We’re in the Maryland/DC area for the weekend, visiting family. This visit was sparked mostly by the birth of Elysa, the latest addition to my extended family, but we do come down here ever so often. You may remember Lexington Market and Patisserie Poupon from our last visit. This time we’ll start you off with brunch at Pacifica Cafe 621 Center Point Way, Gaithersberg, MD 20878.

This place doesn’t look like much, another standard Chinese restaurant. Even the regular menu doesn’t look like anything special, until you see their separate dim sum menu. It’s not Cantonese though. It’s mostly Shanghainese with a bit of Cantonese mixed in, but definitely stick with the Shanghainese dishes.

They make fresh soy bean milk here, a treat you can’t often find, plain, sweet, and savory options. The savory is served with fried crullers, dried shrimp, preserved turnip, and hot oil.

savory soy bean milk soup

The plain or sweetened is just a warm bowl of soy bean milk that you can dip fried crullers in. The deep fried crullers are crisp and airy, chewy and elastic.

fried crullers Sweet Soy Bean Milk

The crullers can also be eaten sandwiched between a flaky sesame bread. Leave it to the Chinese to specialize in a carb sandwich.

Fried Cruller in Sesame bread

You’ll see the fried crullers again, covered with pork floss, and rolled in sticky rice. The whole thing is steamed. It’s dense so you’ll want to share it.

Stuffed Sticky Rice

The pan fried Leek Pockets are filled with Chinese leeks, egg, and bean thread noodles. I think my mom’s are better so I promise to post her recipe soon.

Leek Pocket

The Turnip Cakes here have a lot more pork, making them tastier. They fry the edges until crispy too, another nice touch, but they don’t serve with a sauce.

Turnip Cakes

The Scallion Pancakes here are very good, a crispy outer layer holding several soft layers inside, and full of aromatic scallions.

Scallion Pancakes

The Pan Fried Pork Buns here are the best we’ve ever had. We just kept ordering another plate after plate. The bottom is crisped, the bun is so fluffy, the tender and juicy pork inside is reminiscent of the filling in soup dumplings.

pan fried pork bun

I liked the string beans too, blistered in hot oil and tossed with minced pork.

String Beans

The Fried Shrimp in Salted Egg Yolk Sauce was too eggy and a little soggy.

Salted Egg Yolk Shrimp

The Salted Duck was average.

Salted Duck

Like I mentioned, stick with the Shanghainese specialties. They’re super tasty and so hard to find elsewhere. Here’s comes the piece de resistance, which has to be ordered a day in advance, a whole de-boned duck, stuffed with a sticky rice (with Chinese sausage and Ginko Nuts), wrapped in Lotus leaves, and steamed. The moist duck meat falls apart! This huge dish that serves many is only $38. Insane! I wish they delivered to NY.

Boneless Duck with Sticky Rice 7

If I lived in Maryland, I would be here regularly for their Pan Fried Pork Buns, Stuffed Whole Duck, and Fried Crullers with Sesame Bread. Oh and soy bean milks, delicious!

posted by jessica at 12:12 PM Filed under Asian, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.