Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hei La Moon - Boston

Given enough time, I will almost always end up in the Chinese part of town. This most recent trip to Boston was no exception. After dinner at Hungry Mother and a late night at a popular but appalling sports bar turn disco on the water, I was up the next morning and looking for something to eat. I had hoped to join Alex and Sarah for brunch before they headed back to New York but they left earlier than I expected. So I was on my own. Following my natural instincts, I did a quick google search and then hailed a cab for a ride to Chinatown for dim sum at Hei La Moon.

Conspicuously seated at my table for one, I sat waiting for the first of the carts to roll my way. Hungry and impatient, I ordered the first thing off the first cart.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Ha Cheung Fun (or Shrimp Crepe, or Rice Noodle Roll, whatever you call it). The noodles are wide, slick, and mess waiting to happen. These rolls were no exception with extra sticky dough. The shrimp were overdone but the sweet soy topping helped make it a satisfying start.

Next was a fried take on one of my favorite dim sum ingredients, bean curd skin.
Deep-fried and stuffed with finely ground shrimp, it’s a departure from my usual steamed version.
Oddly dry and oily on the outside, there was plenty of shrimp inside with a few peas and a bit of crunchy celery for textural contrast.

A constant fixture at any dim sum meal, an order of pai guat or steamed pork spareribs was a necessity.
While these spareribs were quite meaty and well cooked, the sweet flavor caught me off guard.


I did miss the usual pepper and black bean seasonings, but this odd sweetness had its own charm.

My current dim sum dish favorite was next, seen juk guen or bean curd rolls.

Dried out and oily on top with a fully congealed sauce beneath, these rolls were full of pork and shrimp but missing the crunch of vegetables that I’ve come to love.


Despite the meaty filling, these rolls had a neutral flavor, not that bad but not that great either.

Siumai, the dimsum staple was bound to make an appearance.
Fresh from the cart, these dumplings had a pleasant greasiness that coated your lips. The texture was rougher than I expected, a departure from the smooth, almost pureed pork that you usually see.

Even though I was dining alone, I simply couldn’t pass up an order of fung jao.
Like the bean curd rolls, these chicken feet were anchored in a gelatinous sauce that only added compounded the sweetness of the feet. Much like the pork spare ribs, I was waiting for just a tiny touch of pepper heat to break the sweetness but it never came.

Saving the most important for last, the ultimate dim sum litmus test of har gao was the final dish.

From an especially thick wrapper to an extremely starchy filling, these har gao were like most dishes I tried at Hei La Moon, different but good.
Much like the suimai filling, the shrimp and bamboo shoots were roughly chopped but well cooked.

With the har gao, this dim sum lunch came to an end. After paying my bill, I had ample time to wander to a museum and reflect on my experience at Hei La Moon. Being one person, I did the best I could to try a variety of dishes but there were many stones left unturned, but from what I did try, I was quite satisfied with the results. There did seem to be a trend of extra sweetness with many of the dishes and the usual additions of black beans and jalapeno peppers were conspicuously absent. Even with that omission, the somewhat rustic textures of the dumplings and rolls were appealing and, outside of a few dry rolls and one or two overcooked shrimp, it was another successful dim sum lunch. I don’t think that Hei La Moon will rival anything I’ve had at Fung’s Kitchen, but it’s still a fine choice for a Sunday morning in Boston.

Hei La Moon Address & Information

88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111 // 617.338.8813

Hei la Moon on Urbanspoon

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