We thoroughly enjoyed the late lunch yesterday at Oriental Pearl. Perhaps another attendee has a better list of dishes or a headcount; but suffice it to say I was perspiring profusely and very happy.
I took home the Ma Po tofu and ong choy with peppers and had them for lunch just now, and noticed an odd phenomenon -- the tingly Szechwan peppercorns have now become an overwhelming instead of complementary flavor in the tofu, giving the entire dish a numbing quality.
Anyway, here's some of the dishes enjoyed by our table (ostensibly the "medium spicy" table but I couldn't see much difference):
from the cold table: husband and wife beef -- very flavorful, star anise flavor?, peanuts with anchovies -- didn't taste like anything special to me, and seaweed salad -- packed quite a pepper punch for something so green and healthy-looking;
Ma Po tofu -- subtly hot, excellent sauce when mixed with rice
Ong choy with peppers -- quite spicy but very nice green spinach-like veggie
Lamb hot pot -- didn't taste but heard it was good
Kung pao chicken -- a lovely rendition of this overly popular dish, very vinegary which made it stand out from the typical preparation, medium spicy
Fried chicken cubes with red pepper -- My all time favorite, and really not as hot as the same dish at Chung King. Cleared up my sinuses right away.
Shredded pork with green pepper -- milder with a savory sauce and well-cooked peppers which were not the conventional bell peppers, but a smaller yet mild pepper with a rich flavor
Eels -- don't remember the name -- but they were braised in a tangy sauce similar to the shredded pork and very tender and savory. Made me completely lose my slight fear of eels, they were yummy and utterly unthreatening.
All this and more came to $9 a person....thanks to everyone who helped organize.
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