Deciding on which restaurant to go to in the Chinatown section of Boston can be pretty difficult; after all, the neighborhood has a seemingly endless supply of dining spots both on its main drags and its side streets. And yes, the quality varies from place to place, with some restaurants being outstanding while others being so-so (or worse). So where to go while in Chinatown? Well, if you are looking for great food at reasonable prices and don't really care about elegance or comfort, there is a little hole in the wall on Harrison Avenue called Hong Kong Eatery that is a truly great option, and a hidden gem to boot.
If you think that chickens and ducks hanging in the front window of a restaurant gives the place character, then you might like the atmosphere at Hong Kong Eatery. For the rest of us, however, this is a spot that is all about the food, as it is not the most pleasant place to eat, with harsh overhead lights, a mirror along the entire length of one wall (which helps to show how washed out everyone looks under the harsh lights), a hard tile floor that does little to keep the noise level down, and seats that are padded, but not all that comfy.
But then there is the food, and what food it is; the menu features mainly Hong Kong style cuisine, including lots of seafood dishes as well as some pretty exotic entrees, but Americanized Chinese items are also offered for those who are a bit less daring. Some highlights include a delicious homemade wonton soup that can be ordered with any number of items including duck and pork; pizza-shaped scallion pancake wedges that have little grease and lots of flavor; tender rice sticks that are slightly oily (though not overly so) and mixed with a choice of meats as well as mild preserved snow cabbage and a number of other vegetables; fried rice that is moist, fresh, and not anything like the dried out, brown gunk that so many Chinese restaurants serve; a comforting and tasty porridge that can be ordered with beef, pork, chicken, or seafood; and an impressive number of casserole dishes such as braised lamb with bean curd. Some of the more exotic dishes at Hong Kong Eatery include braised fish head, stir-fried frog with veggies, duck web casserole with mushrooms, and jellyfish with shredded duck. Prices for nearly everything are downright cheap, with the majority of items being under $10.
Hong Kong Eatery is about as far from a high-end restaurant as you can get; it probably isn't a good date place and certainly isn't a spot to do a power lunch. But if you are ok with a relative lack of atmosphere (or are looking to do takeout), Hong Kong Eatery is quite simply one of the best of many options in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston.
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