Heading out to Richmond this time for the 12th Signature Dish Tour from Chinese Bites and the host venue this time was the Pearl Castle Cafe for some Taiwanese Cafe eats and treats. For this dinner I was joined by Rick, Grace, Kevin, Queenie, Alvin and Raymond.
We started with a plethora of Bubble Tea and House Signature drinks that included:
Top row (left to right)
Mango milk tea – 芒果奶茶
Pudding milk tea – 布丁奶茶
Lavender milk tea – 薰衣草奶茶
Middle row (left to right)
Honey grass jelly lemon juice – 仙草檸檬蜜汁
Japanese green tea with red bean – 紅豆綠茶
Red bean slush – 紅豆雪泥
Bottom row (left to right)
Coconut red bean – 椰子紅豆
Sea salt coffee – 海鹽奶咖
Roasted rice lattea – 玄米綠蓋茶
I ended up taking the Sea Salt Coffee drink and really loved it! The coffee flavor was nice and smooth but the star of the drink was the salted whipped cream on top.
To start off we all killed the Fried Tofu – 炸豆腐. Personally I could have eaten the whole dish myself and love this item. The tofu was fried just right so it wasn’t overly greasy and the seasoning on it literally made my mouth water.
Next up was Fried Red-Fermented Pork – 台式炸紅糟肉. This was something completely new to me but it’s essentially thinly pounded pork surrounded by a sweet and savory (like miso) coating. I found myself going back to this all night.
Another favorite item of the night for me was the Taiwanese Sausage – 台式香腸 . I’m a lover of all things sausage so when I saw this brought to the table my eyes lit up. The sausage was mildly seasoned with a beautiful amount of juice in it.
One of Pearl Castles most popular fried rice dishes is the Chicken Teriyaki Fried Rice – 照燒雞
肉炒飯 and I can see why. The chicken was cooked perfectly retaining a nice amount of moisture and it had great flavor for being boneless. The rice itself was still tender and they used a nice mixture of vegetables along with not over cooking the egg. This is a dish I would recommend to anyone coming here.
We sampled a couple of the Beef Noodle dishes, in this case it was Tomato Beef Noodle – 番茄牛肉麵 and the House Special Beef Noodle – 原汁牛肉麵 . Both bowls of noodles had great flavor and a good amount of meat in each bowl. The broth had a nice depth of flavor without being overly salty with the tomato being slightly more tart. The one thing that I didn’t like was the choice of noodles used, it was to broad which made it difficult to eat for myself.
Pearl Castle also brought out a couple of their most popular hot pots, Milk Seafood Hot Pot – 牛奶海鮮鍋 and the Kimchi Seafood Hot Pot – 什錦泡菜鍋 . Both were very popular at the table but I didn’t partake but I will say for $9.50 each which includes dessert jelly it’s a good value.
We all enjoyed 2 of the dishes from the Special Meals section of the menu, the Garlic Sauce Chicken – 蒜子雞 in the wide shot and the Chicken with three spices – 三杯雞 in the close up were both delicious. Each order comes with trio of side items along with a bowl of plain white rice. The Garlic Sauce Chicken was bone-in and the sauce was studded with extremely hot chili’s, I enjoyed the initial flavor but the heat from the peppers over did it for me. The really favorite of mine was the 3 Spice Chicken. It was essentially a soy and five spice sauce and used boneless chicken, the sauce was nice and savory which made this dish very approachable for me.
Another seafood dishes we enjoyed was the Kung-paw shrimp – 宮保蝦球 . This again was served with the trio of items like in the previous 2 dishes along with the rice. Filled with plump shrimp, onions and peppers along with whole dried chili’s this had nice heat and flavor without being overly spicy.
The noodle dish of the night was the Seafood Fried Noodle – 海鮮炒麵 . With a nice amount of head-on whole prawns and fish cake along with some kind of white fish this was a an alright item. The noodles were cooked al dente and the sauce wasn’t overly thickened, the seafood really was the star of the plate with the prawns having a lot of flavor.
The dishes we tried at Pearl Castle Cafe were all pretty good with the proteins and seafood being well cooked and good quality. The place is popular with dinners constantly coming and going, the service is speedy and they are attentive. This Chinese Bites dinner was a success in my eyes and I’m totally coming back to try the popcorn chicken!
**Disclosure-as a ChineseBites.com reviewer my meal was comped by Pearl Castle Cafe but my opinions are completely my own and were not influenced by the restaurant or ChineseBites.com*