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Top Chef Travels: Ming Tsai's Boston

Ming Tsai has made a name for himself as the premier chef of East-West cuisine. As the owner and chef of popular Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and host/executive producer of the cooking show Simply Ming, Ming Tsai showcases the fusion of Eastern and Western flavors, dishes, and culinary techniques.

Q: Where are some of your favorite places to eat in Boston?

A: In Porter Square there's a place called Sapporo Ramen (1815 Massachusetts Ave. 617/876-4805). It makes the best miso udon noodles. It's just unimaginable that you can finish this bowl of noodles, and I finish it every time. It's like $8.50 or 9 bucks and it's so good. The only other claim to fame at Porter Square is Japonaise Bakery (1815 Massachusetts Ave. 617/547-5531), which makes these great little sandwiches and this adzuki bean puree with a whipped-cream doughnut. It is off the charts. I don't care how many calories it is, it's delicious. I will run 6 mi to have one of those.

Q: Are there any other restaurants in Boston that you like?

A: Yeah, Uni and Clio. When Clio opened, it really took Boston by storm, and it's really one of the top places in Boston. Clio is fine dining, with white tablecloths and the whole nine yards. If my parents were in town and it was a holiday, I'd go to Clio. But [Uni] is very unconventional. There's no sushi rice, so it's a sashimi bar. Almost 90% of the menu is raw. There are a couple of hot things that come from the Clio kitchen, but most is raw. [Ken Oringer] gets pristine fish from Japan, and obviously uni, sea urchin, is one of his signature products.

Q: Are there any bars that you really like?

A: I love the Eastern Standard in the Hotel Commonwealth. It's a very Old French bistro-style bar—good burgers, good fries. We tend to go there for beers before a Fenway game.

Q: Are there any other places you like to go for a bite on the day of the game?

A: Jasper White's Summer Shack (50 Dalton St. 617/867–9955) is great for Rhode Island calamari, roasted lobster, fried clams—the best raw bar. He always has the best oysters and clams. And as a fun thing, if it happens to rain and you don't go to the game, you can go downstairs to King's Bowling Alley (50 Dalton St. 617/266–2695), where there is fluorescent or neon bowling. That's always a good place to burn an afternoon during crappy weather.

Q: Tell us about Blue Ginger. What can people expect when dining there?

A: It's very casual. I mean we have people who come in tuxes and people who come in shorts. It's an open kitchen—the entertainment, action, the feel, the smells are all in the restaurant.

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