Dumpling Divas http://www.dumplingdivas.com Lunchtime Adventures in Boston’s Chinatown Wed, 10 May 2017 02:06:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 103004992 China Chilcano http://www.dumplingdivas.com/china-chilcano/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/china-chilcano/#comments Wed, 10 May 2017 02:06:16 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=362 A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and came upon a photo of the most beautiful spread of dumplings.  Upon closer inspection I noted that the picture was taken at Jose Andres’ restaurant China Chilcano in Washington D.C.  What luck! I would soon be traveling to D.C. with some family for a long weekend and would be in a position to sample these delightful dumplings myself!  I promptly made a reservation and informed my family that we would be having lunch there.

China Chilcano is one of the many restaurants owned by celebrity chef Jose Andrés, who is credited with bringing the small plates craze to the United States.  The concept of this restaurant is a Chinese, Japanese, and Peruvian fusion.  Weird, right?!?  And I know in my last post on Suishaya, I wrote VERY disapprovingly of restaurants that mixed cuisines.  Well, here is where I literally eat my words!

We ordered mostly dumplings but included a few other dishes as well to mix it up.

The Ceviche Clásico was the only dish with mainly Peruvian influences. It was delicious and bright with citrus, served with plenty of thinly sliced red onions and slices of steamed sweet potato.

Ceviche Clásico

As we finished the ceviche, the parade of dumplings began.

The first dumpling to come out was the one that actually was the hands down crowd pleaser. The Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings or juicy buns) with pork and crab were petit and packed with big flavor. Everyone at the tale loved these, including my seven-year-old niece who insisted we order a second round. Despite their deliciousness and popularity, I do have a couple of criticisms on them.  First of all, we were not provided with any spoons to eat them with and you really NEED spoons to eat soup dumplings. Secondly, the wrappers were tasty and delicate but perhaps a little too delicate since they kept falling apart and spilling their precious soup all over the bottom of the steamer basket before we could get them to our plates.

Xiao Long Bao

We ordered two kinds of Siu Mai: the Tradicional and the Pollo. The Tradicional was a tasty pork and shrimp version (similar to the standard dim sum fare) to give it a twist, it included jicama and was topped with peanuts – a touch that weirded out some of the less adventurous eaters among us. I thought they were perfect and pork and peanut is one of my favorite flavor combos.  The Pollo was good as well (and I think in general enjoyed by the table at large), it was a bit more basic despite the inclusion of the exotic “Cloud Ear Mushroom.”

Tradicional Siu Mai
Pollo Siu Mai

In my opinion, the best dish we had today was the Pegao Norteñoa – this was an amazing dish of petit, succulent lamb potstickers with “cumin lace” which was a golden cumin flavored cracker that was decorated with gold leaf. The cracker when broken off and eaten with the the dumpling added an extra pop of crunchy cumin flavor to the chewy, already cumin flavored dumpling.  It was so unusual despite having the traditional flavors of lamb and cumin together.

Pegao Norteñoa

The hearts of palm salad we ordered was not anything special and I would admit I get much greater enjoyment eating hearts of palm directly out of the can over the sink at home.

The final dish called Concolón – was a combination of rice, pork belly, Chinese sausage, bok choy, egg, and mushrooms served in a large rice pot which was stirred tableside by our waiter.  This was obviously a take on the traditional clay pot rice dishes and there was a perfect, crispy rice “crust” on the bottom and the sides and the proportion of rice to meat and vegetables was very generous.

Concolón

Overall, I highly recommend this restaurant.  The interior has a funky, casual modern feeling that I would say is more Peruvian than Asian and the bathrooms have chalkboard painted walls so you can write messages in chalk while you are powdering your nose which is fun.  I would be tempted to delve further into the Peruvian part of the menu next time I visit since that is a cuisine I am very unfamiliar with, but the dumplings were so good that I fear that may be impossible!

 

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Suishaya http://www.dumplingdivas.com/suishaya/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/suishaya/#comments Sun, 05 Mar 2017 16:54:03 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=349 Suishaya

2 Tyler Street Boston MA 02111

Sushiaya is a fairly new addition to Boston’s Chinatown.  It is in a prime location at the corner of Beach Street and Tyler Street, but from the outside, it’s not terribly impressive and they don’t even have a permanent sign, just a laminated tarp banner.

Another mark against it is that it is a Korean/Japanese restaurant.  This drives me bonkers. I really feel that in order to do it right a restaurant should be one thing or the other. I feel the same way about restaurants that claim to be fried chicken/pizza restaurants or Thai/Vietnamese.  (If you gave me long enough, I am sure I could think of others.)  Places like that end up being not very good at anything they do. I used to live in Savannah and there were a couple of car detailing/seafood shops. I kid you not.

Despite the unfinished outside, the inside was quite pleasant.  It was tidy and clean with counter that had a large screen behind it playing fun K-pop videos.  You should also take a look at their website which is updated, colorful, and informative.  It can give you a sense of the food they serve.

We ordered off of the lunch menu and decided to stick with only Korean items since I would have been horrified to mix cuisines.  We ordered the pan-fried Spicy Pork Mandu (a Korean dumpling), the Kimchi Soon Tofu Jjigae (a Korean stew), and the Jaebchae ( a stir-fired noodle dish).

We also ordered green tea which came out in steaming stone tumblers (this is something for which I give them points – I LOVE huge stone tumblers of green tea) along with a selection of little Korean side dishes which are known collectively as Banchan.  Today we received seasoned sprouts, soybeans and the ubiquitous cabbage kimchi.  Banchan is one of the best things about a good Korean restaurant, especially if you arrive hungry because you can dig in to them while you wait for your food.

Banchan and Tea

The Mandu dumplings were delightful – very crispy on the outside, more of a deep fry than a pan fry to be honest.  They had a spicy fresh filling that was a nice counterpoint to the sweet sauce that accompanied them.

Mandu

Kimchi Soon Tofu Jjigae arrived next and it was the real show-stopper of our meal.  It was a hearty, delicious, and flavorful stew that had soft tofu, pork and egg in it and was served with steamed white rice.  The flavor and experience of eating it was comforting and nourishing – it will definitely be something I seek out next time I am under the weather.  The only thing slightly disappointing was that the dish was marked spicy and we did not find it spicy at all really.

Kimchi Soon Tofu Jjigae

The final dish was also excellent, the Jaebchae is a stir-fried noodle dish made with glass noodles combined with vegetables and pork in a tasty but not overpowering sauce.  This dish is very similar to ones I have enjoyed recently, in particular the stir fried rice cake with pork that we had at Sichuan Gourmet and China King.  The thing that made it remarkable was the quality and texture of the clear glass noodles.  I have had them several times and had always found them mushy and unappealing but here they were toothsome and cooked to perfection.

Jaebchae

This was a great lunch and their specials are quite a bargain.  I can’t vouch for the Japanese half of the menu, but all of the Korean dishes we tried today were delectable.  We will come back soon and review the Japanese dishes!

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Hot Eastern http://www.dumplingdivas.com/hot-eastern/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/hot-eastern/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 16:00:06 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=335 42 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Hot Eastern may very well be my new favorite restaurant.  This is a HUGE statement considering I have so many favorites in Chinatown already.

We noticed Hot Eastern last week when we were walking back to our offices from the Gourmet China House and said, “Hey, there is a new restaurant in the same building as Café de Lulu (one of our favorites.)  Well, it turns out that Hot Eastern has replaced Café de Lulu! Quelle Horreur! We were devastated for about two seconds but then we walked downstairs into the restaurant and found that the space had gotten an amazing makeover. The grubby, dingy (and yet much beloved) space that Café de Lulu used to inhabit had been transformed into a sleek, modern, clean interior.  Our only complaint was that the TV’s were not showing the highly dramatic Chinese soap operas like they used to.

Hot Eastern Interior

The staff was immediately friendly which is somewhat unusual for Chinatown.  We sat down and the hostess walked us through parts of the menu, explaining that the Chinese Barbeque can be ticked off with a marker directly on the menu but that the Mala pot option was not currently ready.  We ended up making all of our choices from the main menu which was spiral bound and had many helpful pictures.

I had already read about Hot Eastern’s Cumin Lamb on Yelp and after being somewhat disappointed by China King’s lamb dish a couple of weeks ago, I was ready to try another one.  We also ordered Sichuan Dumplings and a Chinese crepe, which was something we had never had before.

Chinese Crepe

The first dish to come out was the Chinese Crepe and I was not quite sure what to expect.  I had heard of Jianbing which is  a traditional breakfast crepe (see this very helpful article from Serious Eats).  When we ordered it, our waiter asked us if we wanted any add-ins, and I asked him what he would recommend.  He suggested hot dog (which TBH threw me off) but we went with it. Overall the dish was delightful and HUGE. Two large packets of crepe that had been folded multiple times and stuffed with egg, fried dough, cilantro and spicy hoisin sauce and the aforementioned hot dog. The dish was spicy and tangy and messy to eat but very delicious! The layers of texture and flavor were hard to compare to anything else I have ever eaten.

The Cumin lamb was delicious and slightly spicy—heavily seasoned with cumin, served over a bed of shredded lettuce with steamed buns.  Our waiter helpfully informed us to “Eat it like a sandwich!” and so we did.  Just be sure to eat the buns as soon as possible because if you return to them later they stop being light and fluffy and start turning into cement.

Cumin Lamb with Steamed Buns

The final dish was the Sichuan Dumplings which were incredible. There is a delicious version of these at the 5 Spices House, but these went above and beyond them.  The dumplings were homemade fat pillows of deliciousness, served swimming in a pool of bright red spicy, but not too spicy, Sichuan sauce.

Sichuan Dumplings

Each dish here was better than the last. I even asked my Diva compatriot, “How are we going to eat anywhere else, ever?” I think our waiter understood as he waved to us as we left and said “See you tomorrow!”

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Gourmet China House http://www.dumplingdivas.com/gourmet-china-house/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/gourmet-china-house/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 16:00:43 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=323 55 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Gourmet China House storefront

It was raining and dull today after a long weekend so the Divas decided to seek out some comfort food.  And to us, comfort food means Szechuan Fish and Soup Dumplings.  Gourmet China House (not to be confused with Gourmet Dumpling House)had both of these items on the menu and we had not actually ever eaten there (although this was not our first time trying to eat there.)

Our first experience going into this restaurant was totally bizarre.  It had been a little over a month and a half ago and we walked into the brightly lit, clean, and spacious restaurant and were seated by the hostess.  Right after we were seated, an angry woman wearing a parka came barreling out of the kitchen and started flying at us, telling us they were closed.  She went to some of the other tables as well, trying to shoo other customers out of the restaurant.  Some of the staff were hovering and watching her, one of the older staff members seemed very distressed by the situation, and the hostess seemed completely unconcerned.  Needless to say, we did not see this as a fortuitous start to a meal and left the restaurant to return another day.

So here we were back again, and the restaurant was somewhat empty and at least seemed much calmer than it had on our previous visit.  We sat down and promptly ordered the aforementioned Soup Dumplings and Szechuan Fish along with the Rice Cakes with Pork and Vegetables (since we enjoyed them last week and they are a bit of a novelty, we decided to do a compare and contrast.)

First of all, the service was LIGHTNING fast.  I literally have no idea how they were able to get these dishes out of the kitchen so quickly (and at the same time have them be so tasty!)  The Szechuan Fish was one of the lunch specials, so it came with the ubiquitous bowl of brothy soup to start.  It was tasty, had some corn in it, and tasted mostly of chicken and corn.  I barely took a bite of the soup when the Rice Cakes came flying out of the kitchen and were quickly followed by the Szechuan Fish.

Chicken and corn soup
Chicken and corn soup

If we liked the Rice Cakes last week we LOVED them this week.  The cakes themselves were not cooked quite as perfectly but the flavor was far superior.  They were sautéed (and had a great smoky wok-hai flavor) with pork, bean sprouts, carrots and chives.

Rice Cake with Pork and Vegetables
Rice Cake with Pork and Vegetables

The Szechuan Fish, was not quite as delicious as our favorite verson (to be had a Taiwan Café) but it was delicious and spicy without being too spicy (see our review of the Szechuan Fish at Gourmet Dumpling House) and had a bright, pleasing red color.  Gourmet China House wins at presentation.  The fish came out on a tiered pan with a little burner underneath to keep it warm.

Szechuan Fish
Szechuan Fish

The Soup Dumplings arrived last (as they should if they are done properly!) and were delicious.  They had sturdy (yet thin) wrappers and the sauce that came with them had great chunks of ginger and cilantro leaves in it.  The Soup Dumplings at Taiwan Café and Dumpling Café are probably better but these are a close third.

Soup Dumplings (we already ate a few when this picture was taken)
Soup Dumplings (we already ate a few when this picture was taken)

Interestingly enough, we were going to boycott this place after our first weird experience in the restaurant, but we are very glad we didn’t.  Many of the dishes we saw at other tables looked delicious as well (especially the ginger and scallion lobster) so we will certainly be back.

 

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China King http://www.dumplingdivas.com/china-king/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/china-king/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2017 16:30:47 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=318 60 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Today the Divas went to China King.  In the past I have been to China King for their excellent multi-course Peking Duck meal (which I hope to review here on the blog soon) but I had never been here for a normal lunch.  We ordered Pan-Fried Wontons, Rice Cake with Vegetables and Hot and Spicy Lamb.

Overall, our meal was good, however the names of dishes in the menu were a series of misnomers.  The Pan-Fried Wontons were not “pan-fried” at all but rather “deep-fried” which was unexpected.  This was a delicious surprise however since they were crispy and not at all greasy and the filling tasted homemade.  The sauce they were served with was a bit banal.

"Pan-Fried" Wontons
“Pan-Fried” Wontons

The Rice cake with Vegetables also had a misleading name because by “with Vegetables” it meant with pork and lettuce.  The glutinous rice cake that was sliced into medallions was cooked perfectly although the sauce for the dish tasted mostly of wine and was improved by adding a splash of the vinegar that was in a bottle on our table.

Rice Cake with Vegetables
Rice Cake with Vegetables

To continue the day’s theme, the Hot and Spicy Lamb was in fact, probably beef.  And it was also not very spicy and only hinted at that strong cumin flavor that I love in many Chinese lamb dishes.  Despite these disappointments, it was very tasty and included crispy carrots, celery and bamboo shoots.

Hot and Spicy Lamb
Hot and Spicy Lamb

Everything we ate today was a bit of a surprise, or at least not what we expected to get when we ordered it.  However, it was a great meal and we overheard the owner talking to some of the regular customers about how some of her staff was on vacation currently and the restaurant was understaffed.   We will be back, at the very least, to have the Peking Duck dinner.

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Asian Garden http://www.dumplingdivas.com/asian-garden/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/asian-garden/#comments Sat, 12 Nov 2016 18:25:33 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=305 28 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111

We found Asian Garden almost by accident but we are really glad we did.  I had gotten stuck in a meeting so we had to delay our usual 11:30 am lunch time and by the time we were in Chinatown trying to find a restaurant it was after 12pm and we just wanted to find a place to have lunch quickly that was not too crowded – and we spotted Asian Garden.

2016-11-10-12-43-51

 

When you enter the restaurant, sad to say, it smells like someone has been smoking cigarettes in there for decades and only just quit last week.  Do not let this put you off!  Your nose will adjust fairly quickly and you will be treated to an incredibly inexpensive and delicious meal.  Also, they have a TV which plays Chinese Soap operas which can give Mexican telenovelas a run for their money when it comes to drama and intense facial expressions.  So you are really getting a meal and a show.

We ordered two items off the lunch menu where everything was priced under eight dollars and an order of Peking Ravioli (because – DUMPLINGS).

Spicy Minced Pork Lo Mein
Spicy Minced Pork Lo Mein

The Spicy Minced Pork Lo Mein was a delicious and interesting dish that I had never had before.  It consisted of very thin vermicelli style noodles topped with minced pork cooked in a rich brown sauce which was surrounded by bright green chinese broccoli.  The sauce was rich and flavorful and they weren’t kidding when they said spicy! It was spicier than any of the Sichuan dishes we had at 5 Spices House last week.  But the spiciness was not too strong and was nicely balanced by the sweetness of the sauce.  The chinese broccoli was cooked to crisp tender perfection.

The Peking Ravioli was good but fairly  standard in quality for Chinatown.  It was better than your average Chinese takeout but nothing special.

Peking Ravioli
Peking Ravioli

The best dish we had by far at Asian Garden was the Fried Sliced Fish with Bean Curd which was served with rice. This dish consisted of small pieces of fried fish and large triangles of tofu with some thinly sliced carrots and thickly sliced scallions tossed in a salty, delightful black bean sauce.  The fish was tasty, though a little denser and chewier than some of the fish dishes I have enjoyed, but it was the tofu that was really the star here. It was very lightly fried but rather than having the spongy texture you often find, the interior was light, fluffy, and had an almost custardy consistency.  Perhaps loaded with MSG, but I don’t care.

Fried Sliced Fish with Bean Curd
Fried Sliced Fish with Bean Curd

This is a no frills establishment (when you ask to have your leftovers wrapped up, they just fling the styrofoam containers at you) but the the food is excellent. I cannot wait to experience the fish and bean curd dish again and look forward to trying many of the other interesting items on the menu here.

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5 Spices House http://www.dumplingdivas.com/5-spices-house/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/5-spices-house/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2016 19:10:50 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=291 58 Beach Street 02111

This week we went to the 5 Spices House.  As per usual, when the food started coming out it was plain to see that we had over-ordered and faithfully we made a vow to order less the next time we went to lunch.

2016-11-03-12-25-28

The first dish to arrive was the Sichuan Cold Noodle.  I love cold noodle dishes and unfortunately have not found many places that do them well in Boston.  This cold noodle dish was perfection.  The cold noodles were tossed in a bright red but not too spicy sauce that had a strong flavor of sesame that was balanced by sour notes.  The noodle dish was topped with a heaping helping of crisp cucumber that was finely julienned and added a crisp texture to the cold slimy noodles.

Sichuan Cold Noodle
Sichuan Cold Noodle

The next to arrive was also bright red in color: the Sichuan Spicy Pork Dumpling.  Despite its 5 alarm, frankly terrifying hue, the dumpling sauce was not too spicy and had a strong sweet sesame flavor.  The dumplings themselves were a little blasé.  To be honest, the meat texture inside was a little reminiscent of Chef Boyardee and the wrapper dense and chewy.  The fact that the dumpling sauce is so mind-blowingly good was what camouflaged the sub-par dumplings.

Spicy Sichuan Pork Dumpling
Spicy Sichuan Pork Dumpling

We also got one of our standard favorites: Salt and Pepper Squid and to be fair this was not a disappointing version.  The pieces of squid were quite large which is maybe why the squid came out a little tougher and chewier than I like. But the batter was crisp and light with an excellent balance to the spices.

Salt and Pepper Squid
Salt and Pepper Squid

Finally (!) came the Baby Bok Choy with Black Mushrooms (apparently we thought that we NEEDED a vegetable dish in order to make this a well-rounded meal).  This was a good execution of what can be a standard a fairly boring dish.  The baby bok choy were not overcooked and the mushrooms were tossed in a tasty variation of some kind of sweet oyster sauce.  Incidentally, the bok choy was REALLY good with the sauce from the Sichuan dumplings.

T

Baby Bok Choy and Black Mushrooms
Baby Bok Choy and Black Mushrooms

his restaurant specializes in Sichuan cuisine and apparently the “dry hot pot” is one of their specialties.  We decided not to go that route due to the mostly disparaging reviews online but I think we will need to try it next time.

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Shojo http://www.dumplingdivas.com/shojo/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/shojo/#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 11:53:11 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=280 9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

Shojo is a different kind of restaurant from the establishments that we generally frequent.  Shojo is much more modern and has a young hipster vibe with a cuisine that is a fusion of Asian streetfood and American cuisine.   The interior is dark with lots of high top table, and there is a huge comic book style mural that covers one wall and features Godzilla and a giant killer robot with a window that looks into the kitchen.  There is a small bar that has a large screen TV behind it which was playing a Bruce Lee movie with the sound off.

Shojo - Godzilla Mural Shojo - Bar area

The lunch menu here is short but with lots of delicious sounding choices on it. We started out with sharing the Suckling Pig Bao.  These were heavenly, made of spongy soft steamed bun topped with tender, flavorful pork, kimchi and jalapeno.  I love Bao.  The problem usually is that it seems to be done mediocrely quite often, so I go through phases where I stop ordering it.  However, when it is done well, it is amazing.  And such was the case at Shojo.

Suckling Pig Bao
Suckling Pig Bao

I ordered the Tori Miso Ramen – which consisted of a chicken miso broth, with noodles, Char Siu pork, a soft boiled egg, a handful of watercress, and a large sheet of nori which was sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds.  You can also order the ramen Kae-Dama  for 3 dollars more, which the waitress told me, means with extra noodles.  I remember being here last year when the lunch special ramen was excellent, and this time it did not disappoint.  The broth was rich and savory (not too salty as miso ramen broths can have a tendency to be) filled with tender pork, chewy yellow noodles and a perfectly cooked egg with the greens adding a bit of texture and freshness to the experience.

Tori Miso Ramen
Tori Miso Ramen

My counterpart ordered the Pretty Good Chicken Sandwich but according to her, the sandwich was much more than pretty good.  It is a fried piece of chicken served on a steamed bun with pickles and spicy mayonnaise.   The crispy chicken paired with the spongy steamed bun proved to be an excellent combination.  We ordered it as a combo with duck fat fries which were spectacular, possibly my second favorite fries in the world (first being the duck fat fries at Les Halles in NYC, do you see a theme here?).  The crispy thin fries dipped into the creamy, spicy mayonnaise might be the best thing I ate here.

Pretty Good Chicken Sandwich with Duck Fat Fries
Pretty Good Chicken Sandwich with Duck Fat Fries

If you are looking for a more stylish, inventive, and less traditional restaurant in Chinatown, I highly recommend Shojo.  I fully intend to come back some evening and try out their fun cocktail menu.

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Bubor Cha Cha http://www.dumplingdivas.com/bubor-cha-cha/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/bubor-cha-cha/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 14:53:45 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=270 45 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Bubor Cha Cha is a Cantonese restaurant that is more noticeable than its neighbors due to the ornate awning outside the building.  The restaurant sign says “Burbor Cha Cha Seafood Restaurant” and it heavily advertises seafood specials in the window, but upon entry,  we discovered that they had a very extensive dim sum menu.  And when offered dim sum, 9 times out of 10 the divas will choose dim sum.

Bubor Cha ChaThe dim sum menu design is actually very clever and informational—it is a double-sided laminated sheet with PICTURES and you can choose your dim sum by checking off the boxes next to your choices.  This was great because we could try some completely new types of dim sum and still have a sense of what should be arriving.

The Turnip Cake arrived first and was excellent.  It had a lot of Chinese sausage in it, was hot and crispy, and had excellent texture.  The sauce was a little cloyingly sweet for my taste, but otherwise I would say these are some of the best that we have had.

Turnip Cake
Turnip Cake

The shrimp dumplings (Har Gow) here were exceptional – right on a par with the version we had at Hei La Moon.

Bubor Cha Cha - Har Gow

The next dish to arrive was the Molten Salted Egg Custard Buns.  These were gorgeous to look at—perfect white globes with a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top.   And not only were they beautiful to look at, they were delicious too.  When you broke open the dumpling the bright yellow egg custard poured out; it was a delicious combination of salty and sweet.  I have been known to enjoy the baked egg custard buns, but this was my first time having the steamed version and I will definitely order them again.

Molten Salted Egg Custard Buns
Molten Salted Egg Custard Buns
Molten Salted Egg Custard Buns
Molten Salted Egg Custard Buns

The Tofu Skin with Pork is another dish that has not been featured yet on the blog and honestly I couldn’t remember if I had ever even had it.  But I had had it years ago as a mystery item chosen at random from a cart.  I remember liking it but not really knowing what I was eating.  It is made of pork and some vegetables wrapped in a crispy but somehow juicy tofu skin.  These were obviously made fresh and were served piping hot, and I will be looking for these in the future.

Tofu Skins with Pork
Tofu Skins with Pork

The final dish we tried was the Stuffed Stir Fried Eggplant.  This was something we were really looking forward to—the picture was interesting and the real thing did not disappoint visually.  Unfortunately, despite its impressive appearance, the dish was not only very bland but actually quite difficult to eat since the pieces were large and awkward.  I think the eggplant was stuffed with shrimp and some kind of rice flour dough which really did not have much flavor.

Stuffed Stir Fried Eggplant
Stuffed Stir Fried Eggplant

To break it down we ordered: Turnip Cakes, Stuffed Stir Fried Eggplant, Shrimp Dumplings, Tofu Skin with Pork, and Molten Salted Egg Custard Buns.  The grand total?  $20.81.  No Joke!  This was one of the most incredible bargains and while not everything was perfection, overall it was very, very good.  I would also like to let you know that they have a select set lunch menu which comes with soup, spring roll, entrée and rice for $7.50 which is also a magnificent bargain, but I must return and try the Dungeness Crab with sticky rice!

 

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Hei La Moon Part Deux http://www.dumplingdivas.com/hei-la-moon-part-deux/ http://www.dumplingdivas.com/hei-la-moon-part-deux/#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:33:57 +0000 http://www.dumplingdivas.com/?p=260 88 Beach Street Boston MA 02111

After the amazing experience we had last week at Hei La Moon, the Divas decided to return once again, this time with my counterpart’s husband, the Dumpling Dude, in tow.

The great thing about having a larger group when you eat Dim Sum is that you can feel entirely validated in trying even more dishes.  We ordered many of the same items that we had last week for a couple of reasons:  we wanted to make sure the Dumpling Dude got to try some of the really spectacular items and we wanted to eat them again ourselves!  In the interest of brevity, the dishes from last time that we ordered were the Fried Shrimp and Chive Dumplings, the Shu Mai (and I cannot say this often enough, hands down the best Shu Mai I have ever eaten,) the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow, again best that I have had anywhere) and the Steamed Pork Spare Ribs.  If you missed last week’s missive, you can find descriptions of these dishes here.

We started out with the Rice Noodle Roll with Beef, also called Cheung Foon, which is standard Dim Sum fare and something that, much like the Steamed Pork Bun, I order it quite often, but I really have yet to have a truly remarkable version of it.  At Hei La Moon the Rice Noodle Roll was better than average and served with plenty of sauce, which isn’t always the case.  That being said, I probably wouldn’t order this again there because there are so many other more amazing choices that I would like to save room for.

Beef Rice Noodle Roll - Hei La Moon
Rice Noodle Roll with Beef

The next item we picked was the Ham Sui Gok , which was something I had never had before.  It is a deep fried glutinous rice dumpling filled with pork.  These were quite delicious—I personally love glutinous rice; there is something about the texture that is very chewy and satisfying.  These dumplings were crispy on the outside, with a layer of the sticky glutinous rice and a filling of savory pork.

Ham Sui Gok
Ham Sui Gok

Now, I must admit that one of the real reasons I had to come back to Hei La Moon was because we had missed out on my favorite treat last time:  Pan-Fried Turnip Cake!  These were great, and the cart lady kindly cut them up into quarters so we didn’t have to divide them up messily with our chopsticks.  I would have liked these better if they had bigger pieces of Chinese Sausage in them along with some green onions, but overall they were excellent only being outshone by the stir fried Turnip Cake with XO Sauce at Winsor Dim Sum Café.

Turnip Cake
Turnip Cake

The day’s big surprise dish was the Steamed Chicken Feet! So…Chicken Feet.  I might not have been brave enough to order this to be honest, but due to the Dumpling Dude’s insistence that we try it, the Chicken Feet ended up on our table.  They were…OK.  A bit weird to be honest, mostly bone, skin, and cartilage, coated in a quite tasty, semi-sweet and semi-spicy sauce.  To be honest, I thought it was really quite difficult to get any sort of sustenance off the bony little feet and the flavor really wasn’t good enough to validate all of the work that went into eating them.  That said, they are considered a delicacy and many tables around us were obviously enjoying them immensely.

Steamed Chicken Feet
Steamed Chicken Feet

Finally, the last dish we tried was the Fun Gor, or the Pork and Shrimp Dumplings with Chives.  These were quite good—very similar in consistency to the Har Gow, but despite the addition of pork and chives, the straight up steamed shrimp dumpling somehow had better flavor.

Fun Gor
Fun Gor

Well, despite the temptation to return to Hei La Moon again next week because the food is so good and there are also so many Dim Sum dishes that we have not tried yet, next week we shall be moving on to a new place to try.  See you next week!

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