Boston Eats: Gourmet Dumpling House @ Chinatown

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生煎包 Sheng Jian Bao (Pan Fried Pork Buns) – $4.75 for three: Delicious but greasy fried pork buns. The pork filling is the same one as the soup dumplings, but filled in a dough-ier sweet bread (bao)! There is not that much meat and a lot of bao. The bao is also rather doughy; dough-ier than I prefer. Probably wouldn’t order it again, but I sometimes crave sheng jian baos.

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小龍包 Xiao Long Bao (Pork Soup Dumplings) – $6.50 for eight: These XLBs are perhaps the best in Boston. They are sufficiently juicy, and the meat filling is delicious, though on the greasy side. The skin is slightly springy and relatively soft. It is okay, but not the best I’ve had by a long shot. I can usually eat a ton of XLBs, but I can only eat four of these because they are a little heavy.

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Here is Mr XLB. He loves XLBs, which is probably why we are here so much.

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幹炒牛河 Gan Chao Niu He (Dry fried flat rice noodles with Beef) – $7.95: Again, this dish is very very greasy. It is delightfully seasoned and tastes quite good, but it would be so much better if it were much less greasy.

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紫菜海鮮湯 Zi Cai Hai Xian Tang (Seafood Soup with Seaweed) – $6.95: When I ordered this, I was expecting a light soup, but this is instead the starchy kinda soup that I am not too fond of. It is a tad on the salty side, and definitely not boiled with bones or anything at all. Not a fan.

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皮蛋豆腐 Pi Dan Dou Fu (Preserved Egg with Chilled Tofu) – $5.25: I really wanted to love this as chilled tofu was one of my late grandfather’s favorite dishes. This came smothered in oyster sauce (too salty, and who smothers things in oyster sauce anyway!? Gross!) and topped in fish flakes and peanuts. I like the addition of peanuts for texture. Also, there was only four slices of preserved egg (only half an egg total!) and it was not the nice soft and creamy preserved egg, but the gelatinous kind with hard yolks. What a disappointment! Not ordering this again!

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四川水煮魚片 Sichuan Shui Zhu Yu Pian (Szechuan Style Spicy Boiled Fish Filets) – $13.95: This dish is pretty well know as the best shui zhu yu in the Boston area. It is really quite delicious and something I come back for time and time again. Unlike other dishes from this restaurant, this dish was not greasy at all, and very subtley flavored with Sichuan peppercorns. So yummy!

**Update (1/24/15): Went to Gourmet Dumpling house for supper after catching Dirty Loops in concert!

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Pork and Leek Dumplings – $6.95 + $0.25 = $7.20 (for fried instead of steamed): Tasty and juicy innards. I can’t tell the difference between leek and cabbage dumplings, but they do taste good. Getting them fried was a good choice because I like the crispy edges of the dumplings, but they are quite oily because of frying.

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蒜泥白肉 Suan Ni Bai Rou (Garlic Sand Pork) – $8.95: The meat was not tender compared to Sichuan Gourmet’s, but the seasonings were good. The iceberg lettuce is really out of place too – texturally and taste-wise, it just does not work with this dish. I agree that something crunchy needs to happen, but cucumbers would have been a much better choice. Head to Sichuan Gourmet if you want the best (I’ve ever tasted) rendition of this dish.

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四川水煮魚片 Sichuan Shui Zhu Yu Pian (Szechuan Style Spicy Boiled Fish Filets) – $13.95: Still the same price and same taste – best in Boston for sure! So good! Read below for my first ‘review’ of this dish here.

Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown is one of my most visited restaurants in the Boston area. I’ve been there maybe five or six times, and each time, the wait is long and the service is horrible. The place is small and they try to rush you to finish your food by placing down the bill immediately after your last bite. It is almost impossible to flag down a waiter either, and they don’t bother asking you if you think everything is okay. Yeah, it’s that kind of Chinese restaurant. That said, the food is decent for any Boston Chinese restaurant. I have to add ‘Boston’ in the sentence because although it is decent, put this restaurant in the midst of Chinatown New York, and it probably wouldn’t do as well. Oh well, I live in Boston, and this is near the best we got, and so I put up with the crappy service and long wait for my tummy.

Gourmet Dumpling House
Address: 52 Beach St Boston, MA 02111
Phone: (617) 338-6223
Hours: M – Su | 11am – 1am
Price Range: $$ ($10 – $20 per person)

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