The China Pearl is an Dim Sum restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown that gets a lot of good reviews on Yelp. Overall I thought this place was just “eh”. The various fried dishes we tried were greasy and heavy, and for several of them the cook seemed to have a heavy hand with the MSG. On the plus side there were a lot carts circulating, and steady stream of food being offered to us. There is also a hot table that you can walk up to get plates of head-on salted shrimp and shell-fish. When I was there the clientele was probably 50-50 split between Chinese families and Caucasian tourists.
The Dumplings. The circulating carts had a pretty wide section of deep fried, pan-fried and steamed dumplings. The steamed dumplings were wheeled around on carts laden with tall stacks of bamboo steamers and some of the pan-fried dumplings were pan-fired table side on a skillet built into the cart.
Lobster crystal wrapper dumpling – the server said these were lobster dumplings, but they actually seemed to be stuffed with a combination of lobster and shrimp, heavy on the shrimp. These dumplings were tasty and well seasoned and the wrapper was thin and tender, and had none of the gumminess that you can get when crystal wrapped dumplings are not prepared well.
Pan-fried little Buns – like the radish pancakes they share a cart with, these small buns were pan-fried table-side on a skillet built into the cart. The buns were filled with shrimp and chives and the filling is well seasoned and very tasty, the buns were crispy on the top and bottom. They appear to be already fully cooked when they were sent out on the cart and were then crisped up on the skillet after you ask for them. This re-pan-frying made them a little greasy.
Crystal shrimp dumpling – these were a little bland, but the chopped water chestnut included in the filling gave them a nice, crunchy mouth feel. Like the ‘lobster’ crystal wrapped dumplings, the wrapper on these dumplings was well done.
The Dipping Sauce. There is a bowl of sambal style ground up red chilli and oil. but no other sauce on the table. The buns come with a splash of soy sauce on the plate.
Location. The China Pearl is a second floor restaurant on Tyler Street in Boston’s Chinatown. The Chinatown area is about 3 blocks by 5 blocks big and one side of it is mainly Vietnamese restaurants. The neighborhood is mainly comprised of restaurants, but there are a few DVD and gift stores, a live chicken market, and a few grocery stores.