dim sum at pearl chinese / san diego

Last month I finally got to try out “sit down with the carts” dim sum for the first time with Faye of Faye’s Fork and Lynn of Oh-So-Yummy at Pearl Chinese. We met up on a Saturday and sat at a big, round table to start stuffing delicious dim sum into our mouths. Sounds like the perfect Saturday to me!


Pearl Chinese is up in Rancho Bernardo and has this beautiful pond/lake in the back area next to the Doubletree Inn. I remember staying at this Doubletree Inn when I was kid when our house was getting fumigated. The chocolate chip cookies you get at Doubletree make the hotel chain a winner in my book (I guess I’m easily won over).


Jake, T and I got there first and just kind of lingered around. A few carts came by at first and we sort of peeked at them while waiting. We got pots of tea to start off with as well. 


The ladies with the carts are really nice. You can ask what’s what but I just let someone else do most of the ordering (aka Faye). It was fun seeing the carts go around the dining area knowing each one had a different plethora of goodies waiting for us. 


I’m guessing the names of the items we tried from Pearl Chinese’s dim sum menu. I believe this is Steamed Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce. I remember being annoyed by the tiny bones. 


This one I know since I’ve had it before. This is Shrimp Shiu Mai and boy it was so so so tasty. There’s a good bit of shrimp in there and the wrapper was nice and thin. It tasted quite “meaty” and filling! 


Faye got us this one and I agreed to it though T and Jake both gave me questioning looks. This is Steamed Chicken Feet. Can I say that it sat at the table for awhile before we tried it? 


T did not want me to take a photo of him eating chicken feet and he kept moving around and this was the best I could get. Little stinker. 

I had a tiny bit of it and I thought the actual flavor of it was good, but then I got too weirded out knowing that I was eating feet. And it had kind of a funny texture to it anyway – weirdly chewy. We can now cross that one off the bucket list.  



Here we’re got lots more dim sim, such as Shrimp Har Gow, Pan Fried Meat Buns and more. Pan Fried Meat Buns – ohhh, I love you so. Those crispy bottoms get me every time. There were a few different shrimp har gow (I think one had cilantro or chives or something) but I like the plain one the best, though the wrapper kind of fell apart before it got to my mouth. 


I know this is full of shrimp, but I’m not sure what else is in there. I don’t remember! 


I believe this is another spareribs dish but with sweet potato added in.


Potstickers are always a favorite. 


They all start to look the same after awhile… at least they all taste good.


Steamed buns! Woohoo! These are filled with delicious BBQ pork and I always love ordering these. The soft steamed bun always taste so good and I always like that yummy pork filling.


It’s getting seriously foodie up in here. We also got pork shui mai and some other crispy bottomed buns. The pork shui mai were a favorite among our table that day – really juicy and full of flavor.


I believe these are the baked BBQ pork buns. Similar filling to the steamed buns but with a yeasty baked bread instead. They look so shiny and glistening, don’t they? I like these but I prefer the steamed buns. These are like eating a stuffed dinner roll. 


This is the one “deluxe” item we got: a large plateful of BBQ pork. The meat was nice and tender. I know Jake and T liked this one a lot.


I forgot the real name of these and I can’t figure it out from the dim sum menu. But these are like the little footballs we got at Tom’s BBQ.


Holy cow these little things were so good! I love the slight crispness on the outside with the soft chewy wrapper. The filling was quite tasty (a porky mixture) and I would gladly order a few plates of these. 


Dessert cart, what what! 


We got two things to share amongst us. And naturally I don’t remember the names of either one. I’m sure Faye or Lynn will help me out here. 


This one came in a tiny little tin and was nice and puffy.


Inside it has a creamy sweet filling. The bun had a slight crispiness to the edge and was mostly hollow with the filling sitting at the bottom. I really enjoyed this one. It wasn’t super sweet and I loved how creamy it tasted. 


This was also quite tasty with a denser filling inside. I liked the one in the mini tin better.



This was the bill for 6 people so it was about $20 bucks each (plus tip). Not bad for a really nice feast of dim sum! I think I could do dim sum on my own now, but it sure is a lot more fun with a group of people! Who’s up for more dim sum?! 

Pearl Chinese
11666 Avena Place
San Diego, CA 92128

12 thoughts on “dim sum at pearl chinese / san diego

  1. Oo first dim sum experience – how exciting! I love the chicken feet, it’s my favorite =p You guys ordered a lot of food! I love going to dim sum with big groups so that I can try more things 😀

    1. Hi Jinxi – Haha, if you ever have dim sum with us, you get dibs on the feet then! 🙂 Yes, it’s fun trying lots of things but man does it start to add up!

  2. The stewed chicken feet was the best item that day. I wish there were better pics of Jake and T trying those suckers.

    The desserts were the Baked Creamy Egg Bun and I think they other was a pineapple one?

    Dim sum places are notorious for over charging on their Deluxe items. If Jake liked the bbq pork plate, you should try Sieu Sieu. Or maybe you’ve tried it?

    We will have to re visit Pearl when it’s their one-price days. THEN we will show the world how we can really eat 🙂

    1. Hi Faye – You get the chicken feet next time then. Haha. T was weaving around too much, damn him. Oh well.

      Creamy Egg Bun! Thank you. I liked that one a lot. I honestly don’t remember the other one. I haven’t tried Sieu Sieu but I’ve gone by there and kind of peered in. I remember as a kid we’d always get that bbq chinese pork when going out to eat and it was always one of my favorite dishes. Love that stuff.

      Oh yeah, the one-price days sounds EPIC. I’ll have to dig up your post to figure out when that is (unless it’s just a sometimes special?).

  3. DIM SUM! This is the only dim sum place I’ve ever been and I remember it being pretty awesome. Those desserts look sooo good. $20 for each person ain’t so bad!

  4. I’ve only been to Jasmine and Emerald….this one looks better!!! I’ve been trying to take the bf on his first dim sum outing…we might have to make the trip out there.

    If you get freaked out by the chicken feet there you should see them before they’re marinated/cooked when they are raw and all white wrapped in plastic wrap at the supermarket. So weird. I don’t know how the feet get so swollen and giant looking. Chicken have tiny little skinny feet!

    1. Okay, gonna pass on seeing them in the market hahaha. Maybe they just absorb all the liquid and get all swollen that way. Ugh. Mental image not helping. I should try Jasmine and Emerald for comparison’s sake… maybe. I just want to eat more dim sum 🙂

  5. Nice to see you again and be there for your first dim sum cart experience! Boy am I glad that Faye is ms. ‘dim sum expert’ though and handled ordering everything. That was the most items I’ve ever tried! The football things… I must order those next time! The dessert was unexpectedly good too. I hope Dennis can make it out to the next outing.

    1. Oh man the dessert was really good. Didn’t seem like much but I loved it. I’m glad you were there, too – it’s more fun to share all of that food! Hopefully Dennis can join in on an outing 🙂

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