The 20 Essential Asian Restaurants*
…and the can’t-miss dishes that will have you trekking all over the city.
The Shops at Porter
Okay, so it’s not technically a restaurant, but this tucked-away food court—which collectively offers Japanese and Korean fare like miso-laced noodle soup (from Sapporo Ramen), fully loaded bibimbap in hot stone bowls (from Cho Cho’s), and breaded chicken and pork cutlets with tonkatsu sauce (from Café Mami)—is one of Boston’s least known culinary treasures.
1815 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge.
It’s no surprise that Bizarre Foods star Andrew Zimmern visited this Cambodian restaurant while filming a Boston episode. Here, fantastic dishes like chili-glazed hot wings (pictured below); ye-heu bumporng (deep-fried squid tossed with jalapeños and red chilies); and cha kroung sach moun (ground chicken with lemongrass, holy basil, kaffir-lime leaves, jalapeños, galangal, and red chilies) leave tears in your eyes and beads of sweat on your forehead.
26 Lincoln St. #4, Lowell, 978-454-6700, simplykhmerrestaurant.com.
Northern Thai cuisine is something you don’t see much of in Boston…and the truth is, even at this restaurant you have to work to find it.Forget the menu—you’ll have to consult the blackboard in the back (or simply point to one of the photos on the wall) for delights such as peek kai yad sai, or sausage-stuffed chicken wings; spicy Chiang Mai noodle curry; and nam prik om, a pork-and-tomato ragu spiked with fish sauce and served in a crock with sliced veggies and pork cracklings for dipping.
433 Faneuil St., Brighton, 617-254-2025, thainorthbrighton.com.
When Floating Rock, the Revere gem, relocated to Central Square in 2011, its attempt to go upscale with its Cambodian food sadly tanked, resulting in a closure last year. But fans of the original restaurant’s staples—like the basil-and-chili-loaded Tiger’s Tears salad, pickled fish with coconut milk, cucumber-and-egg-topped Cambodian pad thai, and grilled cubes of lok lak beef—need only head back to Revere, where the original Floating Rock space is still churning out these dishes, only now the place is under new ownership, and called Thmor Da.
144 Shirley Ave., Revere, 781-286-2554.
This restaurant (pictured) specializes in skewers of grilled chicken parts, but our favorite item on the menu is the deceptively simple yaki onigiri, a petite pyramid of rice glazed with soy sauce and slowly charred over the grill until it develops a salty, brown crust.
315 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 857-350-4450, yakitorizai.com.
For more on Asian cuisine in Boston, check out our complete guide to Asian cuisine: Umami Rising.