Remembering the last time I was in Chongqing, I went to their main store. Since then, I have not tried any of their branches in Beijing and Shanghai. Until now.
“Saliva” Chicken 口水鸡 – the disgusting name was because you would be salivating just by looking at this dish. The spiciness just gave you an appetite to enjoy the rest of the meal. Served cold, so my American friends may not like this.
Lettuce in Sesame Sauce 麻酱凤尾 – A dish without need of culinary skills, just take lettuce and pour tahini-peanut butter mix over it.
Century Eggs in Vinegar and Hunan Chilli 泡椒皮蛋 – strictly speaking this is not Szechuan, but Hunanese. But I loved century eggs so who cared? There’s no culinary skill to comment, this is just combining 4 ingredients together – century eggs, chopped chilli, vinegar and sugar.
Rice Cake in Brown Sugar 红糖粑粑 – no idea why a dessert was served in the middle of the meal.
Tan Tan Noodles 担担面 – the quintessential noodle dish representative of the Szechuan culture. Simply chucked cooked noodles into peppercorn chilli broth and mixed.
Deep Fried Mango 香芒酥 – They served a dessert in the middle of the lunch, quite weird. But it helped to cool down our burning tongues through the sweetness and tanginess of the mango.
Supreme Szechuan Offals 极品毛血旺 – what was supreme about this dish was the introduction of baby abalone in a peasant’s dish of pig blood jelly, beef tripes, pig stomach and other offals.
Fish in Peppercorn Oil 江鱼做水煮鱼 – the Chinese moniker for this dish is very deceiving. It is definitely not “water-cooked”. In fact, not a drop of water was used in cooking this dish. What it really involved was a tremendous amount of boiling peppercorn infused oil poured over sliced fish and served immediately. The heat from the oil cooked the fish instantly. The sudden introduction of tremendous heat had the effect of “steaming” the fish but vaporising the liquid almost immediately. As not external heat was introduced, the oil cooled down right after contact with the fish and the result is a very tasty and tender fish kept warm in the hot oil.
Szechuan Braised Bites 川卤拼盘 – consisting of 4 types of braised foods, tripe, pig’s ear, seaweed and lotus root. Each was braised in Szechuan peppercorn to different degree of spiciness, and each keeping a different type of crunch. The lotus root had the crunch of an apple, a spicy apple. The pig’s ear had a more distinct crunch like soft bones. The tripe has a softer bite, while the seaweed is almost like gelatine.
Pork belly in Garlic Chilli Sauce 蒜泥白肉 – The Szechuan version is definitely 10x more spicy than others, like the ones in DinTaiFeng. Not sure I prefer this version or the Shanghainese version more.
Peking Cabbage in “Plain Water” 开水白菜 – this seemingly plain dish is a Szechuan culinary classic. Invented by Imperial chef Huang JingLin, it requires the chicken broth to be clear like plain water, the cabbage blanched yet retained the shape and completeness, and every bite would be infused with the flavour of the broth yet not a drop of oil is to be seen. Obviously, this one failed the test.
Grilled Baby Ribs 香煎牛仔骨 – the worst dish of the day, but it could be because we were so full by now.
Service here is horrible, the price was not cheap because we booked a private room and there’s a minimum spend. But again this is Beijing, where you cannot expect real good service. I really wondered how the Shanghai branch got a Michelin Tables mention.
Tel : 010-66183918 66150948
Date Visited : Aug 2018