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 palate, because great things await in this neighborhood!
We are especially excited to share this post with you as we count down to the launch of our newest walking food tour in…you guessed it… CHINATOWN! We’ve spent a lot of time there lately and have done a lot of market research, AKA dumpling devouring. See below for more information. We hope to see you on a tour soon!
Take a Walking Neighborhood Food Tour
Curious about Chinatown? Love Chinese food? …perhaps a bit intimidated to navigate the neighborhood on your own?
Why not let us be your hosts!
Join us on our newest neighborhood tour that we’ve added to our repertoire and let us guide you around Boston’s Chinatown for an afternoon of fascinating history and great food that we’ve carefully chosen for you to taste. On the Chinatown Culture & Cuisine Tour you’ll visit six restaurants and bakeries that offer a mix of traditional, modern, and Chinese-American dishes. Learn more here and buy tickets
If you do plan to venture out on your own, here’s a handy guide to some of our favorite Chinatown spots to eat, shop, see and stay. Happy Exploring!
Where to Eat
For Dim Sum:
While dim sum may seem like another language in itself, don’t let that intimidate you because it is too delicious to miss out on. 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 in Boston’s Chinatown we have picked our two favorites for you to try (one with carts and one without).
China Pearl is our favorite dim sum spot and the oldest functioning one in Boston’s Chinatown 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!
Address: 9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111
Bubor Cha Cha is another dim sum spot in Boston’s Chinatown 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 with a dry erase marker 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
For Something Sweet
While the Chinese culture is not known for its sweet desserts, this is a great opportunity to try some flavors and combinations that you may not be familiar with. One of our favorite treats is the red bean moon cake from Hing Shing Pastry, located just inside the gate on Beach Street. Sweet, dense, red bean paste fills this thin, soft pastry crust that glows golden brown. Pro tip: these are meant to be cut up and shared amongst 4-8 people, which we did not know about at first, opsie!
Address: 67 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
Other bakeries and sweets we recommend there:
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! You MUST try the mini juicy dumplings, AKA the soup dumplings.
Address: 52 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
For Hot Pot
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
For Cool Vibes
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. Be sure to try the Cold Tea For Two cocktail!
Address: 9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111
For Modern Chinese-American
For some dishes that we guarantee you have never seen before, head to Double Chin HK Cafe. This spot, owned by the Chin sisters, has become wildly popular for their modern take on the Chinese-American food they grew up on. Check out the rice noodle mac and cheese, scallion pancake pizza, and cube toast! The cube toast dessert has become insta-famous so be sure to snap a pic and #doublechinbos.
Address: 86 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111
If you’re looking for “Chinese food,” you know, the take-out kind (General Tso’s Chicken and noodle dishes), you can find these at Taiwan Cafe and Gourmet China House, the only difference is, these places serve really fresh and high-quality food. They serve the real stuff and we can’t get enough. The menus are huge so there are tons to choose from. You’ll find lots of things you recognize and some more traditional dishes that you may not. You can’t go wrong with anything! You’d be hard-pressed to find a table in there that is not full to the edges with delicious dishes to share.
Address: 34 Oxford St, Boston, MA 02111
Address: 55 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
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 Boston’s Chinatown!
Address: 692 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111
Address: 109 Lincoln St, Boston, MA 02111
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
Fun Fact: When Boston’s Garment District was still in existence, it resided in Chinatown
Address: 14 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
What to See
The Chinatown Gate
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.
Take a stroll through this serene park filled with plants from the cultural landscape of Asia. This is a great place to bring your lunch and sit outside in Boston’s Chinatown.
Festivals and Celebrations: Chinese New Year and the August Moon Festival
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
Closest MBTA Stops:
Chinatown – Orange Line
Boylston – Green Line
Tufts Medical Center – Silver Line
Be sure to join us on our Chinatown’s Culture & Cuisine Tour starting July 2018!
This post was originally published on 1/18/2017 and has been updated.Tags: best dumplings Boston, boston food tour, Boston's Chinatown, dim sum Boston, neighborhood guide, things to do in Boston
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