Located near the historic Wu Hou (Zhuge Liang) Shrine 武侯祠, Tao Lin is an up and coming Sichuan restaurant. It is one of “must go” restaurants among social media to “pick grass” 拔草. Who says Chengdu is only about Mala (Sichuan) Hotpot?
After couple days in Chengdu, my stomach felt too much of the hot chilly spicy. Tao Lin, however, is not all about the red, oily, spicy Sichuan. As many old Chengdu folks lament, the Sichuan cuisine has been given a bad reputation by the mala hotpot. Then come along Tao Lin which has modernised the cuisine and included classic Sichuan dishes the vary in level of spice.
冷吃掌中宝 Sichuan chicken cartilage
We started off with 冷吃掌中宝 Sichuan chicken cartilage, a crunchy starter that is made from deep-frying the chicken cartilage and then stir-fry in chilli and peppercorn. Many has mistaken this to be the fleshy part of chicken feet, but the proper ingredient is the soft bone of the chicken.
饕林私房牛肉 Signature spicy beef
Even though it is described as spicy and looked the part, 饕林私房牛肉 Signature spicy beef is not very spicy. It is very well-marinated beef stir-fry with chilli and garlic. Just shake off the pepper, it is a very tasty and tender meat.
麻辣兔头 Sichuan spicy rabbit head
Help! Bugs Bunny is being decapitated and served on a plate! 麻辣兔头 Sichuan spicy rabbit head is a snack food in Chengdu. There’s almost no meat on the head, but everyone enjoyed snacking on the soft morsels found in the crevices and the brain.
纯手工凉粉 Mung bean noodles
The flavour profile is tangy and spicy, and the noodles are served cold. A very appropriate appetiser, it just brings out the appetite from everyone.
热拌五味鸡 Warm five spice chicken
Tasting like 口水鸡 cold spicy chicken, this updated version is served on a plate warmer and is warm. Needs more parsley though.
鲜椒啤酒兔 Rabbiit stew in beer and peppercorn
Sorry, but there’s not much wabbit in the dish. Taste like 水煮 but not much to pick into.
仔姜爆双脆 Pig oesophagi and thorax with young ginger
These pig’s organs are not exactly popular among diners, but they are crunchy and can be quite delicious if cooked properly (i.e. spicy and not too overdone). Here it is done perfect, and it goes very well with ice cold beer.
饕林素菜王 Signature spicy vegetable
Another non-spicy but called spicy dish. The cauliflower is stir-fried with black fungus and peppercorn. Refreshing, and goes well with rice.
饕林河渡花鲢 Signature live catfish in spicy sauce
The highlight of the evening. The fish is tender, the sauce compliments the river fish and removes all muddy flavours, and I only wished there was some white rice to go with the sauce. Luckily there was the pan fried pita bread.
麻婆豆腐 Mapo tofu
The classic Sichuan dish that was invented in Chengdu. I don’t really like their version as it’s a bit too sweet.
明档手工丸子汤 Handmade meatball soup
A very flavourful soup made from pork and fish meatball the size of a tennis ball.
特色锅边馍 Special pan fried pita bread
Goes well with the sauce from the catfish dish.
After all these spices, there are only two remedies to help put out the fire – an ice cold beer or an ice cold dessert. Their house hefeweizen is OK, but I prefer the fresh ones from German bräuhaus. The ice jelly is similar to our Singapore version but much sweeter. It could do with a dash of lime juice.
For the quality and amount, they are fairly priced. You may have to call them to book earlier, as the restaurant is not too big and always full.
Tao Lin Restaurant 饕林餐厅
Tel : 028-85250252
Date Visited : Aug 2019