Photo credits: Devesh Agarwal and myself.
My first visit to China Pearl was way back in 2004. Over 13 years and more than 100 visits later, I have concluded that when it comes to Chindian Food, China Pearl tops the list in Bangalore.
China Pearl is one of those places that has some serious variety of Vegetarian Food; This is where many Chinese Restaurants tend to lose out. The vegetarian section of their menu generally consists of a handful of the usual suspects (Gobi Manchurian, veg balls in hot garlic sauce, etc). China Pearl has nearly 3 full pages dedicated to its vegetarian patrons. Surely delightful.
But that’s not all! Having tried nearly anything and everything vegetarian, I can make a strong claim that nearly everything on the menu is delicious. Here are some of my tried and tested favourites:
- Chengdu Chowmein: I call this the big brother of Szechwan Chowmein. The Chengdu Chowmein is spicier and more pungent than its Szechwan cousin. The ratio of sauce: noodles is perfect giving the noodles just about enough room to shine through. Now, this dish is good as a single meal; You really don’t need any accompaniments.
- Shaolin Sticks: Minced vegetables bound by flour and fried on a wooden stick further tossed in hot garlic sauce. If and when you visit China Pearl for the first time, you can be sure that your order taker will recommend this as a starter. It is, without doubt, one of their most popular vegetarian starters. Slightly chewy, slighty crispy, this dish is both sweet ‘n’ spicy.
- Meishan Tofu: A signature Tofu dish which combines stir fried tofu with Green chillies, soy sauce, black pepper and salt. For tofu lovers, this is a dish that must be ordered. The quality of tofu, while not comparable to top Chinese Restaurants (Yauatcha, Memories of China etc), is indeed very soft.
- Burnt Garlic Fried Rice: China Pearl does not use long-grained rice. It is a shorter grained rice that is quite starchy and a bit sticky. The burnt garlic is used more as a garnishing along with some very finely chopped vegetables. The garlic isn’t overpowering therefore making the rice the real hero of the dish.
- American Chopsuey: The sweetish tomato based American Chopsuey is another highlight. This is, as you will know, a meal by itself. The Chopsuey isn’t greasy. tHe noodles at perfectly fried without a trace of oil.
- Vegetable Wontons: Fried dumplings which are stuffed with finely minced vegetables. Nice texture, a good crunch, and again, very little traces of oil make this dish a must order.
- Chow Ka Foo: If you love mushrooms and like your food without too many sauces, then Chow Ka Foo is a dish that you will really enjoy. A basic stir-fry with shii-take mushrooms, Bakchoi, Chinese Cabbage, Broccoli, this dish is a perfect as an accompaniment with either a Szechwan or Chengdu Fried Rice/Chowmein. The dish is a lovely medley of textures including Chewy (Shii-take mushrooms), crunchy (Broccoli, Pakchoi), soft (Carrot). The base spices are minimal making this popular for people who dislike or cannot handle spicy food.
- Veg Kung Fu Fried Rice: A dish made with mixed vegetables in a ginger onion gravy ( a bit like a manchow) served on a bed of steamed rice. This rice variation has been introduced only recently and I’m willing to bet that it will become popular in the days to come.
The food is priced very competitively and the portions are massive. One starter, one rice/noodles and one accompaniment will prove to be sufficient for two people with good appetites. The service here is consistently good, responsive, and quick. Your order taker will be happy to make suitable recommendations based on your palate.
China Pearl is located in 6th block, Koramangala. It is a must visit for anyone who loves Chindian food. I am unabashedly a fan of the place and I think it shows 🙂
Note: I am sorry that some of the pics of the dishes are missing. I will add them later and update the post.