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Nov 20, 2012 04:32 PM

What to Order at Gourmet Dumpling House?

We're taking our adventurously inclined Mother-in-Law Swank to Chinatown over the weekend. I think we'll go to Gourmet Dumpling (or else Peach Farm). She's a spice-seeker and pretty open to various types of fish and meat. What are some must-orders? Bonus points if the platters are easily shareable.
My personal favorite at GDH: the amazingly dense, gummy, gloopy, saucy Oyster Pancake.

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  1. swank, maybe you missed it, but there was a thread that had the info you seek- maybe late Sept.- it talked about the idea of doing a CH comparison-crawl at 3 chinatown places, and lots of posters chimed in on the essential things to get to compare the 3 places dish by dish.

    1. I agree with Swank that there are a couple of threads where you might find help. Sliced Fish Szechuan (my favorite dish in Boston) and beef with longhorn peppers are always great. I personally like the XLB with crab eventhough the wrappers are thicker than some would like. Great scallion pankakes, but those aren't so adventurous. The qingdao clams are my favorite clam dish in chinatown. MC also has said the eel with yellow chives is awesome, but they have always been out of it when I have tried to order it. There is something called Fried Chicken Szwchusan Style, which I believe is a dry chicken dish not the similar soup-like dish (Chicken szechuan Style ) that I've always wanted to try, but no one on the board has, extra points if you get it.

      1. I rarely order it correctly and usually have to describe it but I think it's shredded pork Peking style. I think. Shredded pork with lots of scallions and a thick sauce on the side (is there?), with little pancakes. Pork, scallions, pancakes and named for some familiar locale. I'm sorry I can't be more specific!

        Also, not that you asked, I'd probably opt for Dumpling Cafe over GDH.

        7 Replies
        1. re: ebaba

          I agree with ebaba on Dumpling Cafe, the room is bigger and nicer, and the menu is very simular. I have had lunch (take out) at Dumpling Cafe a few times this past month, rice plates ( which are pretty cheap at a little over $6), and can vouch for the chicken meatballs, spicy salt and pepper pork chps, beef with banana peppers, and the spicy beef.

          1. re: ebaba

            I hit Dumpling Cafe the other day and got the best version of XLB I've yet had in Chinatown, just perfect, exceptional even by DC's standards (I think they do the best rendition in the neighborhood even on an ordinary day). I had a friend along with me who had never been to a traditional Taiwanese restaurant nor ever tried soup dumplings, a good day for him.


            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I am green with envy. Since moving to Cambridge last spring what was a weekly indulgence is now a rare treat. A visit is on my Christmas list, and if anyone knows where I can find them this side if the river I'd love to know.
              And I am now realizing what's never discussed in XLB threads is crab vs crab/pork vs pork (for me the latter). Not sure I've had them any other way at Dumpling Cafe.

              1. re: ebaba

                I like both versions at DC (I have had a less-than-fresh tasting pork/crab at GDH), but I always get pork when bringing XLB newbies.


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  I think that's the way to go. The ones involving crab are still tasty but have a certain funk I don't like. A less than fresh funk (not being a crab eater in general I have no idea what to expect).
                  It has been way too long since I made the trip there. My son and I went nearly every week from when he was 8 months old up to 1.5 -- he devoured the pork with bamboo and the ladies were always really wonderful to him. Now we order regularly from Mulan but no XLB!
                  Anyways, thank you for the reminder. If not this weekend then at Christmas.

                  1. re: ebaba

                    I can see how people might think there is some funk to the crab (I don't think either is using jumbo lump and I think different pieces of crab really have different tastes), but I like the crab XLB at both. I'm not too concerned about freshness given the amount of XLB both of these places go through each day. They both tend to have lines out the door at peak hours and everyone seems to have XLB on their tables.

                2. re: ebaba

                  You must have moved to the UK, because Cambridge MA is only a couple of miles from Dumpling Cafe.

            2. I've never noticed eel with yellow chives on the GDH menu. Taiwan Cafe had it before they remodeled, but I think it's no longer on their menu. And I'd opt for GDH over DC, and TC over both of them unless you absolutely need spicy, since GDH does have some serviceable Sichuan dishes.

              For spicy food, if you're determined to go to Chinatown, you should probably check out the wrongly named "New Shanghai" which is now a Sichuan and Beijing restaurant (two chefs, no fusion cuisine.) Their Sichuan food is quite passable (though overpriced for the quality) as are the Sichuan dishes at the misleadingly named "Gourmet Dumpling House" (whose real name has nothing to do with dumplings; it's something like North-South Harmony.)

              But I think the best food in Chinatown is at Winsor Dim Sum Cafe, and aside from Winsor and possibly and Taiwan Cafe, the best Chinese food in the Boston area is nowhere near Chinatown. As you should already know if you read this board regularly!

              But since you asked a specific question: Though it's been a few years, I liked the twice-cooked pork at GDH a lot. They also do a quite respectable "water cooked" beef/pork/fish/&c (I'm not sure what they call it, though.) And the beef with (American) okra was also quite good. I expect most of the rest of their menu is also decent--I've never had anything there I was disappointed with.

              2 Replies
              1. re: KWagle

                Finally tried the chicken szechuan style at GDH. Fresh tasting, good batter served with something similar to fried leeks. A tasty dish, but filled with bones in every bite (something I am ok with, but thought it worth noting) and not a hint of ma la. The latter was disappointing for me because I was looking for something similar to chongqing chicken with tons of heat and sichuan peppercorns, but I guess will have to explore the menu further. We also had sliced fish, beef w/ longhorn peppers and mini juicy dumplings with pork and crab, all of which my companions loved.

                1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                  I've had that, asked for it 加麻 and it had plenty of ma. They're not afraid to spoil any dish by adding too much huajiao.

              2. Can't think of the name, but there is a tripe & tongue dish that is delicious. My other favorites have already been mentioned.

                4 Replies
                1. re: eatanddestroy

                  This dish is lovingly called 'husband and wife'. I'm sure someone here knows the real name.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    fuqi fei pian or 夫妻肺片

                    True deliciousness. One of my favorite things in the Chinese world.


                    ~ Kiran

                    1. re: KWagle

                      Typically, we go for the shan dong style dumplings, XLB, and oyster omellete. Last time, we tried a new dish (forgot the name) but it was fish in a spicy, chili soup.


                      1. re: trillen

                        If it had napa on the bottom and dry spices on top, and no noodles, they you probably had "water cooked fish" or 水煮鱼

                        If it had noodles then it was some other dish that Hargau once had at Top Garden. And there may be a third variant which I had with rabbit at Chilli Garden in Medford. But the one with napa and dry spices is 水煮.

                        BTW, despite what you think is its name, GDH is not a dumpling specialist. Its menu is a mix of northern and southern dishes (Beijing and Taiwan) with a fairly large number of quite decent Sichuan dishes mixed in. Its actual name is something like North South Harmony.