This Friday will mark the beginning of the Year of the Dog, a new phase of the Chinese New Year which is based on the lunar calendar. Traditionally, the nearly 15-day holiday has been used as a time to honor ancestors, and to celebrate family with indulgent and heavenly food.

Whether you’ve been celebrating Chinese New Year for years with your family, or are looking for an excuse to dig in to some delicious cuisine, these Boston Chinese restaurants are your go-to places for delicious eats. 

1. Gourmet Dumpling House

George Thomson

Located in a narrow and unassuming storefront on Beach Street in Chinatown, Gourmet Dumpling House is celebrated for their classic Chinese items. In true Chinese communal style, diners are ushered into tables to eat family-style meals with other patrons. The juicy and flavorful soup dumplings are certainly worth a try, and if you can handle the heat, opt for an order of the spicy cumin lamb - a fragrant Sichuan-style dish that has been acclaimed as one of Chinatown’s best menu items.

2. DoubleChin

George Thomson

If your tongue is in flames after trying the spicy cumin lamb, you should definitely walk around the corner to DoubleChin on Harrison Ave for Hong-Kong style desserts to cool you down. The variety of cube toast dishes feature fried cube toast topped elaborately with decadent treats such Pocky (a popular Asian snack) and mochi (a sweet japanese style rice cake).

If you want to convince yourself that you’re still sticking to your healthy New Year’s Resolutions, try the antioxidant-rich green tea doughnut dessert served with a hands-on matcha-injector. While delicious, these calorie-laden desserts may very well have you leaving DoubleChin with an actual double chin. 

3. Peach Farm

During the Lunar New Year, seafood dishes are commonly the center of the feast, as they symbolize luxury and decadence. Peach Farm is your go-to Boston Chinese restaurant for classically prepared Cantonese-style seafood. A notable item to try is the fried soft shell crab, which put Peach Farm on the map.

If you aren’t a seafood person (a hard person to be in Boston), do not fret, as their menu consists of over 200 items that can satisfy any craving you have during the Year of the Dog.

4. Dumpling Palace

For some of Boston’s best dumplings, stop by Dumpling Palace on Massachusetts Ave in Back Bay. The variety of economical options include mini juicy dumplings with pork and crabmeat for only $7.75 and Taiwan-style pan fried dumplings for the same price. Don’t forget to order the Cantonese-style two-piece spring roll item as well, which symbolizes wealth during the lunar new year.

As an added bonus, you don’t have to feel guilty for eating a few orders of dumplings on your own: legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during this 15-day timeframe, the more money you will make during the rest of the year.

5. Happy Lamb Hot Pot

Across the Charles River in Cambridge lies Happy Lamb Hot Pot, which adapts an inner Mongolian style of cooking popular in the northern provinces of China. As with most hot-pot restaurants, the bubbling broth is the star of the show, simmered expertly for hours with a select variety of spices.

Happy Lamb will allow you to engage fully with your dining experience, as you can cook the various meats, seafood, and vegetables for yourself at the table. Invite a group of family members to dig in with you in order to celebrate the community-centric values that embody Chinese New Year.

6. Mala 

tea, dumpling, coffee
Alex Frank

For a different take on hot pot, you should also check out Mala in Allston, easily accessible from the Green Line. You can customize your Mala Hot Pot, which is prepared in the kitchen using dry techniques, to include whichever vegetables or meat items you wish, and the Sichuan roots of the restaurant will ensure that your communal meal is packed with the fragrant and spicy notes that mark the cuisine of this southwest region of China. 

7. ShangHai Gate

George Thomson

Also located in Allston, ShangHai Gates Shanghainese offerings are a bit different from those of the mostly Cantonese and Sichuan style Boston Chinese restaurants. Regulars at ShangHai Gate recommend the Shanghai soup which includes lean pork, bacon, tofu, and bamboo shoots in broth.

Don’t leave ShangHai Gate without trying an order of noodles, which symbolize longevity in Chinese culture, and be sure to check out their weekend Dim Sum menu for a true feast. 

Chinese New Year, which begins February 16, is the the optimal time of the year to take advantage of the delectable variety of geographically-diverse Chinese dishes accessible in the greater Boston area. So go eat dumplings, noodles, seafood, hot pot, and the abundance of other dishes available.

More importantly, in the true spirit of the Year of the Dog, use these restaurants as a gathering place to cherish another year of life with family and friends. Because after all, isn't that what food is all about?