It might take a little bit of physical force, but once you wade through the perpetually long lines at Howlin’ Rays, you’ll find Pearl River Deli, an order-at-the-counter Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza. Located in a bare-bones space, this former pop-up’s menu changes regularly, but what’s consistent is their modern take on Chinese food. There’s a Macau-style bone-in pork chop served on a pineapple bun, and a silky shrimp-and-egg scramble that kind of tastes like a deconstructed version of siu mai. But if you’re just getting one thing, make sure it’s the soy sauce chicken. Much like the Hainanese food the chef makes at his other venue, Side Chick, it comes with tender, steamed chicken topped with minced garlic, ginger, and choy sum, served over rice. When it’s all combined, it creates a deeply aromatic, balanced dish, and is exactly what we want to be eating whenever we have a rough week at work, or finally accept that we’ll never, ever spell “broccoli” correctly on the first try.
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