The Hungry Traveler’s Guide to Boston’s Chinatown

Boston’s vibrant Asian neighborhood serves up authentic and modern cuisine. Here's where to find a table:

Whether you’re a connoisseur of Asian cuisine or a fledgling foodie, you’ll want to have a meal in Boston’s Chinatown. We explore this bustling enclave that travels to the far corners of the globe, without the cost of an airline ticket or the hassles of jetlag. Start your explorations at these great Chinatown restaurants:

Boston's Chinatown

Chinese Restaurants in Chinatown

Peach Farm
The black bass staring out from the well-stocked fish tank by Peach Farm’s entrance is headed for a steamer with ginger, soy and scallions. This place is Chinatown’s best seafood restaurant and is famous for scallop and Chinese sausage fried rice and littlenecks in a chili black bean sauce. Among the other Cantonese-style food, the stir-fried ginger lobster is incredible. 4 Tyler St., Boston, 617.482.3332

Hong Kong Eatery
Around the corner, another Cantonese hot spot has hungry diners sharing tables. This crowded Harrison Avenue barbecue joint is famous for its plump shrimp wontons served in a bowl of savory pork-chicken broth. Barbecued poultry and roast pork that hang in the front window looks as good as it tastes. Choose between suckling pig, duck, and salted chicken accompanied by various dipping sauces. 79 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617.423.0838

China King
Erwin and Doris Mei’s latest outpost reprises all the beloved Beijing and Shandong dishes from the legendary former King Fung Garden. Welcome back flaky scallion pancakes, pork belly with sweet, pickled mustard greens and tender Hon Sue lamb. The Peking duck, served in three courses, rivals any in Beijing—order a day ahead. And yes, that was Larry David chowing down in the corner.  60 Beach St., Boston, 617.542.1763

Japanese Restaurants in Chinatown

Kaze Shabu Shabu
Diners play chef at this Japanese shabu-shabu restaurant, poaching meats, fish and vegetables in simmering stock right at the table. A dozen different soup bases—from miso to Thai tom yum—partner with several dozen ready-to-cook ingredients—from Kobe beef to fish cakes. For those on a budget: Order a combination meat, fish or vegetable dinner, which comes with veggies and noodles. 1 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617.338.8282

China King's pork dumplings

Southeast Asian Restaurants in Chinatown

Xinh Xinh
Xinh Xinh (pronounced “sin-sin”) offers delectable pho noodle soups, bunvermicelli platters and rice paper spring rolls. Also, try the bánh xèo, aka “Vietnamese pizza,” a rice flour-coconut milk pancake stuffed with shrimp, bean sprouts and pork. Diners wrap it in lettuce and dunk it into nuoc mam fish sauce. 7 Beach St., Boston, 617.422.0501

Penang
Simultaneously spicy, salty and sweet, Malaysian food is fusion fare that borrows from Chinese, Indian, Thai and native Malay cuisine, and diners can get a taste of it locally at Penang. Its jungle hut ambiance makes a great background for crisp achat pickled vegetables or stuffed roti telur pancakes. Classics like coconut milk stewed beef rendang and the fiery mango chicken are justifiably bestsellers. 685 Washington St., Boston, 617.451.6373

Penang in Boston's Chinatown

Modern Pan-Asian Restaurants in Chinatown

Shojo
This year-old dining spot from Brian Moy (whose family owns dim sum palace China Pearl) is a neighborhood standout for its hip look and vastly modern vibe, cool craft cocktails, and a red-hot, late-night social scene. Most importantly, an inventive melting pot menu offers dishes like suckling pig bao dumplings, tea-smoked salmon with potato blini, and ash-encrusted rib eye. Diners have a hard time deciding what to order—luckily these plates are sized to share. 9 Tyler St., Boston, 617.423.7888

Bao is a favorite at Shojo

Mat Schaffer
About the author
James Beard-nominated Schaffer is known for discerning, honest reviews, and was the former dining critic for the Boston ...