First meal in Chengdu after flying in from Shanghai, craving for some authentic Sichuan cuisine. A tried-and-tested name came to mind.
I went to Tao Lin 饕林 in 2019 and thoroughly enjoyed the authentic Sichuan cuisine done with an innovative twist. In this first trip back, I made an effort to go to their original shop in the downtown area.
This is a very popular location for this chain restaurant in Chengdu. We had to wait outside in the cold for 30 minutes even though our booking app said that there’s no queue and it was not dinner time yet.
In the end we still have to sit in a table at the lobby with no heater.
热拌五味鸡 Warm Strange Flavour chicken
This is an update of 口水鸡 saliva chicken, a classic Sichuan appetiser. 热拌五味鸡 Warm Strange Flavour Chicken deployed one of the 24 flavours of Sichuan – 怪味 Strange Flavour refers to sweet, spicy, umami, and salty in equal measure, no one flavour stands out and no one gets buried under. This is one of the most difficult flavour to do in Sichuan cuisine in my opinion.
煲仔生焖虾 Claypot Prawns with Mung Bean Noodles
This dish reminded me of the Thai tunghoon claypot prawns because both used a copious amount of garlic for the flavour. Surprising 煲仔生焖虾 Claypot Prawns with Mung Bean Noodles was not a spicy dish but equality flavoursome.
饕林特色回锅肉 Signature Double Cooked Pork Belly
回锅肉 Double Cooked Pork Belly is another Sichuan classic and very easy to make. You boiled the pork belly in salted water, sliced it and then stir fry with fermented bean paste, chilli and garlic. Simple dishes are usually the most difficult to perfect. 饕林特色回锅肉 Signature Double Cooked Pork Belly was bold enough to call it their signature. The pork belly was not overcooked yet it had both the salty and stir-fried taste. The burnt chilli was the other critical component of this dish, and they have also nailed it.
毛血旺 Sichuan Spicy Offals
毛血旺 Sichuan Spicy Offals is a Chongqing speciality. 毛 “Mao” in Chongqing dialect means “casual” or “random”. This dish came as a coincidence. A butcher’s wife used offals that remained from a butcher store to create this Sichuan classic to sell for more money. This was 70 years ago and Wang’s Spicy Offal was born.
冰粉 Mung Bean Ice Jelly
This is a street food popular in Sichuan with origins from Southwest China.
Similar to the ice jelly in Singapore, it has a lot more ingredients and ultra sweet.
In Sichuan dialect there’s a phrase 巴适 (bashi) meaning very good or very comfortable or very suitable. Tao Lin is exactly that. The Sichuan food is of very high quality and yet affordable for the masses.
Tao Lin 饕林 (东升街)
四川省成都市锦江区东升街69号附1 邮政编码: 610023
Tel : +862886651458
Date visited : Dec 2021
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