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Authentic Chinese Restaurants in Southern New Hampshire/North of Boston?

sabchen Mar 2, 2011 10:52 AM

Hi. I'm looking for a Chinese restaurant in the Merrimack Valley area that can do an authentic Chinese banquet. We'll probably have 4-5 tables. I'm hosting a surprise party for my parents' anniversary. They're from Taiwan, so the food has to be good! Any thoughts?

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  1. q
    qianning RE: sabchen Mar 2, 2011 01:06 PM

    Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica, or Sichuan Garden in Burlington are the closest to you for "authentic", but neither is really close, and while the food is better at Sichuan Gourmet the dining area is awfully small for a large party, Sichuan Garden's facility would be better. They are however, both decidedly Sichuan restaurants with Sichuan chef's, i.e. the cooking isn't at all like Taiwan.

    Ling Garden in Dracut, Mass (fairly easy access from rte 93) is owned by a Taiwanese family, and I think the head chef is Taiwanese (or more likely a mainlander from Taiwan). most of their menu/clientele is for americanized Chinese food, but they do a very nice Taiwanese style buffet on the weekends at lunch, you might want to check it out and talk with the owners about a special occasion menu.

    13 Replies
    1. re: qianning
      whs RE: qianning Mar 3, 2011 06:02 AM

      qianning, have you tried Formosa Taipei restaurant in Nashua?

      1. re: whs
        qianning RE: whs Mar 3, 2011 06:33 AM

        Yes. It was Ok when it first opened, although I always found their menu to be spotty, some good dishes, and some good snack food, but no way to construct a decent meal.

        Anyway, the word in the community is that the owners ticked off their chef(s) who left, and it has been down hill ever since. My last two visits (nov/dec & jan) confirm that impression, the beef noodle soup is still more or less OK, everything else, not so good, and the crowds that were there when they opened are long gone. Personally I won't be goiing back anytime soon, I'd rather spend the money & time to drive to Billerica for Sichuan Gourmet, or Belmont for Shangri-La (which by the way is run by a Taiwanese-Mainland family).

        1. re: qianning
          whs RE: qianning Mar 3, 2011 06:45 AM

          I work in Billerica and would concur that Sichuan Gourmet is outstanding.

          1. re: qianning
            sabchen RE: qianning Mar 3, 2011 07:23 AM

            Thanks for the recommendations. I did try Taipei Formosa in Nashua a while ago and thought it was pretty authentic, but I just heard they've closed for "renovations." Maybe the kitchen politics got the best of them.

            I've also tried Lin Garden for dim sum and it was decent. That might be a possibility if I can arrange a banquet directly with the owners. The stuff off the menu isn't too impressive.

            For this banquet, I don't mind driving a bit for truly authentic food. Sichuan cuisine is not my first choice. I'm assuming you'd recommend Shangri-La in Belmont? Any others in that vicinity?

            1. re: sabchen
              qianning RE: sabchen Mar 3, 2011 07:48 AM

              Shangri-la Belmont does have the ability to cook very good authentic Taiwanese food, but it is a tiny space...I have no idea if they would do a banquet. You might want to check out the (taiwanese style) food by going on a sat/sun for lunch.....and then talking to the owners about banquet options....Jo Jo Taipei in Allston/Brighton might be an option, but I don't know it well enough to reccommend one way or the other....also Mulan (original location Cambridge) has just opened(ing) a second location in Waltham (the old Beijing Star site), that might be worth looking into....

              the other possibility would be to try some of the better Cantonese places in the NH area, like CYL, and see if they would be willing to cook a special baquet, for sure the every day menu isn't what you are looking for, but in some cases they do know how to cook "real" food....

              1. re: qianning
                sabchen RE: qianning Mar 3, 2011 08:04 AM

                Is CYL Chen Yang Li? I'm going there for lunch today. But I'm leaning toward a venue in MA b/c we'll have guests coming from south of Boston too.

                This is so helpful. Thanks for your input!

                1. re: sabchen
                  qianning RE: sabchen Mar 3, 2011 08:12 AM

                  CYL=Chen Yang Li, which one are you going to?

                  If you are leaning towards Mass. The options increase. For a party of 40 or 50 (guessing based on your original post) you probably should look into some of the specialized wedding caterers in c-town & quincy. Definitely more Cantonese leaning than Taiwanese, but a good one should be able to accomodate your requests.

                  You might want to post on the Boston board for better info on Chinese banquets in Beantown.

                  1. re: qianning
                    sabchen RE: qianning Mar 3, 2011 11:40 AM

                    Just got back from the Chen Yang Li in Bedford. Not bad, nice decor. A possibility, but I'd like to explore other options. Will post on the Boston board. Thanks!

                    1. re: sabchen
                      qianning RE: sabchen Mar 3, 2011 12:11 PM

                      Good Luck!

                      1. re: sabchen
                        gryphonskeeper RE: sabchen Mar 3, 2011 04:24 PM

                        CYL has a restaurant in Nashua, just off exit 7w, on route 3. A 30 minute ride from Boston

                        1. re: gryphonskeeper
                          sabchen RE: gryphonskeeper Mar 3, 2011 04:43 PM

                          Really? I'll need to check it out. Thanks!

                          1. re: sabchen
                            gryphonskeeper RE: sabchen Mar 4, 2011 05:34 AM


                          2. re: gryphonskeeper
                            Tante RE: gryphonskeeper Mar 5, 2011 08:23 AM

                            The CYL in Nashua is no longer affiliated with the other locations, which is why it's not linked to on the main CYL website. It closed a few years ago, re-opened as "Ocean Gardens" or something like that, then re-opened again as CYL Nashua. Unfortunately, the food is just not the same as the old/original CYL. It's good, yes, but standard American-Chinese, whereas I always found something special and original about the old CYL.
                            I think there was a thread on here about it a while back that might have more details.

          2. l
            lexpatti RE: sabchen Mar 4, 2011 06:37 PM

            we love sicuan gourmet in billerica too but have always heard great things about the Lilac place in nashua, can anyone cooment on that?

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