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.
Despite the fancier environs here, the steaming shabu-style hot pots, featuring flavor-packed broths like spicy ma la and rich black-bone chicken, are a steal.
Don’t miss: The sake-spiked “Shanghai Mule” cocktail.
660 Washington St., 857-350-8968, thequsa.com.
Bubbling hot pots at Q Restaurant.
Hot-pot style dining at Q Restaurant feels swanky, but it’s actually a steal.
If you’re big on spice, the Ma La broth at Q is not to be missed.
New Saigon Sandwich
Blink and you’ll miss the speedy assembly of your $3 sandwich. The women behind the counter layer crusty rolls with ingredients like pâté, cold cuts (or pork or beef), cilantro, cucumbers, jalapeños, and pickled daikon and carrots. Cash only.
Don’t miss: The packaged to-go containers of fried rice.
696 Washington St., 617-542-6296.
At New Saigon Sandwich, banh mi sandwiches are crafted with astonishing speed.
New Saigon on Washington St.
The best xiao long bao can be found here, with ultra-thin skins and plenty of hot broth in each parcel.
Don’t miss: Pan-fried rice cakes with shredded pork and cabbage; three-cup chicken.
695 Washington St., 617-338-8859, dumplingcafe.com.
Where’s the dim sum, you ask? Right here.
For more on Asian cuisine in Boston, check out our complete guide: Umami Rising.