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Fuloon issues?

I read on another food site (seriouseats) that Fuloon has gone seriously downhill in recent months. I have not been in over a year. Has anyone been very recently? Any noticeable changes in quality? Is the chef still there?

The changes to their website are not encouraging.


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  1. man, you got me worried. so I called just now. diane is still the owner; she says chef and everything is 'still the same'. but we haven't been there for 2 months maybe. was all 'like always' when we were there. Gross new website though. She told me a few yrs ago that they have a big regular client base of Northeastern students. Maybe the chef takes a vacation when the students go away for the summer...? ( I really hope something like that happened- as a possible explanation why SE was not happy w/ it.)

    1. I am not nearly as regular a customer there as I'd like (trying to watch the waistline and dishes like Jiang Pao Duck do not help), but on a recent visit my wife and I both felt like something was a bit off. The food seemed oilier and less vibrant than usual. The Kan Shue String Beans, which we've enjoyed numerous times and which we usually have no problem finishing, were woefully under-seasoned -- which is quite odd given that that dish is generally quite salty. And an order of dumplings tasted somewhat flat and maybe even old.

      I figured it was just an off night, but your post definitely has me a bit concerned. Losing Fuloon would be a major blow to the availability of quality Chinese cuisine in the northern burbs.

      1. I also would love to hear from some recent diners. I had a terrible meal there last time. I wrote it off to it being a holiday and the chef probably not working. The food looked the same but tasted bad with every sauce being essentially the same brownish thing.

        1. It was fine in late May when I was last there. I've been dieting this summer, so that means no Asian food for me.

          1. haven't eaten there in a few months but didn't notice any discernible change in the quality of the food

            1. I was there pretty recently (a month ago) and I thought it was great. I will say that I thought it was almost too much Sichuan peppercorn in the mapo to the point that it tasted a little soapy, but everything was well-prepared. Crispy pork pancake, great garlic eggplant (I could have eaten another portion of that). I went based on recommendations here since I'm new to Boston, so I don't have past comparison, but it's been one of my Chinese food favorites.

              1. Hadn't been since spring (it's not hot-weather food for me), but last night's meal seemed just fine. If it wasn't as vibrant as sometimes can be attributed to the power of suggestion making us hyper-critical, our dining companions not being adventurous, and us closing down the place on a Sunday night. Still tasty, certainly not "seriously downhill."

                I'll be checking in more often now that it's fall. I got worried since they're my go-to place for Thanksgiving dinner.

                1. I'm the editor of Serious Eats and don't remember reading or editing that. Can you tell me where you read it? Was it just a community generated comment thread perhaps?

                  We're here for lunch right now. Things look same as always, including staff, chef, menu. Haven't eaten yet, but will report back!

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: DoubleMan

                      Ah, in the comments.

                      Well I can't attest to everyone, but the meal we just had there was as good as its ever been. I've yet to have a bad meal there!

                  1. I've enjoyed several great meals there over the years usually overlooking the generally run-down and not-so-clean setting... But on my last visit in December it just seemed not only more run-down and dirtier, but the food lacked it's usual oomph.

                    Let's hope that in 2013, they can clean the place up and get back on track...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chiba

                      I have never been to Fuloon when it was anything approaching run-down or not-so-clean. I had one less than stellar take out experience over the summer but 1 out of probably 50 meals is not bad.

                    2. Bumping this thread to say that my husband and I ate there last night and were disappointed. We hadn't been in over a year. I know Sunday's not the best time to judge, but the food was overall far less striking than it has been on previous visits -- and came out so fast that we didn't think it could possibly have all been freshly prepared.

                      We had our old standby Mandarin Cabbage with Spicy and Sour (overbalanced to the sour this time, not at all vibrant or fresh tasting), tried Steamed Beef, Szechuan Style (the most successful of the lot, nice numbing effect) and also ordered Starch noodles with Pork (boring thick sauce, heavy noodles). It was not a terrible meal, but compared to previous outings there a low point for us.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: fesenjan

                        We had that experience maybe 3 months ago but we were there last month on a sunday and quality was consistent for what we had: wok baked beef,mandarin sour cabbage, gen gao chicken, can't remember more. Sorry for the glitch but Keep the Faith!

                        1. re: fesenjan

                          My take is this: the chef doesn't work every night and the other chef(s) make food that looks the same but doesn't taste anywhere near as good. The food was very consistent for a while but then we had this experience. It's obviously a different hand, one that can make the food generally but can't make the sauces. Problem is I can't tell in advance if the right person is there. I think from the menu and talking to the people that he is a/the owner.

                          1. re: lergnom

                            IIRC, i think that the restnt is co owned by the delightful woman (who is ALWAYS there!) and her husb, and the chef.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              That's my understanding as well. Maybe he's taking more days off. Maybe he's had some health issues. Beats me.

                              1. re: lergnom

                                yep, let's send them positive thoughts.

                        2. I've gone once to see what the hype was about and wasn't impressed at all. I work in Boston and eat in Chinatown so I know a thing or two about what good Chinese food tastes like. I thought the dishes were underwhelming.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: surferbettygal

                            Hey Surferbettygal,

                            Do you remember which dishes you tried and when it was??

                            Where do you eat in Chinatown and what dishes do you enjoy?

                            I think this post was saying its gone down hill in the last few months, are you saying that you weren't impressed before this time period??


                              1. re: surferbettygal

                                "I work in Boston and eat in Chinatown so I know a thing or two about what good Chinese food tastes like."


                                lol. what on earth does that mean? that's like saying "i am french so i am a wine expert."

                                there's a mcdonald's in chinatown too. :)

                              2. We were there two weeks ago and had a great meal:
                                Szechuan Dumplings (standard)
                                Bang Bang Chicken (simple, understated app)
                                Sour Spicy Cabbage (excellent)
                                Szechuan Steamed Beef (not quite as spicy as the fish version I had a few months earlier, but delicious)
                                Ma Po Tofu (best ma po tofu I've had)

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: croutonweb

                                  Is this the steamed beef served wrapped in lotus leaves with seasoned rice powder, or some other kind of steamed beef?

                                  1. re: KWagle

                                    No, it's on the menu as Steamed Beef Szechuan Style. Here's a good description of it:

                                    1. re: croutonweb

                                      Ah, that looks like a variation on "water cooked beef". Thanks for posting that. I was hoping for another place to get the amazing actually steamed in a steamer beef that Shanghai Gate does so well.

                                      1. re: KWagle

                                        My understanding of FuLoon's naming of the dish is because the beef is cooked in oil that is seething when it is brought to the table: the water steams out of the beef because it is cooked at much higher temperatures than boiling water.

                                        1. re: Karl S

                                          I'm not sure what makes up the liquid in the bowl, but there's a lot of it. I know that the top part is a chili oil and that's where the dried chilies and Szechuan peppercorns float like in a cranberry bog. I'm almost certain that the bottom part is water, and since the viscosity of the total liquid is thin, I'd guess that water makes up at least 90% of the liquid, which would be more than what would come from the beef. Also, any water loss from cooking a protein in oil would probably get vaporized unless the oil is below 212 degrees F.

                                          If it was served in a glass bowl the mystery would be gone.

                                        2. re: KWagle

                                          I read somewhere (I think on this board) that this dish is sometimes referred to as "water cooked beef" at some restaurants.

                                          1. re: croutonweb

                                            Yes, and another name it tends to hide out as on local English menus is spicy beef (or chicken, pork, etc) with napa cabbage or some similar name

                                        3. re: croutonweb

                                          cweb, wow, i had never seen that seriouseats article on best dishes at Fuloon. Thx so much for that!

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            Yeah geez that is a great slideshow- one I think I would definitely add to the mix is the pork with dried bean curd. As my three year old says, "it tastes of candy!"

                                            1. re: drbangha

                                              It also overlooks the simple but perfect cold tofu appetizer. which might be my favorite thing on the entire menu.

                                            2. re: opinionatedchef

                                              My pleasure. By the way, the Ma Po Tofu is on the menu (the article says it wasn't when it was written), and they'll ask of you want it with meat. The correct answer here is yes.

                                              1. re: croutonweb

                                                Wrong. The correct answer is "hell yes!" :-)

                                                The same question will be asked if you order the Kan Shue String Beans (one of my favorite dishes there), and in that case I think the correct answer is no. For me, at least, the pork takes too much power away from the pickled veg, thereby ruining that dish.

                                                All of which is good news: order 'em both. They complement each other wonderfully.

                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                  Aw, man, that list reminded me that the home-style eggplant seems to have evaporated from the menu. So good. :(

                                          2. re: KWagle

                                            I realize my timing is bad but Zoe's does a "glutinous rice" beef/pork that I recollect (from many years ago) as being steamed. It was good. No lotus leaves though.

                                            1. re: Aromatherapy

                                              Auugh, your timing is awful! I love sticky rice. :-(

                                          3. re: croutonweb

                                            We have gotten takeout twice in the last two weeks and have thought everything was delicious like usual.