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What's In My Lobster Sauce? A History Of Chinese Food In Boston16:30

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Potstickers prepared by Stephen Chen, son of Cambridge-based chef Joyce Chen. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)closemore
Potstickers prepared by Stephen Chen, son of Cambridge-based chef Joyce Chen. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

What is Peking ravioli? And why can you only find it in the Greater Boston area? Is there actual lobster in my lobster sauce? Chinese food in Boston's Chinatown and the suburbs is what it is today because of a long history, dating back to the rum trade and Irish and Italian immigration.

Guests

Merry White, professor of anthropology at Boston University. She tweets @merrycorkywhite.

Stephen Chen, Joyce Chen's son and president of Joyce Chen Foods.

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Stephen Chen, owner of Joyce Chen Foods and son of Joyce Chen carries on the legacy of Boston Chinese food by selling "Peking Ravioli" (potstickers) in super markets across the country. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)
Stephen Chen, owner of Joyce Chen Foods and son of Joyce Chen carries on the legacy of Boston Chinese food by selling "Peking Ravioli" (potstickers) in super markets across the country. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

Lucky Peach: Boston Chinese Food Is So Boston

  • "'Chinese food in Texas is the best Chinese food in the United States,' Rabbit tells Ruth, in John Updike’s 1960 classic Rabbit, Run, as he waits for the server to bring chopsticks to the table. 'Except Boston.'"

The Boston Globe: How Boston’s Chinatown Dining Scene Came To Be

  • "Boston’s Chinatown population really began to swell in the last quarter of the 19th century as Chinese workers, many from the railroad, came east. The neighborhood developed its own social structure based on alliances for newcomers from different clans in China. Eating establishments sprang up to feed the new arrivals— men learned to cook and took charge of the kitchens, as no women came early on. Because Chinatown’s inhabitants were mostly from southern China, specifically Guangdong Province, Cantonese cuisine ruled the day."

WGBH Open Vault: Joyce Chen Cooks Peking Ravioli

  • "A delicious Northern Chinese food, common and beloved throughout the Far East. To make this dish, Joyce Chen has worked out an accurate and simple method. She shows the entire preparation; how to mix the dough and roll it; how to prepare the filling, how to fold Chiao-tzu and cook them in two different ways, boiled and pan-fried. Good to serve as appetizers, snacks, or even entire meals."
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