Restaurant Critic Dives into Boston’s Chinatown

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Boston Chinese food fans are psyched about the recent opening of China King in Chinatown. This new venture from Doris and Erwin Mei brings the former owners of cult favorite King Fung Garden back to the ‘hood after several years operating a take-out restaurant in Brookline Village.

China King offers all the old King Fung dishes that wowed celebrity customers like Julia Child, Lidia Bastianich, Marcus Samuelsson and Emeril Lagasse, along with every well-known Boston chef who appreciates good eats. The Mei’s are justifiably famous for their scallion pancakes, Peking ravioli and xiaolongbao soup dumplings. Along with signature dishes like stir-fried rice cake with pork and pickled vegetable, pork belly and pickled mustard greens, Hon Sue lamb and Shanghai chow mein – a dish of smoky, thick, wheat noodles tossed with slivered pork and cabbage.

Peking Duck is served in three courses: crisp duck skin with homemade pancakes and scallions, stir-fried duck meat and vegetables, and duck soup. It costs only $38 – but you must order 24 hours in advance.

China King is the only restaurant in Chinatown that serves tomato soup in the style of Carl’s Pagoda – the legendary Tyler Street Cantonese hole in the wall that closed its doors two decades ago but remains fondly remembered and much missed. It’s a tureen of ketchupy sweet broth speckled with pork, scallions and coddled eggs, that is supremely satisfying. (You’ll want to order extra to take home.)

With its Chinese red walls and black tile floor, this is one of the prettiest restaurants in Chinatown. Located down the block from the Chinatown Gate at the corner of Beach and Oxford Streets, it’s easily accessible by T, commuter train and Hubway. China King is open daily from 11 a.m. until the last customer is served.

China King. 60 Beach Street, Chinatown. 617-542-1763.

The former restaurant critic for Boston magazine and the Boston Herald, Mat Schaffer has been writing about the Boston food scene for almost two decades in publications like Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Boston Common and Where magazines and on-line at Epicurious. These days he’s helping restaurants become more profitable through his consultancy business, Mat Schaffer Consulting.

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