did my Good Friday trip into Chinatown on a nice day yesterday. First stop was the Claypot Cafe on Kneeland. General chatter here about this place being homestyle comfort food was spot on–my yellow eel claypot rice was nothing spectacular, but still a nice claypot with lots of eel on top, firm rice in the middle and a crunchy bottom layer. A satisfying meal and I sort of liked the vibe of this tiny, cash only spot that has almost zero atmosphere. I’d come back to try some of the other stuff on the menu.
Next I headed over to Double Chin and had the double chinwich, which was pretty good. A mix of cucumber, pork, hoisin and pickled radish inside a scallion pancake, making it almost a weird riff on a banh mi. I liked the textural contrast of this dish & the place seems like a decent updated take on the HK breakfast place. It was deserted at lunchtime, though.
But wow, I had underestimated just how full I’d get after a claypot rice and a scallion pancake sandwich. Took a walk out to Fan Pier as a constitutional before my plan to get some dan dan noodles at Five Spice House. But when I came back at one-ish to do that, FSH was completely packed. This may have been a blessing in disguise, because powering down more carbohydrates may have been a bad idea for me. So I’ll hit this place up the next time I come down here.
I did make two other stops: New Saigon Sandwich and Shojo. At New Saigon I got some shrimp spring rolls for dinner as this used to be a good + cheap thing to pick up down while in Chinatown. But these have really gone downhill–they are basically noodles in a wrapper with very little shrimp or anything else. I don’t think I’ll buy these anymore–a Mei Sum banh mi is a way better thing to bring home.
Went to Shojo for a drink after striking out at Five Spice House. Got a Mara Jungle Bird, figuring the Campari would help cut through my double lunch stomach. Shojo was hopping and the drink was mostly fine–though I’m unsure that any of the bitter melon that is supposedly in this comes through at all and I definitely don’t like the choice of using Peychaud’s instead of angostura bitters. The whole thing about a jungle bird to me is that the bitters anchors it and cuts the sweetness, and the Peychaud’s lends a floral note I can’t say I really loved. But it was still refreshing and I liked sitting at the bar here watching a Donnie Yen movie and taking a break before striking out for home.