Hong Kong seafood menus

Finally, another employee approaches and informs me, in a kind but emphatic voice, that I don’t want those pastries. Which is the wrong thing to tell me. Now I want them more than eternal life and a good bagel. But one bite into the caterpillar and I understand why the crew had warned me: The pastries are packed with a thick yellow custard that smells like used sweat socks left in a laundry hamper for days with overripe pineapples.

It’s durian, my first taste of the fruit so stinky it’s banned from Singapore’s mass transit system. Its aroma, mercifully, is worse than its flavor. The filling smacks of tropical fruit, somewhere between a pineapple and jack fruit, which helps to silence my inner Beavis and Butt-head, who wonders if this is what fermented gym shorts taste like. Heehee, hee. He said fermented gym shorts.

Sorry, I don’t mean to be gross. I don’t even mean to subvert Rule No. 17-B/203.5 of the Food Critic’s Handbook, which demands all reviews end with a discussion of desserts, not lead with them. What I mean to do is point out something important about this Falls Church operation: It caters to hardcore fans of Hong Kong-style dim sum, the cuisine created in Guangzhou, China, but quickly embraced by Hong Kong chefs with a wider culinary focus.

Hong Kong Pearl Seafood has Dim Sum push carts available daily to 3 PM. After 3 PM, dim sum is still offered but quantities are limited to about 20-30 items and made fresh per order until 2 AM daily. (Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)

Hong Kong Pearl is owner Wayne Lam’s palatial, pink-tablecloth space where he can show off the sweet, pristine seafood he has been importing for more than a decade via his Wing Fat wholesale company. (Trivia time: The Chinese logograms under the restaurant’s English signage translate into “Wing Fat seafood restaurant, ” according to Lam’s daughter, Priscilla Lam, who serves as general manager. “Wing fat” means “forever fortune” in Chinese, she notes.)

When he started his restaurant, Wayne Lam scanned the country for cooks who could best re-create the flavors of his native Hong Kong. His search led to New York, where his two main chefs live when not commuting and working at Hong Kong Pearl: Can Zhu oversees the entire restaurant while Man Tsang handles the dim sum menu, which is offered seven days a week.

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