Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sichuan Pavilion

Thanks to Songwei, we recently discovered about the most authentic Chinese food we have eaten since moving back to the US.

Let me be a bit more specific, given that there really is no such thing as "Chinese" food. With all of the regional variation in cuisines, what I am talking about here is food prepared in the mala style that Sichuan province is famous for.

Mala translates as something like "numbing spiciness." Indeed, it had been nearly a year since my tongue felt that familiar, distinctive sensation. Good practice for this summer!

Our recommendations include...

Tudou Si. This shredded potato dish was Julie's favorite, judging by the way she polished off the entire plate nearly by herself. (I believe this was the first time we had encountered tudou si in the US, even though it is one of the most common dishes in China, something you can eat every day if you want.)

Shui Zhu Niurou. This Sichuan classic is pieces of beef boiled in a spicy concoction. We thought it was pretty close in preparation to what we have eaten in the alleyways of Saoziying (Restaurant #2 specializes in Sichuan dishes).

Yuxiang Qiezi. Desi did the honors of leading the way on this dish of eggplant cooked in a sweet, spicy, sour sauce.

La Zi Ji. My personal favorite, this chicken dish is seasoned to the max with an assortment of peppers. I actually preferred Sichuan Pavilion's version to what I have eaten in the past. The reason is that it is impossible to get this dish served without bones in China, so you spend your meal gnawing on diced bones in an effort to get the meat off. It was nice to just grab a piece of meat with my chopsticks and enjoy the flavors.

A bowl of plain noodles served in broth. It was definitely good practice for Z, as he will spend the summer trying to convey to puzzled fuwuyuan that all he wants is noodles and soup. No meat. No vegetables. No cilantro. No nothing.

~Steve

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