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China Pearl Dim Sum: still good

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China Pearl used to be my favorite dim sum place, but haven't been in a few years, ever since I was introduced to Hei La Moon.

I convinced a couple other people to return, in the name of scientific research. We were all very happy with the quality of the food. Since there were only three of us, we could not go crazy and order absolutely everything, but we hit the basics. All the variations of dumplings (shu mai, et al--I don't know all the names!) tasted good and well prepared. The turnip cake (or is it radish?) was actually better than I remember at HLM's. Everything else was just as good, at the least, as HLM.

We also ordered some sliced pork. I've never had this at dim sum, but this was a very pleasant surprise. I think I will definitely order that again.

I went into this excursion thinking "well, if it's good, that will be nice to know, but I'll probably stick with HLM." Now I'm not so sure that I won't return much sooner!

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  1. What's involved in the sliced pork?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Luther

      Well, I'm bad at describing stuff and picking out seasonings. But it had what, to me, seemed like a slightly sweet coating, probably from the sauce used but also from the fat of the pork. Tender and nicely cooked. Small, dim sum size--maybe 4 ounces? There were some julienned vegetables on the side also.

      1. re: Alcachofa

        The sliced pork is basically just a serving of char siu. It's a relatively recent addition to the carts, but I always grab it when I see it: Allstonian and I have a cadre of friends we've been eating dim sum with for years, but although China Pearl is by far our favorite place in Chinatown, a large part of the menu is off limits to me because I'm allergic to shrimp. So it's bao and broccoli and clams in black bean sauce and custard tarts and vegetables in tofu wrappers and the like for me. Oh, the agony.

        1. re: Alcachofa

          This is also usually served cold I believe, at least when i Have had it at dimsum. On a oval plate covered in saran wrap.

          China Pearl and HLM are owned by the same people so it makes sence they are on par with each other. We mix it up once and a while and go to China Pearl too. One thing they do better at HLM i think is the salt/pepper calamari. I like all the small tentacles they give you.

          1. re: hargau

            That's it..with the saran wrap. Also duck..served the same way. Similar to what they sell at Hong Kong Eatery and a few other places. I don't recall seeing it before at any of the local dimsum places.

            At CP, they had the calamari and s/p shrimp at the hot table where you "get your own." We had a good view and could have snagged some hot off the stove but didn't have the stomach room..:)

            I remember you mentioning that HLM and CP had the same ownership. Both very good.

            1. re: 9lives

              Last time we got the duck plate at CP there was too much fat, not enough duck. We get the s/p calamari at CP from the hot table but we like the tentacles and HLM has ALL tentacles! CP has very few, mostly bodies

              1. re: hargau

                I'm a tentacle guy myself..so HLM next time..:)

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                Nice pics/research below.

                1. re: 9lives

                  Yea im not sure what they use at HLM perhaps baby squid? But they are entire small clusters of tentacles, no bodies. But only off the cart. If you order it from the kitchen, then its all bodies! Attached are photos of both at HLM

      2. I have to say that the last time I went to China Pearl I was really disappointed. CP has always been my staple dim sum restaurant in Boston (for lack of anything better - I'm Chinese and from L.A., so my standards are probably off), but the last time I went - about two months ago - with a few friends, I found the dumplings dry, the baos over cooked, and they had no cha sieu cheung fun. A friend of mine swears by Hei la Moon, and I think I agree that it's of better quality over all.