Modern Chinese Cuisine Steeped in Tradition, but Accessible to a Wider Audience and New Generation – Succulent Roasted Pork Shoulder Char Siu, Supple Hainan Chicken Rice, Outrageous Pork Chop Buns and More! – Needle and Pearl River Deli [Thoughts + Pics]

We’re fine, we will probably only operate a few hours tomorrow in order to fulfill all the Hainan chicken preorders then close up early again and take our two days off.

also @Chowseeker1999 we aren’t using the Chinese laundry chili sauce anymore, its our own house made sauce.


I loved your housemade chili sauce today. By itself, it’s got a nice kick of heat and then I get acid and some sweetness. It was so perfect when mixed with everything else.


Hi @JLee,

Good to hear you all are safe! Thanks again for the great Hainan Chicken and good to know you’re making your own chili sauce now. :slight_smile:


Please stay safe!


Pearl River Deli has a new menu format: Individual Portions (Rice Plates) and A La Carte Portions. Nice! :slight_smile:

Also 3 new specials starting up:

Hainan chicken in Thai form Khao Man Gai:

Gai Yang Wings (Served with a side of Papaya Salad, Sticky Rice, and Nam Jim Jaew dipping sauce):

Special #3 Thai food menu weekend, found in our prepared deli fridge: Green Curry with Thai Eggplant and Shrimp Balls. Note: this is a cold item:

Nice updates overall, especially the menu format for meals instead of a la carte. :slight_smile: (@PorkyBelly @J_L @JeetKuneBao @TheCookie @attran99 @paranoidgarliclover @Ns1 and others!)


Update 2:

Exciting new dishes continue to show up on Pearl River Deli’s menu each week. In some ways, this culinary energy reminds me of the early days of Guerrilla Tacos, when Chef Wes Avila was switching up new specials / menu items daily / weekly.

Soy Sauce Chicken Rice:

We remember the first time trying Chef-Owner Johnny Lee’s Soy Sauce Chicken, which was fantastic. It looks like he’s brought it back, and this time, in a slightly larger format: Each order comes with 2 large Chicken Thighs and 2 large Chicken Drumsticks, and a side of veggies and Steamed Rice for only $12.

More importantly, the first bite hits you with beautifully marinated Soy Sauce Chicken, cooked just through, so the Chicken meat is taut, but still tender and yielding, and the flavor permeates beyond surface level!

This is quite simply the best Soy Sauce Chicken in L.A. right now! :heart: (@beefnoguy @PorkyBelly @J_L @attran99 @TheCookie and others.)

(New) Fried Fish Filet with Corn Sauce (Served with Steamed Rice):

Chef Lee mentions that this is his modern take using “fresh Summer Corn and Tempura Black Cod which will be sustainably and locally caught!”

Caveat: I have no idea what the OG version of this dish is supposed to be. :sweat_smile: I haven’t seen this on any SGV restaurant menus that we’ve been to, but I’m guessing this might be a Hong Kong Cafe classic? (@beefnoguy @JeetKuneBao and others?)

For our first time eating this dish, first, the Tempura-battered Black Cod was very good: Crispy, light, beautifully fried exterior, not greasy, and the Black Cod within was moist, almost fatty in its flavor and taste. Just as is, it was tasty. The Summer Corn Sauce was sweet and creamy. I thought it tasted fine, but I don’t have any nostalgia factor while eating this dish. :sweat_smile: I’d imagine our FTC’ers who grew up with this dish might enjoy it even more.

Macau Pork Chop Bun:

Their Macau Pork Chop Bun looks like they are using a different type of Pineapple Bun these days, but regardless, the actual taste was as outstanding as before:

Crispy Fried Pork Chop, still so juicy and flavorful, that Housemade Maggi Aioli and Caramelized Onions and the Pineapple Bun to wrap things up. So good! :heart: Definitely a signature item to get at Pearl River Deli. :blush:

(New) Gyudon (Beef Bowl):

It would be easy for you to miss this new menu item that Chef Lee has subtly added to the Deli section of the menu, as it’s listed by its Japanese name, “Gyudon” which means “Beef Bowl”. But it would be a serious mistake to overlook the new addition.

Taking a bite:


Come on! Chef Lee has decided to make his own version of a Japanese Beef Bowl, using Beef Short Ribs instead of the stringy, cheap Beef found in most versions around town. The slowly Stewed Beef Short Rib meat is succulent, decadent, downright crave-worthy in its tender, savory burst of beefy flavor! It is probably the best Stewed Beef Bowl we’ve had in years! :heart: :blush: :heart:

Do not miss this! (@PorkyBelly @J_L @A5KOBE @Ns1 @attran99 @TheCookie @paranoidgarliclover @beefnoguy and others!)

10th Visit:

Pearl River Deli has debuted a new menu that has individual Rice Plate portions and A La Carte, larger portions. They’ve also added new combos.

(New) BBQ Combo (3 Items) - Soy Sauce Chicken, Charsiu (Pork Jowl), Charsiu (Pork Ribs):

Yes! Chef Lee now has added in the classic “BBQ Combo” option, where you can pick 2 or 3 Items from his HK BBQ section of the menu. :slight_smile:

Normally for a 2 or 3 Item Combo at OG SGV restaurants, you get a few slices of various meats that you chose, but imagine our shock when we opened up the 3 Item Combo and it still comes with an entire Soy Sauce Chicken Leg and Thigh(!). :open_mouth: Generous portions.

The Soy Sauce Chicken today was as as delicious as before, a very good Soy Sauce-based marinade that permeates the Chicken through the skin and into the meat, whereas too many places have no marinade flavor beyond the skin. The Chicken itself was moist and delicious! :heart:

Charsiu (Pork Ribs):

The Charsiu Pork Ribs were tasty as well. Still the best offering for HK BBQ-style Charsiu Pork Ribs that we’ve had locally. :blush:

Charsiu (Pork Jowl):

The Charsiu Pork Jowl is as fatty and absurdly decadent as before. There’s some lean meat with the fat, to balance things, but do know that this is on the (deliciously) heavier side. :wink:

(New) Gai Yang Wings (Thai BBQ Chicken Wings) (Sticky Rice, Papaya Salad, Nam Jim Jaew Dipping Sauce):

Chef Lee is bringing back last weekend’s special by popular demand, his take on Gai Yang (Thai BBQ Chicken), but this time with Chicken Wings. (For those that are curious, Chef Lee mentioned on Instagram that one side of his family is Thai Chinese.)

The Gai Yang Wings are lightly sweet-savory with some nice grilled flavor. The Chicken is meatier (but tender enough) compared to the poached / boiled Chicken preparations for other dishes he does, but it works wonderfully here.

The Nam Jim Jaew (Spicy Isan Chili Sauce) is absurdly good! :heart: A pungent Fish Sauce base, lightly spicy, a touch of sweetness, and it works well with the Thai BBQ Chicken Wings and some Sticky Rice that accompanies it. :blush:

Papaya Salad:

The Papaya Salad that accompanies the Gai Yang Wings is hardcore funky! An earthy pungent punch, it’s interesting and different from the Thai Papaya Salads we’ve had locally.

(New) Khao Man Gai (Thai Version of Hainan Chicken Rice):

In keeping with a Thai theme this week, Chef Lee has brought back his famous Hainan Chicken Rice, but in Thai form, with Khao Man Gai. First, just look at how perfectly poached the Chicken is (above)! :blush:

Taking a bite:

Seriously. Chef Lee is making the best Hainan Chicken / White Cut Chicken / Soy Sauce Chicken / Khao Man Gai execution in L.A., hands down! Just cooked through Chicken (white and dark meat), each bite of the white and dark meat Chicken was tender, moist, the fat was rendered out.

The Garlic Rice that accompanies the Khao Man Gai is fragrant and full of flavor, and just the Chicken and Garlic Rice by itself is absolutely delicious. :heart:

But it’s also accompanied by a Fermented Soybean Sauce, a departure from the usual Hainan Chicken Rice with its trio of Ginger Green Onion, Chili, Soy Sauce.This Thai Dipping Sauce is a sweet-savory blend and works with the Chicken, but I loved Chef Lee’s Khao Man Gai just with the Chicken and Garlic Rice itself. :slight_smile:

(New) Salt and Pepper Tofu:

Initially this might sound like an afterthought, some kind of Vegetarian option that some other restaurants would add to the menu to cater to all audiences, but knowing the passion Chef Lee has for cooking, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Salt and Pepper Tofu is DELICIOUS! :heart:

It was crispy-crunchy on the outside (we opened up the To-Go container immediately after picking it up, to prevent steaming), giving way to an outstanding silky, tender Meiji Tofu within. The flavor is perfect! Unlike some versions of “Salt & Pepper (Pork Chop / Squid / etc.)”, the Salt and Pepper Tofu is thankfully not a total Salt bomb like many places, it’s got salinity and some peppery kick, a little heat, but it’s perfectly balanced.

We would eat this Salt and Pepper Tofu over most versions of Salt & Pepper Pork Chops and Salt & Pepper Squid that we’ve had in the San Gabriel Valley, it’s that good! :blush: Highlight! (@hanhgry @TheCookie @attran99 @PorkyBelly @J_L and others!)

(New) Green Curry with Thai Eggplant and Shrimp Balls:

As we’re sitting in our 4 person dining room (our car) after taking a bite of Pearl River Deli’s new Thai Green Curry dish, numerous thoughts run through my head:

“Why didn’t Chef Lee just open a Thai restaurant?” “Did I just eat some of the best Thai Green Curry in L.A.?” “How has Chef Lee not made any Thai dishes until now?” :blush:

Stupid good Thai Green Curry: It’s creamy, silky, fragrant, lightly sweet, simply outstanding Green Curry! :heart: The Eggplant is perfectly matched here, and the Housemade Shrimp Balls are cloud-like, airy and bright (not tasting like bad briny frozen Shrimp).

Another highlight! :heart: (@J_L @PorkyBelly @JeetKuneBao @paranoidgarliclover @attran99 and others!)

We were worried initially that Pearl River Deli might be adding too many new dishes at too fast a rate, but this slew of new dishes have all been very good to outstanding! Seeing this Thai tribute special menu this week, it feels like Chef Lee can have this appear once a month or two, to great success. The Gai Yang (Thai BBQ Chicken) Wings were very good, and that Thai Chili Sauce was delicious. The Khao Man Gai (Thai version of Hainan Chicken Rice) was outstanding! :heart: But that Green Curry with Eggplant and Shrimp Balls was absurd.

With the new Gyudon (Beef Bowl) - do not miss this dish! - and the previous “RIP Curry House” tribute, one could imagine Chef Lee doing a Japanese Tribute Weekend with Japanese comfort food dishes at some point. :wink:

With the regular appearance of the Soy Sauce Chicken, Chef Lee now has a 2nd Hong Kong BBQ dish that shines in L.A. (along with his Charsiu Pork Ribs / Jowl). Add to that, the Macau Pork Chop Bun, and hopefully a return of his legendary Hainan Chicken, and you have one of the strongest foundations of great dishes that can be found in L.A.

Pearl River Deli
727 N. Broadway #130
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (626) 688-9507


Who says there’s no baseball right now?

'cuz chef @JLee is hitting culinary grand slams on a regular basis these days!


A little weirded out by the chicken blood

Only one response…:scream:


The creamed corn/corn sauce with fried cod rice plate is quite classic in HK cafes and dai pai dong’s that serve it as an entree. Like mac & cheese there are different interpretations. Although serving the fish and the corn separate is a bit rare.

If you google image search “粟米班塊” (corn and cod pieces, literally) you will find many variations (and links to youtube videos on how to). Some of the corn sauces from the Hong Kong based search results look more like egg drop and corn soup, thickened with corn starch. Some of the fish look a bit pan fried Dover Sole, and some are just lightly corn starch dusted then stir fried with the sauce (no batter), then smothered over rice. I didn’t really eat this growing up (though had a variation that was essentially corn sauce with diced pork and onions that’s more homey), so I can’t speak to what are considered legit versions.

As long as PRD’s version tastes great, it’s all good.


So does it come prepared ready to eat (hot) or is it just the topping and you prep it at home (Cold)?


Thanks for the info @beefnoguy. :slight_smile:

I hope you get to try Pearl River Deli the next time you’re in town. I think you’d enjoy their Soy Sauce Chicken (but I know you have Ming Kee!), and their Hainan Chicken and that Macau Pork Chop Bun. If you see the Gyudon on the menu, order that as well, so wonderful. :blush:

Hi @Dommy,

The deli section of the menu is for prepare at home (cold), but if they are not too busy you can ask Chef Lee to heat it up for you (over their kitchen stove top). I think their Green Curry and Gyudon need to be regular hot items on the menu to order when they can fit it in; they are both excellent! :slight_smile:

Okay… that is what I thought and that is absolutely fine! I LOVE Gyudon and make it at home often… But the use of Short Rib had me thinking of this particular version since it showed up on the PRD instagram feed… Good to know…

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The ____ and corn is very much a comfort dish in HK cafes and at home. Very much nostalgic!

I’m sure you notice but a lot of us Chinese love saucy dishes over rice/with rice.


That’s how you spell comfort in Chinese lol…


I love salt and pepper tofu so this seems right up my alley. Although, what are the small crunchy-looking brown pieces mixed in with the tofu? (Just want to make sure it’s actually vegetarian and not tiny pieces of pork or something). Thank you for the great report and photos!

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I could be wrong, but they look like fried 蝦米 (dried tiny shrimp)…

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Looks like xia mi to me as well

(Which goes great with some Napa cabbage very Taiwanese!)

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Hi @hanhgry,

Thanks. :blush: You can rest assured the Salt & Pepper Tofu is 100% Vegetarian. :slight_smile: The little fried bits are battered up bits of Garlic or Shallots. I also double checked to make sure for you and all our vegetarian FTC’ers. Enjoy!