Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898 | SUBSCRIBE

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Tastes and Tables

Pork Bao and Bubble Waffles

January-February 2018

Pork bao at Shōjō

Photograph courtesy of Shōjō

 

Pork bao at Shōjō

Photograph courtesy of Shōjō

 

Chinatown's hip Shōjō serves addictive Asian-fusion tapas with a quirky Western twist. Japanese sweet-potato tots are dipped in miso tare aioli ($8). Chicken and Hong Kong bubble waffles (a popular street-food item) come slathered with five-spice butter ($16). And the resident hamburger, the “Shōjōnator,” is housed in a steamed bao-style bun and topped with smoked bacon and “kimcheese.” Shōjō is best known for its baos—pork, shrimp, and vegetarian versions—with a rich BBQ sauce, and a singularly delicious chili-cheese mess the kitchen calls “shadowless” duck-fat hand-cut fries ($11).

Fresh juices and stylized cocktails complement any dish—try The Loneliest Monk (aged rum, Frangelico, pineapple, and lime juices; $12). Shōjō also offers fine Japanese spirits and a crazy-long list of pricey whiskeys. People come to have fun. The place is run by a young generation of longtime Chinatown restaurateurs: the team’s also responsible for the ramen shop Ruckus (as in the Wu-Tang Clan song, “Bring Da Ruckus”) next door, and the revamped BLR by Shōjō. All have helped revive Chinatown’s reputation among a hip, young crowd. “Shōjō’s a place to bring a fun parent,” one 20-something patron said, “not like my parents.” (Although anyone of any age averse to a loud, typically hip-hop, soundtrack is forewarned.)

Japanese for school-aged girl, shōjō is also a reference to shōjō manga, the comic books and magazines targeting that demographic—as the restaurant’s graffiti-styled wall graphics, murals with warriors, dragons, mystical mountains, and other anime décor attest. Just how that theme links to the menu is not so clear, but, when distracted by friends, drinks, pounding music, and that first bite into a freshly steamed pork bao it doesn’t seem to matter.

 

Harvard Squared

A guide to the arts and culture, history, cuisine, and natural beauty of Cambridge, Boston, and beyond

You Might Also Like:

HUDS leadership meets with Red’s Best CEO Jared Auerbach in the organization’s headquarters on Boston Fish Pier. From left to right: David Davidson (HUDS managing director), Bruce Calvert (director for residential dining operations), Martin Breslin (director for culinary operations), Jared Auerbach, Crista Martin (HUDS director for strategic initiatives and communications), and Akeisha Hayde (executive chef for residential dining)

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Harvard University Dining Services promotes green practices

Sashimi carpaccio

Photograph courtesy of Kamakura

Japanese Elegance

Seafood ceviche at Celeste, in Somerville

Photograph courtesy of the restaurant

Favorite restaurants in Greater Boston

You Might Also Like:

HUDS leadership meets with Red’s Best CEO Jared Auerbach in the organization’s headquarters on Boston Fish Pier. From left to right: David Davidson (HUDS managing director), Bruce Calvert (director for residential dining operations), Martin Breslin (director for culinary operations), Jared Auerbach, Crista Martin (HUDS director for strategic initiatives and communications), and Akeisha Hayde (executive chef for residential dining)

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Harvard University Dining Services promotes green practices

Sashimi carpaccio

Photograph courtesy of Kamakura

Japanese Elegance

Seafood ceviche at Celeste, in Somerville

Photograph courtesy of the restaurant

Favorite restaurants in Greater Boston