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Chinatown - non seafood?

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Coming to Boston soon and looking to grab a quick bite in Chinatown around 9 - 10 p.m. on a Saturday night. Last time I tried Peach Farm but wasn't impressed. Probably because at that time of the night the place was dirty, and what we ordered not their specialty.

The time before that we went to another spot, forget the name... It had a tight diner-like downstairs and interesting upstairs room with music. But when we went no one else was upstairs and we didn't want to to be the only ones there and put the servers out. Food was good as I recall.

Any other recommendations?

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  1. I will take a stab at some suggestions:
    Taiwan Cafe: There was a thread by EATTV I think about his Taiwanese food adventure. Plenty of non-seafood options with pretty good soup dumplings, salt and pepper pork, stinky tofu, and a variety of Taiwanese specialties;
    Hong Kong Eatery: I like their roasted meats with rice or noodles.
    Some others I would include are Gourmet Dumpling House (the name says it all), Best Little Restaurant (has seafood, but definitely many other items to choose from), Vietnamese restaurants for pho (Xihn Xihn, Pho Viet, just to name a couple) , Shabu Zen or Kaze Shabu Shabu, Penang (similar vein of food would be Bubor Cha Cha, but I have not been there, so I cannot say).
    One caveat: Do check that these places open late. I know that Taiwan Cafe definitely has, but I ma not quote 100% sure of the others. Good luck!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Crazy Egg

      "Gourmet Dumpling House" is open till a bit after midnight. But the name doesn't "say it all" and in fact says basically nothing--if you read the Chinese you'll discover it's actually North South Harmony or some such thing referring to the cuisines it serves. I'm told it has good dumplings, which wouldn't surprise me since I've had very good luck there over the years ordering both southern dishes and Sichuan dishes. (I wouldn't recognize a northern dish on the menu since I don't know much about that cuisine.)

      If you're there as early as 9 you could get dim sum at Winsor Cafe, or Beijing and Sichuan food at "New Shanghai" which despite its name has no Shangainese food. I'd recommend Winsor first, then NS, then GDH or Taiwan Cafe (both of which I like about equally.)

      Winsor is excellent, the other places are good to decent, but most of the really good to great Chinese food in Boston and DC alike is not in Chinatown. If you don't have your heart set on Chinatown, you could try "Sichuan Gourmet" in Brookline, Framingham, or Sharon (I find the Billerica location underwhelming) Sichuan Garden in Woburn (but not Brookline) Chilli Garden in Medford, FuLoon in Malden, Zoe's in Somerville, "Thailand Cafe" in Cambridge (but stay far away from the Thai food which is execrable) MuLan in Walthm or Cambridge, Jo Jo Taipei, Shanghai Gate or One of the Kind all of which are in or near Allston, Red Pepper in Framingham, Joyful Garden in Brighton, Top Garden in Tewksbury, and Asian Gourmet in Concord. Phew. Is that an exhaustive list?

      1. re: KWagle

        Thanks for the tips Crazy and KW. Very much appreciated! I like the Chinatown recs! Since my daughter lives in Brookline, Sichuan Gourmet might be logistically possible too. We'll have to see how the evening goes.

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          If in the Brookline area, I would definitely go to Sichuan Gourmet or Sichuan Garden. Shanghai Gate is also right on the border on the Allston side. JoJo Taipei and the Super88 food court are also not far from Brookline.

          In Chinatown itself, I have to recommend Dumpling Cafe, which nominally has hours until 2am. I usually stick to the Taiwanese specialties and excellent xiaolongbao.

          FYI, Dumpling Cafe and Gourmet Dumpling House are distinct, despite their similar sounding names. Even their Chinese names are similar: South North Harmony and South North Flavor, respectively. KWagle, I'm not sure which one you're referring to since your english and chinese names don't match.

          1. re: rlee21

            I was referring to so-called GDH. My experiences at DC have been mediocre at best, so I wouldn't mention it except in a clarification such as this. GDH has been consistently good over the years I've been going there.

            As for Sichuan Garden in Brookline, I wouldn't go there unless I wanted to be bored. The Woburn location, OTOH, is excellent.

            1. re: KWagle

              I did a comparison recently of the xiao long bao at DC and GDH and find that DC is much better. The skins are more delicate at DC and I was actually disappointed in GDH. Also I like their grilled items (chicken leg is particularly good). Otherwise, I agree that main dishes are better at GDH.

              1. re: gourmaniac

                I would agree with you on the XLB. I was there Weds night, and while my mom and I enjoyed our meal and loved their Shandong wor tip (or guo tie), we found DC had much better XLB. Their dumplings came in the steamer with a big swath of cloth at the bottom, rather than napa, and a few of the skins had even broken so the broth had leaked out. They were good sized, but I think DC's xlb offer a much better balance of thin skin and the filling. I also didn't love the fact that their vinegar came with (unevenly) chopped up bits of ginger, rather than the thin julienned ginger slivers.

                1. re: kobuta

                  I have only had the XLB at GDH once, and have had them twice at DC, and I also agree that DC's are better. Like gourmaniac says, the skins are more delicate.

        2. re: KWagle

          Sorry KW. I didn't specifically read the Chinese name for GDH. I was brought there by friends and had pretty much purely dumplings, hence what I said. Do not mean steer anyone wrong, just speaking from what I ate there.

          1. re: Crazy Egg

            I have often wondered where/how they come up with these American names. They certainly don't add clarity. If you buy an existing restaurant, there *might* be some seeming justification for not changing its name, but if you change the name (GDH is in the location of the former Yan's) then why not change it to one that's actually useful?

      2. Thanks everyone for your input. Scampo tonight and maybe Chinese tomorrow. Hear there is snow in the forecast so we'll see.

        1. As a follow up, we had pork dumplings for a snack at Gourmet Dumpling House. Tasted good, but unfortunately did not agree with me.