Cheap Eats 2012: East Pearl

Seafood is the star at East Pearl in Rockville. Photographs by Scott Suchman

Cheap Eats 2012

Among the many authentic options on offer in Rockville’s de facto Chinatown, this Hong Kong-inspired newcomer from Sue Li, former owner of China Chef in Wheaton, has shot to the first rank. Li has made fresh ingredients a priority, and her cooks use a light hand in cranking out the noodle dishes, soups, congee (a kind of porridge), and roasted meats that define the cuisine of that bustling port city.

Seafood is the star—superlative shrimp-dumpling soup; fried shrimp and candied walnuts glazed with mayonnaise; whole fried cod blitzed with ginger, garlic, and green onions—but there are meats worth your investment, too. The roast, soyed chicken delivers crisp, glazed skin and velvety meat, while a plate of glistening, sautéed Chinese broccoli is given a boost with slivers of smoky pork belly.

Also good: Congee with seafood; beef-and-turnip casserole; Shanghai-style curry noodles with pork and shrimp.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.