nice to share an order with all the folks you are bringing...

                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                      We did enjoy the place a lot, thank you. I found them very accommodating and friendly, both on the phone and in person. They put a couple small tables together with the large round table and that worked fine. I arrived at 11:15 for our 11:30 "reservation" (they don't take reservations on weekends but said if we got there early, they'd set aside the table for us). We were 12 not 14, because one family left two kids with their babysitter, so maybe the two of us families who got there first over ordered for all of us. I was surprised at how much food we put away. There were not a lot of leftovers.

                                      While I can still remember what we had, here's the list (which came out more or less in this order):

                                      XO jeung lo bak go
                                      har gau
                                      siu mai
                                      pei dan sau yook jook
                                      gnau yook jook
                                      chiu chau fun guo
                                      yu chee gow
                                      gau choi gow
                                      lo mai gai
                                      gnau yook cheung fun
                                      char siu bao
                                      gai bao
                                      pai gwat
                                      fung zow
                                      gnau pak yeep
                                      leen yoong bao

                                      I didn't actually get to eat everything on this list myself, but everything that was ordered was enjoyed by whoever ate it. Most items we ordered multiples, but non universal favourites (chicken feet, tripe, siu mai, leen yoong bao, etc.) we just got single orders. The XO lo bak go was a big hit with everyone. Was a bit greasy like they were rushing and hadn't drained it properly, but I used a napkin to tamp the cubes a bit and that helped. I enjoyed all the dumplings, fillings were all fresh and tasty, dumplings nicely wrapped, and steamed to the right point. Kids gobbled all the baos, I didn't get to try any actually...when there is a ton of hot stuff on the table, I go after the dumplings first, by the time I got done with those, the baos were all spoken for. But some of the other adults did and enjoyed them I think. I liked the pei dan sau yook jook a lot, and my eldest son (who is allergic to eggs) really enjoyed the beef jook. The taro cubes under the spareribs are indeed very tasty, I am not a huge fan of spareribs, but I love taro. I enjoyed the dim sum here more than what I can remember of China Pearl, Chau Chow City, or Hei La Moon.

                                      There was no room for lobster, chow fun, or soup noodles unfortunately (and actually, those are not the easiest items to eat while helping children eat and are messy for kids to eat themselves) but I saw a few other tables get lobster, which looked nicely done. All in all, a decent, competent place which is good for a family dim sum outing. I was very pleased (and hugely relieved!) since it's been a long time since the gang has gone out for dim sum (mostly because I have avoided it due to many past disappointments...we've gone the takeout from Shangri-La route instead), and an even longer time since they tried somewhere new. Only thing that would make it better would be a larger table for big groups, but I can see why that wouldn't work in their space. Even the bathroom is clean! I got 6 po taat from the bakery side after but we're all too stuffed to make an attempt at them now.

                                      I have to take two of my kids into the NEMC for appointments in November so I'll be in Chinatown anyway. Should I return here for dim sum (now tried and trusted), or head to Winsor (unknown quantity)? I don't head into Chinatown often (I'm a left bank gal), and when I do, would really like not to be disappointed.

                                      -----
                                      Hei La Moon
                                      88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                                      Shangri-La
                                      149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

                                      Chau Chow City
                                      81 Essex St, Boston, MA 02111

                                      China Pearl Restaurant
                                      288 Mishawum Rd, Woburn, MA 01801

                                      1. re: little.tiger

                                        So glad you liked it! I must say I also love Shangri-La. Winsor is excellent as well.

                                        -----
                                        Shangri-La
                                        149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478