Red Pearl

10215 Wincopin Cir.
Columbia, MD 21044


Neighborhood: Columbia

Cuisines: Szechuan, Cantonese, Chinese, Dim Sum

Opening Hours:
Monday through Thursday 11 to 10, Friday and Saturday 11 to 11, Sunday 10:30 to 10.

Price Range: Moderate

Reservations: Not Needed


Best Dishes:
Har gow (shrimp dumplings); char siu bao (baked pork buns); eggplant with shrimp paste; dan-dan noodles; cumin lamb; braised flounder; diced chicken with chilies; salt-and-pepper lobster; tea-smoked duck.

Price Details:
Dim sum $3 to $7, entrées $10 to $20.

Special Features: Kid Friendly

Cheap Eats 2011: Red Pearl

Not everything at this lakefront charmer, a top destination for Chinese cooking in the area, falls within the Cheap Eats budget--you'll have to steer clear of the pepper-salted lobster, among other delicacies. But there are loads of affordable examples of chef/owner David Wong's wok work, beginning with cooked-to-order dim sum: The shrimp dumplings and golden-hued pork buns are benchmarks for the area. Cantonese hot pots and casseroles are enough for three or four.

A half portion of tea-smoked duck, a showpiece dish, costs $18.95 but makes an ideal share--stuff the slices of crisp-skinned meat into steamed buns for a marvelous sandwich. Wong is equally adept with his Szechuan dishes, imbuing them with both pungency and piquancy--the dry-fried, cumin-spiced lamb and chewy dan-dan noodles in smoky chili oil are textbook perfect.

Also good: Eggplant stuffed with shrimp paste; shrimp in rice-noodle crepes; diced chicken with chilies; fried-flounder casserole with tofu and mushrooms.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.