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Jan 7, 2012 01:29 PM

Hong Kong Market Food Court Allston

I have not been to this place since it was still Super 88. Curious what places are in the food court these days and what the recommendations are.
Also does anyone know what time most of the stalls open on Sundays?

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  1. Dim Sum Chef opens around 10:30 (sometimes earlier). Kantin opens 11am iirc, as does the Vietnamese place. I like the sesame shrimp (rice paper) roll and char siu steamed rice noodle roll at Dim Sum Chef, and their hargau are pretty decent too. Across the hallway is Pikuichi, which opens 11:30 i think. I like their spicy shredded pork/ mozzarella rice bowl, and their curry and miso ramen are not bad either (although I think i prefer Sapporo's house ramen for the schmaltzy broth). Oddly enough, the execution of the curry and tatsuta-age seem to be better at Cafe Mami, even though the original chef from Mami is now at Pikuichi.

    1. I like Kantin for decent HK-style food (salt and pepper anything, hanging meats, wonton noodles). None of it is particularly great but it hits the spot and is fast and reasonably priced. I'd say the Korean places (one Korean, one Korean-Chinese) fit the same category of food. The one table service place, Pikaichi, is alright but is more expensive and less good than Cafe Mami, which I'll still drive out to over Pikaichi any day. Pho Viet's makes a great banh mi, chicken rice, rice noodle with luncheon meat. The pho there is awful. Overall the whole place is poorly maintained and it's as if they haven't seriously cleaned it since it originally opened. It's too hot in the summer and too hot in the winter and they take as poor care of it as they do the supermarket... pretty gross. Really unfortunate how the current owners don't seem to even care.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Luther

        hmmm. pretty gross in you might get sick eating here gross or just typical chinatown sorta gross? I recall the supermarket being kinda dingy back when it was super 88 and the food court being kinda on par with most places i go to in chinatown in terms of gross factor

        Im now thinking of going to Shanghai Gate instead. Never been there and doesnt seem too far from there

        1. re: hargau

          Nowhere near potential sickness gross, just Chinatown grungy.

          Although if you've never been to Shanghai Gate, you're only missing probably the best Chinese restaurant in Boston, so the question is moot: skip the food court and hie thyself to Shanghai Gate.

          1. re: hargau

            I don't really think of Chinatown (at least anywhere I go) as especially dirty. HK Supermarket food court is dirty, like everything looks physically run down and there's little piles of cleaning/maintenance items in all the corners and it's just generally crappy. This isn't meant as a comment on the food preparation/hygeine practices, just the dining areas.

            1. re: Luther

              Yeah, I don't find any of the Chinatown places I go to be dirty, just very no-frills. The food court is definitely dirty, though, and smells kind of gross in areas. Restaurants themselves seem clean, though, and I've never gotten sick from eating there (and I have the saddest, most delicate stomach basically ever).

              1. re: maillard

                "smells kinda gross" is being very kind. When you walk through that side door (you know the one that was broken and covered in duct tape for quite a while?) it smells like straight up rotten trash. But, like you, I have an easily upset stomach and I've never had any problems there. Dim Sum Chef is pretty decent (I like the hargau quite a bit), love the banh mi at Pho Viet, and pea pod stems at Kantin. Agree with others that the pho at Pho Viet is awful - reminds me of dishwater. It's too bad, because a few years ago it was better. Not nearly as good as Dot, but pretty good for the area. Not sure what happened. Bun bo hue is better than the pho, but also not great.

          2. re: Luther

            I've been more impressed with Kantin recently. Had very good vegetables there, quite good Peking duck buns (meat inside was excellent, although a little sparse, one of the mantou had a hard edge, otherwise very good), and yes, the roast meats are good. I've also been impressed with the various pancakes coming out of the Misono Grill --- not only the standard pajon, but they now have four of five different varieties. JMP makes a very good biryani (even if it may not be actually biryani, but it is tasty).

            Since Wisteria is gone, however, my favorite is easily Pho Viet's. However, I 100% agree with Luther that their Pho is awful. But their Banh Mi are terrific, as are their beef shortribs over rice.

            Smile and Dim Sum Chef are both pretty medicore. I haven't found a particular dish at either that stands out. I really miss the Indonesian place (which wasn't super fantastic, but was really unique).

            There's always Lollicup for bubble tea (several include fresh fruit, although the green apple flavor, as artificial as it is, it's still good). Lollicup also has a few fried snacks that are enjoyable.

            The new dessert place has gelato, yogurt, and some interesting Italian pastries.

            I actually rather like Pikaichi, at least for their Japanese-style curry beef, and a really nice dessert with vanilla ice cream, cereal, maple syrup and pocky.

            1. re: lipoff

              is the dessert at pikaichi always available?

              1. re: galangatron

                I think so. I forgot to mention the flan on top as well. It doesn't look visually terrific, and it sounds like something a hungry person assembled by accident from what was available in the kitchen late one night, but it's really, really delicious. The maple syrup is an inspired idea, cereal and ice cream have nice textural contrasts, the Pocky adds a little Japanese touch.

          3. JMP makes a very fine biryani.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nasilemak

              dry fry beef chow foon at kantin and sinapore noodle and bahn mi at pho viet.

            2. We went and checked it out. Was freezing in there. Not many people eating at all and overall depressing. So we instead went to Shanghai Gate. The lion head meatballs were excellent. Soup Dumplings OK. "pan fried" noodles were not fried at all and very greasy.. Also had a Shanghai Wonton soup which was basically salt water with wontons.ehh. Should have got the Hot & Sour fish soup..looked really good. Just was 2 of us and 1 of us isnt a very adventurous eater... Will go back again with more people.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hargau

                Sorry you had a subpar experience, but I'm glad you got to try the lions head. Allstonian always teases me when that dish comes to the table: she says I get this look that says "Hello, old friend..."

                For future reference, the sizzling eggplant is superb and not too weird for the unadventurous. Ditto the Paradise Mountain chicken, which is basically little nuggets of dry-fried chicken with huge amounts of garlic and a fair amount of chile. Maybe too much for the unadventurous, although I've never been a huge chilehead myself and I don't find it overly hot. It *looks* scary at first, though!

                The sizzling fish dishes -- except the eel, which I just find not worth the bother -- are uniformly fine if your companions enjoy whole-fish preparations, which they might not now that I think of it.

                Personally, I prefer the rice cakes to the noodles.

                1. re: hargau

                  you did see the current shanghai gate thread, yes? lipoff added alot to it today.

                  also, just fyi, i used this thread awhile ago and posted a longer piece on our experiences there, if you scroll down.:


                2. this is too late but the stalls are pho viet's, smile thai noodles, lollicup, jmp international, misono wok, misono grill, kantin, and dim sum chef. most of them open 11-11:30am

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: galangatron

                    It looks to me like One Of The Kind, the new stall from the former Wisteria head chef, is mere days from opening. Probably by the end of the month.

                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                      Stopped by the supermarket today and One of The Kind IS OPEN for business. Apart from the printed menu, there is a board with several daily special items (in Chinese only). I wasn't going to eat there but one of the special was LAMB ON A STICK, so of course I had to get it.

                      Each stick comes with 6 pieces of 1/2" cube of cumin lamb; you get to choose spicy or not spicey. $1.50 per stick. I asked for spicy and even though I can tolerate decent amt of heat, my lips were burning when I left. :-)

                      1. re: y2000k

                        Ooh, I was planning on a plate of Two Sides Yellow from Kantin for dinner tomorrow night, but I do believe my plans have changed...

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          plse describe 2 sides yellow! look forw to your other recs for One of a Kind.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            It's not actually on the menu, and if you asked for Two Sides Yellow at Kantin, they probably would have no idea what you were talking about: that's just an old-school Chinese-American-restaurant name for the dish.

                            It's lo mein with roast pork, Chinese vegetables and brown sauce. (You have to specifically ask for it like that: the roast pork lo mein on the menu lacks both vegetables and sauce.) The lo mein -- thin yellow vermicelli noodles -- is pressed into a cake, which is then wok-fried to golden brown crunchiness on the outside, leaving a moist, chewy interior. That's topped with sliced char siu, Chinese vegetables (usually Chinese broccoli or some kind of choy) and a ladleful of your basic C-A brown sauce (think egg foo young).

                            It's one of the classic old-school Chinese-American comfort food dishes, and Kantin does an excellent version of it.

                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                              Often called "pan fried noodles".. I have not seen it called two sides yellow in a long time. However many authentic places will call it chow mein, not to be confused with the american all veggie chow mein over crunchy noodles.. gets confusing.

                              1. re: hargau

                                Ha, "two sides yellow". I've never heard it called that way in English, but it certainly is a literal translation. I've also usually seen it as pan fried noodles in most restaurants.

                                1. re: rlee21

                                  Y'know, now that you mention it, I believe it's on Kantin's menu as pan-fried noodles: the lo mein dish is the unfried variation. But you do have to special-order the brown sauce, char siu and Chinese vegetables.

                                  1. re: rlee21

                                    PF Changs of all places has this under the name "double fried noodles" or something like that. When I've had this (not locally) the noodles were nice and toothsome thick chewy noodles but the topping and sauce were pretty dismal.

                                    1. re: barleywino

                                      At Kantin, at least, it's very fine egg noodles. The standard toppings are fine, it's just that they don't happen to offer the combination that we love as a regular menu item. However, they're always happy to do it to our specifications, so macht's nichts.

                          2. re: y2000k

                            The skewered cumin lamb is indeed excellent: I liked it better than the version Unique used to have.

                            The ma po tofu is texturally perfect, but I thought they had a bit too heavy a hand with the Sichuan peppercorns: it threw the seasoning out of whack because they overpowered the chiles and pork and other flavorings. Still, it was entirely tasty. Can't wait to explore the menu further.

                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                              You must be referring to OotK. I can certainly believe they use enough huajiao in their mapo tofu, because they used almost too much in the Chongqing chicken when I asked for it 'jia ma'. I'm anxious to try some of their Sichuan offerings, since their name includes 川, but I expect they won't be as good as the local specialists. The stuff I assume is Shandong has been first-rate, though.

                              1. re: KWagle

                                Ma Po Tofu @OotK is the best I've had in Boston-- its perfectly Ma La and not saccharine and cloying. The tofu is the perfect texture and the whole thing is six bucks. Can anyone do better?

                                One of the Kind
                                1095 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                                1. re: liangpi

                                  My friend Andy Tannenbaum described the 夫妻肺片 (fei fuqi fei pian) or beef innards in hot sauce as melting in your mouth. This place hasn't steered me wrong yet, and Andy's been back several times and reports favorably.