Food - Drink
Why Potstickers Are Called Peking Ravioli In Boston
You probably know them as potstickers or dumplings, but in Boston, they’re known as Peking ravioli. Boston was and remains heavily populated by Irish and Italian immigrants and their descendants, as well as many Chinese Americans; the three cultures have greatly influenced each other — especially when it comes to food.
The early Chinese population in Boston was so small that their restaurants could not stay in business catering to their neighborhood alone. At the turn of the 20th century, the Irish and Italian immigrants in the city became the first non-Chinese people to eat Chinese food, and it was this relationship that gave Peking ravioli its name.
In 1958, PBS icon Joyce Chen opened her first restaurant in Cambridge and changed the name of the classic dumplings to Peking ravioli to appeal to her Italian clientele. The name stuck, and you’re still likely to see Peking ravioli on Chinese food menus throughout Boston to this day as a nod to the melting-pot immigrant community of the city.