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first time at Mulan. What are your favorites?

Surprisingly, this will be my first time at the CH favorite. Gleaning the site, I see that the tea smoked duck and eel with sticky rice gets high praise. Any other recs? I'm bring a German couple who are not into spicy. Thanks for your help.

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  1. I like Mulan bean curd with pork a lot. But it's spicy and sichuan-peppercorny, so maybe not the best for your guests.

    1. Get the salted crispy chicken and the beef with leek wrapped with pancakes - you can thank me later.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jesseve

        I'll thank you now and later. Will report back.

        1. re: Jesseve

          Jess has good taste..:) The pork shoulder is not spicy and is great.

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/61246842...

        2. I also highly recommend the deep fried bean curd (fried tofu with a nice salty sauce) and the beef with leek wrapped in pancakes. If you can get one spicy dish, I like the shredded beef with hot chili pepper.

          1. The dumplings are pretty good, perhaps some of the vegetable dishes like bean curd strips with mustard greens and edamame would be good for them. Rather plain tasting but homey. There is quite a lot to choose from that is not spicy.

            5 Replies
            1. re: tatsu

              Those "bean curd strips with mustard greens and edamame", which I think are called soft bean curd with green mustard (學菜毛豆百頁) on their menu now are my favorite dish at Mulan. Also, the beef with leek wrapped in pancakes (牛肉卷餅) and salted cripsy chicken (鹽酥雞) are two of my favorites as well. New favorites of mine include the bean curd with dry bean sauce (豆酥豆腐) and the fish filet with chili pepper (跺腳魚片), which is not spicy at all. They also have a fish filet with the dry bean sauce, which I would assume, by the transitive property, to be excellent as well. The dry bean sauce is really amazing --- it tastes nutty with this terrific nut-cluster-like texture, but apparently contains no nuts.

              1. re: lipoff

                One of my favorites at Mulan is the dried bean curd with pork and yellow chives or something like that. It's called jiu huang xiang gan rou si. The knife work for this dish is far superior than anywhere else in the greater boston area. The dried bean curd is cut into long slivers and it is just delicious.

                FYI, lipoff, I think the first character for the soft bean curd with green mustard is incorrect. It should be the snow character and the the one for school.

                I love Mulan.

                1. re: beetlebug

                  Beetlebug you are totally correct. I don't know how I missed that one. And Opionatedchef, I agree about the tea-smoked duck --- Mulan's is very good. Tea-smoked duck is not my favorite dish, but I also find the Fuloon version particularly dry, especially when compared to their other duck preps, which are superlative. Beijing Star (now replaced by a second Mulan!) used to also do a nice tea-smoked duck.

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

                2. re: lipoff

                  lipoff, I have always loved that dish ever since I had it at Taiwan Cafe. I've eaten it so many times! It's worth mentioning for those who haven't tried it - the bean curd is yuba or tofu skin, it's not really soft bean curd at all, despite the name. Also the green mustard is not pickled, (least I think so, perhaps salted and rinsed but not preserved I'm pretty sure.) It's minced but fresh. Edamame is fresh soy beans of course.

                  I am lately enamored with House Special Fish, which on first glance, looks like Jin Gu Fillets, but is actually a sort of Ma Po Tofu sauce with the same sorts of fillets and accompanying leeks and or cabbage that you would expect with Jin Gu. But this is way too hot for the O.P. Garnished with some ma-la and slivers of scallions, some days I want it more than Jin Gu! (I like Sichuan Garden Woburn's version the best around here.)

                  1. re: tatsu

                    Just tried the House Special fish and it was really outstanding, spicy but the sauce was really really complex. How hot is this dish compared to what's out there? It was really spicy and probably close to my current limit.

              2. The eel with sticky rice deserves its high praise! I also like Bean Curd with Dry Bean Sauce for its crunchy, savory delicousness.

                1. As a country,Germany eats alot of eel, so they may be particularly delighted by that dish . Mulan has the single best Tea Smoked Duck (but they don't call it that; they just call it Smoked Duck)that I have had other than my own.( And, oddly enough, it's 10x better than that at Fuloon.)We also love the (not spicy)Stir fried smoked pork with lotus root(crunchy,nutty flavor.) You're in for a treat!(and just in case your supply is low, they do sell frozen dumplings there, though you might want to call ahead to make sure they have them on hand.)

                  1. Nice to hear from many of my favorite hounds. I feel well armed now for a delightful meeting. will report back after the weekend. Thanks all.

                    1. dumplings
                      fried pork intestines
                      salted crispy chicken
                      beef and leek wrapped in pancakes
                      lamb with scallions
                      eel with sticky rice and gravy
                      braised pork shin in brown sauce
                      stir-fried duck tongues with chives

                      1. I like pork with baby bamboo, eggplant iwth basil and cattlefish.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: galka

                          I'll second the shredded pork and baby bamboo. Salted crispy chicken was good as was the shrimp fried rice.

                          1. re: galka

                            i have certainly made my share of typos in my life, but this has to be one of the best ever! i WANT a cartoon of this :-}

                              1. re: hyde

                                yessiree. and imagine the look on the face of the fisherman..........

                          2. Also, some of the basil flavored dishes like Eggplant with Basil or Cuttlefish Casserole have a Thai Basil kick and maybe a few whole Chilis for flavor, but aren't really hot at all. Perhaps a nice balance for your guests. The Cuttlefish (like crawfish is to jumbo shrimp, a "baby" squid with a different flavor and texture somewhat.) was nice but I wish they cleaned them out more. (I had to yank out the cartilage support and so forth.)

                            -----
                            Thai Basil Restaurant
                            132 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116

                            1. thanks to all hounds for the helpful replies. Three of us had the beef and leek pancake (which came out after the other dishes), 1/2 smoked duck,salty crispy chicken and soft bean curd sheets with edaname and mustard greens. Everything was very good and good value. The duck is more of a soy sauce braised version that is then tea smoked. Very tender and delicious but a crisp skin would take it to the stratosphere. I really liked the tofu sheets and think I prefer Mulan's version to that at Taiwan cafe which is also very good. The beef pancake was good but hoisin sauce to add a sweet note would have been nice. Minor quibbles on an excellent meal that my European visitors really enjoyed. Parking in a small lot in front was a bonus. We have such a wealth of good Taiwanese places now in Boston, I view it as one of our real strengths. I would have liked to try the eel with sticky rice (two of my favorite food groups) but my German guests has had some traumatic memory of skinning a live eel. I will let your imaginations run wild. Also, I need to return to try the spicy side of the menu especially the house special fish.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: gourmaniac

                                For some reasons we always get our apps or dumplings after our entrees too! (Waltham, never warmed up to Cambridge.)

                                Good times!

                                1. re: gourmaniac

                                  you have inspired me to return there; it's been awhile. just fyi, the tea smoked duck i learned from barbara tropp (genuflect, genuflect) IS braised first and then smoked (and then deep fried). A long process for a fantastic return.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    Hi OC: my smoked duck was not deep fried but clearly had the first two steps. It was still delicious. Deep frying would have taken into chow heaven.

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      We returned to Mulan yesterday late afternoon. We were the only ones there (super bowl sunday) but by 6 it was very busy.

                                      I guess when you only eat somewhere once or twice a year, you can forget things. I had completely spaced out that their Smoked Duck is served Cold. (duh ,Cold Apps on menu).
                                      It was moist, succulent, completely infused with flavor. but cold. Want to try the hot crispy skin? one at Asia Gourmet now.(What decent CH could resist those reviews?:-} )

                                      Definitely the loser for us was the mustard greens with tofu and edamame. We just must not like mustard greens because they infused the whole dish with that bitter muddy taste and we didn’t even like the edamame we tried to pick out. It was interesting to see tofu in that way- new to me- like 1” wide ribbons.

                                      Soft tofu with roasted soybeans was super; loved the nuttiness of it. Just wished it were served hotter. Also really enjoyed the Stir fried Rice Cake with slivered pork. I guess everybody cuts their rice cakes differently; at Shanghai Gate, they were 1/3" thick; here they were half that. Very simple dish with a light soy based glaze. Love that toothsome quality.

                                      The eel and sticky rice was a bowl of sticky rice with tiny dried shrimp and soy (it tasted like what you find in a lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice package) topped with japanese river eel (unagi)
                                      glazed with a sweet sauce like when it’s served in a Japanese restnt. Silky melt-in-your-mouth unagi. First to disappear!

                                      Sitting there and watching the place fill up with 99% chinese (students mostly,I’m guessing) it made me think about the experience of immigration to the U.S. Surely one of our magnets is that for so many immigrant groups, ( at least in our largest cities, but also scattered in the unlikeliest of spots across our country) their home cuisine can be found so often.( But that is definitely not the case so much for americans travelling and living abroad.) It’s been our history , but it’s neat to occasionally stop and realize it and feel proud.

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                        i really like the mustard green so chacune son gout. It certainly has a personality of its own.

                                  2. The smoked pork with leek is something they are recommending on their website homepage, http://www.mulan-ma.com/
                                    but I don't see any mention of it on this old thread.

                                    Is it a new dish?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: VivreManger

                                      Don't think it's a new dish, it's on my takeout menu that I have had for a while. Marked as a must try.

                                      http://thedailylunch-woburn.blogspot....

                                      1. re: VivreManger

                                        no, not a new dish. we have had it there for years. iirc, it's the one in a 'roll-up sandwich' format; one of our must haves.

                                      2. Will likely be going to Mulan (and hopefully the newish Paris Baguette!) this weekend, but was wondering if I'm alone in really disliking their house special fish. I think they use Chinese cooking wine to marinate the filet... something I've tasted enough of for a lifetime.

                                        Loved the shredded pork with bamboo though. Also ordered their kung pao chicken once, which was as American Chinese as one would expect. Had the same dish at Sichuan Gourmet House recently and found a version that was halfway between this and what one would find in Sichuan.