As featured in Bay Area Bites, June 3, 2009.
Ever since I’ve relocated to this lovely city by the bay, I’ve been asking every local denizen that enjoys good food (and yes, there are quite a few of you) the hard question:
In a perfect world, I would find the ultimate dim sum spot where the food is exceptional, the wait not frightening, and the prices so low they incur giggles of disbelief and delight at the end of the meal. I know, it’s a tall order, but somewhere out there I know…it awaits me.
And, I must admit, the quest is not a painful one (usually). I have stumbled upon some tasty discoveries worth sharing, such as these star dishes at Asian Pearl in Richmond.
Not your run of the mill dim sum dish, these Steamed Egg Custard Buns are hard to come by. It takes a master dim sum chef to create these treasures of molten, buttery, yolky sweetness, encased in fluffy white steamed buns.
The golden lava filling is a shock to the senses, and utterly delicious.
The silky fine texture of the tofu is unreal, and seems even more so highlighted by the contrasting crunchiness of the thin fried casing around it. Light as air, but tons more flavorful. This will turn any tofu-sneerer into a believer with one bite.
A common dim sum dish done exceptionally well, Asian Pearl’s Crispy Stuffed Rice Noodle Rolls were executed perfectly. The fried dough inside was freshly fried and extra crispy, and the rice noodle wrapped around it was thin, smooth, and slippery.
Mmm you just can’t beat carb on carb.
These Pan Fried Rice Rolls were a crowd pleaser. The noodles had a nice chew to them, and were fried fragrant. Like an appetizer version of your typical chow fun, with an amped up seared crispy dimension.
And with dishes priced from $2.60 – $6.50 (with a majority of them at $3.30 for “medium” plates), you can take all that money you’ve saved and head over to the Ranch 99 just a few doors down. Stock up on Asian delicacies and condiments before heading home with your satiated self.
All in all, Asian Pearl, thumbs up. But is it “the one”?
True, the variety and specialty dishes wooed me, but 1) I was sorely disappointed by their BBQ Pork Bun, one of my old standbys, botched up by too much cooking wine in the mixture; and 2) it’s in Richmond. And I’m in SF with only a ZipCar to my name.
Maybe my dream is a pipedream, but this girl’s not ready to give it up. So, my dear readers, where can I find some good dim sum around here?
Desperately Seeking Dim Sum
3288 Pierce St. (Pacific East Mall)
Richmond, CA 94804