Saturday, December 17, 2011

Boston Chinatown Picks

I've been studying nutrition policy at Tufts' Friedman School and spend plenty of time in Boston's Chinatown. The Chinatown only spans a few blocks, and I can tell you that it is not well known for variety or top quality Chinese cuisine. However, I make due and have eaten around. Here are some picks that you really can't go that wrong with. 

Nikki first introduced me to "Win Sum Dim Sum" last school year.  Since then I have been back almost a dozen times for hangover brunches and all my dim sum cravings. Dim sum is something I grew up sharing with my family, so it is always nice to go back to familiar foods with my new college family. Windsor Dim Sum Cafe offers made to order dishes and has better quality dim sum than the popular China Pearl across the street or other larger establishments in Chinatown. This place is definitely my first pick for dim sum in Chinatown, though prepare to wait in line on weekends.  

Also, they have this pan fried glutinous rice that I have not had anywhere else. They take the traditional lotus leaf wrapped rice and fried it in egg. How wonderful does that sound? 

Windsor Dim Sum Cafe
10 Tyler Street
Boston, MA 02111

Being the awesome student I am, I am usually rushing back and forth from classes and usually try to cram a meal or half in between. Sandwiches in the med school library are definitely way overpriced and so not worth it given that there are several bhan mi locations a block away from the Tufts Health Science campus. Bhan mi are Vietnamese sandwiches that are cold cuts, shredded pork, barbecue beef, or tofu served on a baguette with cilantro, shredded carrots, mayonnaise and fish sauce. I usually head to New Saigon Sandwich or 163 Vietnam Sandwich before a long lecture or on my way home. 

Recently I found a new favorite, which is New Saigon's pre-boxed lunches. They have the typical pork chop over rice, but I discovered this gem: barbecue chicken over glutinous rice. Sticky rice is one of my guilty pleasures, and this is a great combination. With a Vietnamese pork spring roll, it doesn't even feel like I'm studying nutrition. 
New Saigon Sandwich
696 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111

Sometimes I just prefer bringing food home over sitting by myself in a restaurant, and one afternoon I was really craving Thai food. Lucky me, Montien is right by the Chinatown area, and its door is studded with stickers of approval from various rating agencies. 

I ordered a crispy chicken spicy pad thai and a tom yum goong. I always feel like there's something missing in tom yum goong that just doesn't make it 100%, but the pad thai was satisfying and exactly what I was craving. A bit nutty, a bit spicy, and completely oily. 

63 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116

I've always had a soft spot for hot pot. And there are a lot of mixed reviews online about Hot Pot Buffet, but I think you should go. $21 all you can eat? I think I ate 5lb of food that night. I couldn't sit or stand or move comfortably after that meal. 

I highly suggest the prime rib eye beef, the fried tofu, and the fish paste. Good stuff and perfect for the cold New England weather. Going back soon for sure! 

Hot Pot Buffet
70 Beach Street
Boston, MA 02111

HK Eatery is a great place for a quick lunch. They serve solid Cantonese barbecued meats and in big amounts. 

I went there last night to try out their rice casseroles cooked in claypots, which is my absolute favorite Cantonese food. However, I must admit that HK Eatery did not reach my expectations: 
1. the rice was not prepared in a clay pot. 
2. the rice against the sides of the pot were not sufficiently burnt
3. they were very stingy with the soy sauce, and told me to use the soy sauce bottle on the table, clearly not the same thing (professional casserole rice restaurants especially prepare soy sauce medleys and will never serve you raw soy sauce from a manufacturer). 

Finally, my favorite mushroom and chicken casserole pot was not at all what I expected. But I still enjoyed it. However, it was still pretty much a great comfort dish and perfect for the chilly weather.  

HK Eatery
79 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111

I get these sporadic cravings for bubble tea, and The Juice Bar is a place I always find myself going back to.

I recently discovered that they have hot Cantonese desserts, which I definitely want to go back to try. They also have sticky rice wraps, which is meant to be a breakfast food, yet they do not open until 11am. Quite disappointing.

Recently, I had the avocado milkshake with boba. Delicious. 

The Juice Bar
40 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111

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