Ask the Editor: What Are the Best Chinese Restaurants in Malden?
This print reader wants to know where to eat in "the new Chinatown" north of Boston.
Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.
I am a Boston magazine subscriber in New Hampshire, and I just finished reading your recent guide to Chinatown. You mention that Malden is one of “The Other Chinatowns”—what are the best Chinese restaurants there? I’ve been going to Boston’s Chinatown for 50 years—my favorite is for dim sum at Hei La Moon—but Malden would be closer for my wife and me now.
Yes indeed—from New Hampshire, you can get your fix of pork shumai, egg foo young, and shrimp and tofu without navigating a single highway tunnel—or any Downtown Boston traffic. As Olivia Deng reported for the Ultimate Guide to Chinatown in our February issue, the north-of-Boston city of Malden is one of the region’s newest “other Chinatowns,” with the second-largest Asian population in the state (behind only Quincy), currently nearing 23 percent. Now. Where should you eat?
Malden dim sum spot Sun Kong has been a favorite since the mid-2000s, and its popularity often leads to a lengthy wait. But once you’re seated at a white-clothed table, you’ll be able to select hot, fresh steamed char siu buns; chicken feet with black bean sauce; plump shrimp har gau dumplings; and more from the roving carts. There’s an expansive, Cantonese-American menu available for lunch and dinner, too, and it has on-site parking (275 Eastern Ave., Malden, 781-388-9900, sunkongrestaurant.com)
Yong Yong offers made-to-order dim sum (no carts), as well as hot pot and sushi. The service is pleasant, the dining room spacious, and a small parking lot is nearby. Huge, stuffed crab claws; the beef noodle roll; and steamed pork shumai are some favorite dim sum dishes here. (108 Ferry St., Malden, 781-322-8886)
Ming’s Seafood Restaurant is Malden’s newest dim sum house. Opened in 2016, it has upscale decor, and ample room between tables for the carts to navigate—but not much parking for your car, be warned. Along with a vast selection of dumplings and sweet buns (try the fried milk), the Alaskan king crab is a draw: Choose your live crustacean right from the tank, and have it prepared to order as a ginger-scallion stir-fry, salt-and-pepper-style, or with yi mein noodles. (17 Pleasant St., Malden, 781-321-3888)
For authentic (read: very spicy) Sichuan cuisine in Malden, check out Sichuan Taste, which offers a large selection of chili oil-drenched cuisine and fresh seafood. For dinner, try the whole fish, served in a spicy broth; the stir-fried Chengdu spicy chicken with rice; and salt-and-pepper shrimp. (290 Main St., Malden, 781-480-3671, sichuantastemalden.com)
Golden Garden, on the other hand, is where to find Northeastern Chinese specialties from the Dongbei region. Dishes like stewed chicken with mushroom; sour napa cabbage with pork belly; and sautéed pork with clear, chewy bean mung noodles and brown (soy-based) sauce are hearty, delicious, and unique among the usual, Cantonese-leaning, Chinese-American menus. (9 Highland Ave., Malden, 781-322-3708, goldengardenmalden.com)
There’s even more to discover in Malden, such as the takeout-focused Hong Kong-style Café de Lulu (a redux of a now-closed Boston Chinatown café); great Vietnamese fare at Saigon NV; and the modern, pan-Asian jewel, All Seasons Table. Because as Boston’s Chinatown culture continues to grow and thrive in Malden, so does its diverse dining scene.