Dreaming of Dumplings: A Guide To Navigating Boston’s Chinatown

January 28, 2017 |
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Explore Boston’s Chinatown

Located in the Downtown area, Boston’s Chinatown is a real gem of a neighborhood packed with tons of nooks and crannies waiting to be explored. It has a rich history and numerous places to satiate those dumpling cravings we often find ourselves with. You can find markets filled with Chinese specialties, herbalists, all types of dim sum, a variety of bakeries, and one thing that might be unexpected for those of you feeling a little extra adventurous (keep reading to find out what it is!). While it might be intimidating to immerse yourself in a culture other than your own, especially when it comes to food, it is so important that we explore with an open mind and an open stomach, because great things await in this neighborhood!

Where to Eat

For Dim sum:

While dim sum may seem like another language in itself, you do not need to be versed in Chinese to know that it is delicious. Traditionally, dim sum is a meal made up of small plates such as dumplings and buns that you select either off of a menu or from carts that are pushed around the restaurant. Dim sum is a fun and social way of eating and best during the lunch/brunch hours. While there are many restaurants to choose from we have picked our two favorites for you to try (one with carts and one without).

  1. China Pearl

China Pearl Dim Sum Cart-Serious Eats

Photo Credit: Serious Eats

China Pearl is our favorite dim sum spot that features the classic pushcarts. While they are busiest on the weekends, this is also a great place to go for a weekday lunch. They always have a wide-ranging selection of things to try; we particularly love the steamed shrimp dumplings and the pork buns!

China Pearl
Address: 9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-426-4338


  1. Bubor Cha Cha

Daikon-Cakes-Bubor Cha Cha

Photo Credit: Spoon University / Laurel Greenfield

Bubor Cha Cha is another dim sum spot that is at the top of our list. This is a great place to enjoy dim sum at lunch, or you can order off the larger menu that is offered later in the day when dim sum ends. While they do not feature carts, they give you a laminated menu with items to select for your order (it’s fun!). Once you hand that menu to your server, sit back and let the dim sum pour in!

Bubor Cha Cha
Address: 45 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-482-3338

Other dim sum restaurants we recommend:

Hei La Moon
Empire Garden
Chau Chow City


For Something Sweet: Hing Shing Pastry, Inc.

Red Bean Mood Cakes

Photo Credit: Rachel DeSimone

While the Chinese culture is not known for its sweet desserts, this is a great opportunity to try some traditional flavors that you may not be familiar with. Our favorite treat is the red bean mood cake from Hing Shing Pastry Inc., located just inside the gate on Beach Street. Sweet, dense, red bean paste fills this thin, soft pastry crust that glows golden brown.

Address: 67 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-451-1162

Other bakeries we recommend:

Ho Yuen Bakery
Eldo Cake House
Mei Sum Bakery
Top Bread


For Dumplings: Gourmet Dumpling House

Gourmet Dumpling House

Photo Credit: Yelp

If you are strictly in a dumpling state of mind, look no further than the Gourmet Dumpling House. Renowned for its handmade dumplings of varying kinds, this is your number one go-to to satisfy a dumpling craving. This is a very small restaurant so be prepared to wait for a table, but trust us, it is well worth the wait!

Address: 52 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-338-6223

For Hot Pot: Clay Pot Cafe

If you are looking for a meal with an extra comfort factor, the Clay Pot Café is your place. Head in for a hearty clay pot full of rice, meat, and veggies to satisfy the soul. This space is small, keeping with that cozy theme, so be prepared to sit near other people.

Address: 74 Kneeland St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-357-5262


For Cool Vibes: Shojo

If you are feeling a little funkier, check out Shojo. This spot, cooking up “modern Asian cuisine,” is tucked away next to China Pearl on Tyler Street and exudes all the cool vibes. With an alluring, dark atmosphere, and unique graphics on the walls, this is a great place to have an intimate dinner or grab drinks.

Address: 9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-423-7888


Where to Shop

While you are working up an appetite or walking off a filling meal, there are some great shops to visit while you are in Chinatown!

  1. Jia Ho Supermarket

Address: 692 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-338-9788

  1. C-Mart Supermarket

Address: 109 Lincoln St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-426-8888

  1. Wings Live Poultry
    If you are feeling adventurous check out this live poultry market where you can select your bird and have it butchered right in the store. Like we said…if you are feeling adventurous…

Address: 48 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-426-5960

  1. Van’s Fabrics
    Fun Fact: When Boston’s Garment District was still in existence, it resided in Chinatown

Address: 14 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617-423-6592


What to See

Attractions: The Chinatown Gate

Chinatown Gate

Photo Credit: Boston.com

Foo Dog

Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

Boston’s Chinatown is the third largest in the United States, and just as most are, this one is adorned with a decorative gate at its entrance. The gate is located on Beach Street and, according to Boston Chinatown, was put in place to ward off evil because of the two foo dogs on either side of it.


Festivals and Celebrations: Chinese New Year and the August Moon Festival

Chinese New Year Dragon

Photo Credit: Yelp

If you happen to be in town during the months of February or August, and are feeling festive, then you are in luck! Look out for two very special celebrations—In February, the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade is put on; and in August, the August Moon Festival occurs. For more on the Chinese New Year celebration click here and for more on the August Moon Festival click here.

Where to Stay and Getting There


 All hotels 0.2 miles away from Chinatown

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston Downtown
W Boston
Courtyard Boston Downtown
Hyatt Regency Boston
The Ritz-Carlton Boston


Public Transportation

Closest MBTA Stops:

Chinatown – Orange Line

Boylston – Green Line

Tufts Medical Center – Silver Line

Map of Chinatown

Photo Credit: Google Maps





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