'Sichuan' on Serious Eats

Asparagus Ain't Sichuan, but Boy Does it Work in This Fiery Salad

Asparagus isn't exactly a Chinese ingredient, but that doesn't mean that it can't find a comfortable home in Chinese food. I've got no doubt that if asparagus were to grow in the cool, misty mountains near Chengdu, that we'd see it served as a cold green appetizer or side dish on menus in Sichuan. This recipe—cold and crunchy asparagus tossed with firm tofu in a fiery sweet-hot-sour vinaigrette—is really inspired by the host of cold or warm appetizers you find in Sichuan that make use of roasted chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns, and vinegar. More

How to Make Sichuan-Style Wontons in Chili Oil

Sweet and savory. Slippery and slick. Juicy and tender. Hot and sour. Garlicky. So. Freaking. Good. These are all words that should enter your head as you slide back a bowl of suanla chaoshou, the Sichuan-style wontons that come coated in an intensely aromatic sauce made with vinegar, garlic, and roasted chili oil. It's the sauce that brings on the contrasts with its almost overly intense flavor, thanks to sweet Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, and plenty of chili oil with crunchy bits of fried dried chilies. More

Sichuan-Style Braised Eggplant With Pickled Chilies and Garlic (Yu Xiang Qie Zi)

Despite its translation—"fish fragrant eggplant,"—yu xiang qie zi actually contains no seafood or meat products whatsoever. It gets its name from the combination of hot, sour, and sweet flavors that are typically served with fish in its native Sichuan. Smoky eggplant is stir-fried until tender, then tossed with a quick sauce flavored with chilies, black vinegar, sugar, and ginger, and garlic for a hearty, flavor-packed dish that comes together in one wok with minimal effort. More

14 Essential Sichuan Eats (Beyond Hot Pot) in Chengdu and Chongqing

Though Chongqing Province and the city of Chongqing itself are no longer part of Sichuan Province (they split in the '90s), they share a culinary and cultural backbone. It's a foundation built on the slow, smoldering burn of dried chilies, the pungent bite of raw garlic, and mouth-numbing handfuls of citrus-scented Sichuan peppercorns, all balanced with dashes of black vinegar and more peanuts than you ever thought you could eat. More

Han Dynasty Rocks the First Stage Then Loses Its Beat

Far from being the Sichuan dead zone that it was even a decade ago, New York has become a virtual checklist of regional Chinese cuisines with the likes of Legend and Café China leading the Sichuan charge. Han Dynasty is a little different. The first New York branch of proprietor and Philadelphian Han Chiang's chain of a half dozen dazzlingly successful restaurants (five in Philly and one in Jersey), the restaurant rolled into town with what seemed like a busload of groupies already in tow. Some of that love is deserved at the New York location. And some of it isn't. More

First Impressions of Han Dynasty, Philly's Sichuan Outpost in New York

During a recent conversation with two of New York's most acclaimed Chinese restaurant owners and chefs, both of whom happen to hail from Philly, I heard nothing but unequivocal praise for Han Dynasty. They quipped that their (very famous) chef would hate the place "because it is so fucking good!" The East Village location hasn't been open long enough to warrant a proper review, but my impressions from a few early visits feel very promising. More

Luxury, if You Know Where to Look, at La Vie en Szechuan

At La Vie en Szechuan, they work to take care of you. And a look around the dining room says why: The young, smartly dressed, nearly all-Chinese clientele look ready for their night out in K-Town, not for slumming it on Mott Street. Like Cafe China up north a few blocks, the restaurant aims for something more upscale, and in setting, presentation, and quality it largely succeeds. Many Sichuan classics, the dishes we often look to as benchmarks for a restaurant like this, are the weakest parts of the menu. But if you order strategically around them you'll bear witness to some of the more interesting, unexpected, and yes—upscale—Chinese cooking in the city. More

More Posts