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1/2/11 Winsor Dim Sum Cafe-YAY!Thank you Boston CHs!

well, thank you, CHs, for directing me here; finally made it the other day. Over the last year we have lost faith in the China Pearl in Woburn. and Mary Chung has a couple of stand outs but almost no seafood.

Winsor's options are far greater than either of the above places.
Fortunately:
- I’m not shy about asking “what’s that you have in front of you?”
AND
-****** Winsor has a photo menu!******* wow, so cooool!
As usual, we ordered many many plates and brought home lots of future lunches for the week.
The TOP experience was the Baked BBQ Pork Buns. The bun itself was the lightest i have tasted; the filling was delicious and clean, not fatty.. What made this experience the #1 (“Ichiban” in Japanese, btw) of the day was that our order came straight out of the oven. just our good fortune I guess, but what an epiphany! What is “#1” in Cantonese or Mandarin?

Mimicking the helpful neighboring family, we ordered both the delicious
--Rice Cake with Pork and Cabbage, and the
-- Noodles(thick chewy flour noodles, like udon ) with Pork and Cabbage
They had identical ‘sauces’, as we knew they would.While I adore udon noodles, i prefer the rice cakes because they’re much easier to eat. (for the uninitiated, the ‘rice cakes’ are actually oval slices of a rice noodle dough cylinder that starts out like a carrot before it is sliced into 1/4” thick slices on the diagonal.)
Other favs were the --
--shrimp and taro fritters (not on the photo menu, but on the table card)
--pan fried sticky rice// this was so interesting: a decomposed and reconstructed lotus leaf or banana leaf sticky rice packet: 2 four inch diamond shaped pieces consisting of a layer of sticky rice topped with chinese sausage and omelet, the rice side fried for crunchy/chewyness. While i love the composition, the flavor is a bit dull, so i like to dip it in a soy/red vinegar/chili mixture from the bottles on the table)
- yu choy?(green stalks) with oyster sauce
-- deep fried sesame balls filled with sweet black bean paste
- steamed chicken buns: simple chicken filling in a soft fluffy wonderbread bun.

i didn’t realize that the shimp and scallion and pork with peanut- steamed dumplings were made from rice flour dough (not my fav) so i would not order these again, though the fillings were neat.
while i adore deep fried eggplant sandwiches w/ shrimp filling, ours were unfortunately very greasy.
there were at least 20 or 30 items we did not try; next time!

Plse add your favs, particularly more greens (always a welcome addition to this carbo heavy experience!)

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Winsor Dim Sum Cafe
10 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

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  1. Their "house pan fried dumplings" are excellent. It's not a rare dish but there's were particularly good. 2 were a gift from the Asian couple who shared our table.

    If you like turnip cakes, they do an exceptional version. They do the standard, 3 pieces, about 4 inches sq with hoisin sauce but they elevate it by cutting into smaller pieces and frying withXO sauce and bean sprouts...exceptional.

    I usually skip their soup dumplings.."house mini steamed pork bun." It's not bad but Dumpling Cafe on Washington next to Penang is far better. That's a place I highly recommend too.

    9 Replies
    1. re: 9lives

      thnx for those tips! did someone tell me XO sauce was kind of like A-1 sauce?i saw those XO sauce noodles and rice cakes on the menu but didn't inquire after them.
      Dumpling house- what else to order there?thnx again!

      1. re: opinionatedchef

        The XO sauce turnip noodles is good too...spicy (they use more XO than most other places...XO sauce is relatively expensive for some reason).

        Welcome to better chinese food. CP Woburn and Mary Chung? LOL. You've been deprived ;-)
        Next you'll tell me you've never tried taiwanese style dim sum...

        -----
        Mary Chung Restaurant
        460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

        1. re: Spike

          spike, no need to pity me. i've been eating dim sum in boston for 40 years;mostly at excellent places that no longer exist. have also had some excellent dim sum in san fran every year. i'm guessing you have not had dim sum at mary chung; nothing to laugh about there; just limited variety.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            No need for us to hit Mary Chung since we're a 15min walk from Boston's chinatown :-)

            If we're in central square, we'd rather hit rendezvous or one of the indian places.

            -----
            Mary Chung Restaurant
            460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

            1. re: Spike

              I would have felt the same way, as I find Mary Chung endearing for historical value, but generally just Americanized Chinese food . . . with the occaisonal surprise, like their excellent scallion pancakes, "Suan La Chow Show" (Sichuan wontons) and Dun Dun Noodles. However, I went there for brunch for the first time just a month or so ago, and I was plesantly surprised. The variety is fairly limited, but what they have is quite good. See the menu: http://marychung.com/menu/marycung-re...

              I wouldn't say that it's as good as Chung Shin Yuan in Newton, but I plan to include it in my rotation for weekend Chinese brunch, because variety is the spice of life!

              -----
              Chung Shin Yuan
              183 California St, Newtonville, MA 02458

              Mary Chung Restaurant
              460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

        2. re: opinionatedchef

          XO sauce is definitely not like A-1 sauce - it's more fabulous than that. The XO isn't because there's brandy in it, it's to denote how special the sauce is. The most recent Saveur magazine has a recipe for it, but it's really labor intensive and one of the most expensive types of Asian sauces because of the labor and the ingredients. There's dried scallop, dried squid, dried fish, dried shrimp, and even more dried seafood reconstituted and made into this awesome chunky, spicy sauce. A little goes a long way.

          1. re: meuri

            The authentic concoction (lets not get started - I mean as its made in HK) uses Jinhua ham, a uniquely cured product and an expensive ingredient, very difficult to find in the U.S. Genuine Smithfield ham, or even proscuitto gives reasonably similar results. Otherwise, nothing really tough about the ingredients, and its certainly not difficult to make if you cook. Takes an hour. Keeps forever. Many layers of flavor!

            1. re: Brock Lee Robb

              thanks much brock; that's very helpful.
              also i believe, like you, that it will last forever (instead of the standard 'one month' mentioned at the end of the recipe). This 'forever' is based on all the seafood having been dried/cured, and the wine,and soy sauce, and everything else!

              But speaking of preservatives, I really am surprised that a multi layer sauce like this- has no ginger!! and brock, do you have a recipe that includes the jinhua ham? have you tasetd a jinhua ham version vs a non- jinhua ham version? notice a big difference?thanks.

            2. re: meuri

              Cool! I never tried looking up the recipe. Thanks for the pointer.

              Dug up the link in case anyone else is interested:
              http://www.saveur.com/article.jsp?ID=...

              Looks like an easy cooking project...weird that there's no ham or prosciutto in that recipe since it sounds like it's in the original HK one...

        3. winsor has a picture menu?

          i like the chicken feet in black bean sauce, sichuan style beef stomach, house pan fried pork dumplings, deep fried pork dumplings (coated in glutinous rice flour), minced beef wrapped in rice noodle, fried dough wrapped in rice noodle, steamed and baked roast pork buns, bean curd roll with pork in oyster sauce, yu-choy in oyster sauce, white turnip and beef entrails, deep fried sesame balls, and egg custard tarts

          3 Replies
          1. re: galangatron

            They do! At least in 2011. They didn't have one last time I went a month or two ago, but they've got a great one now. It's really handy since I often forget the names of things.

            Thanks for the list of your favorites, I will definitely try to get some of those next time. I just had the deep fried pork dumplings for the first time and was (happily) surprised that they're a bit similar to sesame balls.

            1. re: maillard

              it must be new. i eat there regularly and never noticed a picture menu

              1. re: galangatron

                galang, you eat here regularly? can't you add overlooked dishes to my list of things to try next time? much appreciated.

          2. I'm often amazed that after several years, Winsor's fresh, hot, and tasty dim sum hasn't swept everyone else aside. I went back again last night thanks to this thread, and had an excellent meal, including chicken feet, which I've never had before, and which I like MUCH more than duck feet. (That's pretty easy since I don't like duck feet at all, but I'm now a chicken feet convert.) On my list of current favorites is the "fragrant pan-fried fish cake" with a sandwich of filling between two round dumping skins, flavorful and crispy. I'm also very fond of the pan-fried sticky rice cake, finding the composition interesting and the flavor not at all dull, but instead delicious. :-) My only complaint is that many of the dumplings use shrimp where I'd prefer pork, but even though I don't particularly like shrimp I enjoy Winsor's various shrimp dumplings a lot. My DC also declared the clams in black bean sauce to be first-rate.

            Sing, one of the owners (? I believe, anyway) was there and remembered me from my first visits several years ago--I really should get there more often. He said, BTW, that Mr Wing of the former Wing's Kitchen is now working at Chinatown Cafe on Harrison, so I might finally be able to thank him for all the wonderful meals his wife and he served me and a pair of dining companions whenever we went to Chinatown. All in all, I think Winsor is one of the real gems both of Chinatown, and of the area in general.