The labyrinthine streetscape. The novel-length menus. The confusing storefronts. There are many reasons why local diners overlook the vibrant Chinatown scene, but it all starts with the fact that it can be difficult to simply figure the place out. Well, no more. Having consulted the experts and eaten our way across the area, we present Chinatown’s hidden treasures.
For fluffier, modern-style Chinese pastries, head to Great Taste Bakery, which also offers bubble tea and dim sum.
Great Taste Bakery
Don’t let “bakery” fool you. In addition to the fluffy, “modern”-style Chinese cakes in flavors like tiramisu and chestnut, there’s a full dim sum menu and a plethora of bubble teas.
Don’t miss: Congee (rice porridge) with toppings like preserved duck eggs and fried dough.
63 Beach St., 617-426-6688, bostongreattastebakery.com.
Happy Family Seafood Market
This tiny shop offers a vast selection of fresh fish and seafood, such as razor clams and white and black eel.
Bonus Tip: Choose your fish, then bring it next door to Best Little Restaurant and they’ll prepare it for you.
11 Hudson St., 617-542-1488.
Best Little Restaurant
Ignore the dull décor and give the crisp-crusted clay-pot-baked rice your full attention instead. To live like a local, ask for off-menu add-ons like Chinese bacon, black beans, and either lap cheong or duck-liver sausage.
Don’t miss: Minced-pork-and-green-bean lettuce wraps; fried squab.
13A Hudson St., 617-338-4988.
A fiery wok at New Shanghai.
The menu is more Szechuan than Shanghai, as evidenced by spicy plates like the cumin lamb and chili wontons. But who’s complaining about a 1,200-mile culinary detour when the food is this good?
Don’t miss: Tea-smoked duck; chilled green-bean noodles.
21 Hudson St., 617-388-6688, newshanghairestaurant.com.
New King Fung Garden
Thanks to a rare BYOB policy, you can enjoy your own bottle of wine with fantastic dishes like chow foon with beef brisket and sa cha beef chow mein.
Don’t miss: Peking ravioli; scallion pancakes.
74 Kneeland St., 617-547-5262, newkingfunggarden.com.
The tanks at Jade Garden, where fish are scooped and cooked to order.
The loaded fish tanks highlight the seafood focus, but many diners come for the beef dishes, especially the house special prime rib (request it with string beans and black-pepper sauce) and the red wine oxtail stew.
Don’t miss: The seafood, of course, like deep-fried flounder and shrimp with ginger and scallions.
18-20 Tyler St., 617-423-3288.