Travelers do not have to wander all the way to Asia to sample some incredible cuisine. Boston’s Chinatown boasts an incredibly eclectic selection of tasty meals, treats and drinks, inspired by culutres such as Vietnamese, Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese. Streets can be chaotic and crowded, but this is what makes exploring China so fun! With a little planning, it’s simple to sample various foods throughout the neighborhood and feel as if you’ve taken a new global culinary adventure.
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Originally created in Taiwan in the 1980s, this fun cold beverage features different kinds of teas, milky additives and tapioca balls. You drink it with wide straws and can order it in a bunch of different flavors. Authentic bubble tea sops are found all over Boston’s Chinatown, but some places use more fresh ingredients than others. Try Tea Do for a younger crowd and board games to play late night while you enjoy your bubble tea. Or, the Juice Bar has a more relaxed atmosphere and many options for exotic flavors, such as papaya milkshakes and sesame teas.
Xiao Long Bao
Take a dumpling and infuse the middle with soup – that’s where you get xiao long bao. Originally from Taiwan, these soup dumplings often feature pork, but can be made with chicken and vegetables as well. The Taiwan Café has one of the best versions of xiao long bao around, complete with countless folds to the dough in each individual dumpling. Enjoy hundreds of other menu items as well, including homemade scallion pancake rolls and Taiwanese noodle soups.
Traditionally a Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi highlights fresh veggies and perfectly spiced meats. This spicy creation is often carrots, cilantro, pork and jalapenos on a crusty baguette to go. Chinatown has a lot of banh mi shops, but one of the most popular is New Saigon Sandwich. They make their own bread in house and always have a line around the corner.
People who love a foodie adventure will need to try a Chinese dim sum experience. Usually, people are seated in a large dining room, while staff hastily pushes carts in between tables filled with steaming dumplings and appetizers. You shout, wave hands and do whatever you can to get their attention, and orders are starched down on sheets at the table. If feeling brave, hop into Chinatown’s Hi Lei Moon restaurant for an elegant, albeit chaotic time.
To polish off a culinary tour in Chinatown, it’s well worth picking up a few pastries and sweets to take home. Right by the front gate of the neighborhood are a few bakeries to choose from that offer a menu of sweet and savory bites popular all over Asia. At the Ho Yuen Bakery, some claim they have the best egg tarts and pineapple buns in town. On the other hand, Hing Shing Pastry has wonderful moon cakes filled with red bean paste or lotus seeds.
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