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Jan 26, 2012 05:30 AM

Suggestions on Authenic Chinese food!


My husband and I have not had good chinese food in a long time. We want to go Sat. night. We are looking to go into Chinatown, but would go to other places also. Looking for good fresh food, if you know what I mean!!


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  1. What kind of Chinese food? (e.g., Sichuan, Shanghainese, Cantonese, etc)

    27 Replies
    1. re: Prav

      Haha pretty sure we don't know what OP means!

      1. re: Prav

        ohhh...not sure lol . i'm not savy with chinese food. what do you suggest??

        1. re: cperryfranz

          In Chinatown, go to Peach Farm for Chinese seafood - probably my favorite place for seafood. Make sure to order the Salt-and-pepper Shrimp, and ask if they have scallops/giant claps with garlic and vermicelli. Their steamed fish with ginger preparations are simple, light and fantastic. Ask what they have fresh that day.

          If you don't want to go into Chinatown, Bernard's in Chestnut Hill (it's in the CH Mall, don't be put off by that). It's quite good, and might be what you are looking for!

          1. re: Prav

            would peach farm have meat also???

            1. re: Prav

              good suggestions. if you order salt-and-pepper shrimp (sometimes called spicy salt shrimp), you can specify either with-shell or without-shell (a couple bucks more, sometimes). the "Peking" duck at Peach farm is pretty good too, (although its really roast duck). a good vegetable to order is stir fried pea leaves w/ garlic (do miao), not to be confused with pea pods or snow peas. Ginger scallion lobster is another usually reliable dish. Bernard's prawn dishes are generally excellent (prawns w/ pumpkin, prawns w/ avocado, walnut prawns, "angel hair pasta" w/ prawns, etc) and the setting is a bit upscale (including wine) if that's what you're looking for. Slightly more expensive but you do have the convenience of nearby free parking.

              1. re: barleywino

                When you get salt-and-pepper shrimp, can you eat the shell? Are you supposed to eat the shell? Am I completely off-base with these questions?

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  Yes, you eat the shell (and the head). When fried, shrimp shells get brittle and crispy--they easily crunch under your teeth like a delicious, salty, crisp coating.

                  1. re: emannths

                    the "live" baby shrimp in the tanks are especially good salt-and-pepper with shell imo, while for salt and pepper regular (larger) shrimp i tend to prefer no-shell

                    1. re: barleywino

                      Do you have to specify if you want the "live baby" instead of the regular?

                      1. re: viperlush

                        yes, just ask whether they have "live baby shrimp" (it's on their menu iirc, you might also see it in one of their tanks, or if they have run out, they might run out and grab some from a nearby place that has some, like Ga Ga seafood or Jade Garden)

                    2. re: emannths

                      That's what I thought at first, but I have found on occasion that the shells were unpleasantly tough - had me thinking about splinters of shell and my GI tract. Then I was thinking that I was just being wimpy, and so would vacillate and eat half with and half without.

                      Also now has me thinking that the shrimp were not properly cooked at a high enough heat?

                      Do the shells get thinner at different times of year, ala soft shell crab?

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        I guess it's a combo of the shrimp that's used (thanks barleywino) and the cooking technique. I've have humongous ones with nice brittle/crispy shells. But they have to be right out of the fryer and not heavy on the batter. Get the ones on their second or third time around the room during dim sum and they won't be nearly as good.

                        Other than that, I have no particular insight in the shrimp or the process. When they're done right, they're fabulous (as I'm sure you're aware), for which I'm happy to put up with the subpar examples.

                2. re: Prav

                  Also try their clams in black bean sauce - outstanding!

                  1. re: Prav

                    To offer a counterpoint, Best Little Restaurant serves the same type of cuisine as Peach Farm, but it's more comfortable, cleaner, the food is better, and the service is more pleasant.

                    1. re: Luther

                      I'm with you Luther. I have a Chinese friend who has been living and working right around Chinatown for over 40 years and his favorite restaurant in Chinatown is BLR and his favorite chicken dish in Chinatown is their Empress Salted Chicken. He says that one reason they are so good is that they are very consistent and have had the same cooks forever (back to the days when they were Ho Yuen Ting).

                      1. re: Luther

                        Does BLR and Peach Farm serve alcohol?

                        1. re: cperryfranz

                          BLR may be BYOB but you may want to call and I am not sure about Peach Farm.

                          1. re: bakerboyz

                            byob is not something to be discussed on an open forum; it is not legal.

                          2. re: cperryfranz

                            Beer and wine at PF, no alcohol at BLR. If BLR (or any other restaurant in Boston) does BYO, they're ignoring the Boston law that forbids byo.

                    2. re: Prav

                      Is there a Chowhound cheatsheet for top picks for regional Chinese? The info's all here, I think, but it's scattered through dozens to topics.

                      1. re: emannths

                        Am I incorrect that there is actually a form of Mass. Liquor License that allows an establishment to give it's patrons a legal BYOB forum? Like, "a notch down" from the "partial" beer, wines & cordials (no hard liquor) licenses they issue? Always thought there was one... Maybe just a Boston thing?

                          1. re: BrettLove

                            As your link indicates, the state allows local government to regulate byob in establishments that don't hold a liquor licenses. Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and most (not all) nearby towns have chosen to ban byob.

                            I believe the mechanism that most towns use to outlaw byob is to write it into the conditions for a common victualler's license (i.e., a restaurant license). So local byob violations would actually have nothing to do with the state ABCC in most instances.

                            In practice, at least a few restaurants allow byob when it's illegal (either due to local laws or because they hold a liquor license). Specifics, for obvious reasons, are generally off-the-record. Best practice is to ask when you arrive at the restaurant and hope for the best.

                        1. re: Prav

                          Can someone please recommend a Cantonese restaurant in Boston or Metrowest?

                          I've been to a lot of the Chowhound-recommended Sichuan and Taiwanese places but I want to try some of the other regional cuisines of China.

                          1. re: Andrea_

                            Best Little Restaurant in Boston

                            1. re: Andrea_

                              Joyful Garden is Cantonese, AFAIK. I haven't been there yet, but they do have a Chinese language menu.

                          2. For Sichuan *in* Chinatown, go to New Shanghai (there are a number of Sichuan places outside of Chinatown that are at least as good). Sichuan food has many hot and spicy, strongly seasoned dishes. If you usually eat from more Americanized Chinese places (General Gao's/sesame/orange chicken, hot-and-sour soup, egg rolls, etc), this will be substantially different. It's my favorite regional Chinese cuisine of the ones we commonly see in the US. If you're looking for something closer to what's most familiar to Americans, it's probably Cantonese.

                            Most restaurants don't limit their menu strictly to their own region, so it's likely you'll find out-of-place dishes on some menus, though maybe with a slightly different interpretation.

                            Wikipedia has some good articles on the regional cuisines of China:
                            Hong Kong:

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: emannths

                              Thanks everybody! Should keep me busy for awhile checking it all out! lol

                              1. If not Ctown, what neighborhoods are you interested in?

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: trufflehound

                                  Well, we live in Dorchester, so anywhere really...

                                  1. re: cperryfranz

                                    In Chinatown I would recommend Taiwan Cafe or Q, the hot pot restaurant. Other than a few speciality seafood dishes, I find Peach Farm to be lackluster overall, with a strong we-don't-care attitude towards most of the food, and lots of in authentic preparations (very heavy corn-stachy sauces, etc.)

                                    Coming from Dorchester though, I would recommend heading to Allston and gong to either Jo Jo Taipei or Shanghai Gate. There was a recent thread about Shanghai Gate recommendations, and there should be many threads on Jo Jo Taipei as well. Most of the best authentic Chinese restaurants these days are in the suburbs (Malden, Framingham, etc.) but those two in Allston are also two of the very, very best around.

                                    1. re: lipoff

                                      You mention there are authentic Chinese restaurants in the suburbs. Can you recommend some south of Boston?

                                      1. re: Wanders5

                                        My fave is Sichuan Gourmet in Sharon. It definitely isn't Bamboo House V in Rockland, which I unfortunately tried last night in a late desperate moment :(

                                        1. re: Trumpetguy

                                          We decided to eat at little q in Quincy, but it is permanently closed. We were hungry and frustrated. We ended up eating at hong kong eatery because we saw it across the street. It was fine, but ordinary.

                                        2. re: Wanders5

                                          Unfortunately there really aren't many south of Boston. I haven't been to the Sichuan Gourmet in Sharon, but if it is anything like the branches in Framingham and Billerica you're in for a treat. I had some middling experiences at the Brookline branch when they first opened, and although I haven't been back since I've heard more and more encouraging reports on Chowhound. Quincy has an enormous Asian population, but since Little Q and Taste of Taiwan left Hancock Street I haven't had a single good Chinese meal in a Quincy restaurant. Dim Sum at China Pearl in Quincy was okay. The Kam Man market is a terrific Chinese market, but not a restaurant. There is quite good Vietnamese food in Quincy, particularly at the Banh Mi Ba Le stall inside Kam Man, and the Vietnamese restaurant next door.

                                          The outstanding, authentic Chinese restaurants I was referring to are located in Framingham, Billerica, Malden, Medford, Tewksbury, Waltham, and other North and West suburbs. I assume that this is where the majority of the Chinese population is located, particulary wealthier, professionals from mainland China, while Quincy is a more working-class neighborhood and supports different restaurants. Indeed, the relative lack of Asian population on the South shore can be seen in this map:


                                          Sharon seems to be the town south of Boston (other than Quincy) with the largest Asian influx, so perhaps it is not surprising that Sichuan Gourmet would locate a branch there.