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Favorite Spots In Boston’s Chinatown

baozi in basket full sized

A few people have asked for a run-down of my favorite spots to eat/get food in Boston’s Chinatown.  We’re there a few times every month.  Sunday is our favorite day to go – we head in there in the late afternoon for some shopping, maybe a haircut for our daughter, and then an early dinner and dessert before we head back to the ‘burbs. 

Our favorite spot for dinner is Vinh Sun BBQ & Restaurant, on Beach Street.  We think their roasted meats are the best in Chinatown – they beat the pants of Hong Kong Eatery (on Harrison).  Our daughter’s true love, and rightfully so, is the roast pork and rice plate.  A generous portion of freshly roasted pork, complete with a lovely glaze on its exterior, is served atop a bed of white rice and some steamed choi.  The pork is tender, perfectly cooked and super flavorful.  Vinh Sun’s hot & sour soup is pretty good, and their ma po dofu does have a kick to it (although never enough for my taste).  They have some nice Hong Kong style noodle soups – I often get my favorite shrimp dumpling soup – a large portion of tasty shrimp-filled dumplings in chicken broth with loads of noodles to boot. 

After we finish up at Vinh Sun, we usually hit a bakery or two.  Our favorite for butterfly cookies is Hing Shing, also on Beech Street (right next to the Chinatown gate).  These butterfly cookies are sweeter and more flavorful than other butterfly cookies I’ve had (and, um, I’ll admit to trying many a butterfly cookie in my time) – in fact, these are the only butterfly cookies I like.  The others are too bland and lardy for me – these have great flavor. 

Next door to Hing Shing is the Great Taste Bakery and Restaurant – a newish place.   We haven’t yet eaten at the restaurant, but the bakery has great dan tat (egg custards) and cream buns (my #1 Chinatown bakery vice, a slightly sweet super-soft bun, dusted with finely shredded coconut, then slit partway through the middle and stuffed with light sweet cream filling).  For some chat on the food at the restaurant, check out this threadon Chowhound.  A meal there is on our “must do soon” list, as are their baked cha siu bao

Ho Yuen bakery is also on on Beach street, just a couple doors up from Vinh Sun, towards Harrison.  They have great almond cookies.

Eldo Cakehouse on Harrison Ave. is a well-loved place.  I used to love their cream buns, but I think that Great Taste has them beat.  Their cakes are beautiful and delicious, if you like whipped cream frosting.  They boast beautiful fruit decorations are are pretty reasonably priced.  Some people think their baked cha siu bao are the best, others rave about their beef curry turnovers.  Adjacent to the bakery is the Eldo Candy House – lots of little treats there – another favorite stop for our daughter. 

Sometimes we go to Chinatown for dim sum, and we have two favorites there:  China Pearl and Hei La Moon.  Both offer the traditional dim sum with carts and crowds.  I think Hei La Moon has an edge over CP food-quality-wise, but be forewarned, it’s on Beach Street, across the surface artery from Chinatown proper.  Our strategy is to get to either of these places by 11 a.m., because then we’re seated almost immediately.  If you get there anytime after that, be prepared to wait. 

Boston’s Chinatown is small – you can cover it all in a flash.  Chowhound is a super resource – there are lots of other notable places to eat in C-town that we just don’t get to.  Search for yourself (sea food?  hot pot?) and find some favorites of your own.

Vinh Sun BBQ Restaurant LLC on Urbanspoon

© 2009, Sarah. All rights reserved.

  • Rosalind Kabrhel

    This is great Sarah. I really want to explore Chinatown with the kids, but don’t know it well. I am excited to try your suggestions!