Pearls of Wisdom

Chinese food doesn’t have to be generic.

One of the bonuses of living in Edmonton is that great restaurants can be found all over the city. Exhibit A: Pearl River Restaurant, tucked away in the south side’s industrial area. And, as the old adage goes, don’t judge a book by its cover – while the building may be plain, the food is anything but.

A must-try dish is the fried broad rice noodles with beef. A slightly smoky barbecue taste seeps into the wide noodles, while the onions give the beef a bit of edge. It’s the first dish we finish at our table, and for good reason: the beef is good, but those noodles – they’re addictive. 

The chicken with peppercorn sauce is another dish that is popular at our table. Chicken seasoned with a mild peppercorn sauce rests on top of a bed of crispy rice noodles. The crunch of the noodles gives some heft to the dish. The spice isn’t obvious at first, but eventually catches your attention. Also, many of the restaurant’s dishes, including this one, can be made gluten-free – a rarity in Chinese cuisine.

One dish that catches our eye right away is the shrimp and chicken nest. Chicken and shrimp seasoned with rice wine and sauted with mushrooms and pea pods are piled into a nest made from fried potato, resulting in a dish that looks so interesting it’s almost a shame to break into it. The super-crunchy nest, which tastes just like French fries, holds a gooey medley of mellow-tasting seafood, chicken and vegetables. Anything but plain, indeed.

(4728 99 St., 780-435-2015,

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