Even though I’ve studied in Boston for almost one year, I’ve barely gone to Chinatown. Perhaps it’s because Chinatown is simply no longer attractive to me. I have been to Chinatown in Manhattan and Philadelphia, and they look the same to me.

My friend invited me to go have lunch with him in Chinatown the other day. While on our way, he told me that he comes to Chinatown to eat a few times a week, and he’s an expert on everything Chinatown has to offer. He showed me some unique things within Chinatown that I have never noticed before.

Boston's Chinatown has a lot to offer from ethnic supermarkets to Cantonese food. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Boston’s Chinatown has a lot to offer from ethnic supermarkets to Cantonese food. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

It is my first time knowing that besides dim sum and other large Cantonese restaurants, there’s also another very local Hong Kong cafe in Chinatown called Hong Kong Eatery. Instead of only having the big dishes such as lobster and fish, they offer more small dishes such wonton noodles, roasted duck and crispy pork. Also, they offer the combo for two people, for four people and for six people. The prices are also reasonable and relatively cheap. I guess that’s the reason why there were so many people waiting outside for a table in the cafe. It had been such a long time since I had seen such local dishes. Everything runs fast in the cafe, as all of the servers are trying to serve as many customers as possible. I only waited for my roasted duck and scallion chicken combo noodle for a few minutes. It tasted like I was eating a lunch back in Guangdong, which is a region in Southern China. There was a busy stream of people walking in and out and a waitress taking orders and serving dishes. It’s a non-stop environment, but it does run like the super efficient cafe in Hong Kong where customers come and go every day.

So after lunch, we walked further into Chinatown because I told my friend that I am not familiar with this area. We walked into C-Mart Supermarket, which is a supermarket with varieties of Chinese goods. They had an amazing selection of pork: pork bone, pork kidney and pork feet, etc., which are normally parts of pigs that are impossible to find in any American supermarket. Also the vegetables in the Chinese supermarkets are catered to a local Chinese person’s preferences, such as yam, coriander and white radish.

After we walked out of the supermarket and went toward the subway station, my friend pointed at a Dunkin’ Donuts store that had a Chinese name beside it. It is the first and only time I have ever seen a Dunkin’ Donuts that had a Chinese name. It was so interesting.