From mapo tofu to biang biang noodles to handmade dumplings, Boston's Chinese food scene is solid—and many dishes can go head-to-head with their counterparts in the mother country. Here's where to find the best of the best.
'Chinese food' on Serious Eats
By the time the cook is done hand-pulling the dough, he can run his fingers through it, but not before he's played it like an accordion, twisted it like a jump rope, and swung it like a sword.
All the cornstarch-thick dishes spooned over rice I've eaten in Chicago have merely been a warm up to the yet untackled culinary bastion of my youth: the Chinese buffet.
Tips and tricks for pairing wine with Chinese food, in illustrated form.
Eating in The Willis Tower: My Three Day Chinese, Thanksgiving, and Half-Priced Sushi Bender at Market Creations
During orientation on my first day working in the Sears Tower, I learned about the largely building staff-focused Market Creations: "it's always Thanksgiving on one side and Chinese food on the other. They have sushi, too."
If you're hankering for a Sunday morning meal, and you just can't stomach the notion of syrup-soaked griddle cakes, dim sum is the way to go, and in Chicago it doesn't get much better than Cai.
If dim sum has a gateway drug, it's surely char siu bao, the barbecued pork bun, candy-sweet pork in a ball of cotton candy-like steamed flour.
Sticking under the $10 mark helped narrow the list down to the truly cheap, and I think it is better for it. These are the dishes to look for in Chinatown if you are really looking for a bargain.
Culled from a dozen or so trial and error trips, the following dishes represent sure-fire hits when planning a trip to Lao Hunan. Admittedly, this is not a list of the most obscure, most adventurous dishes on the menu. Instead, it represents a palate-challenging (as opposed to alienating) crash course on dishes guaranteed to result in return visits.
Duck chins are tough to eat, because there's just not that much meat on them, so dismantling the jaw and chewing on the bits results in a mess. I like to think of it as aggressively making out with a duck, except at the end, you eat its face.
If you're a dim sum newbie who wants to learn more about this popular style of Cantonese cuisine, check out this five-minute dim sum video guide from Off the Great Wall, a YouTube channel about Asian and Chinese culture. In the video host Carmen describes some of the most popular dim sum dishes and what to look for in a good version of each dish.
This vegetarian riff on Chinese sweet and sour chicken uses warm, syrupy honey as a foil for acidic vinegar and salty soy sauce for a hearty and flavorful meal.
Inspired by the classic Chinese take-out, this vegetarian lunchbox takes the best elements of the sweet and sour staple—saucy glaze, tangy-sweet flavor—and leaves out the less make-ahead-friendly ones—gloppy leftovers, heaps of sugar.
Softened chunks of Asian eggplant braised with garlic, chilies, soy sauce and finished with a flourish of fresh basil for a satisfying yet easy summer dish.
This savory classic infuses five-spice and soy sauce in a simple braise for minced or ground pork. The versatile dish draws comparisons to ragù sauce for its long-simmered, meaty richness.
A Chinese buffet isn't always the provenance of the drunk or the desperate. A good buffet can be a glorious smorgasbord once one locates the redemptive dish: a pert dumpling here, a hefty egg roll there. The key is to hone in on what the buffet does best and load your plate accordingly (and repeatedly). Here's a cheat sheet.
I love Chinese food all of stripes. Deeply spiced Sichuan specialities, complex Muslim-influenced Northern fare, and sprightly steamed Cantonese dim sum all have their place in my heart. But sometimes, I don't want that kind of Chinese. I want the Chinese takeout of my Midwestern childhood, complete with doughy fried dumplings, neon-orange sesame chicken, and overcooked lo mein. Don't be ashamed. What's your go-to Chinese takeout order?
A BYOB restaurant is a beautiful thing; it's also fun to get takeout and be able to open wine from your own collection or favorite wine shop. But if Chinese food is on the menu, which bottles should you pop? Depends on if you're eating Mapo tofu or Peking duck, dan dan noodles, dumplings, or delicate seafood preparations. We asked 14 sommeliers for their wine pairing advice. What's the most delicious wine to pair with Chinese food? Here's what they had to say.
Kung Pao chicken is a dish often bastardized in Chinese-American eateries into a bland, stir-fried hodge podge of chicken, bell peppers, celery, and peanuts in a gloppy sweet soy-based sauce. The real deal, on the other hand, packs a flavorful punch; savory soy balanced with a touch of sweetness, a splash of dark Chinese vinegar for a fragrant acidity, and plenty of chilis and Sichuan peppercorns for that characteristic ma-la (hot and numbing) profile.
"I don't feel like cooking tonight. Let's grab some take-out." Who hasn't said that at least once? No matter how much you like to cook, sometimes you just aren't feeling it. In those instances, a delivery pizza or a jog around the corner for Chinese is just the ticket. While you're out, pick up some beer. But what beer to choose? Here are some general pointers to help you find a good match for whatever dishes you're ordering.