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Intesting/obscure Chinatown dishes?

tysonmcneely May 15, 2013 01:03 PM

A friend and I have been doing lunch in Chinatown about once a month for 2 years or so, and I feel like we've had everything. (I also work downtown and have had many solo lunches.) There are definitely some dishes/restaurants we've missed and I'm looking for suggestions. If it's a common board rec, we've probably had it, but I'd rather err on the side of caution and have too many suggestions rather than too few.

We are both very adventerous eaters, so the more obscure, the better! Thanks!

  1. 9
    9lives May 18, 2013 05:29 AM

    I don't know if this meets the "obscurity" level you are seeking but Dumpling Cafe does a nice job with pork kidneys..several preps. My favorite is with black beans. Also available in lunch size portion.

    9 Replies
    1. re: 9lives
      Prav May 18, 2013 05:32 AM

      Damn, at first I read "black bears" and got all excited.

      1. re: Prav
        9lives May 18, 2013 05:55 AM

        You need the secret handshake for that one..:)

        Actually, I've eaten black bear. Ok but I won't run back to eat it again.

        1. re: 9lives
          Prav May 18, 2013 06:01 AM

          They had bear-filled pierogi at Bazaa Russian market in Newton! I tried them, the filling was 'meh' - bland and crumbly.

          1. re: 9lives
            Allstonian May 18, 2013 06:58 AM

            I've eaten roasted black bear many times (I've been going to a community game supper in VT for 20+ years, and they always have bear.) Agree that it's not that exciting. It does vary a lot in flavor, presumably based on the bear's diet - sometimes it's fine, sometimes very strong and funky-tasting.

            1. re: Allstonian
              Prav May 18, 2013 01:53 PM

              The fun, really, was more in the idea that I was eating leftover bear for lunch.

              1. re: Prav
                bear May 18, 2013 04:02 PM

                Better than crow!

                1. re: bear
                  Prav May 18, 2013 08:09 PM

                  Touché, bear, touché.

            2. re: 9lives
              lipoff May 19, 2013 08:51 PM

              The Student Prince in Springfield MA has bear on the menu in February most years.

              1. re: lipoff
                KWagle May 20, 2013 01:25 AM

                I've eaten bear there before, but I don't think I've seen it on the menu the past few years. This year they had kangaroo, as well as antelope which I think they've had in the past. AFAIK, all their game, including the bear, is farm raised in Ohio.

                Apparently several other restaurants have decided to serve game, including bear.



        2. n
          nasilemak May 17, 2013 01:08 PM

          A couple of less well-known Malaysian dishes worth mentioning from Penang restaurant -
          Murtabak - stuffed pancake with minced beef and egg
          Penang Spicy Assam (tamarind) Fish Head in Clay Pot
          Bah Kut Teh chinese herb with pig feet, stomach, rib & fatty pork

          1 Reply
          1. re: nasilemak
            Prav May 17, 2013 09:52 PM

            The murtabak is one of my favorites. Another good "obscure" dish from there is their fish head soup with milk broth.

          2. lipoff May 17, 2013 09:42 AM

            Great Taste has a few Chinese-Portuguese dishes (from Macau) such as Portuguese Chicken casserole with spaghetti. It wasn't fantastic when I tried it, honestly, but it was certainly unique.

            Taiwan Cafe has lots of interesting dishes buried in its menu. Their preserved egg with tofu is one of the very best renditions of this dish. They also have good duck tongue, and an interesting fish prep, which I believe is listed on their menu as cod with soy flakes.

            Jade Garden does a decent version of fried duck with taro (with lots of real taro, not just a little fizz on top).

            I need to try that duck stuff taro root at Peach Farm though!

            Pigeon can be found quite a bit around Chinatown. I had a particularly good version at New Shanghai a few years ago; not sure if they still have it.

            Not so unusual perhaps, but the Hainan Chicken at Penang is very good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lipoff
              KWagle May 17, 2013 03:33 PM

              Okay, Sam, when I get back from DC we should arrange a late night trip to PF and work on translating their menu! If we have dinner at 8, and stay till 3, we should be able to get it all done. :D

              TC had an eel preparation I really liked: shredded in a sweetish sauce with yellow chives and ginger. AFAIK, it's not on the menu after their renovation, but if enough people ask, they might resurrect it. Nobody I took there ever liked that dish, but *I* thought it was really good.

              PF also claimed that they might have turtle or snake at CNY, but I've never followed up on that. :-(

              1. re: KWagle
                lossless May 18, 2013 06:17 AM

                "Okay, Sam, when I get back from DC we should arrange a late night trip to PF and work on translating their menu! If we have dinner at 8, and stay till 3, we should be able to get it all done. :D"

                Just wanted to say that I would watch a tv/YouTube show where a roving band of Chinese speakers go from restaurant to restaurant, translating the Chinese-only menus for the benefit of mankind. Ideally the troop would be from diverse backgrounds (diff regions in China, speakers who aren't Chinese, etc.) with much debating about and delving into the more obscure dishes. Kickstarter project perhaps?

            2. StriperGuy May 16, 2013 11:12 AM

              I LOVE the Squab (pigeon) at Best Little Restaurant in Chinatown. While you are there the Baby Squid in XO sauce and the Pork, Long Bean, Lettuce wrap are also awesome.

              The Best Little Restaurant, Chinatown
              13 Hudson St #A Boston, MA 02111
              (617) 338-4988

              5 Replies
              1. re: StriperGuy
                ScubaSteve May 16, 2013 09:17 PM

                Last time I was there that squid dish was off the menu.
                (sad face)
                But definitely +1 on the squab.

                1. re: ScubaSteve
                  tysonmcneely May 17, 2013 11:46 AM

                  Thanks for the suggestions. I went to BLR today. I asked about the squid dish and the waiter didn't know what I was talking about. So I guess it is off the menu?

                  We went with Crispy Fried Instestines, Jelly Fish and Duck Web, Fish and eggplant hotpot with XO Sauce and the old stand by, pork and bean lettuce wrap. (We've had the aforementioned squab and garlic spare ribs.)
                  Jelly fish and duck web was good, but was sliced a little thick and could've used more flavor/marinade.
                  Crispy Intestine was new to both of us, it was large intestine deep fried, served with a sweet, tangy sauce (kind of like ketchup with more vinegar.) This was surprising, it tasted like duck skin. Very good, defintiely something worth trying.

                  The Hotpot and lettuce wraps were good, up to typical BLR standards. Thanks for the suggestions and keep them coming.

                  1. re: tysonmcneely
                    KWagle May 17, 2013 03:29 PM

                    I really like deep fried pork intestine when it's done well. I've never been brave enough to try the stewed kind, but it'll happen eventually.

                    That reminds me of something else I really enjoyed a few years ago, at New Golden Gate. It was called "fried milk" or "great crispy tasty," some kind of congealed pudding, a bit thicker than Greek yogurt, prepared in the form of a mozzarella stick. I don't know if they still have it, but it's worth checking.

                2. re: StriperGuy
                  Niblet May 17, 2013 06:20 AM

                  Love those. Also (not obscure, but) have dreams about the garlic spare ribs.

                  1. re: Niblet
                    ScubaSteve May 17, 2013 07:20 AM


                3. ScubaSteve May 16, 2013 10:08 AM

                  The Pork Intestine with Pickled Veg at Taiwan Cafe and the Jellyfish with Beef Shin at Hong Kong Eatery.

                  My best advice is to go anywhere and skip the menu, just look around the dining room and point at what looks good to you.

                  1. Prav May 15, 2013 04:56 PM

                    Not sure how obscure it is, but I love the giant clam stuffed with garlic and vermicelli, at Peach Farm. Sometimes you have to ask for it. They're a tad pricy and each sold separately.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Prav
                      KWagle May 15, 2013 10:49 PM

                      Peach Farm has those things?

                      I *really* need to get around to translating their menu.... :-/

                      1. re: KWagle
                        Luther May 17, 2013 05:57 AM

                        It's a standard Cantonese style seafood preparation, you can ask for it pretty much anywhere that has a fish tank or a white tablecloth

                      2. re: Prav
                        tysonmcneely May 16, 2013 08:05 AM

                        Prav, that sounds good. Just to be sure that's different from the Scallops on the Shell w/ garlic and vermicelli at Peach farm? I've had those multiple times and they are excellent.

                        1. re: Prav
                          9lives May 18, 2013 05:31 AM

                          Had these with the clam or scallop before and always like it.

                          They served it with a chopped conch yesterday; also a winner.

                        2. m
                          mwk May 15, 2013 02:45 PM

                          My most favorite "obscure" dish is the Duck-stuffed Taro Root at Peach Farm. I always order it when I'm there.

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