Shojo: Modern Asian Fusion from the Center of Chinatown

By Bovey Rao ‘19

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It is obvious by now that I have a profound love of Asian food. While I am unfortunately underwhelmed by the Chinese food in Boston, I adore the prevalence of other Asian cuisines. Even more intriguing to me are Asian fusion restaurants. Given my glowing review of Asian fusion powerhouse, Mei Mei, it is only natural that I visit Shojo, another Asian fusion icon in Chinatown. As they prepare to expand with a ramen shop, Ruckus Noodles, Shojo is a dining destination worth a visit.

In the center of Chinatown, there are a plethora of delicious Asian dining options from Chinese and Japanese hot pot to dim sum to traditional Chinese dumplings. Why would anyone go to the hipster joint with rock music blaring and Ip Man 2 on the TV? I asked myself this questions as I walked into Shojo with a few companions. It had a small dining room but was packed with a young crowd. After being seated, I glossed over the menu and was overwhelmed the number of delicious options. A waitress offered her insights and informed us of the specials for the day.

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Starting with an order of their famous suckling pig bao, I could scarcely hold myself back when they arrived. Whenever I see pork bao on the menu, I will tend to order them as one of my favorite dishes. Biting into these pork buns, I was simultaneously enthused and slightly underwhelmed. The tender pork meshed with the crisp cucumber and sweet steamed bun. However, the overtly smoky barbeque sauce was overpowering and prevented me from fully enjoying the bao.

 

Our Shadowless Duck Fat Fries came out next. This dish has stood out amongst the crowd of starches when it won Boston Magazine’s best potato course. Crunchy fries with a mildly spiced mapo tofu, thick cheese sauce, and light scallions. The decadence of this dish is truly laudable as we devoured it in a hurry. My single qualm was that I wished the mapo tofu spicier to balance with the creaminess of the cheese. However, I truly respect the creativity and depth to this Asian and American amalgamation.

The peanut sauce ramen and the daily special arrived concurrently. With an eclectic mix of peanut sauce, grapes, and cucumbers, the ramen was slightly convoluted. However, the flavors surprisingly meshed excellently and evoked a sense of childhood nostalgia. The daily special of seafood squid ink ramen was visually impactful with the jet-black noodles. With a light creamy sauce, the collection of scallops, mussels, clams, and calamari was elegantly and subtly flavored. I was quite upset that this dish is not a menu staple, as they elevated ramen to another level. To finish, I had the kimchi fried rice, a traditional rendition with aromatic jasmine rice. Topped with an expertly fried egg, it was a savory and spicy masterpiece.

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During the course of the meal, I was enthralled with the exceptional bar service. With bartenders mixing and shaking complex cocktails, I lamented being underage. However, I strongly encourage visiting the bar as there was a constant stream of activity. Loud and hip, you must find your way to Shojo for exceptional Asian fusion cuisine. There are incredible restaurants in Chinatown, and Shojo stands out as the wild little brother.


Shojo

Location: 9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

Reservation: Reserve or Call (617)-423-7888

Stand out dishes: Shadowless Duck Fat Fries, Seafood Squid Ink Ramen

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Food: 4/5

Service: 5/5

Atmosphere: 4/5 (Loud)

Feel free to contact the writer at boveyrao@college.harvard.edu with food musings, dining requests, or any restaurant advice!

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