Among the plentiful cafes, upscale eateries, and boutique shops decorating its streets, Newton Centre plays host to Ding’s Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant with a vast offering that stretches from traditional Cantonese delicacies to classic Chinese American dishes.
Customers should not be deceived by the red awning that reads “Jumbo Seafood” located just a few steps off of Centre Street. It belonged to the venue’s former occupant, which has since moved to Chinatown.
Beneath the awning is Ding’s Kitchen, and its claim to the space comes from its delicious and sprawling bill of fare.
“Cantonese food is number one in [all of] China because everything we make is so fresh, no canned food,” said Alan Wu, the restaurant’s manager.
Wu said the restaurant maintains this standard of freshness with daily deliveries of ingredients ranging from seafood to produce. A quick glance at its extensive menu gives context to the variety of the deliveries.
Traditional Cantonese dishes—from crispy silver fish with salted egg yolks to frog legs stir-fried with yellow chives—are on the menu for authenticity-seekers. A full set of Chinese-American classics are also available, alongside an incredible array of meat, poultry, seafood, rice, and noodle specials.
Not stopping there, Ding’s Kitchen also sports an entire dim sum menu, 12 different soups, a shared casserole list, a selection of Sichuan delicacies, and an entire section dedicated to the chef’s recommendations.
But Wu said that the true star of the show is the fresh coconut chicken hot pot. The dish is a new style of hot pot in Canton, Wu explained. Ding’s Kitchen is among the first restaurants in the Boston area to offer the dish, he said.
The steamed surf clam, combined with garlic and vermicelli, showcases a Cantonese take on these mundane yet magical ingredients. The juicy and sharp base notes of the clam—flimsy when presented alone—are enriched by the luxurious oil.
The pungent garlic, on the other hand, tames the inherent fishiness of the ingredient, which, if improperly handled, would overpower all other flavors. But the richly flavored appetizer does not usurp the main dish’s role. Instead, it opens up the patron’s taste buds and leaves them eagerly anticipating the entree.
The “frog in savory pot,” though it may sound unconventional, rewards daring patrons who try it. The edible frog species has an endearing nickname in the Chinese tongue: “the chicken of the fields.” Despite its name, the chicken of the fields tastes nothing like actual chicken.
Under the crispy crust is an oxymoronic bullfrog—the meat is tender but fibrous, creating contrasting textures. Meanwhile, the generous seasoning with onions, pepper flakes, and salt makes the visitor gladly send down an entire bowl of rice along with the dish—and if needed, a second.
Wu said business has been good for Ding’s Kitchen thus far and looks optimistically at the future of the restaurant, describing it as his new challenge.
Wu said that the restaurant has seen a steady stream of college student customers—Ding’s Kitchen delivers until 10:45 p.m. every night. Discounted lunch specials and generous portion sizes make the establishment an ideal choice for students seeking bang for their buck.
For those who prefer to eat in, the restaurant has a full bar, outdoor seating, attentive staff, and is a mere walking distance from Boston College’s Newton Campus.
Ding’s Kitchen is located at 10 Langley Road. Dine-in is available 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, with take-out and delivery available from 11 a.m.-10:45 p.m. daily.