Good Eats

YuXin Sichuan Cuisine 渝信川菜 @ Beijing

Since first opening its doors in 1993, YuXin has consistently offered authentic Sichuan dishes. After a quarter of a century, Yu Xin remains popular and retains a large base of loyal customers.

There is a YuXin Sichuan Cuisine restaurant near the Jianguomen area, inside Changan Theater. So if you are near Wangfujing and Guomao (CBD), this would be the perfect location to try really authentic Sichuan food in a comfortable and not so crowded location.

Of course, some may argue the Sichuan Representative Office offer better Sichuan cuisine. However 贡院蜀楼 Gongyuan Shulou always busy.

凉菜 Appetisers

1/ 口水鸡 spicy chicken

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口水鸡 spicy chicken

Even though ‘saliva chicken’, the literal translation of the dish, doesn’t sound particularly appetising, Koushui ji is one of the most famous dishes in Sichuan cuisine. The chicken is first steamed before being dunked in iced water to firm up the skin. The chicken is then bathed in a numbingly spicy chilli sauce with toasted peanuts and sesame seeds and a garnish of green onion.

While its exact origin is unknown, it is believed that the name came about when famous Sichuan writer and poet Guo Moruo (1892-1978) described a chicken dish so visually stunning that just looking at it “makes the mouth water”. Another reason for the name is because of the generous use of Sichuan peppercorn in the chilli oil, which numbs the lips and makes the mouth drool.

2/ 卤味拼盘 braised appetisers

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卤味拼盘 braised appetisers

A master stock (Chinese: 鹵水 or 高汤) is a stock which is repeatedly reused to poach or braise meats. The Sichuan braise stock is very different from Teochew. Firstly, it is slightly spicy and numb due to the addition of peppercorn. And it has the light fragrance of Chinese herbal medicine like liquorice.

Ingredients like pig’s ears, pig’s tripe, lotus roots and wakame seaweeds can be braised to aromatic goodness, and the different textures of the ingredients make them very tasty and interesting appetisers. The crunch of pig’s ears vs the softness of tripe, most of these ingredients would not have their own distinct flavours if not for the braising liquid.

3/ 烧椒皮蛋 century eggs in grilled jalapeño

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烧椒皮蛋 century eggs in grilled jalapeño

Another simple appetiser – century eggs are cut in quarters and drizzled with black vinegar. The kick came from the chargrilled jalapeño that had been chopped up and sprinkled on the eggs. Another ingredient, candied ginger, added that palate cleansing spiciness.

4/ 蒜泥白肉 boiled sliced pork belly in garlic sauce

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蒜泥白肉 boiled sliced pork belly in garlic sauce

This is a traditional Sichuan dish with a long history. If you researched into the history  of Sichuan cuisine, you will find that the chili pepper is adopted into the cuisine only just two to three centuries ago. Before the influence of chili pepper in Sichuan cuisine, garlic and ginger spice are the main tastes of Sichuan cuisine.

5/ 麻酱凤尾 romaine lettuce with sesame peanut sauce

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麻酱凤尾 romaine lettuce with sesame peanut sauce

A simple salad of romaine lettuce with a sesame peanut butter sauce.

热菜 Main Courses

1/ 渝信毛血旺 signature spicy offals

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渝信毛血旺 signature spicy offals

Maoxuewang 毛血旺 originates from Chongqing. In the Chongqing dialect, 「毛」 máo stood for casual or anything goes. Simply, it is a spicy dish cooked with blood pudding or blood tofu, spam, offals, bean sprouts, wood fungus, kale, and this deluxe version included baby abalones, sea cucumber, etc.

Legend has it that in the 1940s – a period where nutrition was scarce in China owing to continuous armed conflict – a butcher surnamed Wang in Ciqikou, Chongqing, sold his shop’s innards and scraps at very low prices. One day, Wang’s wife (who had the surname Zhang) came up with the idea of instead putting all the cheap odds and ends into a soup. The outcome was a delicious broth. By accident, Zhang put duck blood curd into the broth, and found that the curd tasted even silkier and made the soup more flavourful. The dish soon became known as Mao Xue Wang.

2/ 江鱼做水煮鱼 river carp in spicy oil

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江鱼做水煮鱼 river carp in spicy oil

Shui zhu yu is a Sichuan dish, with a name with the literal meaning of “water-cooked fish“. It’s actually cooked mostly in boiling chilli oil. Fish slices (in this case, grass carp), a large amount of chilli pepper and special Sichuan bean sauce, vegetables (bean sprouts and Napa cabbage) and a lot of chilli oil is required.

It is believed that the origin of the dish came from Chongqing around the 1980s. A chef in the municipality won a prestigious culinary competition with a dish that featured the aforementioned cooking method but only to cook other meats like pork and beef. Soon, he became so famous for the dish he was frequently asked by family and friends to make it. One day, a friend brought over a few river grass carp. Without other protein on hand, the chef decided to filet the carp before poaching it in boiling broth for flavour. To his surprise, the tender flaky meat of the fish complemented perfectly the spicy and numbing sauce.

3/ 香煎牛仔骨 grilled beef ribs

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香煎牛仔骨 grilled beef ribs

The only course that we didn’t like and didn’t finish. And it’s not Sichuan.

4/ 开水白菜 Beijing cabbage in stock

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开水白菜 Beijing cabbage in stock

This classic Sichuan dish was invented by the legendary chef Huang Jinglin 黄敬临 [1] when he was an Imperial Chef with the Qing palace. This dish was then made famous as a State Dish by his disciple when Premier Zhou Enlai served it as one of the courses in State Banquets.

Zhou served it to the Japanese delegation during the State Banquet and at first glance, the delegates were quite turned off by the presentation of the course. A couple of Beijing cabbage hearts in clear water, and the name of the dish “blanched cabbage”, they didn’t expect much of this. After tasting it, they all exclaimed the deliciousness in such a simple dish. The cabbage was full of flavour and umami even though the whole presentation looked simply bland.

5/ 担担面 Sichuan dan dan noodles

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担担面 Sichuan dan dan noodles

Dan dan mian used to be a street food but is now ubiquitous to Sichuan restaurants across the country.

It was believed that during the Qing Dynasty, a man named Chen Baobao from Zigong, Sichuan Province sold noodles on the street. To travel easily between twisting alleys and ramshackle houses, he put a carrying pole (a dan zi) on his shoulder, with two baskets on each side, one holding the stove, the other noodles and pots. Over time, his savoury and fiery noodles gained such notoriety people started calling it ‘dan dan mian’ which if translated literally means ‘peddler’s noodles’. To this day, dan dian mian is served more like a snack than as a main dish.

甜品 Desserts

1/ 香芒酥 deep fried mango

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香芒酥 deep fried mango

2/ 红糖粑粑 glutinous rice cake with brown sugar syrup

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红糖粑粑 glutinous rice cake with brown sugar syrup

I really don’t understand why Sichuan food is so popular! I’ve never really got it – and I love spicy food but, to me, a lot of Chuancai is just oily spice that leaves your mouth in need of copious amounts of sorbet.

This chain restaurant provides well-prepared Sichuan cuisine in fairly comfortable surroundings. Every dish we ordered was excellent, and the prices very reasonable. This level of service can be really hit or miss (often get miserable waiting on staff…but you are sometimes pleasantly surprised).

YuXin Sichuan Cuisine 渝信川菜 (长安店)
建国门内大街7号长安大戏院首层
Tel : 010-65171012 65180888

Date Visited : Aug 2018

  1. 黄敬临(1873-1941),又名黄循,原籍江西省人,清·同治十二年出生于四川省双流县华阳镇名门世家。自幼即吃惯精心制作的美食,后中秀才,纳资为员外郎,供职光禄寺3年。喜诗文,工书法,擅对联。因受慈禧太后赏识,赏以四品顶戴,故有“御厨”之称,时被誉为“当代之一奇人”。中国近代美食家兼烹调高手,被称为“仙品”之誉的川菜“姑姑筵”开宗立派之大宗师。

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