Asian Court in Ellicott City already stands out for its rolling-cart dim sum on weekends. But we stopped there for a quiet lunch this week amid a day of painting and errands. We bypassed the full menu for the small, yellow dim sum list, and we split a tasty, affordable lunch by picking three items that the kitchen cooked to order.
Steamed BBQ pork buns (#9) are Mrs. HowChow's absolute favorite, and Asian Court does a perfect version with a puffy bun wrapped around chopped pork. We paired that with steamed dumplings with shrimp (#31) and the steamed sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves (#23). The sticky rice comes packed with some pork and sweet sausage, but the real star is the leaves' flavor steamed deep into the rice. Asian Court offers 32 dim sum, and our three dishes were delicious. None of the cloying glop that discourages me from most Chinese restaurants. The shrimp was especially sweet and a revelation after my recent shrimp purchases have been tasteless (supermarket) or fishy (Trader Joe's).
Also, that's $11 for three dishes -- lunch for two, a feast for one, a real bargain and better than almost anything else if you need lunch on Rte 40. (Skip the Diet Cokes. We're addicts, but even we were taken aback that it's $2.50 per can -- almost as much as three pork buns.) Hearty, warm food was perfect on a rainy, chilled afternoon, and we left with enough energy to get back on our ladder and paint. More like the light feel of pho than some heavy BBQ lunch.
In 2009, Asian Court won a "Best of Baltimore" from the City Paper. Click here for my 2010 write-up of Chinese restaurants in Howard County. If you want to explore Asian Court's neighborhood, check out my post about all the restaurants along Rte 40.
9180 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042
NEAR: This is on Rte 40 west of Rte 29. From Rte 29, you turn RIGHT into the Chatham Station Shopping Center and then right again into the shopping area with Asian Court, Goodyear Tire and Davis Cigars.