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Vietnamese in Chinatown....

galleygirl Aug 25, 2010 08:14 AM

Normally, my go-to rec is Xinh Xinh...We ate there a few weeks ago, and it wasn't all that. They forgot the dressing on my bun, the herbs were tired, and the lettuce was brown edged...Have I missed a down-hill alert? Anyone else have any recs for a different Vietnamese spot? I'm thinking soup in this cold, damp weather...Of course, there's always Taiwan Cafe for death by Seafood in Clay Pot...

  1. galangatron Aug 25, 2010 08:25 AM

    your only choices for vietnamese in chinatown are pho pasteur, xinh xinh, pho hoa, and dong khanh. i usually go to pho pasteur or xinh xinh if i'm in the area and craving vietnamese food. personally, i don't think any of them are as good as what you can get outside of chinatown. if you want really good vietnamese i would head to dorchester where there are a wealth of better options

    8 Replies
    1. re: galangatron
      galleygirl Aug 25, 2010 08:47 AM

      I totally agree; friend is suburban, so Dot is out of the question for a meet-up... :(

      1. re: galleygirl
        m
        mgcmonkey Aug 25, 2010 09:05 AM

        rice plates @ dk
        pho @ pasteur
        vermicelli @ xinh xinh

        1. re: mgcmonkey
          galleygirl Aug 25, 2010 09:13 AM

          Well, bun IS vermicelli, and I found it sadly lacking my last visit to Xinh Xinh...
          To be honest, I've been getting better at Pho Viet...

          1. re: mgcmonkey
            galangatron Aug 25, 2010 09:21 AM

            have you been to the "new" dong khanh? i'm curious if there's any difference post renovation

            1. re: galangatron
              nsenada Aug 25, 2010 09:32 AM

              Was just going to ask the same question. I haven't been there in probably 15 years, but I remember it being good.

              1. re: galangatron
                MC Slim JB Aug 26, 2010 09:12 AM

                Either way, "New" is good: it gives me a reason to go, and maybe to review it, even if it was already reviewed 15 years ago.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            2. re: galleygirl
              galangatron Aug 25, 2010 09:19 AM

              how about lynn? there is a great vietnamese restaurant on union street called pho minh ky. the quality is just about as good as what you'd get in dorchester. i recommend the goi sua (jellyfish salad), canh chua (sour soup), and kho (caramelized fish or pork in clay pot)

              1. re: galangatron
                galleygirl Aug 25, 2010 09:32 AM

                Won't work for tonight, but I'm definitely putting it o the list to bring galleymom (in Peabody) to, next time I visit..
                You sly fox, you cited my 3 favorite Vietnamese dishes!

          2. galleygirl Aug 26, 2010 06:09 AM

            We ended up at Taiwan Cafe, cuz the idea of having adult beverages with our soup was a good one. We had scallion pancakes (still the best in town), and Death by Seafood in Clay Pot ("You want that? Is BIG!!!") The Seafood in Clay Pot is a little lighter on seafood than it used to be, but still a great value on a cold damp night at $17.95...We stuffed ourselves, and then brought home 2 soup containers of leftovers.

            BTW, the lg. sake there is a teakettleful, for $20...don't bother unless you have a crowd...

            7 Replies
            1. re: galleygirl
              kobuta Aug 26, 2010 08:39 AM

              The seafood clay pot sounds good. My go-to clay pot at Taiwan Cafe has always been the fishhead clay pot, also coming in the mega-jumbo size, but oh so delicious. I'll have to make a point to try different ones the next time we go.

              1. re: kobuta
                galleygirl Aug 26, 2010 09:20 AM

                Okay, what's in the fishhead claypot?
                The seafood one has cellophane noodles, tofu, tofu skin, taro chunks, Krab, clams, squid, shrimp, Nappa Cabbage and tomato, in a mild but tasty broth..Used to have a whole crab on top, too. A little one, but still...

                1. re: galleygirl
                  kobuta Aug 28, 2010 10:53 AM

                  Sounds similar, minus crab (can't recall if there's krab), clams, and I think squid (a little foggy here). They instead add fried chunks of fish head. Sooo good! Fish head claypot is a traditional dish, so perhaps not as weird as that sounds.

                  1. re: kobuta
                    galleygirl Aug 30, 2010 11:37 AM

                    I just don't know if I can get anyone to share that with me...:(

              2. re: galleygirl
                Mike5966 Aug 30, 2010 12:48 PM

                What other recommendations do you guys have for Taiwan Cafe? I just got back from Chicago where a Taiwanese buddy of mine said this was his go-to place in Chinatown, and that it was legit. I'm headed there for dinner tonight or tomorrow but can't reach the guy to ask him what I should order. The Death by Seafood in Clay Pot sounds amazing... what is it like? Would you get it for just two people or do you generally order more?

                1. re: Mike5966
                  StriperGuy Aug 30, 2010 01:14 PM

                  Been a while since I've been there, but if you search the board there are MANY reviews. Other excellent Taiwanese place in Boston:

                  Jo Jo Taipei, Formosa Taipei, Mulan, Shangri-La (Belmont), Blue Asia.

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

                  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

                  1. re: Mike5966
                    kobuta Aug 30, 2010 05:33 PM

                    Clay pots are excellent, but admittedly not really a summer food. They're great when the weather is cold (at least coolish). Clay pots are big enough to serve at least 4 IMO, unless they've shrunken the size since my last visit. If you don't mind leftovers, then go ahead with the order even with just 2 -- that's how I had it the first time, and my sister and I both had plenty to take home.

                2. x
                  xxx Aug 26, 2010 09:38 AM

                  So I wasn't the only one to think so. Ordered take out from Xinh Xinh and the broth essentially amounted to boiled water.

                  -----
                  Xinh Xinh
                  7 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: xxx
                    e
                    edamame Aug 26, 2010 10:27 AM

                    Agreed - Xinh Xinh is not the same. I don't recognize any of the staff, and the food is not as good as I remember. Bummer.

                    -----
                    Xinh Xinh
                    7 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                  2. Mike5966 Aug 30, 2010 12:53 PM

                    At least for pho, I think Pho Pasteur is still the best in Chinatown with the deepest broth. All other elements of pho being generally the same at other places (i.e., the noodles, the fresh veggie plate on the side and the sliced meat/tendon/etc. in the soup itself), I think the depth of flavor in the broth is what sets a really good bowl of pho apart from others... Over 15 or 20 visits to Pho Pasteur and Pho Hoa, I think Pho Pasteur has the edge.

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