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Pearl Villa again, Chinatown, Boston

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Pearl Villa again, Chinatown, Boston

Limster | Nov 26, 2002 09:33 PM

The chef at Pearl Villa is indeed from Malaysia (I asked). And this person seems to know what he or she is doing. Unlike places like Penang, Pearl Villa's Singapore/Malaysian offerings are narrow (maybe a dozen or so dishes at the most) but also more focused. It's very likely that this kitchen is only generating Singapore/Malaysian dishes that they can make well, instead of presenting a vast menu like Penang which can range from gems to embarassments.

I say this because I had their Hainanese chicken rice today and it was truly satisfying. (Along with the previous char kway teow, they're 2 for 2). They made virtually no mistakes in this dish. Chicken, mostly flavorful thigh meat, was not overcooked (a common mistake with this dish). Instead, it was parboiled nicely to a fairly supple texture, with the bones still red as they should be. The seasoning of sesame oil and soy sauce was just right and the garlic/ginger chilli sauce was essentially perfect, packing mild heat and tang; that's not a common thing around here. The only mild weakness was the rice; it was indeed flavored with chicken stock, but I would have loved it if the flavor was slightly more intense. (But I'm really just nitpicking here.)

Lastly, I have yet to try the Hainanese chicken rice at Penang, which has been praised by many sources, including ones on this board (ju had a post a while ago). So for comparison's sake, that's probably next.

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