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China Pearl

Despite its growing popularity as weekend brunch fare, dim sum is still not for the faint of heart. In an atmosphere verging on the chaotic, carts rocket by carrying delicious-smelling, unidentified dishes. The women who pilot dim sum carts shout cheerfully over the crowd, often identifying exotic dishes simply as "dumpling" or "pork ball." Sometimes it seems purely a matter of chance whether you end up with something you like.

Still, our leap of faith was rewarded at China Pearl on a bustling Saturday afternoon. Every dish we tried, from tofu fried with shrimp to unpromising-looking meatballs, was a success. Prices per dish run from $1.95 to $4.75; a good meal for two can easily be had for $15.

China Pearl is located at 9 Tyler Street, in Chinatown. Dim sum is served every day from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Call 426-4338.

-- Sarah Lydon

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