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chinese food north of Boston

with Majestic Dragon closed, where am I going to go for chinese food that is decent and open late?

Majestic Dragon
81 Turnpike Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938

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  1. Tough call; I do like Su Changs in Peabody but they close at 10 and its a good idea to phone in a take out before 9:30. 10% off for cash BTW. Essex is likely out of the way and thats OK because Fortune Palace is about the yuckiest. If you can go Thai, Thai Spice in Ipswich is very good. There is another Ipswich place, Mayflower, but I have not eaten there but they may be open late since they have a bar. Maybe one of the bigger players like the folks who own Mandarin might go in to the Majestic Dragon? Best of luck and of course, our collective CH condolences for Tony Woo.

    12 Replies
    1. re: ipsofatso

      I used to go to Sue Changs before economy went south; their consistency also went south...Since the owners at Fortune Palace split, so did the quality.. maybe I should try Mandarin house or Mayflower and yes... last tuesday was a sad day collectively for many of us in Ipswich..poor thing..

      1. re: nagsrus

        Report back on Mayflower if you think of it....I have yet to try it.

        1. re: ipsofatso

          I will... I used to be good for 3 - 4 times a week of chinese food...now have cut down on the drinking and fatty food so maybe once or twice a month..so might be a bit..

          1. re: nagsrus

            I've seen lots of other posts on this topic with good spirited arguments and suggestions so you could check those out. The only place I consistenly like is a bit south for you in Wakefield called Bamboo House. Small family run, not fancy, but very very fresh and very inexpensive and cook exactly how you ask for it to be done.. For example its 7 bucks for a huge plate of salmon (cut iin pieces) with jasmine rice and either ginger scallion or veggies like zucchini, summer squash, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms, onions, celery, baby corn etc. Or you can add 1-2 bucks to include apps, which are all done very well.. Not open too late though.. Also Asia Taste in West Peabody is pretty good. Nice variety of Asian foods, mostly Chinese. Havent been in a while.. assume its still decent..

            1. re: chompie

              Hi Chompie,
              Just wondering if the Salmon dish is listed as something off the menu? I went to Menu Lizard and checked it out, but don't see that dish listed.
              I'll have to check out this place though, thanks for the tip. I haven't heard of it before you mentioned it.

              1. re: chompie

                Wow..that dish sounds delicious..I may have to check it out soon. I actually think the North of Boston area is sadly lacking in "sit down" Chinese restaurant. My favorite takeout place is Tea Tones in Andover. Really tasty Sesame Chicken.
                When I want a sit down meal in a Chinese restaurant.( which is not often) I usually head to Kowloon in Saugus. I doubt the decor has changed since I was a kid..but the service and the food are always good.

                1. re: BlueMagic

                  My family has a tradition, we get a ton of Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve and it only can be from Kowloon.....

                  1. re: mcel215

                    We do the same thing, except we eat there. Great atmosphere. Santa and Mrs Claus are there walking around handing out candy canes for the kids. We always see Johnny Pesky and usually Eddie Andelman. It's fun to people watch in the lobby while we wait. Great time and a tradition I hope we keep.

                  2. re: BlueMagic

                    The Red Roof Inn I stayed at was next to the Kowloon. I think I ordered the wrong thing but they have good egg rolls. They also have a comedy club upstairs.

              2. re: ipsofatso

                I am unable to go back to Majestic Dragon even though it is reopened..so I foolishly went to Kowloon for a while.. finally tried Mayflower...drinks are good and strong.. appetizers are fresh, and taste cooked that day.. not steam table and refried for each order...Have only tried a few dishes so far but have been back...Just wish weekdays it was busier and louder in the restaurant side..

                1. re: ipsofatso

                  My friend and I are both Ipswich gals living in the city, and we stopped by Mayflower on a Wednesday night. When I told my parents, who still live in Ipswich, they were horrified, and told me that it's been cited for health-code violations numerous times.

                  The food is kind of pan-Asian; they do sushi as well as the usual Chinese-American suspects. But now I'm a little afraid to go back.

                  1. re: misseri

                    Did you enjoy the food? Did it make you ill?

            2. I've never been disappointed with Out Of Asia (Route 1 North).

              3 Replies
              1. re: missfoodie

                this is the problem of the last few years... economy slows down they make the old food available an extra day or two til it is gone..Out of Asia used to be inconvenient for me but a sureshot.the grilled lobsters, softshell crabs.. on and on were guaranteed to die for.. now not so much..Asia Taste in W Peabody.. I have never even heard of it...will have to see about it..

                1. re: nagsrus

                  Hi mcel215, I went to menu lizard. Its on the Chefs Specials,. its the last one..but as a regular dish. For some reason its missing from the dinner specials. They list 28 lunch specials, but are missing the dinner specials after #21, and the salmon is #24. The food and atmosphere are very modest, certainly not Kowloon in atmosphere (or price.. The salmon is not gourmet, out of the boat chargrilled like Zaleks. Its plain pieces and the sauce on the salmon with veg is a plain white sauce but it is not gloppy with too much cornstarch and has a subtle sesame oil, garlic flavor and I like my food unadulterated with simple but fresh tastes. I also like to pig out on their fried shrimp app., or as we call them "shrimp donuts". So you can get your good old bad for you apps there too..

                  21 Princess St, Wakefield, MA 01880

                  1. re: chompie

                    Hey Chompie,

                    I know you are in the vicinity and wanted to tell you about the new Tulip restaurant that opened in Redstone plaza. Lunch buffet all week is excellent and they even do a Hibachi grill, with Shrimp, Beef, or Chicken included. Some nice ice creams and dessert station as well. It's about 8.50 during the week and 11.00 on the weekend.
                    I posted this under the Tulip/Stoneham thread also.


              2. Mandarin Danvers is passable - off Endicott St in the Market Basket mall...

                Mandarin Danvers
                139 Endicott St Ste B1, Danvers, MA 01923

                1. Royal Garden, Rt. 1 S, Peabody. THE BEST General Gau Chicken in the area. I drive right by Su Changs to get to Royal Garden. I know Su Changs is well liked but I'm not a fan.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: itsparadise

                    Prior to my grandmother's passing (18 mos. ago), Bamboo House on Broadway in Wakefield (next to Morena's, home to some really good Sicilian pizza, among other things...), was my & Gram's "goto" for very good "American" Chinese; crab Rangoon, wontons, Peking ravioli, etc. all made in-house - I doubt many suburban take-out joints can lay claim to that... FWIW

                    1. re: nagsrus

                      Mmmm, sweet and sour mouse! Seriously, they did somewhat of a rehab of the dining area a while ago and it is improved. Not really a "destination" but IMO it is still the best of it's type in the immediate area. We still go to Fuloon or Chinatown but for those take-out dinners it is just fine. And their curry flavor Singapore Noodles is the favorite of our very fussy 12 yo granddaughter.

                      Bamboo House
                      21 Broadway St, Wakefield, MA 01880

                      1. re: powerfulpierre

                        I figured that was the whole point of the OP's post; an Ok "backup" plan for those who lack the time or wherewithall to make the trek to Chinatown from the Deep Burbs. I'm never gonna' say "Bamboo House's salted shrimp'll make ya' forget about Peach Farm's", but for a hole-in-the-wall in a strip mall (a really tiny one), I'll go so far as to say they totally rock! Their lunch special (provided it hasn't gone up much) is an amazing value - granted, not authentic, Chinatown-style food; but for $6? (A huge plate, which my Gram & I'd share, that comes with soup and app.) Infinitely better than other Wakefield/Melrose/Reading/Stoneham options.
                        Oh, and second the Singapore noodles, one of my faves there, as well... Pretty good stuff. Not "the best", not nec'ly worth going out of your way for, but for Broadway in Wakefield... Pretty good stuff.

                        1. re: BrettLove

                          you are close.. I work in Boston, live ipswich, once or twice a week I went to majestic Dragon for drinks, and the food was average.. I expected it from the suburbs and a place that is open late.I am tired of a place is good enough then stops trying.. Used to go twice a week to fortune palace then partnership broke up and not so hot..went to China jade again twice a week then things got tight so they messed with the drinks..
                          so this is what i want to replace.. I do have to try Mayflower just fear a chinese/sushi place..one is usually ok, the other .. not so fresh..

                    2. Gourmet Garden in Vinnin Square in Swampscott is very good and consistent for years. My second choice for Asian food is Suger Cane in Peabody square. They have your traditional Chinese food menu and then they have Vietnamese and Thai dishes as well. I have never had a bad meal at either place.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: drewinmrblhd

                        +1 for Gourmet Garden...very consistant

                        1. re: drewinmrblhd

                          I agree that the Gourmet Garden is very good. I had lunch here today. Sushi. Really good.

                          My only complaint about this restaurant is that even when hardly anyone is there (like today) it is overly loud. Which is even more annoying when it's the employees chattering away, nonstop, in loud voices who are the ones making the noise!

                          Now you figure that if a person heads to a sushi bar on a Monday lunch, they are probably craving a little peace and quiet after a busy weekend. Looking for a calm experience. Sadly this was not the case. The waiter was excellent. The food was great. I would have been glad to move if offered. Where was the manager?

                          Sorry GG. Hope this is constructive.

                          1. re: drewinmrblhd

                            Nice/decent place; ate there a few years ago. Glad to hear it's still considered good. Open late, too (I had a late dinner there) and checking their website I see they are open till 11 pm on Fri/Sat and 10 pm on other days.


                          2. How about Revere, Winthrop, etc.? I get there every once in a while from DC.

                            1 Reply
                            1. I'm a big fan of Shanghai Garden II in Reading. Some really good dishes and it doesn't hurt that the beer menu is fantastic for a chinese place and some really great and inventive cocktails being made behind the bar.

                              1. Sichuan Garden II in Woburn, MA. Great food and great cocktails.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: yarm

                                  No one's mentioned New China Pearl in Woburn. I haven't been in awhile, but I think they're still doing a weekday dim sum there.

                                2. The Kowloon is always good, plus they have a great twin lobster special.

                                  1. If you are looking for fantastic take out, there is an new chinese take out in Salem at 125 Canal Street called Mei Lee Express. The quality of the food is far superior to anything in the area. The kitchen is clean and very visible. Seems to be family run. I was totally blown away as to the fresh vegetables and quality of the meat in their dishes. It replaced the former Happy House which had always left me with a frown.

                                    1. Oye's in Reading is fantastic. Beautiful decor, sensational food. Really a cut above most Chinese restaurants

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: ptmacp

                                        nice to see this thread resurface..has anyone tried any of the new places, like Sei Bar in wakefield or the hibachi place in Stoneham where Ames was? I am still waiting for more Chowhounds to go to Bamboo House in Wakefield.. As far as atmopshere, it is certainly no Oye's but I still find it the freshest best Chinese around and the prices are incomparable. We still get salmon and veggies(including zucchini, carrots summer squash, broc, onion, muschroom,babycorn etc) in a light white mildly garlic sauce with rice for 7 bucks or 1$ to add an app or $2 for two. Egg Fu Young is huge and plump and moist with just the right fry on the edges with a brown sauce that is actually really good and slightly peanutty, as opposed to most that are gloppy and icky. We splurge an extra buck for lo mein instead of rice for a big 8 bucks on the dinner specials. Good chow foon too. Also if you like big giant coated shrimp in a sticky sweet sauce, kind of like General Gau style, than the Crispy shrimp are good too. The menu is fairly standard Chinese, not like Sichuan Garden style, but meals come on huge white platters, served nicely and well prepared. Probably because there is one cook only and he has been there forever so it is pretty consistent.

                                        1. re: chompie

                                          I have been a few times to Tulips in Redstone Plaza, all times at the luncheon buffet on the weekend. The food is mostly good, not great. I do like the fact that they have shrimp cooked/steamed in butter, also clams done about the same way. And my favorite dish is the large salmon filet, plainly baked. You just cut off the size piece you want and it's mouth watering. They do have a small salad bar, hibachi and ice cream/dessert bar as well. It's very crowded on the weekends, so go early if you are going.


                                          1. re: mcel215

                                            I trust you do realize that butter was not a widespread/traditional part of Chinese cuisine. (Tibetan/Mongolian/Uighur societies are a different matter) Cooking shrimp in butter is a Western adaptation in modern times.

                                              1. re: ptmacp

                                                No need to roll your eyes. It's just a simple statement I made. The prawns-with-butter dish is no doubt delicious and welcomed by folks, including mcel215, but it may not be something that should be expected to be found in any "Chinese" restaurant, as borne out by the poster describing his/her pleasure at finding the dish at that place. Butter is simply not widely used in Chinese cooking.

                                              2. re: huiray

                                                Although yes, dairying failed to become central to the Chinese and the consumption of dairy products in traditional China remained negligible, prejudice against dairy products decreased greatly after the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). By the Tang (618 -907) fermented milks, including koumiss, were popular among the upper classes. There are references in the Ming (1368-1644) to butter made of cow’s milk and of milk sacrifices being offered. Butter was used in Taoist sacrificial offerings by Buddhist monks in the late 17th century. Butter tea (tea prepared with salt, milk and/or butter) was consumed in the Mongol Yuan (1279-1368) and one theory holds that the practice spread to western Asia then. Sometimes parched barley (or tsamba) flour was added to butter tea and the mixture was kneaded and then eaten as a type of dough.


                                                1. re: scoopG

                                                  Useful historical background, and exceptions for dairy usage in China and reinforcement for my caveats about Mongolian, Tibetan, Uighur etc culture (& cuisine); thanks for posting it. Very informative. It still remains so that butter is not widely used in Chinese cooking.

                                                  It is to be noted that Kumis is fermented, so that it becomes lactose-free.

                                                  One notable present-day exception (amongst others) is the use of butter in making the pastry shells for tan tat (dan tat) or egg custard pastries ubiquitous in Hong Kong and Cantonese cuisine (and a common item in dim sum). There have been various discussions about the English or Portuguese origins of that pastry, which became absorbed into the local cuisine. In other places (perhaps less Anglicized) tan tat pastry shells might tend to have lard/shortening rather than butter and thus lack that "butter fragrance" sought by those who consider it the mark of a great tan tat, although HK places do also use lard or a mixture of butter and lard.

                                                  Butter is a common ingredient nowadays with increasing Westernization in E/SE Asia, of course, and adoption of Western cuisines or Western-influenced food. Local specialties like "kaya toast" (Singapore/Malaysia) which has slabs of cold butter on top of a layer of kaya "jam" spread on warm white bread toast is another example of the use of butter.

                                                2. re: huiray

                                                  I do know that the dishes I mentioned are more of a Western take, than any Asian dish I've had before. But, I am pretty happy that they were served with the buffet, because they were excellent. And the Asian food was just "so-so". I was just pointing out to Chompie what I liked on the buffet, because he/she asked if anyone had gone yet.


                                          2. I thought Kowloon was the worst Chinese food around here until I went to Fantasy Island in Salem, which set a new low. Both are open late but that's about their only redeeming factors.

                                            I like Oye's when I need to go out for late night food. It's a bit on the pricey side but it's worth it. I do wish there was a kitschy American Chinese-Polynesian place that was open late and wasn't awful, but I haven't found it yet.

                                            1. Pho Triple 888 in Peabody has some Chinese dishes among the Asian, Viet, etc. I do think it is among the best Asian feeds on the NS.

                                              136 Newbury St Peabody on the Rt 1 Sbound side.

                                              I am in Essex so to me Reading is metrowest :-0 can't really head there for take out