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Yet Another Promising New Chinese Place - Golden Garden Belmont

StriperGuy Aug 23, 2010 10:56 AM

Open in the location where there used to be a thoroughly mediocre Japanese place.

Golden Garden
63 Concord Ave
Belmont, MA
617-489-4428

A colleague just got the pork with Spicy noodle soup and it was superb.

I got a bag of frozen pork and leek dumplings that were (big statement) as good as Wang's.

Things I need to try:
Cumin Lamb
Clams with Dry chili sauce
sauteed shredded potato with sour sauce
Sauteed snail with vegetable
Pan fried whole fish with spicy sauce
Dried chicken with chili sauce

Apps include: tendon, tripe, jellyfish, dan dan noodles, five flavored beef, steamed bacon with fresh garlic...

There is also a Szechuan portion of the menu that looks promising.

A few weeks ago I had the Bean Curd strips with Hot green pepper which was not that exciting on it's own, but would have made a great accompaniment to some of the other dishes.

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  1. t
    tdaaa RE: StriperGuy Aug 23, 2010 11:20 AM

    Interesting to have something good there. I had written it off as a "cursed" spot. The Chinese place that was there before the Japanese place looked like a crack house... I'm sure that their business was 100% takeout.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tdaaa
      l
      little.tiger RE: tdaaa Aug 24, 2010 04:49 AM

      LMAO...100% takeout, is that a euphemism for money laundering? Because that is what DH and I always assumed those baaaaaad Chinese restaurants were for. I agree that spot seems pretty cursed, though I haven't been in the area as long.

      Anyway, the thought of awesome dumplings within reasonable walking distance might just make me haul 3 kids up there in the rain today!

    2. PinchOfSalt RE: StriperGuy Aug 23, 2010 03:39 PM

      There is a LONG history of Chinese places on that corner, going back more than 20 years. (I used to work walking distance down Concord Ave. and can attest to this.) The Japanese place was an aberration. Unfortunately, like the Japanese incarnation, most of the other restaurants on that corner have been no better than mediocre. Maybe Golden Garden will break the curse!

      1. gansu girl RE: StriperGuy Aug 23, 2010 06:15 PM

        Wow! Dumplings as good as Wang's w/i 2 min. of my house . . . I might not sleep tonight. Thanks for tipping me off - I *never* check out that corner any more 'cause there's never been a reason, 'til now.

        GG
        http://www.semisweetonline.com

        1. tatsu RE: StriperGuy Aug 23, 2010 07:52 PM

          I tried it, very promising. The owner is from Dongbei and the menu similarities to Unique Food in Cambridge (before they closed) are striking.

          32 Replies
          1. re: tatsu
            StriperGuy RE: tatsu Aug 24, 2010 03:31 AM

            Thanks for the clarification. I was trying to figure out where they were from in China. Hmmm shades of lost Chinese restos of my youth in NYC, the Harbin Inn.

            On the dumpling front, I took them home and gave them a steam/fry my favorite prep. My SO said they were the best dumplings she ever ate, period.

            Heck, you got me thinking about them again, tempted to have them for breakfast ;-).

            Where/when was Unique food in existence? Must have totally missed that one.

            1. re: StriperGuy
              tatsu RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 05:26 AM

              Yes, Unique was unique for a brief time. I lived in and around NY also, so I am pretty familiar with Cantonese cuisine from Chinatown and Hunan & Sichuan cuisine in the suburbs. Dongbei food for me is new. They took over the Wisteria location in East Cambridge for a brief time. (I also miss Wisteria.) I only went 4 times before they closed. They had the best dumplings I had here, (except for White Bear's hot chili oil/pickle/scallion wonton skin masterpieces in Flushing) so I can't wait to try Golden Gardens.

              The cold app section very closely matches Unique's selection in particular. While I was reading it, I just sort of blurted out, "Are you guys from Dongbei?" and she said yes! At my first visit to Golden Garden I went for a Chive Pie instead of dumplings, and it was the best one ever. I also had MaPo tofu since it was a cold rainy day, and it was deeply satisfying.

              Unique does have another store in Allston that is still there. The owner told me it was too crazy opening both at the same time. However, the menu in Allston wasn't as extensive as the Cambridge locale. However, he promised me that once the Cambridge store closed in July, he'd start porting that menu over and then some, and also make improvements to the dining area. It looks like he is doing that, but I haven't stopped in just yet. The owner is an interesting guy and it was fun talking to him the few times I was there. I was very sad to see it go, as I miss both Unique and Wisteria. (It's going to be a Thai place now.) So I gotta get to Unique in Allston soon and see what's up! I'm gonna give him a hard time if I don't see a bigger menu!

              They are on Harvard street, pretty close to Blanchards and Garlic and Lemons. Very easy to miss, it looks like it's been there forever, (prolly was another Chinese take-out place before) and the sign looks strange until you realize it must be Dongbei inspired. (At first glace it looks sort of, umm, like a Brazilian-Chinese buffet!)

              Anyway I think both are pretty good. Unique is far less coy about their origins (at least in Cambridge) and doesn't have 4 pages of the funny stuff, but they both seem to cook very well. Some places dip in quality after opening, so I hope Golden stays the course. But definitely CH'ers should rush over now for some excellent NorthEast chinese food!

              1. re: tatsu
                MC Slim JB RE: tatsu Aug 24, 2010 06:53 AM

                Wow, Unique is great to know about! That was the Dragon Wok space for some time, just awful. It's between Brighton and Comm Aves, right across Harvard Ave from the Economy Hardware store.

                Looks like Unique opened around October 2009. I kept walking by that one and assuming it would be Dragon Wok-ish. Excellent tip!

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                1. re: tatsu
                  Luther RE: tatsu Aug 24, 2010 07:03 AM

                  I stopped into the Allston Unique right after they opened early in 2010 and asked for a takeout menu, but it was 100% franchise American Chinese so I figured there was nothing really going on there. But then they put up a second sign recently that just says "RAVIOLI" and I was thinking there's something to that place... I'm excited to hear they have some good food... gotta check it out soon.

                  1. re: Luther
                    barleywino RE: Luther Aug 24, 2010 07:43 AM

                    i stopped in the Allston Unique a while back and asked for the dumpliings but they said they were sold out. Might not hurt to call ahead before making a special trip over there.

                  2. re: tatsu
                    jgg13 RE: tatsu Aug 24, 2010 08:13 AM

                    I just wish unique would have bothered to put the good stuff on their foodler list. I'd have actually ordered from them regularly had they bothered to do that (I'll admit that I'm often too lazy to call for delivery when I can click some buttons on foodler). I did order from them a couple of times when I was craving delivery-style-americanized-chinese and found those offerings to be anything but unique.

                    Then I read that they had all of this good stuff and simply never had an opoprtunity to actually go there before it closed. Ah well.

                    1. re: tatsu
                      Nab RE: tatsu Aug 29, 2010 08:12 AM

                      Ankling it around the nabe late last night after about 731 rounds of soju at Myung Dong 1st Ave, I happened upon Unique. Chef Liping was thrilled to hear about all the dongbei buzz about town. I basically tied him up in a chair with an overhanging light bulb and shook him down for all the info. He had the same crazed look in his eyes as I probably did when interrogating him on dala pi, xiangla xiaopai, and knifecut wheat noodles - he can't wait for us to bring a crew (with a day's notice). Having already a bellyfull of chicken gizzards and rice cakes, I could only pull off a sample of dumplings (pork & sour cabbage). But when they hit the table, I found myself plowing thru the bakers dozen in under a minute. Terrible cellphone pics below.

                      Right now, they have a dozen different dumplings and 8 cold apps, all seemingly Manchurian. Steamed eggplant with minced garlic, garlic flavoured seaweed, garlic flavoured cucumber, triple vegetable salad, shredded pig tripe in chili sauce, etc etc. Let's assemble an army and have a feast.

                       
                       
                      1. re: Nab
                        n
                        nonaggie RE: Nab Aug 29, 2010 09:25 AM

                        Does Unique make their own knifecut wheat noodles? I adore those...

                        1. re: nonaggie
                          Nab RE: nonaggie Aug 29, 2010 10:17 AM

                          They're not on the menu at the moment, but if we naggie them enough they will make them ....

                          1. re: Nab
                            q
                            qianning RE: Nab Aug 29, 2010 03:11 PM

                            The Unique in e. Cambridge had hand pulled noodles, but definitely no knife cut noodles.

                          2. re: nonaggie
                            StriperGuy RE: nonaggie Aug 29, 2010 04:17 PM

                            Beijing Star in Waltham does a slightly clunky rendition that hits the spot for me. They call them Homemade Noodles or somesuch.

                            -----
                            Beijing Star Restaurant
                            835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

                            1. re: StriperGuy
                              q
                              qianning RE: StriperGuy Aug 30, 2010 08:05 AM

                              I'm pretty sure, unless they have changed the menu, that Beijing Star does Hand Pulled noodles (拉面, La-mian). These are not the same thing as Knife Cut/Knife Shaved noodles (刀削面, dao-xiao-mian).

                              There's a pretty good write up on the differences here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_...

                              -----
                              Beijing Star Restaurant
                              835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

                              1. re: qianning
                                StriperGuy RE: qianning Aug 30, 2010 08:35 AM

                                Nope, au contraire, Beijing Star does Knife cut noodles.

                                Cut off a block with a knife. A rather knowledgeable hound commented that Beijing Star's rendition was a bit on the clunky side, not the best he had had, but still serviceable...

                                This picture comes pretty close to what they look like:

                                http://www.plateoftheday.com/1016/

                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                  Luther RE: StriperGuy Aug 30, 2010 08:36 AM

                                  Yeah they are gooey rather than chewy. If you're into that sort of thing.

                                  1. re: Luther
                                    StriperGuy RE: Luther Aug 30, 2010 08:49 AM

                                    Hmmm, the couple of time's I've had them they were thick and chewy, but not gooey... go figure.

                                    From the ones I had I can see how if you sliced them thinner and used a more delicate dough they could reach marvelous heights.

                                    1. re: StriperGuy
                                      MC Slim JB RE: StriperGuy Aug 30, 2010 09:18 AM

                                      For Anglophones, the noodles in question at Beijing Star are offered as an option to specials menu, pink menu or foyer whiteboard menu dishes like soup noodles with shredded pork; you have the option to order "regular" or "home-style" noodles; the latter are knife-cut noodles. I'm no connoisseur of such, but that's one of my favorite hearty dishes there among many.

                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                      -----
                                      Beijing Star Restaurant
                                      835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                        q
                                        qianning RE: MC Slim JB Aug 30, 2010 09:27 AM

                                        hmmmm......my mistake. thanks for the correction.

                                      2. re: StriperGuy
                                        beetlebug RE: StriperGuy Aug 30, 2010 09:31 AM

                                        I loathe those knife cut noodles at Beijing Star. No art or care at all. And, they only need a little care and love to make the noodle texture delicious.

                                        -----
                                        Beijing Star Restaurant
                                        835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                          MC Slim JB RE: beetlebug Aug 30, 2010 09:57 AM

                                          Any place in Boston that does a good job of knife-cut noodles, beetlebug?

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                            beetlebug RE: MC Slim JB Aug 30, 2010 10:47 AM

                                            Unfortunately, no. And, no place for hand pulled noodles either (well, not since noodle alcove closed).

                                            But, maybe I'm missing something?

                                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                                              tatsu RE: MC Slim JB Aug 30, 2010 10:58 AM

                                              Well they weren't thin, but Unique did make noodles before they closed in Cambridge. They were good, and frankly much better than any Udon I've ever had in Boston or NYC. There would sometimes be Chinese expats slurping it up with me at Unique, some hours you'd think it was a noodle shop! It wasn't finely cut, very fat again, like udon, and fairly irregular, but it had body and a little stretch and cooked through perfectly. (90% of the udon here is way overcooked.)

                                              Anyway, maybe they have it now at the Allston store? Let us know if you make it there and if it's ramping up again.

                                        2. re: Luther
                                          n
                                          nonaggie RE: Luther Aug 30, 2010 04:04 PM

                                          We only tried them once at Beijing Star; they were definitely knife cut (刀削面), and although I wouldn't call them gooey, they were definitely soft and didn't have any of the chewy bite we were hoping for.

                                          -----
                                          Beijing Star Restaurant
                                          835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

                            2. re: StriperGuy
                              c
                              cambridgedoctpr RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 08:34 AM

                              could you give me a time for steaming; not boil then steam? Perhaps you need to do a comparison but are they better than mulon's and wang's dumplings.

                              what about a new thread on chinese dumplings? this would be too good to keep to oneself.

                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                tatsu RE: cambridgedoctpr Aug 24, 2010 09:42 AM

                                A chinese dumpling thread would be fun. It would end up being around 10 or so places I bet.

                                Some dumplings are meant to be pan-fried, some steamed, etc. The thicker the skin, the more cooking it can take on.

                                The typical frozen dumpling approach is to put a few tablespoons of water to barely cover the bottom of a non-stick skillet, partially lid until the dumplings mostly cook, and then add oil to pan-fry when the water is gone. The amount of water and heat is kind of tricky but if you are careful you can add or dump water before it's too late. Use medium to medium high heat.

                                My own variation is to simply nuke the dumplings for 30 seconds, deplate them and let them sit on the cutting board until the skin is dry and they cool down, then rinse my hands in running water and then rub gently about in my hands/fingerpaint so some moisture gets back into the skin. Sometimes the edges get opaque, and you'll know it's dried out there, so paint those corners with water with your fingers. (I suppose you could spritz them but I think it might be too much water.) Then I fry them in a old iron cast skillet. It does make a lot less oil splatter since they are pretty much dry and the results are just as good or better. I think the drawback to steam and fry is that the insides may get too wet, but it's fine. If you know what you doing you won't overcook them. (That's when they fall apart and you get oil everywhere.) The drawback to my own method is that it's well, microwaved.

                                I don't like to use the microwave so sometimes I do it the tried and true way or simply steam them till done.

                                The other obvious choice is to let them simply defrost on the counter.

                                Oh, by the way, frozen buns can be done similarly, simply take them out of the fridge, pass them quickly through running water just to wet the surface and pop them in the microwave for 20-40 seconds. Steaming frozen buns would probably end up soggy.

                                Finally in the microwave process I'll sometimes divide the zapping times in half, letting the products dissipate moisture and microwave hots spots for a minute or two. I tend to use less zapping time than most ppl recommend, letting the latent energy spread, it's surprising how much there is in radiation.

                                I'm sure StriperGuy has his own honed steam 'n' fry technique down, with times. (I just sort of feel it, the steam/parboil/microwave process is basically defrosting, while the fry process is a finish.)

                                1. re: tatsu
                                  StriperGuy RE: tatsu Aug 24, 2010 11:27 AM

                                  Wow, I think that was the comprehensive answer.

                                  I tend to just use cast iron and alternate steaming, and when the water dries out frying. It's always a little tricky to get the insides cooked and not over cook the wrapper.

                                  By the way (I am insanely suggestible) I could not resist eating lunch their today:

                                  Fried tofu with chinese cabbage and spicy chili sauce
                                  and
                                  Lamb with dry chili sauce

                                  The tofu dish was totally amazing. Nice chew to the fried tofu. Not like your usual fried tofu which I find a bit boring. SWIMMING in rich chili sauce and topped with garlic and chili. The texture was more like what happens when they cook stinky tofu. 4 Stars ;-)

                                  The lamb was actually milder then I had thought it would be. With poblanos and dried red chili. Not the usual szechuan prep, but very soothing, rich, and perfect for a rainy day. The lamb was super tender. 4 Stars as well.

                                  1. re: StriperGuy
                                    jgg13 RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 11:33 AM

                                    are these all on the normal menu, or do you have to nod-nod-wink-wink-convince-them to get the real menu?

                                    1. re: jgg13
                                      StriperGuy RE: jgg13 Aug 24, 2010 12:09 PM

                                      They only have one menu (not always the case) and everything that I know of is on it.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                        jgg13 RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 12:33 PM

                                        cool, thanks.

                                    2. re: StriperGuy
                                      StriperGuy RE: StriperGuy Aug 29, 2010 04:19 PM

                                      Just for the record I got 4 lunches out of this order...

                              2. re: tatsu
                                Luther RE: tatsu Aug 24, 2010 04:07 AM

                                Is there much northeast-style Chinese food on the menu? I'd love to have that in Boston, after the explosion of such restaurants in Flushing Queens.

                                1. re: Luther
                                  q
                                  qianning RE: Luther Aug 24, 2010 04:24 AM

                                  To add to Luther's questions, any "dun cai", i.e. stewed/braised dishes, on the menu?

                                  1. re: qianning
                                    StriperGuy RE: qianning Aug 24, 2010 06:36 AM

                                    Not a ton that looks stewed/braised...

                              3. n
                                nonaggie RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 11:42 AM

                                Thanks for the tip, StriperGuy! I was just wondering what to do for dinner last night when I saw this. We got a bag of the pork and leek dumplings as well as a bag of the Chinese vegetable dumplings, and that was most of dinner.

                                The Chinese veg dumplings was filled predominantly with carrot, bean curd, rice vermicelli, and I think minced cabbage.

                                We boiled them, and both types were quite good, although I think I still slightly prefer Wang's dumplings, which have a slightly chewier skin. (Granted, it's been several months since we've had dumplings from Wang's, so this may be an out of date comparison. And perhaps these are better steamed.) At any rate, Golden Garden is so much more convenient for us to get to that I'm sure we'll end up getting their dumplings quite frequently.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: nonaggie
                                  StriperGuy RE: nonaggie Aug 24, 2010 12:11 PM

                                  Excellent. I tried them steamed first and they were good. The second time I did my fav prep, alternating steaming and frying in cast iron (fry til water is gone, brown a bit, add a bit more water steam a bit more til done) and they truly shined. Honestly superb.

                                  1. re: StriperGuy
                                    c
                                    cambridgedoctpr RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 01:20 PM

                                    you must cover when steaming, correct. are they thawed out first; how do you know when they are done?

                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                      StriperGuy RE: cambridgedoctpr Aug 24, 2010 01:29 PM

                                      I just throw them in the pan frozen with a little oil and brown lightly on all sides. Then get the pan a little hotter, throw in a 1/4 cup of water and cover till water is gone. It's a fiddly method but it workd.

                                      Covered when steaming, then uncovered when frying.

                                      Done is tricky, sometimes I just cut one in half. Key is, too soon it is raw, too long it is over cooked. I wish I had some magic solution...

                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                        c
                                        cambridgedoctpr RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 01:41 PM

                                        thanks for the tutorial. i will try it though i wonder if it would not be better to that them first?

                                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                          justbeingpolite RE: cambridgedoctpr Aug 24, 2010 02:29 PM

                                          If you have time to thaw them first, it's better. If not, use a little more than a 1/4 cup of water, so they steam a little more. Also, if you prefer the dumplings crispy on only one side, you can brown just one side in the initial oil browning.

                                2. l
                                  little.tiger RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 02:24 PM

                                  I bought two bags of dumplings today. Pork and celery and the vegetable ones. Steamed for about 13 minutes and served right away without further ado...my kids are dumpling monsters and we recently returned from a trip to Toronto in which many dumplings were consumed (mostly dim sum, not like these) so they were all hovering around the stove expectantly. Both were very good, and 13 minutes was cooked but not overdone. I liked them both. Will definitely spread the word. I'll probably steam what's left for dinner tonight so my DH gets to try them before they are gone.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: little.tiger
                                    StriperGuy RE: little.tiger Aug 24, 2010 04:43 PM

                                    Hmmmmmmm, the pork with leek were most excellent. Pork with celery.... next time.

                                    To JBP above, heck, never tried defrosting them first. Also next time, though often dumplings are the ultimate last minute food for me so...

                                    I have in the past nuked them just a smidge, then fried them which also works.

                                    Over-nuking is a disaster though, ruins the filling and the wrapper.

                                    1. re: StriperGuy
                                      justbeingpolite RE: StriperGuy Aug 25, 2010 05:50 AM

                                      I agree, rarely take the time to defrost em. I'll try the nuke trick.
                                      I was responding to cambridgedoctpr, who (I think) was commenting on thawing them.
                                      I'll have to try the Belmont dumplings. My current go to are the dumplings from Formosa Taipei in Lexington. They have them again, now that the Nashua branch is up and running.
                                      Anyone tried both and can compare and contrast?

                                      1. re: justbeingpolite
                                        StriperGuy RE: justbeingpolite Aug 25, 2010 06:32 AM

                                        I remember having the Jo Jo Taipei dumplings, but it is too long ago to really remember.

                                        -----
                                        JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
                                        103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                                      2. re: StriperGuy
                                        galangatron RE: StriperGuy Aug 25, 2010 08:39 AM

                                        i haven't been to golden garden but i had the pork and celery dumplings at the late unique food in cambridge and they were really good

                                    2. f
                                      fantundo RE: StriperGuy Aug 24, 2010 06:41 PM

                                      I got a simple take-out order that took too long to prepare, but they were so totally sweet about it that I couldn't stay annoyed.

                                      1. f
                                        FoodDabbler RE: StriperGuy Aug 25, 2010 07:44 AM

                                        Thanks striperguy. My debt to you grows by the minute.
                                        Does anybody know if they also deliver?

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: FoodDabbler
                                          StriperGuy RE: FoodDabbler Aug 25, 2010 08:07 AM

                                          They do deliver, which to my chagrin Shangri-La does not.

                                          1. re: StriperGuy
                                            f
                                            FoodDabbler RE: StriperGuy Aug 25, 2010 08:37 AM

                                            Thanks. The Shangri La shortcoming was precisely what was on my mind when I asked about delivery. My wife once asked Shangri La why they would not deliver. They said that it would compromise the quality of the food. I can respect that, and sort of understand, except that the argument is somewhat undercut by their being quite willing to pack food for takeout. They do a good job even with delicate dishes such as the homestyle egg drop. They pack the omelet that floats on the soup separately.

                                            1. re: FoodDabbler
                                              beetlebug RE: FoodDabbler Aug 25, 2010 08:57 AM

                                              Shangri La used to deliver, but they stopped when that son went off to school.

                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                f
                                                FoodDabbler RE: beetlebug Aug 25, 2010 09:33 AM

                                                For the sake of the happiness of all who live in the Belmont-Cambridge area, one can only hope that this education thing does not work out for him, and that he returns to being useful.

                                        2. tatsu RE: StriperGuy Aug 25, 2010 09:37 AM

                                          Here's the important non-self-indulgent half of my yelp review. i'm at tatsu.yelp.com if anyone, err, yelps.

                                          No where on the menu does Golden Garden speak of "Dongbei" and in fact the only specialties proclaimed are Sichuan, this year's hot regional cuisine. (Eh, I'm over it for now.) Wading through several pages of Amero-Sino fare and, yes, you would easily confuse this place for "100% takeout", funny riff from the CH tip, or a wanna-be sichuan place. Throw on the mala sauce and we're all good, right? Hellz no.

                                          Garlic accounts more than chili in Dongbei and the first hint was "Cucumber with Fresh Garlic" and then "Green Bean Noodle with Spicy Sauce". The starch noodles made from, yes, green beans, is shared with the Sichuan province, but Cucumbers and Garlic are a distinctively Dongbei starter. I had a silent fist-pump moment to myself and looked up to see the very friendly server, waiting for my order. "You're from Dongbei, aren't you?" "Yes! Are you Korean?" "Ha ha, no, and I don't need a fork, thank you, but I love your food!"

                                          Needless to say I did. Dishes you need to try: Cucumber with Garlic (garlic on your breath for hours), Lamb Teriyaki (actually it will be skewers, cumin flavored), Dumplings of any kind, right up there with the many specialists in town, the Vegetable Leek Pie is the best edition I've had so far, the Green Bean Noodles, Sauteed Potato with Sour Sauce, any Offal dish, any Lamb dish, and I wouldn't doubt their technique or interpretation with the Szechuan (Sichuan) section including the classic Jin Gu Fish Fillets. These guys aren't just a new category (for us) of food, they can cook. The warm attentive service is the polar opposite of what you expect from "The Cold North", another nickname for what is in fact Mongolia. They even carry brown rice, although not sorghum or millet, interesting alternative 'supergrains' (RNA complete proteins) that flourish there.

                                          For more information on Dongbei/Mongolia's Cuisine, a small snippet published in the Spring 2009 edition of Gastrinomica by Prof. Jacqueline M. Newman can be found here:
                                          http://bit.ly/aRWujc

                                          -----
                                          Golden Garden
                                          63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: tatsu
                                            f
                                            FoodDabbler RE: tatsu Aug 25, 2010 12:39 PM

                                            Nice account, tatsu. I don't have full acess to the Gastronomica article, but I'm curious about the use of millet and sorghum in Dongbei cuisine. Can you tell us more? Both grains are widely eaten in the form of peasant breads in India. I don't think either is available in Boston area Indian restaurants (I'd be happy to be wrong on this score), but there are places where millet breads are available in New York. See
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7038...

                                            1. re: FoodDabbler
                                              tatsu RE: FoodDabbler Aug 25, 2010 08:46 PM

                                              I'd love to know myself, I'll ask her next time, if she understands it! My DC for tonight is from Beijing, and she declared it authentic. We had the pork/shrimp/chive dumplings, the classic, and they are tremendously good. A bit on the large size, but it a bit juicier that way. My DC said she makes them the same way, so I gotta keep this girl happy, wish me luck guys. We had the Jin Gu, check, excellent, and the Sour Cabbage with Oysters, excellent, DC loved it. Huge family size bowls, with dozens of fillets, like nearly gallon sized, well worth the 18 bucks for the Jin Gu. We also had a cucumber and garlic dish made for us, with jellyfish on top. I may like Unique's version slightly better, theirs is a uncompromisingly elemental garlic dish. (Sometimes Unique had a cold stewed eggplant in the same prep, very very interesting.)

                                              By the way, both Unique and Golden Garden both boil their dumplings, it's the typical prep unless the dumplings are quite large, as my DC informed me. So we can defenestrate our complex dumpling prep machinations, ha ha, in favor of a pot of boiling water. (Pan frying is not improper at all of course, just extra effort.) When the dumplings are this good, you hardly need dipping sauce. The combo of perfectly sized chunks of shrimp and pork is very very dangerous to my vegetarian lifestyle.

                                              This is also why the skins may appear less "chewy" to another reviewer in this thread. Frankly I like it this way better myself.

                                              I'd love to join the CH crew for photos. I did mention it to her, and she said, yes! just call me! This place needs exposure, 3 weeks into their opening, we were the only two diners from 7 to 10, with maybe 2 or 3 takeout orders. Let's do it! I can ask for some special things, like, how's this, sour cabbage dumplings? Wouldn't that be amazing?!

                                              -----
                                              Golden Garden
                                              63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                              1. re: tatsu
                                                Nab RE: tatsu Aug 26, 2010 07:28 AM

                                                Wow, just getting caught up here and great to see the Manchurian Madness has made it to Boston now too. Thanks for the excellent legwork and writeup. Great idea to show them there's a market here too so we can get sauerkraut dumplings and cumin fried chicken bones on the regular menu ! Keep us posted if you organize a feast.

                                                1. re: Nab
                                                  StriperGuy RE: Nab Aug 26, 2010 07:35 AM

                                                  Cumin fried chicken bones. Why does that sound right up my alley. I notoriously get scolded for crunching on chicken bones and sucking out the marrow.

                                                  1. re: StriperGuy
                                                    Nab RE: StriperGuy Aug 26, 2010 07:43 AM

                                                    Yeah, I know I am in good bone-crunching company with you. =)

                                                    1. re: Nab
                                                      Alcachofa RE: Nab Aug 26, 2010 07:59 AM

                                                      Hey now.

                                                      1. re: Alcachofa
                                                        justbeingpolite RE: Alcachofa Aug 26, 2010 10:16 AM

                                                        I, too, was raised to crack the chicken bones and suck out the marrow: it makes a plate of wings last twice as long. I still clean every bit of meat off the bone, and often eat the cartilage at the ends, but a series of disgusted girlfriends have trained me to leave the bones intact.

                                                        1. re: justbeingpolite
                                                          StriperGuy RE: justbeingpolite Aug 26, 2010 10:57 AM

                                                          Aaaah disgusted girlfriends, I hear ya, I hear ya.

                                                    2. re: StriperGuy
                                                      tatsu RE: StriperGuy Aug 26, 2010 11:32 AM

                                                      Ok, I'm venturing forth with a suggestion that we try to get 10 or so peeps together 3 saturdays away. That is Sept 11th. I'll be the one to call ahead, get two tables reserved and try to coax her to bring out some specialties I've been reading about elsewhere. Parking is a breeze and it's very easy to get to by car, T or bus. I'll check on the beer situation but I'm sure we can split a case or two or Singha or something like that from Cambridge Wine and Spirits.

                                                      Who's in? Is there any way to message on this thing?

                                                      1. re: tatsu
                                                        Aromatherapy RE: tatsu Aug 26, 2010 02:28 PM

                                                        Nope. You have to post an e-mail address (many of us have it in our profile) and handle the logistics off-board.

                                            2. PinchOfSalt RE: StriperGuy Aug 25, 2010 10:07 AM

                                              Thank you ever so much StriperGuy for telling us about the restaurant. Yes! A very worthy Chinese restaurant within 8 minutes of my home! I owe ya big time....

                                              I have been taking advantage of the cooler weather to begin the Big Kitchen Beautification Project at my home (including the installation in two weeks of a Real Gas Stove with a burner that should do more than just tickle my wok). Yesterday afternoon I decided to get take-out rather than to clean the kitchen of errant paint and plaster chips only to make it messy again today. So off I drove to Golden Garden at about 5:30 or so.

                                              It was empty! Okay it's only been open a few days, but it still was a sad sight. There was a middle-aged woman and a younger woman at the cashier station. The older woman speaks very little English; communication was a bit challenging. However the younger woman (a student, actually) was wonderful to chat with. She said with pride that the restaurant was a family-business, and yes, they were from Dongbei. The family is living in Malden. We talked about Fuloon. We even talked about how to make pizza, which she says her father adores and she would like to learn to cook. But I digress....

                                              Since I was ordering just for myself, I got one order of pork and leek dumplings and also as an experiment, the sour cabbage with steamed bacon. Why? Because it seemed like a good dish for a damp chilly day and because I had never seen it on a Chinese restaurant menu before. Is it particular to Dongbei? I don't know. But the order, which came to $20, was easily enough for two meals. More importantly, it was very good. The dumplings were so clearly house-made, with a toothsome wrapper and flavorful filling with a nice texture. The sour cabbage dish was nicely surprising - sort of a silky, unctuous analogue to Alsatian choucroute. It definitely was sour but not overpoweringly so. Very homey and just the kind of thing that warms you up from the belly out.

                                              The sad thing is that while I was waiting for my order, another customer came in and placed an order that was pure Chinese-American. Well, I suppose that kind of thing has to be on the menu in order for it to stay in business, but I sure hope that a sufficient number of aficionados discover this place to make those orders the exception rather than the rule.

                                              I will be back. Frequently, especially during my kitchen project. In fact, even though I have never organized a Chowdown, I am thinking that maybe doing one for this restaurant could be a worthy project, perhaps with a goal for a dinner next week. However if I did do something like that, I think I would want a ground rule that tables could not have more than, say, six people. My own preference is to have a real meal, not a tasting of as many dishes as possible. So please say something if you are interested; if there is sufficient interest we can take this offline to set up a date and time.

                                              -----
                                              Golden Garden
                                              63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: PinchOfSalt
                                                tatsu RE: PinchOfSalt Aug 25, 2010 10:18 AM

                                                I would love that as I want to shoot this place and get as many dishes as possible.

                                                Here's a very interesting and thorough review of a Dongbei restaurant in Flushing. He even dug up the same references as I did.

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640895

                                                1. re: PinchOfSalt
                                                  Aromatherapy RE: PinchOfSalt Aug 26, 2010 05:49 AM

                                                  If you organize a chowdown you can set the rules any way you damn please. They do not have to be huge affairs. I'd set an overall cap too, though for the last week of summer that may not be necessary. For the record, the lunch specials are mostly uninteresting but I did try the spicy shredded beef w/hot green peppers, nice flavor and the peppers were a thin-walled, crisp sort. Hot and sour soup and a spring roll were acceptable. I wouldn't begrudge them the Chi-Am, they need the business--even the lamented New Taste of Asia did a lot of that, going by overheard phone orders.

                                                  -----
                                                  New Taste of Asia
                                                  1393 Beacon St, Brookline, MA

                                                  1. re: Aromatherapy
                                                    PinchOfSalt RE: Aromatherapy Aug 26, 2010 12:44 PM

                                                    Okay! I will organize a Chowdown for next Wednesday and have started a new thread for that purpose.

                                                    1. re: PinchOfSalt
                                                      KWagle RE: PinchOfSalt Sep 1, 2010 07:20 AM

                                                      Wednesday 9/1? I was thinking of going back to "New Shanghai" but Dongbei cai is worth changing my plans for.

                                                2. d
                                                  dsmoxie RE: StriperGuy Aug 26, 2010 06:42 AM

                                                  I had a quick, early supper here last night; at 5:30PM in the rain, the place was empty. The pork and leek dumplings were, as everyone has reported, generous and juicy; with dumplings that size, boiling seems like the right way to go. The cucumbers with garlic had a real intensity -- but the secret came in good coarse salt to enliven the texture a bit, drawing some liquid out of the cucumbers while providing their own crunch. A gem!

                                                  1. m
                                                    makonna RE: StriperGuy Aug 26, 2010 07:23 AM

                                                    Sounds like a great place for us to try. Got a menu. Almost ready to try, but one question: Would this in your minds be Chinatown quality or a good suburban option? Helps us determine who we would eat with. :) Thanks!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: makonna
                                                      StriperGuy RE: makonna Aug 26, 2010 07:41 AM

                                                      Many of the best Chinese restaurants in Boston are NOT in Chinatown. If anything over the last year or two the real explosion of Chinese places from different Chinese regional cuisines is outside of Chinatown: Fuloon, Jo Jo Taipei, Formosa Taipei, Blue Asia, Shanghai Gate, Wonder Cafe, Sichuan Gourmet, Little Q hotpot, etc etc.

                                                      By the enthusiasm of the hardcore hounds on this thread, pretty clear this place is the real deal.

                                                      Key to stick to their specialties, and NOT order Americanized stuff.

                                                      -----
                                                      Shanghai Gate
                                                      204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                                                      Sichuan Gourmet
                                                      502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

                                                      JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
                                                      103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                                                      Blue Asia Cafe
                                                      113 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                                                      Formosa Taipei
                                                      315 Marrett Rd, Lexington, MA 02421

                                                    2. j
                                                      JoJo5 RE: StriperGuy Aug 26, 2010 12:57 PM

                                                      Stopped in today for lunch. Yum! It's a nice alternative to Shangri-la which I've frequented for the last 7 years. I ordered the hot and sour soup, which I enjoyed, dan dan noodles and the pork, chive and shrimp dumplings. I will be back. Everything was delicious and the service was very attentive. JoJo

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: JoJo5
                                                        j
                                                        JoJo5 RE: JoJo5 Aug 28, 2010 07:50 AM

                                                        Two days in a row for me. Stopped in again for a light lunch. I just wanted a light lunch so I ordered a bowl of their hot and sour soup, which I really like, and the cold appetizer of wood ear mushrooms with a little vinegar, cilantro and extremely hot tiny Chinese pepper rings. My mouth was on fire but I ate the whole dish gladly. I'm going to slowly make my way down the menu. On Thursday, I wanted to order the green bean noodles but they were out of them. Next time maybe. JoJo

                                                      2. k
                                                        katzzz RE: StriperGuy Aug 28, 2010 07:02 PM

                                                        Stopped in for lunch today. My wife and I ordered off the lunch special menu -- nothing exotic: yu siang pork and ma po tofu. Both came with soup, app and rice (choice of hot and sour or egg drop; egg roll, spring roll or crab rangoon; and white, fried or - for $.50 extra - brown rice). Everything we tried was tasty good. And atmosphere was much more pleasant than I expected from previous posters -- moderate sized room, fresh paint job (very very blue), tasteful decorations and eager to please waitstaff. We were the only ones there at noon -- two takeout customers showed up while we were eating, and another couple came in shortly before we exited. Promising spot -- I'm eager to go back for a dinner, even if they don't (yet?) have a liquor license.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: katzzz
                                                          StriperGuy RE: katzzz Aug 29, 2010 01:11 AM

                                                          Honestly the lunch specials, as is often the case, may not be the strongest stuff on the menu. Though I am curious to try the Ma Po tofu. The Sichuan fried tofu on the regular menu was amazing.

                                                          1. re: StriperGuy
                                                            k
                                                            katzzz RE: StriperGuy Aug 29, 2010 07:09 AM

                                                            The ma po tofu featured an almost barbeque-like sauce. Pretty intense. Yeah, the lunch specials key on the less adventurous dishes on the menu, but you can't beat the price!

                                                        2. f
                                                          FoodDabbler RE: StriperGuy Aug 29, 2010 11:18 AM

                                                          Is there a menu online that I can study? I'm traveling at the moment so have not had a chance to hit GG yet, but plan to order delivery the night I return. Are there days when they are closed?

                                                          1. m
                                                            marcreichman RE: StriperGuy Aug 29, 2010 12:47 PM

                                                            We just went for lunch. It was outstanding, excellent, amazing, etc..

                                                            We showed up at about 2:30 and the place was empty, and I think they were surprised to see us. We ordered pork, leek and shrimp dumplings and they were absolutely divine. They brought the dipping sauce out first which was a total tease, but it screamed vinegar, ginger, garlic and was just wonderful. The dumplings were very flavorful and were quite full, and were clearly very freshly made.

                                                            For mains I had the cumin lamb with spicy sauce, and my DC had the spicy pork, chicken, and shrimp noodles. Both dishes had *many* visible chiles throughout, and packed quite a bit of heat. The lamb absolutely destroyed the version I'd had at Qingdao, and had a rich sauce that was spicy, smoky, and HUGE with cumin flavor. The portion was also quite large, and I have some to bring to work for lunch. The noodle dish had seemingly homemade noodles, little chunks of pork, chicken, and tiny shrimp in a flavorful and spicy broth.

                                                            Everything was simply top notch, and the fact that they deliver to us in E. Arlington makes me very very happy! I hope this place makes it, as it was just splendid in every way with friendly service. Enjoy your chowdown, everyone. :)

                                                            I wish I had a scanner for the menu question, but the hours are Sun-Thurs 11 - 9:30, and Fri&Sat 11 - 10:30.

                                                            1. f
                                                              FoodDabbler RE: StriperGuy Aug 30, 2010 10:36 AM

                                                              As I mentioned I'm traveling, but I'm putting together a menu for friends to try tonight or tomorrow for delivery from GG. It's possible I'll be passing through Cambridge for a few hours, so will also be able participate, but that's not certain. Here's the menu based on what people have said:

                                                              Dumplings (pork and leek) 
                                                              Pork with spicy noodle soup
                                                              Fried tofu with chinese cabbage and spicy chili sauce
                                                              Lamb with dry chili sauce (= cumin lamb with spicy sauce?)
                                                              Cucumber with Garlic
                                                              Green Bean Noodles with spicy sauce 

                                                              Is there a non-spicy meat or fish dish and a non-spicy soup that people recommend? Anything else that's a must-have?

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                tatsu RE: FoodDabbler Aug 30, 2010 10:40 AM

                                                                You have to do the pork, leek and shrimp dumplings, not just pork and leek. It's really something else.

                                                                1. re: tatsu
                                                                  f
                                                                  FoodDabbler RE: tatsu Aug 30, 2010 10:50 AM

                                                                  I can live with that. Thanks.

                                                                  Eta: Are they pork, shrimp, and leek, or p, s, and chive?

                                                                  1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                    c
                                                                    cambridgedoctpr RE: FoodDabbler Aug 30, 2010 10:56 AM

                                                                    you may not know that there is a CH event on Wednesday night at GG at 6 30.

                                                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                                                      f
                                                                      FoodDabbler RE: cambridgedoctpr Aug 30, 2010 11:26 AM

                                                                      Thanks. I did know that, but won't be around that night. I'm on the road, and there's only a chance I'll even be able to eat the delivered meal I'm planning for friends for tonight or tomorrow. I hope to eat much more GG food when I'm around the area more in September.

                                                                    2. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                      tatsu RE: FoodDabbler Aug 30, 2010 11:10 AM

                                                                      Ha ha thanks Nab, I "cheat" for exceptional things, yes...

                                                                      FoodDabbler, It's says leek on the menu but I thought I saw the flat chive variety in there. As well as in the excellent Veg. Leek Pie. It could be mistranslated or have both ingredients or both.

                                                                      1. re: tatsu
                                                                        n
                                                                        nonaggie RE: tatsu Aug 30, 2010 04:09 PM

                                                                        Whether Chinese restaurant menus say chives or leeks, it seems like they mean Chinese chives (aka garlic chives, or 韭菜).

                                                                    3. re: tatsu
                                                                      Nab RE: tatsu Aug 30, 2010 10:59 AM

                                                                      This is why you're the coolest vegetarian.

                                                                    4. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                      m
                                                                      marcreichman RE: FoodDabbler Aug 30, 2010 01:46 PM

                                                                      The dry chili is not the same as the cumin with spicy sauce. The latter is freaking amazing (had it for lunch yesterday, and the leftovers for lunch today!), the former I have not had.

                                                                      1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                        f
                                                                        FoodDabbler RE: FoodDabbler Sep 1, 2010 01:12 PM

                                                                        I got my delivery and posted a review on the other GG thread:
                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7308...

                                                                        I've also scanned the menu. The images are not good but for what they're worth they're at
                                                                        http://thedabbler.webs.com/GoldenGard...

                                                                        The 3 other pages are GG2.jpg, GG3.jpg, and GG4.jpg. Page 2 managed to get corrupted. I'll fix it when I can.

                                                                        This is a restaurant well worth eating at. I plan to eat a lot more of their food.

                                                                        1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                          w
                                                                          WilderPenfield RE: FoodDabbler Nov 8, 2010 06:48 AM

                                                                          I'm finally enjoying my frozen dumplings from Golden Garden -- delicious enough to bump up this thread!

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Golden Garden
                                                                          63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                                                      2. gansu girl RE: StriperGuy Nov 8, 2010 08:55 AM

                                                                        We have had takeout from Golden Garden twice recently and I have to report that aside from the dumplings, I don't think the quality's all that great anymore. Hot & sour soup this past Friday night, for example, was unbearably salty. They've also gotten orders wrong - for example, also Friday, we ordered Chinese broccoli and asked if they could saute it with garlic (have done this in the restaurant and it was fine) - they said OK over phone - but what we got in the bag was American broccoli w/Yu Xiang sauce . . . and kinda lousy Yu Xiang at that (no where near as tasty as Shangri La, for example).

                                                                        I'm not giving up on them yet, and again, the dumplings have been consistently delicious (maybe it's a takeout versus dining in thing? our one dining in experience was terrific), but wanted to update the thread.

                                                                        GG
                                                                        http://www.semisweetonline.com

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Golden Garden
                                                                        63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                                                        20 Replies
                                                                        1. re: gansu girl
                                                                          f
                                                                          FoodDabbler RE: gansu girl Nov 8, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                                          We've only had delivery from them (about 15 times or so now). The quality is uneven, but my experiences have generally been good. The dumplings are almost always superior, as is the lamb "teriyaki" (skewers). The food they specialize in is reliable, but some of the other stuff isn't. The hot and sour soup is often rather bad, as are some of the lo mein dishes. I've eaten extensively up and down their menu now, and I've found that one is best off sticking to the "House Specials", the dumplings, and the Szechuan food. I must eat in one of these days.

                                                                          As an aside, we ate at Shangri La Friday night. Everything was very good.

                                                                          1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                                            s
                                                                            sdwr98 RE: FoodDabbler Nov 8, 2010 10:30 AM

                                                                            I'll second the variability in the quality. We ordered delivery last week and the spicy cumin lamb, while still good, was nowhere near as good as when we had it in the restaurant. Admittedly, it was a rainy night so I'm sure tons of people were ordering delivery, but still...

                                                                            1. re: sdwr98
                                                                              s
                                                                              sdwr98 RE: sdwr98 Nov 28, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                              And just to re-report, we got delivery again last night and the quality was back. Had the shredded beef with hot green peppers and the cumin lamb, and both were outstanding.

                                                                          2. re: gansu girl
                                                                            StriperGuy RE: gansu girl Nov 8, 2010 11:13 AM

                                                                            Ate there a week ago with 4 other hounds and everything was spot on excellent. I never get delivery, and I ALWAYS stick with the specialties of the house.

                                                                            1. re: gansu girl
                                                                              beetlebug RE: gansu girl Nov 8, 2010 11:27 AM

                                                                              I've gotten delivery and I've eaten in house. I also only stick with the specialties. It's variable in quality and extremely uneven. Even the dumplings can be either brilliant or meh on the same day (2 different kinds).

                                                                              Because GG is new, I've thrown a lot of personal business their way (and neglected Shangri La and Mulan). But, the uneveness of the food just drives me nuts. This isn't Vegas here.

                                                                              Got SL for takeout dinner Saturday night and every dish was spot on. I wish GG had that consistency.

                                                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                StriperGuy RE: beetlebug Nov 8, 2010 12:21 PM

                                                                                Hmmmm I hear ya...

                                                                                1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                  tatsu RE: beetlebug Nov 8, 2010 01:02 PM

                                                                                  Consistency takes time, as business evens out for them, and they anticipate orders better, they will improve most likely. The chef has a few decades of experience, so I'm confident.

                                                                                  My ringer and I made dumplings the other day. It is a ton of work. Based on my go at it, I have to say GG's dumplings are top notch. The fillings are unbeatable and the skins are right for me. I have found the "chewiness" of the skins depends largely on the boiling time, because there really isn't much kneading going on. So if you like chewy or don't like, I suppose you could ask to alter the boiling time. More boil more chewy.

                                                                                  Here's pics of my go at it.

                                                                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/tatsuuuu...

                                                                                  1. re: tatsu
                                                                                    beetlebug RE: tatsu Nov 8, 2010 01:06 PM

                                                                                    I hear you about consistency taking time. However, when SL first opened, they were consistent every time. I ate there a lot bc it was the only Taiwanese place on this side of the river (spring/summer of 2002).

                                                                                    And, I know about dumplings. I've made my own, although it's been years making my own skin. My consistency issue with the dumplings is about the skin and the cooking time. Some of the dumplings are inexpertly and inartfully wrapped. And, some of the dumplings are with leftover dough which, at that point, shouldn't even be used (dried out, wrong size, etc). As for the cooking, sometimes it's just overcooked. Either there is more than one chef, or there are bad helpers in the kitchen - not only in cooking but with prep.

                                                                                    I can tell, looking at the dumplings, there is at least one expert maker and at least one mediocre maker. But, when the dumplings (and other dishes) is spot on, it is swoon worthy. But it definitely isn't with every order.

                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                      l
                                                                                      little.tiger RE: beetlebug Nov 8, 2010 03:45 PM

                                                                                      Yeah, I'd have to agree with this. Some of them hold up fine to the boiling, some have thin weak skin in parts so then the fillings fall out of the skins. It's not too bad for the pork varieties, but the vegetarian ones are a PITA when they break. But they are so close to me, and the PSL ones are so tasty, I keep buying them anyway.

                                                                                      As far as the food, we eat in every time. I brought three different families to eat there, once each in August, September, and October and it was well enjoyed every time. I have not been in November and won't be able to as we used up our "meal out" somewhere else already. I hope they get the quality ironed out soon because family is coming at Xmas, and I was hoping to take them there.

                                                                                    2. re: tatsu
                                                                                      opinionatedchef RE: tatsu Nov 11, 2010 06:53 PM

                                                                                      that's more boil, less chewy.

                                                                                    3. re: beetlebug
                                                                                      gansu girl RE: beetlebug Nov 9, 2010 09:38 AM

                                                                                      OK - all good to know - maybe this will be our nearby go-to for dumplings and lamb skewers and otherwise we'll stick w/Shangri La . . . none of it's cheap and I hate being disappointed!

                                                                                      GG
                                                                                      http://www.semisweetonline.com

                                                                                      1. re: gansu girl
                                                                                        tatsu RE: gansu girl Nov 9, 2010 10:06 AM

                                                                                        i am a fan of the leek pie as well, if i don't feel like dumplings.

                                                                                        1. re: gansu girl
                                                                                          StriperGuy RE: gansu girl Nov 9, 2010 11:53 AM

                                                                                          I just ate lunch there: Spicy Pork Noodle Soup, Chive Turnover, Pork and Celery dumplings.

                                                                                          Everything was spot on excellent.

                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                            gansu girl RE: StriperGuy Nov 10, 2010 08:45 AM

                                                                                            OK! Not giving up!!

                                                                                            GG
                                                                                            http://www.semisweetonline.com

                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                              h
                                                                                              hargau RE: StriperGuy Nov 10, 2010 10:38 AM

                                                                                              uggh you had me till the celery part...gag

                                                                                        2. re: gansu girl
                                                                                          b
                                                                                          blink617 RE: gansu girl Nov 13, 2010 04:54 PM

                                                                                          My wife and I wound up eating there tonight and thought it was great. We got the cucumbers with garlic, green bean noodles in spicy sauce, dry lamb with chili, and tangerine chicken. Everything was really good, even the tangerine chicken (my wife's idea). I was just bummed we didn't have more people with us so we couldn't try more dishes.

                                                                                          1. re: blink617
                                                                                            opinionatedchef RE: blink617 Nov 14, 2010 08:17 AM

                                                                                            that's so funny. we were supposed to eat there last night, before a geoff muldaur concert, but we ended up not going out. but your list is EXACTLY what i had listed to order(except the chicken, and adding the cumin lamb and the recommended tofu dish.) shall we post here when we plan to actually go- and ask if you(or others) want to join us? if not, no worries; we'll post our experiences anyway.

                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                                              b
                                                                                              blink617 RE: opinionatedchef Nov 14, 2010 08:41 AM

                                                                                              That's really funny. We're expecting a baby in a few weeks, so my dining out days are dwindling rapidly or I'd say sure. But there are lots of neat-looking things to try on the menu, so the more people you can bring to share with the better.

                                                                                              We got the cumin lamb last time, it's also very good (both lamb dishes had similar preparations with carrot and green pepper, but the ma la flavor on the cumin lamb was more intense and of course it has cumin-y goodness). I had never tried green bean noodles before, but they're seriously good if you can get past the fact that they resemble Jell-O more closely than they resemble any Western notion of "noodles."

                                                                                              1. re: blink617
                                                                                                StriperGuy RE: blink617 Nov 14, 2010 09:22 AM

                                                                                                Hah, my wife is due in two week. Perhaps we'll see you around Belmont in a few months once things calm down.

                                                                                                1. re: blink617
                                                                                                  opinionatedchef RE: blink617 Nov 14, 2010 12:41 PM

                                                                                                  they have really super green bean noodles at fuloon in malden. good sour vinegary component in the pork. btw, the 'green beans' are mung beans, not americans' idea of green beans. blink and ms. stripes, good luck with those deliveries! i bet the babies will be big chinese food lovers.

                                                                                          2. crowdingthepan RE: StriperGuy Nov 14, 2010 09:48 AM

                                                                                            Based on the largely positive reviews in this thread, I decided hit Golden Garden late yesterday afternoon. My wife and had pork leek and shrimp dumplings, leek pie, Spicy Cumin Lamb, And Spicy Pig Intestine. The dumplings were very good (I think the dumplings @Unique in Allston are my favorite in the area, but I haven't tried Qingdao Garden). The leek pie was also good, and I'm wondering what the little clear starchy slivers are that they mix in with the pie filling. My favorite was cumin lamb, and I loved the pig intestine too, but my wife was FREAKED out by the faint taste of, well, you know, it IS intestine!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: crowdingthepan
                                                                                              StriperGuy RE: crowdingthepan Nov 14, 2010 11:33 AM

                                                                                              Glad you liked it, think the shiny slivers are mung bean noodle.

                                                                                            2. opinionatedchef RE: StriperGuy Nov 22, 2010 04:58 PM

                                                                                              stripes, is that baby bustin' out yet?i imagine him or her, a la Bill Cosby's routine,sliding out the shute and yelling "where's my pot sticker?!"

                                                                                              being wicked wicked sick w/ cold, we got small takeout baptism order today for 4pm lunch:

                                                                                              ravs too salty; not great filling but good wrappers
                                                                                              potatoes w/ green chiles- cool texture;excellent, simple, good counter for the heat of the
                                                                                              spicy cumin stirfried lamb- succulent but salty
                                                                                              (cumin) lamb teryaki skewers- great flavor ; wicked TOUGH meat and cooked too long
                                                                                              cukes w/ garlic- simple refreshing crunch

                                                                                              will continue to follow up, and th you for the tip.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Golden Garden
                                                                                              63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                                                GretchenS RE: opinionatedchef Nov 23, 2010 05:33 AM

                                                                                                I'd say that your experience with the teriyaki lamb skewers was because they're not great for takeout. When we had them at the restaurant they were tender and delicious when they first got to the table but as they cooled they got tougher and tougher and by the end of the meal were really not very good. I think it's the carryover heat overcooking them. I'd nix them for takeout based on our in-house experience of them. Hope the cold gets better fast!

                                                                                              2. rlh RE: StriperGuy Dec 5, 2010 09:27 AM

                                                                                                Thanks to this post, we had the best-ever dumplings in Boston (shrimp, pork and leek), very tasty cumin lamb (small portion, however), and great, unique leek pie - will have to go back for more dumplings and to try the green bean noodles ("sold out" at 8p on a weeknight?) and the beef with green chile peppers - what else is not to be missed?

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: rlh
                                                                                                  yumyum RE: rlh Dec 5, 2010 11:07 AM

                                                                                                  I really enjoyed a lot of veggies when I went there -- cucumber with fresh garlic, bamboo shoots with sesame oil, and yes, the green bean noodles are very very good.

                                                                                                  1. re: rlh
                                                                                                    opinionatedchef RE: rlh Dec 5, 2010 11:36 AM

                                                                                                    rlh, that just means that they have run out of their inventory of the dried 'green bean'(mung bean)noodles, which, btw, are readily available at asian markets.

                                                                                                    1. re: rlh
                                                                                                      Aromatherapy RE: rlh Dec 5, 2010 12:11 PM

                                                                                                      Do try the wood ear cold plate.

                                                                                                      1. re: rlh
                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                        JoJo5 RE: rlh Dec 5, 2010 01:07 PM

                                                                                                        One of my favorites is the salt and pepper calamari, which is usually a very generous portion. I also love their beef chow foon. joanne

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