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Chau Chow City - Christmas dim sum - report

I ate at Chau Chow City on Christmas day, and I thought it was decent overall. However, I feel like Chau Chow City has sort of lost its grandeur (if it ever had any?). I thought the lights were kinda dim, the room felt crowded, and it just didn't feel very *nice*. 10 years ago, I think it was a bit brighter and cleaner maybe.

Anyway, food was pretty good. Highlights included the shrimp rice noodles rolls (shrimp were plump and tender), pan-fried dumplings and various other steamed dumplings. But compared to two recent visits to Hei La Moon (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810122) I think it didn't quite live up, and the total bill for 9 people was about equal at both restaurants. Hei La Moon currently has a bit more variety, has bigger dining rooms (more space between tables), and has a few standout items (the baked pork buns, the durian flavored sweets), so I think I'll probably head to HLM in the future for dim sum with carts (or dim sum with large groups

)

Dave MP

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Hei La Moon
88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Chau Chow City
81 Essex St, Boston, MA 02111

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  1. I agree. I used to go alot and then had not since hlm opened a few years back.. We went back to try it a few months ago and didnt find it very good in comparison. Back in the day the upstairs dining room as well as the middle floor and the 1st floor would be packed and you would still have to wait. The day we went a few months ago, the 1st two floors were not in use and the upstairs dining room only about 3/4 capacity. Sad.

    1. Years since I've been, but the Shrimp with Taro fritter at CCC used to be amazing. And the clams in black bean sauce at the hot non mobile hot station way better then what I recently had at HLM.

      Years ago CCC was my fav, curious to give it a try.

      2 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        Yea that shrimp fritter (we call them porcupines) is still better at CCC. At some point in the past few years HLM has replaced the taro shavings with cheap chowmein noodles which really ruins it for me. (we still get them but nearly as good as with the taro like the dish should have)

        Speaking of Taro.. When at HLM note that the ribs come 3 different ways and with 2 different kinds of ribs. We like the traditional little pork ones that look like vertebrae.. you can get them just plain or over rice noodles but the best way to get them is with cubes of taro underneath. It really soaks in the tasty sauce/grease.. There is also another type that looks like maybe small beef ribs or something..

        1. re: hargau

          these details are most helpful. looks like we'll get some items to go from CCC and sit down at HLM, just to have someth diff from Winsor.thnks. and thnx dave mp as well, for the reminder.

      2. I was pretty pleased with some takeout from China Pearl.

        CCC was a long time favorite but kind of fell out of favor. Their main benefit for me now is I can get takeout without locking my bike...but Winsor and CP have been far superior. HLM , I remeber liking but I don't think of it as often as I used to.

        1. Thanks for the update. I have been craving dim sum and was thinking of hitting CCC. It was the place to go many moons ago. My dad and I used to go quite frequently and it holds special memories in my heart and tummy But haven't been back since his passing over 6 yrs ago.

          I do love the fried shrimp and taro dim sum and was quite upset when at HLM they use cheap noodles as subsitute; well then don't call that dish taro shrimp esp if there's no taro in it. Call it fried shrimp cakes or something. When we got it, we felt cheated. lol Good think I can make this at home now.

          Still trying to find a decent dim sum place: HLM (service and food choice was lacking-they tried to forced some seafood like siu mai to us and said that's the only siu mai they had, we had to prove them wrong), Winsor was ok and some items were underseasoned and unmemorable, GTB had some great choices but most of the dishes were very oily.

          Maybe need to give CP a try again.

          14 Replies
          1. re: Chocomom

            mom, next time you make those shrimp taro fritters, let me know what i can bring! how about sweet rice flour dumplings filled with sweet black sesame paste? :-}

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              O.chef, how about this Toisanese dumpling that has eluded me. I dont' know what it's called but it's made around Chinese new year's and special occassions. I believe it's a brown sugar sweet rice dumplings w/ground peanuts, sugar, and sesame seeds? inside. Have yet to find someone willing to share that recipe w/me. These are not sold in bakeries. :-(

              1. re: Chocomom

                cmom, more details plse. are the wrappers like the glutinous rice flour ones in Ctown? is the br sugar in the filling?(i've never seena recipe for wrappers/dumpling dough w/ br sugar in it.) Are these dumplings poached and served in warm water? or served not in water? what shape and size? The filling would prob be easy to find and/or I bet 2 to 1 that philip tang at ExNE would have at least a rough recipe for it.

                1. re: Chocomom

                  chocomom,
                  here’s what google brought up:

                  http://aliciachew.blogspot.com/2008/1...

                  http://www.independent.co.uk/life-sty...

                  http://rasamalaysia.com/black-sesame-...

                  if these are the ones you seek, you can buy them frozen at some chinese /korean markets. I like and have made the black sesame paste version of these same dumplings.Fulloon often serves them (often as not, they cheat w/ the frozen ones.

                  )

                  these are fried crescents:
                  http://baobread.wordpress.com/2010/02...

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Thank s for trying O.chef,

                    It's none of these the first 3 are tong yuen and eaten during the winter solstice. The last one is made w/wonton skins and I have made many of them.

                    This Toi-shan dumpling is fried and made with sticky rice flour (from my guessing the dough either had chinese slab brown sugar in it or mashed sweet potato or both) it's similar to "ham siu gok" but with a dark thinner dough. I haven't been able to find a recipe for this and have been trying in vain to ask friends w/grandmothers that still makes them for the recipe. Sadly the last one I know passed away this year and the granddaughter never got the recipe :-(

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        Yes, oval in shape & deep fried. It's like the sweet sister of Ham Sui Gok. Lol
                        Thanks for trying.

                        1. re: Chocomom

                          i looked at the google images for ham sui gok. now, their wrapping mixture is not brown in and of itself, when raw,- unlike the wrapping you are seeking, right?yours is brown from brown sugar or sweet potatoes or something ......

                          have you tried posting this search on the homecooking board or the nyc board or the toronto board? i'm thinking they might be helpful.

                          MANY years ago, at the Imperial Tea House or its predecessor, i had some lovely 2" long by 1/2" wide deep fried finger/ovals filled with a sweet peanut or sesame filling.

                          But their wrapping mixture was not brown except for the deep frying effect. I made them long ago for a special event i catered, from a dimsum book i have printed in chinese and english. i'll look in there when i can to see if i see anything like this. Ah, these elusive searches!

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            Oh Imperial Tea House, wow, that is a blast from the past. They were the place for us in their heyday. I think that I might be able to work with that recipe if you are able to find it. I would really appreciate it. Please email it to me :-) thanks so much.

                            Next time I make the taro shrimp fritters I will write down the recipe and share. I have been able to decifer alot of things by tasting and trial and error BUT these dumplings are hard to do by memory alone. LOL

                          2. re: Chocomom

                            like this one, mom?
                            ham sui gok:
                            http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/09/se...

                            mom, couldn't you use this filling and fry the glut. rice dumpling instead of boiling it?
                            http://www.cooksnapsavour.com/2013/02...
                            OR this filling, and sub jaggery for white sugar ?
                            Filling ingredients

                            5 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped

                            1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

                            1-2 tablespoon sugar

                            1/4 teaspoon salt

                        2. re: Chocomom

                          Have you found this recipe yet? I think I know what this is, my mum used to make these with a peanut and brown sugar mixture inside. They are called "Jen doi". I would like to find the recipe for this as well.. I only found your post on this website while trying to find the recipe for the harm sui goks my mum made, which were a little different to the ones you get at yum cha.

                          1. re: Janelly

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jin_deui

                            this is the spelling i guess. but i don't think this is what mom is looking for, but rather the photo of oval football shaped ham sui gok that i just posted above.

                      2. re: Chocomom

                        It sounds like you are talking about Toisanese "joong" (or zongzi in Mandarin). The "Toisan" in Toisan joong is the use of peanuts. Here's an example recipe:

                        http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/05/ho...

                        You can find more on the internet if you search under "Toisan joong".

                        When you take them out of the wrappers, they look a bit like large ham siu gok.

                        Sun Kong in Malden might be the place to go for these --- the waiters were all speaking Toisanese there.

                        I agree, by the way, about Chau Chow City. I think it was better ten years ago; now it just seems pretty tired.

                        1. re: lipoff

                          Thanks lipoff, definitely not joong which I have made a couple of times. Very labor intensive. Might have to visit Sun Kong to see if any oldtimers there might know what I'm looking for.