Sherman's Food Adventures: Pearl Bay Restaurant (Dim Sum Service)

Pearl Bay Restaurant (Dim Sum Service)

Yes, back-to-back posts on Pearl Bay in Fremont because well, we only ate at one restaurant while we were here for 2 days.  Actually, we weren't supposed to go here for Dim Sum before our flight since we didn't have that much time.  However, I was alerted that our flight was delayed by an hour, hence, let's go for Dim Sum!  Of course during our meal, I got a notification that our flight was on time once again and that sent us scrambling to the airport.  Then we discovered it was delayed by 2 hours.  Sigh...  At least we got some good food prior.

About that food, we started strong with the classic Siu Mai (Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  Interesting that they steamed the dumplings with the tobiko.  For visuals, I much prefer they add it on raw after the fact.  But that is nitpicking as the dumplings were pretty good.  Texturally, the pork filling was buttery, airy and bouncy.  Furthermore, these were pretty juicy, so they were bursting with moisture.  Seasoning was on the milder side, but it wasn't bland.

With a brush of gold, the Ha Gau (Steamed Shrimp Dumpling) were also good.  It featured a medium-thick and somewhat translucent dumpling wrapper.  It had plenty of elasticity, yet was a bit on the firmer side.  Inside, the whole shrimp filling was moist with the desired snap texture.  There was enough pork fat mixed in to give it some aroma in addition to the other seasonings.  There was a nice natural sweetness to the shrimp.

Over to one of my must order dishes for Dim Sum - the Bean Curd Skin Roll.  I just love the chewy, yet tender texture of the fried, then steamed bean curd skin.  This one was perfect with an initial chewiness giving way to soft layers of bean curd skin.  The filling was a good mixture of tenderized pork and crunchy wood ear mushroom.  Although the sauce was a bit watered down (could've used more starch), it was flavorful and not in overabundance.

Maybe a bit too pale and inundated with too much green onion, the Beef Meatballs ate better than they appeared.  Besides, the color could be corrected with just a bit more dark soy.  In terms of texture, the beef was processed enough to whip in air to create that classic light rebound texture.  As mentioned, the plethora of green onions did dominate the flavor profile.  However, when dunked into Worcestershire, it was quickly erased.

Even though the Steamed Chicken Feet could've been fried longer during the preparation process, it still was quite good.  Usually, the skin would have a bit more resistance, but that wasn't a big issue.  The chicken feet were super plump and steamed just enough. Hence, the skin, fat and cartilage were super tender and moist.  I could eat off all of it clean from the bone.  It was also seasoned well with equal parts sweet, savory and spice.

I personally love the Deep Fried Taro Dumplings even though they are some of the greasiest items on a Dim Sum menu.  However, these were easy on the grease even though the mashed taro underneath soaks up a good amount of oil.  Therefore, the dumplings were crispy on the outside yielding to soft creamy mashed taro underneath.  The filling was featured tender ground pork that was mildly seasoned.

We ended up with two types of Rice Noodle Rolls including prawn and mixed mushroom.  I was impressed at how thin the rice noodle sheets were and that they didn't tear.  That was because the elasticity kept it from doing so.  Although, the rice noodle sheets were still soft and delicate.  The large prawns were meaty and had a buttery snap.  For the mushroom, there was plenty of it and I didn't even miss the meat.

Another Dim Sum staple is the Steamed Pork Spareribs with black beans.  This one also contained peppers which added another layer of flavor to compliment the salty black beans.  Most of the pork rib pieces were meaty and lacking in cartilage and fat.  The meat had been tenderized enough so it was easy to chew while still retaining a good meaty bite.  As you can see, it was also a good portion size.

Probably the best dish of the meal was the surprising Pan-Fried Taro Cake.  The considerable amount of shredded taro added both aroma and texture to the cake.  Usually, there is much more pudding cake than taro.  Also, the way they fried it up made it extra tasty and texturally appealing.  As you can clearly see, the exterior was beautifully browned and subsequently crunchy and nutty.

So of course I had to dabble in the offal because that is my favorite part of Dim Sum!  Hence, we ordered the Steamed Beef Belly with Satay Sauce.  Not only was this stacked full of tripe, the dish was also on point.  The large strips of tripe were super tender and soft with a slight chew.  The texture couldn't have been any better.  As for the satay sauce, it was sweet and salty with a bit of background spice.

So the fried rice we had for dinner at Pearl Bay was pretty darn good, but the Wok-Fried Vermicelli with with dried scallop, crab and egg whites was even better.  Loved how they separated the whites from the yolks, nice texture and color contrast.  The noodles were chewy and caramelized while the plethora of ingredients made this hearty with lots of texture.  Loved the addition of pine nuts as there was more aroma.

Typically, when on thinks about BBQ Pork Pineapple Buns, there is actually no pineapple in them.  Rather, the topping looks like a pineapple, hence the name.  However, they buck the trend here and add actual pineapple into the BBQ pork filling.  As a result, there was added natural sweetness to the pork inside.  The bun itself was soft and fluffy while the topping was crunchy, sweet and aromatic.

The Black Steamed Buns with salted egg yolk filling were striking with its color and also the gold streak on top.  It ate well too with a soft airy bun that didn't taste like the exterior color.  Inside, the liquid sweetened salted egg yolk center was nutty and sweet with only the slightest amount of saltiness.  It flowed up quickly, so one must eat this carefully or otherwise it will be all over the table or the person eating it. 

Lastly, we had the Coconut Pudding Bunnies.  These were cute and I really didn't want to eat them!  They were quite creamy and only mildly sweet.  Lots of coconut aroma and the gelatin wasn't overused.  So as I mentioned in my previous post, I'm from Vancouver, so I'm pretty picky when it comes to Dim Sum.  However, Pearl Bay does a good job and I enjoyed my meal.  Definitely better than the ol' spots such as Mayflower and Koi Palace in my opinion.

The Good:
- Solid food
- Well-portioned
- Decent service

The Bad:
- Still don't like that video wall



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