Hei La Moon, Chinatown, Boston Revisited (Dinner)

Located on the other artery of the surface road in Chinatown, we came back to Hei La Moon with our parents to share the special 10 course banquet menu for a much delayed family dinner. This special 10 course set price dinner is generally available only on the Chinese written menu for 8 or more people and geared towards Chinese tastes. Please note there are 2 menus at Hei La Moon. One in English and one in Chinese, the latter which has more authentic dishes. Chinese set menus are a great way to experience a wide variety of dishes when you have quite a few people to feed. There are usually several different banquet dinner options at various prices with the more expensive menus featuring more exotic items such as abalone, shark fin, or sea cucumber in their dishes.

Assorted Cold Appetizer Platter

It is customary to start off the meal with assorted cold appetizers. At Hei La Moon the “liangcai” consisted of chilled jellyfish in sesame oil,  dry preserved five spice beef tendons, braised drunken chicken, and roast pork. They are all delicious but my personal favorite is the chilled jellyfish in sesame oil. For as long as I can remember, ever since we were little girls, my mother would call them rubber bands. For years, I literally thought we were eating boiled and chilled rubber bands. I always ate extra because I thought it was super cool I was eating rubber. I guess it was a case of the stranger the food is, the more likely I would like it and eat it… actually, that concept pretty much holds a lot of truth in it. I still do that today.

Seafood Bird’s Nest

The nest of yellow noodles were freshly fried and still piping hot along with the pan-fried squid, white fish, scallops, and shrimp. The crispy noodles and sauce drenched seafood went well together.

Shark Fin Soup

A classic savory Chinese banquet staple that actually had more egg drop that reconstituted shredded shark fin in this version. The shark fin itself doesn’t taste like much but it has a stringy chewy texture. There were small chunks of fish as well. It’s a nice hot soup that I have grown to enjoy over the years at many weddings as the Chinese believe it can boost sexual potency, enhance your skin, increase your energy, prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol.

Walnut Mayo Shrimp with Pineapple

This is another classic Chinese set menu dish. These jumbo shrimp and walnuts glazed in mayo-honey sauce are always stellar. They are basically fried cornstarch-dusted shrimp that are tossed in a creamy condensed milk with honey sauce then served with candied walnuts. It’s customary for us to try to grab a bite of shrimp, walnut and pineapple all at once so that you can really get the juxtaposition of crisp shrimp, nuts and sweet fruit.

Whole Fried Flounder

This fried flounder was done well. The skin was very crisp and the interior meat was tender and flaky. Not a tiny bit overcooked. I love having whole fish because then you get to pick the choicest bits.

Twin Lobsters Pan-Fried with Ginger and Scallion

This is one of my favorite lobster preparations because you don’t just get the claws and the tail, but also the soft body parts as well. The lobster is poached in oil then cooked with copious amounts of fresh ginger and scallion. Some people add wine as well.

Stir-fried Chinese Greens with Mushrooms

This time around the greens and mushrooms were coating in too much gelatinous sauce. Once you scraped off the excess sauce, the vegetables were delicious. The greens still had some snap and the giant mushroom caps were very meaty.

Longevity Noodles

These “ee-fu” or “yi mein,” made from wheat flour, are eaten at celebratory dinners to promote symbolize a long life. I like Hei La Moon’s version very much because the noodles are tender and the assorted vegetables are not overcooked but retain some of their snap.

Fried Rice

Typically made to use up extra rice, Hei La Moon’s fried rice is quite delicious because I can see there’s more than just a lot of greasy rice like at other restaurants. There’s peas, corn, ham, mushroom, bacon, roast pork, scallions, and garlic, along with some soy sauce. It’s flavorful and hearty.

Whole Roast Chicken with Shrimp Chips

This is a simple dish that my mother would make us as children that we still love. It is just roast chicken with sesame oil and dipped soy sauce. At Hei La Moon they dress it up a bit by serving it with shrimp chips, but it is a really good rendition. The chicken is chock full of flavor and meat. Who can resist that crisp skin?

Taro, Sweet Potato and Tapioca Soup

This dessert soup is served hot or cold depending on the season. The bits of taro, sweet potato and tapioca give the achingly sweet soup some texture.
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