When you hear "Beantown," you might not automatically think soybeans or mung beans or bean curd, but you should! Boston's Chinatown was established in the late 1800s, but these days, excellent Chinese food can be found all across the city and the surrounding suburbs. Whether you’re looking for classic, old-school Chinese-restaurant fare (Bernard’s); palate-scorching hot pot (Five Spices House); or playful, inventive mashups like Korean fish corn dogs (Chow N Joy), you’ve come to the right place. These are some of the best Chinese restaurants in and around Boston that are available for delivery.
In Boston’s South End, husband-and-wife team Joanne Chang and Christopher Myers’ iconic self-described “Asian-ish” restaurant has been drawing crowds for over a decade. (It serves up Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and other Asian flavors.) Although the menu changes regularly, Mama Chang’s ginger-infused pork-and-chive dumplings are divine staples, as are the celebration-worthy grilled mushroom longevity noodles, which come with delectable grilled oyster and trumpet mushrooms.
OK, so yes: The seafood is the main attraction at this Chinatown classic — like the unreal fresh clam with baby taro and sliced abalone with baby bok choy — but don’t count out the many delicacies that don’t come from under the sea. Hard-to-find Peking duck, numerous bean curd dishes, and even an entire Cantonese-style section — featuring treats like frogs' legs with yellow chives and pork intestines with pickled cabbage — mean there’s something for everyone.
In 2014, Dumpling House — an offshoot of Chinatown’s Gourmet Dumpling House — arrived across the river from Boston, in Cambridge, and it remains one of the city’s most sacred places for those who pray at the altar of carbohydrates. The soup dumplings, perfect orbs of dough surrounding pork (or pork and crabmeat) and molten broth, are a must-order, as are a comforting of plate of crystal shrimp dumplings, vegetable buns with mushrooms, and tooth-shatteringly crisp Shandong-style pan-fried dumplings.
In her namesake Kendall Square spot, restaurateur and Hunanese expat Sumiao Chen serves up hot and spicy food from home. Try classics like the steak tip with onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms; or the red-braised pork belly, marinated in dark soy sauce, cooking wine, sriracha, and sugar. The duck-yolk-breaded crispy shrimp is the perfect savory-and-sweet expression of Hunan cooking.
This Chinatown mainstay has been open for more than 30 years, and here’s why: The restaurant’s signature dish, the Sichuan-style whitefish, which comes with veggies in a spicy broth, rumbles with perfectly pitched heat. But there are plenty of options for the milder palates, too, like pork dumplings with chives, an herb-rich scallion pancake roll filled with beef and cilantro, and the house special fried pork chop.
If you couldn’t tell from the name, this place is fun. The Theater District fave puts a modern spin on Chinese, with sensational takes on classics, like the Double Chinwich, a sandwich made from Cantonese roast pork, cucumber, and house-made pickles sandwiched between two scallion pancakes. Make sure to get a little bit from some of the seemingly endless categories, like the egg and spam noodle soup and the restaurant’s signature Hong Kong–style French toast dessert, which is stuffed with peanut butter and topped with mochi and condensed milk. Wash it down with a boozy Capri Fun cocktail kit (yes, that’s "fun," not "sun." We love it here).
In Cambridge’s Porter Square, this glossy, contemporary space pays homage to both Hunan and Sichuan cuisine. The main attraction, fiery longhorn beef, is for serious spice seekers only, and other standouts include the har gow; stuffed pancake with beef, scallions, and homemade hoisin sauce; and the regal sea emperor soup made with shrimp, calamari, scallops, egg whites, and pea pods, which is fit for kings, queens, and everyone else.
Chinatown’s Washington Street is home to this Taiwanese spot, where those in the know flock for some of the city’s best dumplings. The mouthwatering mini juicy buns with pork are a necessary order, as are the Taiwan-style pan-fried versions. Roasted duck buns, overflowing with savory and sweet meat, can almost double as dessert.
Just past the western edge of Boston University is Allston’s ode to Taiwanese food. The juicy buns and other dumplings available here are the hottest tickets (don’t shy away from the pan-fried wontons), but the expansive menu goes way beyond those doughy treats. Taiwan-style noodles with pork and vegetables, served with a sour vinegar sauce, is one of the best dishes on the menu, and the surprisingly luxe potato with hot and sour sauce is a vegetarian hit you’d never see coming (you’re welcome).
This Chestnut Hill stalwart relocated to a new location in the same nabe a decade ago, but the old-school Chinese restaurant vibe (tablecloths!) prevails. The food is the main attraction, though, which means the steamed wontons in a spicy hot-pepper-peanut sauce and the shrimp with lobster sauce will be just as satisfying at home (you can pull out your own tablecloth if you like). Try one of the more surprising-sounding dishes for a culinary adventure, like the pan-seared Peking ravioli or the seemingly anomalous chicken fingers, a fixture on many a Boston Chinese-food menu.
Right in the heart of Boston’s Chinatown, you'll find Five Spices House, a Sichuan spot with an impossibly long menu. Here, you can really bask in the glory of (you guessed it!) spice: An entire category is dedicated to Mala Spicy Pot (aka numbing stir-fry pot), with broth or without, and ranging from “not spicy” to “extremely spicy.” (Before you get cocky, note that there are four whole spice levels between those two.) Hot-and-spicy cumin-style lamb and Sichuan-style double-cooked pork are two other must-orders.
Open since 2013, Gene’s is considered the original hand-pulled noodle spot on the scene, with food that pays homage to Western China, where chef and owner Gene Wu grew up. Freshly hand-pulled strands are stretched thin with acrobatic skill, tossed in chili oil, and served in a variety of soups and sauces. Pro tip: Order the cumin version with lamb for a dish that will invigorate all of your senses.
Shun’s in the South End has something for every kind of diner, including the ones who want ramen, maki, or satay. In the mood for a crispy half duck? Shun’s serves its version with a delightful sweet plum sauce. Looking for a savory, fatty pork belly? You’ve got multiple options: We say go for the double-wok-fried version, seasoned hot and spicy and served with Sichuan sauce that will set your mouth atingle.
Old meets new at this Somerville favorite. There are plenty of Chinese classics, like crab rangoon, an astoundingly large pupu platter for two that’s teeming with goodies, and all manner of pan-fried noodles. But the restaurant also serves cheeky and playful dishes, like Korean fish corn dogs, which are made with deep-fried fish sausages cloaked in mozzarella cheese and a sweet and savory sauce.
The sibling restaurant to Chinatown’s Five Spices, this outpost serves the same Sichuan food to the crowd across the Charles. Order the salt-and-pepper crispy chicken — a crackling app that will prime your palate for all the heat to come — and follow it up with the restaurant’s claim to fame: spicy dry pot. And don’t worry if you’re spice averse: There’s plenty for you here too.
Roxbury’s slightly under-the-radar Peking House has been serving affordable Chinese cuisine since 1971. Plates with a backbone of heat are the way to go, like the spicy string bean chicken or curry peppercorn shrimp. You also can’t go wrong with the aromatic ginger-and-scallion beef.
This Brighton spot has a breathlessly big menu, perfect for those looking to experience the breadth of Chinese cooking. The "Chinatown-Style Gourmet" category is perfect for those looking to dive into regional specialties, like the roast duck on rice and the roast pork ho fun — a dish made with wide, flat rice noodles that’s a chewy, satisfying and delightful coda to any meal. Numerous varieties of pad thai, lo mein, and chop suey are also on offer. You will not go hungry here, no matter what you’re craving.
This place will make you a believer. The Golden Temple menu mandates that before you order, you “sit back and relax, take a deep breath, soften your glare, untie your knots, settle your dust.” You don’t have to tell us twice! The luxurious Brookline gem, which has been open for more than half a century, serves up decadent Shanghai sirloin steak cooked with shiitake mushrooms and vegetables in a spicy sauce, and marinated rotisserie Beijing duck with all the accoutrements. Fresh seafood, like the scallops and snow pea pods, plus scallions, onions, and garlic, is also to die for.
Vegans, rejoice! This Vietnamese-inflected Allston joint turns out delicious and fresh meat-free fare, whether you’re in the mood for veggie-forward options or sticky-icky protein substitutes like deep-fried battered tofu and stir-fried seitan. The curry-coconut vermicelli noodles, sauteed with a choice of vegetarian protein (tofu, veggie chicken or veggie pork), are a fan favorite. And the Vietnamese-style veggie pizza, made with tofu and scallions, is one of the restaurant’s more interesting mashups of multiple cuisines.
Massive crab rangoon — which come fist-sized or larger — are a no-brainer at this Dorchester spot, as is the Sichuan spicy chicken, which arrives with an array of vegetables and a tingling sauce that will tickle your palate. Kung pao chicken and beef — spicy, peppery, and full of salty peanuts — is as traditional a Chinese-American dish as they come. Order it and let your taste buds have a field day.
Glossy, ruby-red boneless spare ribs are a sight to behold, and the cracker-crisp scallion pancakes are another must-order from this Roslindale resto. The Sichuan beef is, indeed, hot and spicy, as is the dry-diced chicken with hot chiles, and both are worthwhile choices for those looking for a little fire. Try the Mongolian beef, too, which is slightly sweet, slightly salty, and melts in your mouth. Delish.
Brookline is where you’ll find this hot pot spot, which is dedicated to the fine art of cooking food in a bowl of steaming broth or oil. The premium skewers option is a great way to experience the menu very affordably: For 27 bucks, you get 30 skewers, including fish meatballs, spicy chicken, beef cubes, and more, all served ready to be cooked in aromatic broth. The double maocai is possibly unlike anything you’ve had before in the best possible way: It fills your tummy with honeycomb tripe, duck blood tofu, white beef tripe, pork intestines, crab stick, sausage, and veggies.
Roslindale’s Imperial Kitchen is a neighborhood go-to, and for good reason. The food here is affordable, reliable, and tasty. Try the yu hsiang beef, a spicy entree that is not for the faint of heart. For those in search of a little fusion, the restaurant dedicates an entire category to pad Thai (the Imperial, which includes shrimp, chicken, and vegetables, is definitely the way to go), and offers Peking ravioli as an app.
A melding of Chinese cuisines and cultures happens at Brookline’s XIang Yu China Bistro, where you can explore a different region on any given night. In the mood for Hunanese? Try the spicy Hunan beef noodle soup. Does Sichuan food move you? Tuck into a fiery bowl of dan dan noodles, slick with that signature oil. The crispy fillet of fish with cumin, characteristic of northern Chinese cooking, is also a stunning example of this restaurant’s scope.
Though technically in Stow (about 25 miles outside of Boston), we couldn’t skip this Chinese and Pan-Asian place — it’s that awesome. The chicken with spicy chile sauce is sinus-clearingly good, and the tender Hunan duck, sauteed with straw mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, and pea pods, is a superlative alternative to the traditional chicken preparation. The sushi menu is vast and fresh; don’t sleep on the affordably priced lobster roll, packed with lobster meat, fish roe, lettuce, and cucumber for under $15. (It comes in a mango option too.)
Allston’s Tasty Pot knows that not everyone appreciates a mouth on fire, so diners can choose from four spice levels on most dishes, from mild to flamingly spicy. Hot soups in practically every incarnation (including Stinky Tofu and Cheesy Milk) are a must here, and can be beefed up with the addition of quail eggs, sausages, and plenty else. Don’t forget to take a peek at the "Milk Tea" and "Mustache" sections of the menu before placing your order so you don’t miss out on a sweet rose milk green tea or cream winter melon.
Even the Phantom Gourmet, Massachusetts’ most famous anonymous restaurant critic, knows that this inclusive Worcester spot is worth traveling for, especially if you’re on a medical diet: There are flavorful diabetic-friendly foods, like specially made dumplings, and an entire category for the gluten-averse, which means that usually impossible-to-order-in-a-restaurant goodies like noodles are an option. Happy day!
If you’re on the bubble about what to order, you can’t go wrong with the Taiwanese delight boba — sometimes called bubble tea. At Gong Cha in Cambridge, lip-smackingly chewy tapioca pearls are suspended in all manner of cold and hot drinks, including "mustache" and yogurt teas and lattes and slushies. Gong Cha offers an astoundingly huge variety, and the traditional flavors are best: Try a refreshing wintermelon tea with basil seeds (with or without milk foam), fresh milk with pudding and tapioca pearls, or taro milk with red bean.
There’s a reason the Wong family’s Chinatown Stoughton has been winning awards for decades. Taste your way through Northern China via the restaurant’s diverse curries (the spicy curry beef is a winner), or travel to Hong Kong with the sweet-and-sour shrimp. Anyone in the mood for Japanese to go with their Chinese meal is also in luck: There’s nigiri, maki, sushi, and udon, too.
Courtesy of Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
Dumpling Cafe by Chris B Haynes
Myers + Chang by Kristin Teig
Tasty Pot by @izumi.mimi.official