East Ocean City is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston, and has some of the best authentic Cantonese seafood I’ve had. When I’m asked for a recommendation in Chinatown this is the place I always suggest. The menu (or I should say menus) is huge, and they have a mix of delicacies like shark fin soup, which I have yet to try, and more casual dishes. I’ve brought many friends here over the years, and no one has ever been disappointed. I have a few staples from the menu that I always order (the top three are fried bean cake and minced shrimp, spicy salted soft shell crab, and clams with black bean sauce), but each time I go I try to get at least one thing I’ve never had before.
When you walk in there are tanks of fresh fish and jumbo crab. The seafood selections change based on what they have in, although there are a few items that seem to always be on the menu. I went for dinner recently and tried a mix of old and new.
I started with an old favorite, the fried bean cake with minced shrimp (pi pa tofu). This isn’t the type of thing I would have ordered in the past, but my first time here was with a Cantonese friend who insisted I try it (she said it was a very traditional dish, not many places in Boston have it, and swore I would like it). It's a huge plate of fried tofu, stuffed with shrimp, and served in a sweet sauce. The tofu is crispy on the outside, and the inside is soft and delicious. Now I crave it on a regular basis, and go to East Ocean City specifically for this dish.
Next I tried the chow foon with beef, green pepper and onion. This came with wide egg noodles in a sweet sauce and large strips of marinated steak. This was some of the best beef I’ve had at a Chinese restaurant, but I’m not sure I’d order it again because I love the seafood dishes even more. But, if you’re not in the mood for seafood I would highly recommend this dish.
I also tried the scallops with black pepper sauce: The scallops were fresh and cooked perfectly (medium, which is how I like them), and the black pepper sauce was surprisingly light and not spicy. It was served in a bed of broccoli, and was one of the lighter dishes I've tried here.
Like always, I had a great experience at East Ocean and will definitely return again soon. I will continue to recommend it as one of the best places in Chinatown, with the caveat that you should go with a large group to try as many things as possible!