A Food Aficionado – South Garden
My family always tries to seek out Chinese restaurants in the area whenever they are in town. This time around, we headed out to Quincy to a place they have wanted to go back to for dinner for a long time for dinner. In the Presidential Plaza where the Chinese Market Kam Man can be found, a small Chinese restaurant South Garden (217B Quincy Avenue, Quincy MA (617) 328-6628- near Kam Man Market side) serves Chinatown caliber food (not much Americanized Chinese choices are available here).
It is a small establishment where patrons can see the seafood they will later eat swimming freely about akin to other establishments in Chinatown. First off, luckily with my parents they ordered for our table. The soup first came out which was t he Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup for the medium size which we enjoyed. (Fish Maw is the air bladder for all fish.) Nice and light with bits of seafood in it which served as a great starter. Next the literally named “Wind Sand Chicken” which was a first in Boston for me to have this dish arrived at the table. (I loved it while in Hong Kong!) came out. A whole chicken marinated in a sugar or maltose base then hung to dry for half a day where the “wind” comes from. From there, it is fried then smothered with fried garlic bits (which serve as the “sand” bits). It was a hit at our table! The crispy skin, tender juicy chicken underneath coupled with the flavorful garlic bits proved to be a great combination of texture and flavor.
Then the Steamed Eel with Black Bean Sauce (Market Price-that night it was $14.95 a pound) was served. After the first bite, it was promptly declared the best eel tasted in the Boston area in a Chinese restaurant so far by everyone at the table. Chunks of the eel smothered in the black bean sauce which had a not overly salty bite worked well with the white rice. Eel has a mild not fishy taste and the texture is a tad rubbery, but the black bean sauce was as an excellent foil to it. A veggie dish is a must, so we got the standard Pea Pod Stems with Garlic which served its role.
The next arrival was the Lamb Clay pot which we always order during the cold winter months. Per my mom, lamb has great warming properties if one does have poor blood circulation. We love the lamb is not gamy and served with an abundance of bean curd skin strips along with black mushroom in thick brown gravy sauce. At the bottom, you can always find some iceberg lettuce leaves lining the clay pot adds a nice satisfactory crunch while sopping up the great sauce.
Clams in Black Bean Sauce is slightly different from the eel as there were red pepper flakes. Also, this had the freshest clams around in this version for a fraction of the Chinatown price too! It was tops and delivered great taste.
The service was attentive, there was plenty of parking, prices were moderate but not very expensive but the crown jewel was the good food. No need to go to Chinatown anymore when you can go here for great Cantonese style food right in Quincy at South Garden.