Once upon a time, Tic Tacs and Slim Jims were the extent of “liquor store cuisine.” Then we stumbled upon Bao Nation, a funky Asian steamed bun and dumpling den tucked in the rear of Central Square’s Libby’s Liquors. Pass the wine racks to find a bright red, mural-covered room serving little bamboo boxes holding inventively stuffed bao, like the clever “M.I.T.” of minced lamb dusted in coconut-chili powder and a spicy lemon sauce. Pledge allegiance.
571 Mass. Ave., Cambridge • (617) 633-5975
2014 Winner: Gene’s Chinese Flatbread
This modest downtown storefront is Boston’s only outlet for Shaanxi cuisine...
- 86 Bedford St., Boston
- (617) 482-1888
2017 Winner: Maná Escondido Cafe
South Enders frequently carp about the neighborhood’s lack of quality cheap eats...
- 68 Aguadilla St., Boston
- (617) 266-0900
2018 Winner: Oisa Ramen Slurp & Go
- 1 3/4 Broad St., Boston
- (617) 670-0126