In 2007, Joanne Chang and Christopher Myers, opened Myers+Chang as a neighborhood restaurant — a complement to the empire of Flour bakeries sprinkled throughout Greater Boston that each exist as institutions in their devoted regions of the city.
They achieved their goal; as today, there’s no mistaking Myers+Chang’s South End locale, where the husband-wife duo show off their “Asian-ish” menu, all while staying committed to embracing guests with simple manners. “Yes” and “welcome back” are two phrases that regulars will get used to alongside the contemporary fusion of Eastern and Western flavors.
For the rare Bostonian who’s yet to dine here or the out-of-towner seeking the most authentic experience, Chang shares her must-order dishes from starters to dessert, below.
Mama Chang’s Pork and Chive Dumplings
“I grew up eating (and making) these dumplings every weekend,” shares Chang on this nostalgic dish that’s filled with two types of ground pork, garlic and served with a black pepper-scallion dipping sauce. “My mom would set up a dumpling wrapping section on our kitchen table and she would fly through making dozens and dozens of dumplings while I would fold one or two while I was playing with my dolls and Legos. I got faster as I got older and we eventually would challenge each other to see who could make the most. She usually won… and hers were always prettier.”
Non-traditional Scallion Pancakes
Though Chang says scallion pancakes can often be doughy and chewy, this is not what you’ll receive at Myers+Chang — instead, expect a light, airy, fluffy pancake. “I used to love getting fried dough at the state fair and wondered what would happen if I used the focaccia dough we make at Flour as the base for a scallion cake,” explains Chang on her inspiration to create the non-traditional pancake. “I folded scallions and sesame oil into the dough, rolled it into a disk, and pan fried it. It was feather light and crispy on the edges and soft inside. It’s not traditional to use a yeasted dough for scallion cakes but it is so worth it.”
Tables can opt to order and share these mussels or as they live under the fish and game section of the menu, they can act as a standalone dish — after all, Chang says she can eat the broth comprised of lemongrass paste, butter, garlic, and fish sauce by the spoonful. “The mussels go into a blazing hot wok along with the lemongrass and a handful of cilantro. The juice from the mussels combines with the paste to make an amazing sauce that you can dip the buttered toast points into. Guests almost always ask for seconds of toast to sop up all the juices.”
Pan Roasted Soy Glazed Salmon
“This is the dish that started the restaurant!” exclaims Chang, adding that it’s her favorite dish by far. The salmon is pan roasted and glazed with soy, sugar, rice wine vinegar, sambal chili and lots of ginger. It’s topped with charred scallions and cilantro and a pickled cucumber salad and served on white rice. “I used to make this for Christopher when we were dating and he fell in love with it. ‘Why can’t you get a dish like this in Chinese restaurants?’ he would ask me. We decided to open our own so we could feature this and other dishes that we both loved.”
Wok Charred Udon Noodles with Chicken and Bok Choy
Motivated to recreate a traditional noodle dish from Chinatown with their own special spin, Chang concocted what is now one of their most popular dishes. “We char chewy udon noodles in a wok and then add sliced chicken and onions and baby bok choy. The sauce is spicy and a little sweet with soy and oyster sauce. We add a generous spoon of salty black beans at the end to give it umami and finish it off with a drizzle of sesame oil.”
Vanilla Bean Parfait with Orange Granita
Having started her Boston career in pastries, diners would be remiss not to save room for a sweet treat. Myers+Chang make the vanilla bean parfait (a French style ice cream and it is luscious and creamy) in house with heavy cream and vanilla beans. “We top it with shavings of orange granita and fresh oranges and grapefruit; the granita melts into the parfait and it makes the best creamsicle you’ve ever had,” says Chang.
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