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New Dim Sum - Hong Kong Pearl Falls Church

I'm going to repost my review from another site. Recommend that Chowhounders check it out and add your own opinions:

We visited for dim sum on Sunday morning, the place was about 2/3 full. The carts were nonstop, delectable, and laden with all of the normal dim sum offerings, including plenty of Cantonese broccoli with garlic and cucumber salads.

We had fried squid; clams with bean sauce; cucumber salad; and char sui beef noodles (fat noodles); and chicken feet. Everything was very good. I like that the food was lightly spiced so that you can add as much soy and hot chili oil as you like to meet your personal taste.

The clams were great: succulent, slightly briny, and cooked perfectly. The squid was the same, with plenty of nice and delicate purpilish tentacled pieces on the plate. All of the food was as it should be and (thankfully) no MSG afterburn as we've experienced with a couple other places in NoVA in recent months.

Service was impeccable, we were asked by the waitresses at least 5 times over 45 minutes if everything was OK, and there were lots of carts coming by throughout the meal.

It's great to have a new Cantonese and Sunday dim sum offering in the Falls Church area . We've been to Fortune twice in recent weeks, Hokkaido a couple times, and Mark's DH in not more than once in the last year+.

We'll definitely be going back to HK Pearl.

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    1. re: flavrmeistr

      looks like it is in that shopping strip across wilson blvd from eden center….
      where there is castro's bakery and kabob express.

      (from yelp)
      Hong Kong Pearl Seafood Restaurant

      Category: Seafood
      6286 Arlington Blvd
      Falls Church, VA 22044
      (703) 237-1388

      1. re: alkapal

        Gosh, they move fast over there. I walk through that shopping center every couple of weeks and didn't see this one coming.

        I'll have to swing by and see if they have dim sum for lunch and how extensive the non-shrimp selection is.

        1. re: MikeR

          They seemed to have a good selection of non-shrimp items like duck, pork, and beef.

    2. Sorry, forgot to note a few things:

      1 - Yes, it's directly across Wilson Blvd. from the main Eden Center entrance as others have noted.
      2 - Prices are reasonable, pretty much the same as Fortune (which is across Rt. 50). About $30 for 5 decent-sized items off the cart. Oddly there's a minor charge for tea. $1.50 for 2 people.
      3 - From what I could tell it opened Nov. 15.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Geeyore

        I dined here a few times since opening and by far, they are the most authentic Chinese restaurant around. I used to stick with Miu Kee along route 50 for a convenient Chinese meal but being born from Hong Kong, I've been longing for something close to back home... And I finally found it. Although my first two times there the operation seem a little fuzzy I think they are getting their stuff together. Service is usually good until high peak time, had to ask more than once for service. Food quality surprised me the most with their consistency. Overall, this place has become my familys new hot spot.

        Some extra bonuses is
        1) CLEAN and glamorous spacious seatings unlike Fortune, XO, Marks DH, Miu Kee, and other local Chinese restaurant.
        2) attentive service from waiters and management. Don't get it like that elsewhere
        3) huge portions for a reasonable cost... Vinh Kee big thumbs down.on this
        4) dim sum served everyday... May I add AUTHENTIC ones????

        Hard to find a place like this.. been living in Falls Church for 20 years... Finally some good eats

        Thanks for posting this allowing me to share my experience too

        1. re: Geeyore

          And with your note about tea cost, my family gets those tea charges as well at all places during dim sum hours. It has been a Chinese tradition back home and restaurants here carries that same method. Thankfully, teas are a complement of dim sum!

          1. re: Geeyore

            "Oddly there's a minor charge for tea. $1.50 for 2 people."

            Tea is the new profit center. For years and years (and still, in a few restaurants, for example Hong Kong Palace) it was standard for a pot of teat to be brought to your table as soon as you're seated - no charge. But more and more are charging for tea. We just tried Absolute Thai (reviewed elsewhere on this board) Sunday and a pot of hot water with a tea bag was THREE #%&*@! DOLLARS ! ! ! ! ! !

            At least their water is still free.

            1. re: MikeR

              neither xo nor hkp charge for tea (unless mr. alka has just missed seeing it on the bill.).

              and the water is definitely free. i think xo has better water than hkp. ;-).

              1. re: alkapal

                that's because xo does not deal with dim sum. fortune/chinagarden/hkpearl does not charge for tea after dim sum hours :)

                1. re: itlooksfast

                  i wonder why that evolved…that tea is only charged at dim sum?

                  1. re: alkapal

                    i just leartned why the tea is charged for at dim sum -- because originally, it was the dim sum that was to accompany the TEA. (see photo -- a screen shot from M.Y. China FB page -- that is Martin Yan's soon to open all day dim sum restaurant in San Francisco). ""Did you know that dim sum is considered Chinese brunch? It's traditionally eaten as the first meal of the day but late enough to be
                    considered lunch. """

                    and not just any old tea, of course. this wiki article is helpful on the tea types.

                    Getting ready for the Year of the Dragon?

                    edit -- this photo won't delete, but obviously it is not the screen shot from M.Y. China! It is the BBQ slider from the Stockton NJ Farmer's Market, posted by Katie Parla. …..Don't ask. LOL.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      here is the correct photo, fwiw.

                      basically, i wanted to capture this language: ""M.Y. China
                      Did you know dim sum were originally made to complement the tea drinking "yum cha" experience? Without tea, there is no dim sum! Read on to learn more about the history and etiquette.""

                      and i got a kick out of the fact that martin yan actually incorporates by reference wiki for its information. i like wiki and am glad to see it is not so maligned anymore. we even gave them a donation in 2011. they need help.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Yes, that's the 'yum cha' (tea drinking) aspects of dim sum. I had a Singaporean friend and she would say "let's go for yum cha' instead of dim sim/dim sum.

            2. stopped by at 9:30 last evening on way home from our indian dinner @ raaga (chef ramesh is better than ever…great tandoori salmon, seekh kabob, chicken aachari & special-need-to-call-ahead punjabi curry).

              at hong kong pearl, there was nobody dining, but staff around. i was quickly greeted by a very friendly & engaging young american-chinese hostess. i wanted a take-out menu, but it is "still being printed." likewise, the website is still under construction. i told her to look up the nice review here on chowhound.com. she wrote it down.

              they had some nice looking roast ducks in the heat case, though i wasn't up close.

              the space is well-lit with unobtrusive ambient lighting. it is nice, high-capacity & spacious (high ceiling and decent space between tables, iirc). it has good, solid and ample padded chairs -- so very different than the usual in the area, for sure. white tablecloths!

              they have obviously invested some substantial money for a superior dining room.

              it is clearly a cut above in the area -- at least for decor (which is all i can comment on for now). can't wait to try it. open till 2 am!!
              ps, xo taste isn't dirty. it is very clean and spacious and contemporary in design. we like it & go frequently. mr. alka thinks the owners are vietnamese…. (aren't there vietnamese dishes on the menu?). but wooden chairs and no tablecloths!

              1. Hong Kong Pearl Seafood Restaurant

                Category: Seafood
                6286 Arlington Blvd
                Falls Church, VA 22044
                (703) 237-1388

                i was trying to create a restaurant link, but i guess i don't know what i'm doing here. ;-)).

                1. I just went to this place last Saturday with my family. Here's my assessment:

                  FOOD: Okay (will elaborate below)

                  SERVICE: Good overall but we had one waitress who toward the end of our meal kept trying to get us to pick items from the vegetable/bbq meat cart. My Mom kept telling her in Cantonese that we'll look at the carts and then decide on our own

                  PRICE: The OP said the prices are reasonable. I guess I have a different definition of reasonable. This place is very expensive for dim sum. According to the dim sum menu, the shrimp cheong fun is $5.25. That's outrageous. And the pineapple buns are $4.25. You can go to Oriental East and get the same items for $3.75 and $2.75 respectively.

                  DECOR: I don't really care about this too much. I'm only bringing it up cause another poster mentioned this. For the prices they're charging, I would expect something fancier. The chairs felt really cheap. The bathroom stalls have nice granite partitions. Looks like black galaxy :)

                  It was nice to try a new dim sum place especially one that is located in Virginia. My parents knew two of the ladies pushing the dim sum carts, we knew one of the waitresses from Sampan Cafe, and we saw one of the waiters from a week earlier at Asian Delight in Fairfax. So it was like a family reunion and they treated us well. The pushy waitress I mentioned above was separate from this group.

                  Anyway, we ordered pineapple buns, egg custard tarts, steamed char siu bao, steamed buns with egg custard, beef tripe, fried turnip cake, bean curd sheets wrapped around pork, siu mai, har gow, fried pork dumpling (ham sui gok), sticky rice in lotus leaves, beef chow fun, beef rice noodle crepe, and fried doughnut rice noodle crepe.

                  Let's start with the BAD. The char siu filling in the steamed char siu bao was dry. The fried doughnut rice noodle crepe wasn't fresh. The fried doughnut was soggy since it had been sitting in soy sauce for a while. The "skin" on the steamed egg custard buns had been soaked with water from being in the steamers so they were like glue. The filling was good. The siu mai looked like the frozen kind you can buy at the grocery store.

                  Next is the AVERAGE. The beef in the beef rice noodle crepe tasted more like pork breakfast sausage. That in and of itself does not make it bad but it didn't taste the way I expected it to. The beef chow fun had nice flavor but no "wok hei" and no char on the noodles. It probably would have been better if we had ordered it rather than pick it off the cart. The custard in the egg custard tart did not have much egg flavor.

                  Finally, the GOOD. The fried turnip cake had lots of turnip shreds. The bean curd sheets wrapped around pork were big and delicious. But the absolute best thing of all were the pineapple buns. Three small/medium sized buns per order. Nice flavor and a perfect egg custard filling with the right texture. They are absolutely the best pineapple buns you can find anywhere in the D.C. area at any bakery or dim sum place.

                  On a sidenote, my parents did buy some BBQ pork and some roast pork from the meat section in the front of the restaurant. The BBQ pork was too sweet and there was too much red coloring. The roast pork had nice crispy skin but not enough five spice for me. I would go to XO for these items.

                  I will go back just for the pineapple buns.

                  Some other posters mentioned paying for tea. Every single dim sum place I've gone to over the last 30 years in the D.C. area has charged for tea. Back at the old Tung Bor when it was in Wheaton right across from the Safeway on Georgia Avenue, sometimes the host, George (now owner of Good Fortune), would waive the tea fee for us.

                  As for owners of XO Taste being Vietnamese? A lot of the dim sum/Cantonese style places in Falls Church are owned by Chinese from Vietnam "Yuet Nam Wah Kiu". XO may fall in this category. Fortune across the street and New Fortune in Gaithersburg definitely fall in this category. According to one of the HK Pearl waiters, the owner is from HK.

                  There are a lot of Vietnamese in Falls Church. That would explain why you see the menu items written in Chinese, English and Vietnamese at places like XO, Fortune and HK Pearl.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: nova_ssss

                    ok, well, you have given us a lot to consider….. but what about the idea that the vietnamese own xo? you were not definitive.

                    i DO HAVE TO NOTE that two of these posts above are from first-time posters (WELCOME), so i am just a little interested in seeing follow-up posts.

                    1. re: nova_ssss

                      1) Huh? Vietnamese-Chinese ethnicity and restaurant ownership is worth dissecting? How very odd. You ever hear of Cho Lon in Saigon? Or Eden Center?
                      2) Go to Fortune dim sum next weekend. See what you get for any equivalent $$ amount. Pricing isn't much different, Seven Corners restaurant owners do this kind of competitive reconnaissance, and so might you. I am delighted to have a new alternative to Mark's Duck House and Fortune.
                      3) I could not care one whit about decor, so long as everything is clean. Which HK Pearl appeared to be.
                      4) Yeah, they gently encouraged us to buy stuff from the carts. I didn't find it rude or bothersome, that's what owning a dim sum restaurant is all about, yes?
                      5) Happy that your family knows some of the staff. Other Chowhound posters might also.

                      1. re: Geeyore

                        Chinese from Vietnam are still Chinese. Many still speak their Chinese family dialect (usually Cantonese or Teo Chew) as 3rd or 4th generation Chinese in VN or US immigrants. Most of my favorite Cantonese restos and the only Teo-Chew restos I have ever been to in the US are owned by Chinese from Vietnam. Do Cantonese people from HK and China look down on Chinese from VN? Could be, but I think the food is great. I actually made this thread when I first moved to the DC metro area looking in particular for Chinese-Vietnamese owned Chinese restos b/c I love their typical menu offerings:


                        1. re: luckyfatima

                          hey lucky fatima, that place where we ate in eden center was chinese-vietnamese (your pick, in fact ;-), and i wish that i could have gotten a take-out menu to look at the dishes more closely -- and at leisure to research.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Yep I didn't think Cho Cu was bad but it wasn't the best place ever, a bit greasy. I believe it must be owned by Chinese from Vietnam although our waitress that day was Chinese and didn't speak Vietnamese. I definitely want to try Vinh Kee (definitely Chinese from VN) and XO Taste soon.

                      2. re: nova_ssss

                        I agree with Geeyores p.o.v. Hell, my family loved how interactive they are. And before you think I evaluated my experiences of a restaurant partly because of their decoration, may you read again: EXTRA BONUSES. Have a nice day

                      3. We had dim sum at Hong Kong Pearl this last Saturday (12-10), arriving just about noon, and were seated immediately in a mostly full dining room. We were impressed by the food; this is the best dim sum we've had in NoVa in many years, and we'll be back. The first cart that came by had a stewed tripe and turnip dish and what I think was pork skin, though we were told it was tripe. The pork skin was our only failed dish; one or two pieces were enough because it just didn't have sufficient flavor or texture to fill up on it. We also had:

                        --gingered tripe from the steam cart, which was very tasty, but could have been cut into smaller chunks
                        --steamed shrimp dumplings, very good, with a nice mix of chunks and smooth paste
                        -- clams in black bean sauce, an exceptionally good rendition of the sauce
                        -- Fried chive dumplings from the hot fry plate cart; my daughter did not care for these (usually a favorite elsewhere), complaining that the chive taste of the filling was too strong. The adults thought it was excellent.
                        --fluffy steamed meatballs from the steam cart--sort of like Lion's head without all the veggies. These were amazingly light.
                        --fried eggplant stuffed with fish/shrimp paste. The paste was a lot fluffier than we're accustomed to getting with this dish, but it worked well.
                        --fresh tofu in ginger sauce
                        --baked char sui bao from the dessert cart. Probably a little too sweet, and would have been better hot. But my husband said that he really liked having them served without a piece of paper welded to the bottom.

                        We didn't see any pineapple buns, alas. The wait staff were very helpful when we started making inquiries about desserts; the tofu cart had disappeared and they brought that out special for us and also brought some gelatin dishes to show my daughter when she inquired about mango pudding, which they do not have.

                        Has anyone spotted the double-fried shrimp there? That's one of my mom's favorite dishes.

                        1. on one night last week, we enjoyed their beef chow fun ("dry"..not with gravy) -- there was nice caramelization on the noodles, and they weren't greasy. it was good quality beef and a good size portion. we liked the roast duck (but it is not as good as XO, in my opinion), and had the wild leek and dried scallop soup (expensive for what it is -- and i know the ingredients are expensive, but there is not that much bang for the buck).

                          we tried to go today to hong kong pearl for dim sum, around 1:20 pm and they were slammed. you should have seen the parking lot. we ended up at miu kee, which was very busy, but we were seated in less than 10 minutes. we got the wonton soup with noodles and wonton, and so that was OK, but i still like xo's dumplings better-- the shrimp seem fresher and the wontons are larger. the roast meats platter was good -- soy chicken, roast duck and crispy pig. i'm not sure which one we preferred (mr. alka liked the crispy skin). we also got the shredded pork chow fun, but i didn't order it "dry." the noodles were stuck together, and in a cornstarch-laden sauce,. meh. they did however, have the BEST plum sauce that they brought with the roast meats.

                          the sizzling beef looked really popular, along with a deep fried tofu with shrimp paste. next time…. also the stir fried water spinach looked very popular, along with a clams dish (with black bean sauce?). i was also intrigued by the mixed seafood hot pot.

                          i also want to try the shrimp balls stuffed with scallop.

                          by the way, a trash can they used was a huge -- and i'm not exaggerating -- empty container of MSG. LOL

                          ps, in line with my recent post on pork barrel bbq, where i gave a movie review…. for today it is: "sherlock holmes, the game of shadows"…it starts off slow, but gets good about ½ hour in. worth it. a good one -- holmes and watson have some kick-ass skills. tomorrow…tin tin. ;-).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: alkapal

                            Alkapal -- Just to be clear, is your report above in paragraphs 2,3,4,5 of Miu Kee or HK Pearl?

                            It wouldn't surprise me if Miu Kee had massive empty MSG containers in their trash - they have gone downhill over the last 5 years IMO - but it would disappoint me if HK Pearl was starting out on that foot.

                          2. We hit Hong Kong Pearl for dim sum on New Year's Day. The place was mobbed and they were somewhat overwhelmed but once we were seated we were very well taken care of. The food was for the most part very good. They had some new kinds of dumplings that we had never seen before -- one in particular with carrots and other veggies was really good. The fried squid and baby clams were up to par as well. Good chow foon too. We'll be back.

                            We also got some excellent help from a young lady (not one of the cart pushers). She brought us several things that we wanted but didn't see on carts, and checked on us regularly..

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Bob W

                              we really liked hkpearl's beef chow foon -- "dry" and "spicy" is how we requested it. $13.95 for a large portion. good wok char.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                Did you guys see the Dragon Dance on Chinese New Years Eve HK pearl offered? It was awesome!!!!! My grandma was laughing with joy says she hasn't seen one in years.... *comes with age I guess. Everytime we go gets a bit more interesting!

                            2. we still have not gone for dim sum!

                              we have gone here several times in the evening. the people are friendly, the food is good, and i will give details later.

                              short story, we went last night and it was pretty busy. anyway…the roast pork is really nice. crispy skin! we think the roast pork is better than x.o. duck is even. (LOL). the fried wontons stink -- 'cause they are just for that purpose and no flavor. xo still has better soup wontons, fyi. learned that the soup wontons are not the ones that they use for fried. my bad, i guess.. that was an outlier for me, anyway, because i just wanted something crunchy. LOL.

                              chow foon contest -- xo has better chow foon, but not by much. i can get xo sauce chow foon with fresh noodles at xo -- and not at this place. this place's version is still well cooked with wok hei but not with the best seasonings i find at xo. their noodles here are not the fresh fresh.(which means i think that they are more fresh cut from sheets at xo taste). however their beef chow foon dry fried is really good. < i've photographed the noodles to see if my recollection is correct. i think x.o has more "fresh" chow foon">

                              last night had the #1 chef specialty… dried shrimp dried squid….will report more later, but the sauce is made with dry scallop and dried shrimp…. and the lotus root was fantastic (crisp,flavorful)…mushrooms (or at least i think so.. they were BEAUTIFUL)…squid…..celery….some mushroom… it was primarily squid (which could have been more tender, frankly)
                              wanting to check out if there was abalone, cuttlefish (i THINK). in any event, the sauce is great; the stir -fry is great. we wanted to eat more, but i was into my "shrimp ball" which is really just fried shrimp without the head. it was better the night that the place was not slammed with diners. it is prepped like salt and pepper shrimp, with the nice chilies on top.

                              they WANT to help, and are so friendly. nice place that we will go to a lot! i think we were the only non-chinese in there (except for a couple of families with white guys, asian gals)**. so…anyway, my husbsand spent time in hong kong and said that this reminds him so much of a hong kong restaurant. he loves the atmosphere and the food.

                              *** please don't call me racist because we like to see who is going to an ethnic restaurant.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: alkapal

                                LOL I always look around at the other diners. I want to see no one else who looks like me!

                                1. re: Bob W

                                  not only who they are, but what they are ordering. ;-). that's how we learn about new dishes to try.

                                2. re: alkapal

                                  the squid dish -- with baby sea cucumber:

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Why is there a popsicle in your squid dish?

                                    1. re: bubba3197

                                      LOL -- this is the leftover part of the dish, as i reheated it in our skillet at home.

                                  2. re: alkapal

                                    update: they will do chow foon with XO sauce at hong kong pearl.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      I had the chow foon with XO sauce a few days ago at dinner. It was superb, the standout dish of a top-quality meal that was expertly prepared across the board. Double lobsters with XO sauce were also a treat, and a hot pot with oyster and pig belly was excellent. I am a fan of XO Taste nearby, but I think that Hong Kong Pearl had the edge at least at my dinner there. Both the chow foon and double lobsters were a cut above the same dishes I have had at XO Taste.

                                  3. our dim sum today:

                                    beef rice noodle rolls
                                    shrimp dumpling -- har gow
                                    steamed round dumpling with pea shoots -- (""Snow Pea Shoot Dumplings (Dau Miu Gow)
                                    Translucent bonnets stuffed with a filling of chopped snow pea tendrils, roasted pine nuts and a hint of ginger, garlic and sesame oil."" -- from another restaurant's description on their menu i don't think this one had pine nuts, though.)
                                    shu mai
                                    bbq pork

                                    all excellent, best being the noodle rolls and the pea shoots dumplings.

                                    we are loving both roast pork types more here than at xo taste.

                                    go early for best selection
                                    dim sum hours now end at 2 pm

                                    1. best darned fried shrimp around : "shrimp ball" -- oops (wrong photo, these are the freakin hottest dang poppers made over at cowboy cafe). i'll post the shrimp ball photo next.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. Has anyone else been here lately, possibly on a weekend?

                                        I went there for a bowl of wonton soup, shrimp dumplings and fish balls today. Their shrimp dumplings continue to be supersized - extra thick wrapper with 4 tasteless shrimps inside, and an order comes with the typical 4 dumplings. This is not a good thing. The fish balls used to be delicious and now it seems to be just edible. Fish paste formed into balls with no discernible flavor. The wonton soup was also just edible. I'm giving up on Hong Kong Pearl. Luckily, there are two other half-ass dim sum joints nearby.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                          Does anyone have a recommendation in Falls Church for Hong Kong style food since people are not liking Hong Kong Pearl anymore?


                                          1. re: BellaDonna

                                            I personally like Miu Kee, and to a lesser extent XO Taste and Mark's Duck House. You can also try Fortune and Full Kee and Cho Cu Saigon. If you don't mind going to Vienna, Lotus Garden is the best (new restaurant so much better atmosphere and consistently good cooking by professional looking chefs - seen via open kitchen).

                                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                              I also like Lotus Garden. Especially the noodle soups, tofu with shrimp, and shrimp with heads on.