Home Made Pan Fried Noodle Shanghai Style ($8)
The star of the show, shaped like overweight linguini, these are the dictionary definition of ideal noodle texture. They can be ordered in any number of dishes, but this one—prepared simply with a few greens and slices of pork— highlights the dialed-in ratio of chewiness-to-thickness.
Green Onion Pan Cake ($4)
Chiang’s version of this classic starter ranks only around serviceable, but it makes an excellent vehicle for mopping up hot sauce from other dishes, so it goes on the “must order” list.
Steamed Dumpling ($8)
The dumplings begin to hint at Chiang’s expertise with dough. The supple wrappers are plump with subtly-seasoned meat.
Cattle Tendon with Hot Sauce ($8)
Spicy oil peps up the meaty slivers of tendon. A favorite for converting newcomers to offal-worship, as the soft crunch of tendon is easy and entry-level. Cilantro lightens and brightens the heavy beef and strong sauce.
Dry Sauteed String Bean (Americanized Chinese Menu) ($10)
Despite being a fairly classic Chinese dish, this one appears on the Americanized-Chinese menu. It’s prepared traditionally, though, with lots of tiny garlic bits hiding away in the pockets of the long beans.
Enoki and Black Mushrooms Wrapped with Bean Curd in Brown Sauce ($12)
Vegetables dishes are scarce on the menu, but quite worthwhile (though you can always ask for greens prepared as you like). Yuba, or tofu skin, intertwines with the stringy enoki mushrooms twisting through the sauce.
Five Star Spicy Hot Chicken ($11)
This fried chicken miraculously manages to be slick with spicy oil while remaining shatteringly crisp. Half the fun is hunting through pile of hot peppers in search of the last nuggets of chicken gold.
Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetable ($12)
Spoonably-soft pork belly sauced with preserved vegetables, the umami-boosting ingredient behind so many great dishes (Thai Khao Soi, Chinese Dan Dan Mien).
Braised Spare Ribs Wu Shyi Style ($12)
Little nuggets of meat in a savory brown sauce, this dish is the happy medium between the chewy sautéed meats and the soft braised pork, with just a little something to chew on. A great option to counteract the many spicy options on the menu.
Whole Fish with Special Bean Sauce ($16)
Despite being listed as whole fish, the servers always insist that they’ll just serve it as fillets this time. The fish is served over a tangle of those famous noodles, and the whole pile is smothered in a mild sauce.
Spicy Hot Lamb with Cumin Flavor ($18)
All cumin, all the time in this dish. There’s nowhere to hide from the strong seasoning on the meat, which can smell overwhelming, but ends up balanced by the strong flavor of the lamb.
Sauteed Lamb with Triple Chili Pepper ($18)
Another dish that requires strong flavors to play with the bold lamb meat, the three types of pepper take on the soft sautéed meat with aplomb.
Sauteed Beef Short Ribs with Triple Chili Pepper ($16)
In the beef rendition, there’s little to compete with the strong flavors of the triple pepper threat, and the rich short rib meat succumbs entirely to the power of the peppers.
Spicy Hot Fish Fillet with Roman Lettuce ($15)
Cooked romaine is far more appealing than it sounds, especially as it retains just hints of crunch while it absorbs the spicy broth underneath fish. The white fish (basa) falls apart at the touch of a chopstick, and is rich with the spicy oil that is the base of the broth. This is the same dish that is often called “water-boiled fish” on Sichuan menus.