If you’re looking for a break from dining hall food and hoping to explore some new off-campus restaurants, Boston’s Chinatown is a great place to visit. The area is full of authentic Asian cuisine and affordable meal options, but there are so many incredible restaurants that navigating the area can be daunting. So if you want to dive into what Chinatown has to offer, look no further than my guide to Boston’s Chinatown.
Empire Garden Restaurant
This Chinese dim sum spot is a traditional-style theater turned into a restaurant near Boston’s Theater District. The vaulted ceilings, paintings on every wall, and traditional decor make this restaurant feel warm, inviting, and most of all, grandiose—it’s like you are eating in a preserved historical artifact. Each plate of dim sum costs around $4 to $6, with larger plates costing from $9 to $15. So, this place is much more affordable than other Boston restaurants, where a meal can average $25. Plus, sharing some plates with friends will allow you to try many different foods without breaking your wallet.
This wonderful restaurant is perfect if you love traditional Vietnamese dishes. Its pho is fantastic and affordable, only costing around $11 for a small bowl or around $13 for a large one. For those not familiar, pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup that is both delicious and satisfying. There are many different types so you can choose which meat you’d like to include in the soup. Pho Pasteur also offers a lot of other dishes like lo mein or vermicelli for those not in the mood for soup.
If you are in the market for boba, then look no further than TeaDo. TeaDo has a huge menu of milk teas, black teas, smoothies, and even meals that customers can choose from. Many of the specialty drinks incorporate yummy flavors into classic boba options. You can also pick your toppings, sugar levels, and amount of ice. Whether you’d prefer a brown sugar Tiger Milk Tea or Matcha Nimbus Tea with cheese foam, TeaDo has every flavor you can dream up.
Jia Ho Supermarket
Jia Ho Supermarket is a great local Asian marketplace where you can find all of the grocery store essentials. Even if you aren’t in the market to shop, this place is a great site to just walk around and look at the different products. The shop packs many different items into a small space, and it’s fun to explore the aisles of candy, hot sauce, or live fish. This place is also affordable and a great option for college students looking for cheap snacks or pantry essentials.
Hei La Moon
If you’re looking for Boston’s best dim sum experience, check out Hei La Moon. This place is decorated with linen chairs and interesting art along the wall, but where it truly excels is the food and service. I recommend ordering the shrimp dumplings and pork buns but skipping out on the taro dumplings. After eating at many different dim sum restaurants in Chinatown, I can safely say this one exceeds the others and is still incredibly affordable with plates being priced around $5.
Bao Bao Bakery
Bao Bao has everything. From pastries to cakes to drinks, you’ll find everything your sweet tooth desires at this spot. Bao Bao is an Asian fusion bakery with French influences that specializes in fresh and creative baked goods—and its cake decorations are amazing. The bubble tea is divine, and the prices are relatively cheap. If you are looking for a place to grab a quick bite or even a drink on the go, this bakery is perfect for you.