Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan Province and is known as a food city – the Chef is Tony Xu. Most of my pictures here aren’t great because I, in typical fashion forgot I was going to blog about this place and ate like a pig.
I tend to get annoyed when I see other American’s in these types of places (kind of like that Mahjong scene in Dragon) Almost as if I want to be the only one that knows about the secret, but clearly – the secret is out on Chengdu. This place does an amazing job at just nailing flavors, almost every dish featured fantastic execution. As well, the pacing of the meal was spot on, something I think is usually lacking in Asian cuisine.
The Sichuan long pepper is out in full effect here, it is one of those flavors that you either love or hate. The pepper contains about 3% Hydroxy alpha sanshool, a bioactive chemical alcohol component that causes a tingling feeling (paresthesia).
Ma la ( meaning numbing and spicy ) is a delightful feeling when you are dealing with spicy food. It was present in a great variety of the dishes; for me strongest in the Wonton with Red Chili Sauce, which I suspect were sitting in a warm broth of prickly ash oil. My lips were numb and tingly for at least an hour.
Excellent service for a Chinese establishment. The staff here was really helpful, making recommendations – I liked the fact that our waitress obviously enjoyed the food, routinely exclaiming, “oh that’s really good.”
I think I enjoyed the lamb took picks the most, coated in cumin they were just the right amount of heat and very tender. I’m always confused by the fact that people don’t like the taste of lamb and goat.
Being a Midwesterner, I LOVE peas. The pea dish was like a warm congee – with little bits of pork in a gelatinous soup. I kept going back for more spoonfuls, hard to eat with chopsticks but fantastic.
One of my dining companions had a favorite dish in the Boiled Fish. This dish had just an incredible array of spice and flavor, as well it retained it’s heat (temperature) throughout our meal.
The Tea Flavored duck was a bit dry, kind of a rare miss for me. I can’t remember the name of a few of the dishes, like this one, but it was great as well, something with pork belly.
A few of these dishes my dining companions ordered in Mandarin, which I’m a little rusty in so I’m not sure their names. I liked the Boiled fish in spicy sauce below, not sure what kind of fish it was though. I’m such a bad blogger.
Astonishingly, the most impressive dish to me was something that I would have never ordered, the Kung-Pao Chicken. Literally just incredible, I don’t think I could order from another place ever again good. Spicy, piquant, crunchy, fresh, and delicious. Also worth mentioning is the rice that was served. Like WOW, soft fluffy and so flavorful. While my Zojirushi’s fuzzy logic makes a mean Jasmine, this was rice on another level.
The next visit I plan on trying the griddle cooked frog, the rabbit, and the mung bean Jelly, and the Dan Dan Noodles which I’ve read quite extensively about. HUGE menu, this place is sure to become one of my staples. The cost I believe was around $21 per person, fantastic value to match the great flavors.