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Suggestions for best Chinese food in Southern New England?

I'm looking for really good, authentic Chinese food place, but it doesn't have to be fancy. Any suggestions would be great!

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  1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575667

    The above is 80 responses about Chinese in CT. I have a few favorites including Lao Sze Chuan (sp?) on The Boston Post Road in Milford CT. This is well covered on this board. Very authentic, Non-Chinese-American.
    I have a bias towards Chinese style Chinese food, my youngest daughter is Chinese and she is very discriminating in her food choices.

    I have found very few acceptable Chinese reaturants in Massachusetts, but you may want to post abd check the Boston board, there is much info there. I can't speak for RI, as I don't dine there.

    23 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      That's what I was afraid of. I'm looking for more places in the vicinity of Western, Mass. Usually Chinese places can be really well hidden or sketchy looking, but then inside there's the most amazing food. Thanks for the tips. Hopefully I'll find something good :)

      1. re: meatyball

        If you do, it will be a treasure as scarce as hens' teeth.
        We adore Chinese food, but Western MA so far is a desert. Even the occasionally good places are more off than on. Perhaps someone will come up with a hidden jewel --- hope does spring eternal.

        1. re: meatyball

          unfortunately good Chinese food is usually found in port cities where Chinese jumping the boat settled. (not a derogatory remark, but history).

          Boston, fair, New York excellent, San Francisco, excellent, Philadelphia good, etc.

          BUT inland, very,very poor. There was no reason for Chinese to settle in Western Mass. So the Chinese food served there is pretty bad.

          You are better off avoiding teh local fare and enjoying better Chinese when making a trip to the coast.

          1. re: bagelman01

            If Western MA is the geographic target, I used to really like Amherst Chinese Food, with Mr. Chang's delicious farm fresh veggies. Very Americanized, but used to be lovingly prepared. Haven't been for a few years though

        2. re: bagelman01

          In RI, the most authentic I've seen in the state (and quite possibly between New Haven and Boston) might be accessible to you. Golden Chopsticks in Westerly, RI (Southwestern RI/CT border) had a menu filled with authentic items, including menu-order dim sum. I haven't been in a few years now but previously it was my favorite in the region.

          Otherwise, RI has little to offer in the authentic category. Red Ginger in Johnston, RI had an authentic menu you could request, but I've now had a few disappointing meals in a row there and haven't been back in a while. Lucky Garden in North Providence, RI is easily the most authenic in the Providence area. MuMu in Providence has a more authentic bent and flavor palate but is very hit and miss...

          PLEASE let us know what you find!

          1. re: Garris

            Like you, I've been disappointed with Red Ginger in recent years. But you generalize to "between New Haven and Boston", although I have a couple of Sichuanese co-workers who tell me that Sichuan Gourmet in Sharon, MA is the real deal. I haven't had a chance to get up there yet, but it certainly beats the prospect of a trip to Boston. Have you been?

            For other regional Chinese cuisine, I have to console myself with the thought that on a good day I can make it to Flushing in a bit under 3 hours.

            1. re: Gin n Tonic

              Interesting. While I live in PVD, I work in the South Shore of MA and have asked a number of people (who are very plugged into the dining scene) about local Chinese dining and never heard Sichuan Gourmet mentioned. A quick Google search shows this to be the local Chinese outpost of 3 others in the area (Brookline being the original?) and it seems to be highly regarded. It's off 95, so I'll have to give it a try during my commute (out of range of the OP, though).

            2. re: Garris

              As i wrote in my first post in this thread: "I can't speak for RI, as I don't dine there" so I won't be findinng anything.

              I pass through Rhode Island when driving from CT to our home on the Cape, but don't stop. Westerly is more that a 2 hour drive from my home in Fairfiled County and there are far better choices for 'authentic' Chinese cuisine much closer. I can be in any of the assorted NYC Chinatowns in an hour. Or get authentic Chinese in a 15 minute drive from home.

              1. re: bagelman01

                Well, bagelman, to quote: La di da!
                I CANNOT get authentic Chinese in a 15 minute drive from home. I'm out here with meatyball in Western MA and need some kind of fix. What are Chowhounders' recent experiences with Butterfly in Hadley? It used to be good on certain dishes, but something happened, I don't know what, and it no longer was. We haven't been in a while and I wonder if it's recovered.
                Also wonder what the situation is at Great Wall in Florence --
                And if anyone has any opinions about Zen in Northampton.
                Or, for the 15 minute drive --- well, half hour drive --- to Amherst, what is the word on Chi Am?

                1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                  I'm also wondering about Butterfly. I heard they have a "gourmet menu" which looks interesting. When going to Chinese restaurants elsewhere they often have a "secret" menu that you can order off of, but only if you know about it. I hope someone out there knows of these secret menus, or menus only written in Chinese.

                  Also, I'm not against AmericanChinese food. That can hit the spot at times :)

                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                    I still think Butterfly is almost always good, especially whole fish and their spicy stuffed peppers or stuffed eggplant . Only the Gourmet menu is worth considering.
                    Zen is uniformally disappointing.
                    Great Wall has really good stuffed tofu, tofu skin items, salt and pepper shrimp, lamb with spring onions, steamed chicken. Again, only the gourmet menu is worth considering.

                    1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                      I have opinions about Zen et al.

                      Zen sucks. The chef has no understanding of flavor profiles or balance, or assumes his customers don't. Everything I've eaten there (unfortunately, twice I have visited) has been overpoweringly sweet, sticky, or something foul.

                      Great Wall and Butterfly are about as good as you'll do around here. The former I think is better, though the latter has the XO noodles that I crave at times. The flounder dish at GW is excellent, as is their hot pot, and their dim sum on Saturday's is pretty fun and tasty.

                    2. re: bagelman01

                      Where is the authentic Chinese 15 minutes from home?

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          Too bad. You mentioned the Cape, so I thought there might be something here with good Chinese that I'd missed.

                          1. re: lisaonthecape

                            I've never had 'good' Chinese food on the Cape.

                          2. re: bagelman01

                            +1 on Lao Sze Chuan Very authentic and good Chinese. There is another place on Boston Post in West Haven that is also very good (and a little cheaper)

                      1. re: Garris

                        Just checked the menu at Golden Chopsticks.

                        Please tell me scrambled eggs with silver fish is not what I'm thinking.

                      2. re: bagelman01

                        What does Chinese style Chinese food mean?

                        1. re: chervil9

                          Chinese style Chinese food means food cooked in style of that which is served in China.

                          No American substitutions or made up dishes such as chop suey, etc.

                          Unlike in the 1800s and through 1970s when Chinese immigrants to America had to make do with substitute ingredients, and dumb down or westernise their cooking for the American palate, fast jet transport from China makes fresh and authentic ingredients available, thus Chinese Style Chinese food is now available in the US.

                          The American palate of the masses will not be happy with Chinese Style Chinese food and find it 'strange' or off-putting, but foodies, Chers, travelers who've been to China have developed a taste for the real thing, or have a sense of adventure and WANT the real thing. No more La Choy chow mein from a can, no chicken chow mein in a restaurant that lokks like pale green glop on a startch white sauce.

                          NO fried boneless chicken bits, dipped in assorted sauces and called Genral Tsao, Orange Chicken, Lemon Chicken, etc.

                          1. re: bagelman01

                            My son has been living and traveling in Asia, loving the food - but - One of the first things he says he wants when he returns is American style Chinese food.

                            1. re: atheorist

                              not an unusual feeling, to want the comfort food he grew up with...............

                              1. re: atheorist

                                I can appreciate his situation. During a trip to China, our hosts took us out to dinner at a locally high-end restaurant. needless to say, hardly anything was recognizable to our palates. When they brought out the goose foot, with complimentary plastic gloves for our hands, I knew we weren't getting any General Tso's chicken that night!

                        2. If you are ever in the New Haven area there are a few places with a separate Chinese menu:
                          Royal Palace on Orange St , Loa Sze Schuan on the Post Rd in Milford, Peking Duck House also on the Post Rd in Orange, and Iron Chef in West Haven (mainly takeout but there are 2 tables)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mmalmad

                            Lao Sze Chuan (sp?) in Milford was terrific when we were there a while ago. It's just way too far away for us.

                            At Butterfly, if you ask for the Chinese gourmet menu they'll give it to you. But only if you ask! Problem is that the last couple of times even some of our favorite things off that menu had gone meh, and I don't know what the situation is these days.

                            I'm with you on American Chinese food. When we were in Tucson, there was a Cantonese American place some of whose dishes were outstandingly delicious! Authentic isn't everything in life, and anyway, these were authentic Cantonese American dishes.
                            But Tucson is also too far away from Western MA to be practical!

                          2. Folks, just a quick request that answers concentrate on critiquing chow (or lack thereof) rather than on critiquing other hounds' posts or where they eat. Thanks.

                            1. We love Koi in Great Barrington. Never greasy, always fresh. Homemade wontons and sauces. Pretty inside. Happy to please service. Maybe a tad on the pricey side, but happy to pay for it based on all the good things it has to offer.

                              1. Green Tea in Farmington is the best in that area. When I found out I could get goose foot there, I knew it was as authentic as I could find.

                                1. I can't believe this thread is 1 year old and no one has mentioned Clinton's Taste of China.
                                  Website at: http://tasteofchinaus.com/

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: DonShirer

                                    Maybe that's because the OP is searching for the "BEST" Chinese food in southern New England.

                                    Taste of China (IMHO) is better than good, but certainly not the best.

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      The OP is also more interested in Western MA.......

                                  2. There are two very authentic Sichuan restaurants in Framingham, MA: Red Pepper and Sichuan Gourmet. My Chinese students and coworkers swear by Red Pepper in particular. Sichuan Gourmet, which also has locations in Sharon, Billerica, etc. is a bit more upscale/western-friendly, whereas Red Pepper has less frills and more exotic stuff.


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Rick_V

                                      Sichuan Gourmet has literally ruined Chinese food for me in Massachusetts, I used to work in the area but changed jobs a couple of years ago so now I salivate thinking of how good it was...and how everything else in the area isn't.....

                                      1. re: Photog_016

                                        Kon is absolutely non-authentic Asian-American, and is bordering on FANTASTIC.

                                        Not sure I'd order sushi, but I love their various deep-fried Chinese American staples. The sweet & sour chicken and crispy beef are great, as are things like spring rolls, corn soups, etc. Stuff you'd expect to find in a predominantly white small town are very well done.

                                      2. Gold Stone in Providence on Allens Ave. RI is a wasteland except for this place. Looks like your standard divey, hole in the wall, pork fried rice, celery in brown sauce joint, but they have authentic dishes on the menu. I asked for ma la, and I got ma la. I talked with the owner about food he makes Chinese patrons, and he made me couple of dishes I've never seen anywhere else, which may or may not be on the menu (one had potatoes). It may not hit the heights of the favorite Sichuan places in MA, but it's well worth a try. Unfortunately, the only web presence is one of these lame online menu sites.


                                        Actually, now that I think about it, King's Garden in Cranston is good too, but truthfully, I've only had the dim sum. I've been meaning to get over there to sample the authentic menu.


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Dinsdale45

                                          Seriously, though, these places are good enough for doctors or chickies. Anyone else eat there?

                                        2. I love Koi in Great Barrington. Great sauces, not greasy, and fresh. Not super cheap- not "NYC" Chinatown or Flushing authentic (although they do make their own dumplings and wonton), but for Southern New England, so far Koi has my vote.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                                            It's a shame to live in an area with little Asian food. I understand those who want to like a local place like Koi. Decent looking dining room, dumplings not bad. Ate there Sunday night. The Sichuan dumplings were tasty but SWIMMING in overly sweet peanut sauce. Why drowned good, obviously homemade dumplings in a cloying sauce? I ordered the whole fried bass in "spicy sauce". When it arrived I felt I should have returned it then, but didn't want to fuss. The fish was SUBMERGED in a cornstarch -sugar blanket complete with carrot and peas, obviously from a frozen package. God awful. The fish was so coated in batter and over fried, the flesh had dried out into the batter The best part was the crunchy fins and tails. I thought I was going to go into diabetic shock from all the sugar. Told the waiter the fish was not good and he said he would tell the chef. Right. Should have just told the smiling manager on the way out but had had enough. Had previously tried the mapu tofu, lame heat wise, and again, covered with those carrot and peas, in mapu tofu? Don't waste your money.

                                            1. re: chervil9

                                              That fish was 25 dollars! They did not compensate in any way.

                                          2. Try Oriental Flavors in Amherst. They have some pretty "authentic" Chinese food, of uneven execution. I've been only twice. Their chicken chow fun (broad rice noodles) was very good in that it was not too greasy and had pretty good "wok hay" flavor--my complaint is that the few slivers of chicken were flavorless and there were only a few scallion shreds as vegetables. I would try the vegetable chow fun next time. The vegetable rice porridge was tasty, but the rice should have been much softer, and the fried dough cruller was really good with it. (That's pretty authentic stuff, I must say.) Their dim sum was pretty good, if more expensive than NYC or Boston chinatown, with smaller selection. I am not a xiao lung bao connoisseur, but I thought theirs were pretty good, even compared to some I had recently in a Flushing NY restaurant.
                                            Regarding, authenticity--that's a slippery motion, particularly of Chinese food which has such great regional variation, For instance, this year I tried lamb with cumin seeds--a northern dish I didn't know existed. My Cantonese mother didn't particularly like it, and I don't know how authentic it was. It was a bit too greasy for me--the lamb was not of great quality--and I would have preferred fewer cumin seeds. But I was glad I tried it, and now I think of trying to cook my own version. So you should be adventurous and always let your own taste guide you in your search for good food!

                                            1. This thread illustrates the frustration many have with this board. The distinction of 'Southern New England " is just far too broad to be useful. In this thread alone there are recs form Amherst, Great Barrington, Central Conn, the Conn. coast, Westerly RI and even the Cape. Therefore, the far majority of recs are useless for the general readereship here. Shame.

                                              My 2 cents. I'll add Thuan Loi on the Cape for some good authentic Chinese, but mostly Vietnamese to be sure.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                The problem is NOT the board being too broad. The problem is that OP's don't define there post titles well.

                                                Nothing wrong with titling a post: "Where are the Best Chinese restaurants in Western Mass?" that was the OP's response to my query right after the initial post in 2012.

                                                If CH would llow edits after 2 hours it could avoid the general waste of time posts such as these cause.

                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                  Valid Point....I agree and stand corrected.

                                                  1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                    Thanks, and I wasn't trying to correct you, but get a point across that might be read by many on our board.
                                                    I have previously suggested to CH that they allow edits to post after 2 hours with no luck. I just came back from court and see that my response to you has a typo that is too late to change.

                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                      Typos--yes! What can be done? A chance to edit would be nice. Only much later did I notice an "m" where an "n" should be so "notion" became "motion." Too late, but it made a funny picture for me. One must read with a thought to what other nearby keys might've been hit if something doesn't quite make sense.

                                                      1. re: Meijie

                                                        I have found that my typos have really multiplied as I am often posting via a touchscreen tablet. If using a regular keyboard, I type homekey blind as taught in school more than 50 years ago on an old Underwood without letters on the keys...great speed and accuracy

                                              2. Li Lai Wok on Central Ave in Pawtucket, RI is the best Chinese-American food my husband and have ever had. I used to live in an area with no really good Chinese food so I was really happy when I tried Li Lai Wok; everything is so fresh!