Cheap Eats

The secret to eating well in Boston on a budget? Go ethnic. Consider this your cheat sheet: 35 ethnic restaurants – and dishes – you can’t afford to miss.

 well-meaning server tries to top off (read: dilute) this masterpiece with liquid, just say no. This is when the magic begins. One Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-338-8283,

Myers + Chang
WHAT TO ORDER Lemony shrimp dumplings, $13 WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD Bite into most dumplings and they separate into two parts: a hard-packed clump of prawn and an over- or undercooked wonton skin that slides off. Myers + Chang’s pot stickers unite everything into one big, tasty bite, the not-too-thick skin gently enveloping a mince of sweet shrimp. Let purists bemoan the "inauthentic" use of lemon zest. It just means more dumplings for us! 1145 Washington St., Boston, 617-542-5200,

Tamarind Bay
WHAT TO ORDER Kabab-e-kohat (chicken-coated lamb kebabs), $15.50 WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD Tastes like chicken, only lamb-ier! Tamarind Bay does Indian staples well, but this unconventional take on the kebab blows us away. The coriander-spiced ground lamb is packed around skewers, then surrounded by potently seasoned ground chicken. It’s grilled, sliced, and served with creamy raita. 75 Winthrop St., Cambridge, 617-491-4552,

Angela’s Café

WHAT TO ORDER Enchiladas de mole poblano, $15.95 WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD Before landing in Eastie, chef-owner Angela Atenco Lopez cooked professionally in Puebla, Mexico. So it’s no surprise that her mole poblano is so extraordinary — a complex layering of chilies, plantains, molasses, nuts, chocolate, and spices. It’s best on the enchiladas, which come stuffed with either chicken, pork, or vegetables (but the pork is the winner by far). 131 Lexington St., East Boston, 617-567-4972,

Taiwan Café
WHAT TO ORDER Jumbo shrimp with yellow chives, $15.95 WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD When chives meet the ferocious dry heat of a wok, they take on a subtle smokiness. Taiwan Café pits this savoriness against sweet prawns, large enough to get caramelized on the outside while staying moist on the inside. 34 Oxford St., Boston, 617-426-8181.

WHAT TO ORDER Pork bulgogi, $16.95 WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD The spicy pork barbecue at this Medford hole-in-the-wall is marinated in a blend of garlic, soy, sugar, fruit, and chilies. The thin swaths of fatty meat get grilled tableside, then wrapped in crispy lettuce leaves with kimchi (piquant pickled cabbage) and gochujang, a sweet and pungent red-pepper paste. 27 Riverside Ave., Medford, 781-391-5606,


  • alexandra

    don’t really count as cheap eats! East by Northeast’s pork belly buns, for example, are amazing, but one order does not make a meal. Full disclosure, people?