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.
One of the newest additions to the neighborhood, Shojo is also the hippest, with snacks like suckling-pig bao and shrimp toast, not to mention a list of well-crafted cocktails (like the cheekily named “Cold Tea”).
Don’t miss: Char siu pulled-pork ravioli; shrimp cappellini egg nest.
9A Tyler St., 617-423-7888, shojoboston.com.
The newest kid on the block is Shojo, from the co-owners of China Pearl.
A bartender pours a flip at Shojo.
It’s all about the seafood at this subterranean spot—head-on, salt-and-pepper shrimp that are plucked from a tank and deep-fried to order; clams with black-bean sauce; and lobster stir-fried with ginger and scallions.
Don’t miss: The sizzling flounder; the spicy salt shrimp, pork chop, and squid platter.
4 Tyler St., 617-482-3332, peachfarmboston.com.
The eateries lining Harrison Avenue.
New Dong Khanh
Known for bubble teas and milkshakes in flavors like avocado and coconut–red bean, this place also serves a bevy of classic Vietnamese dishes, such as summer rolls, pho, and rice plates. Cash only.
Don’t miss: Com ga nuong xa ot, a lemongrass-chicken rice plate. (Swap fried rice for steamed, and request a fried egg on top.)
81 Harrison Ave., 617-426-9410.
Hong Kong Eatery
Your best bet for traditional Cantonese barbecue, this place offers specialties like char siu pork, and roast duck and chicken (try them in a combo rice plate).
Don’t miss: More-adventerous items, like fried tripe and duck tongue with XO sauce; clay-pot casseroles with fillings like lap cheong sausage and smoked pork.
79 Harrison Ave., 617-423-0838, hongkongeatery.com.
Juicy Cantonese-style bbq meats hang in the window at Hong Kong Eatery.
Items like Roast duck and bbq pork are chopped to order at Hong Kong Eatery.
Nam Bac Hong
Headache? Cold? Acne? Visit the in-house herbalist here, who will prescribe a cure for whatever ails you. The various components are weighed out on the front counter and brewed like oolong.
Don’t miss: The large variety of essential oils and teas.
75 Harrison Ave., 617-426-8227, nambachong.com.
An herbalist at Nam Bac Hong.
Essential oils and teas line the shelves at Nam Bac Hong.