August 8, 2009

Spice spice baby

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I was meeting up with a friend for a casual dinner. Being a big fan of Sichuan cuisine, she suggested Yu Chuan Club (渝川會所), a private kitchen she raves about constantly.  Since I missed the chance to join her a few weeks ago, I decide to take her up on it even though I generally stay away from Sichuan restaurants.  There were four of us, which means we get to choose three starters and four main dishes as part of our set.  We asked them to tone down the spice, since a couple of us didn't think we could handle it otherwise...

Spicy Sichuan cold noodle (四川涼麵) - we actually ordered this first and it gave us a good start.  It's the usual type of tossed noodle with spices, and it was pretty solid.  The kitchen did a good job toning down the spices and my tongue was still with me after a small bowl of this.

Marinated cucumber (涼拌青瓜) - we picked the mild version in sesame seed oil, instead of the hot and sour version.

Sliced beef shank (白水牛肉) - thinly sliced with spices sprinkled on top.

Fish in fiery broth (水煮魚) - this is one of the classic Sichuan preparations, and it wasn't bad. The fish fillets are soaked in a red, spicy soup filled with dried chilli peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, bean sprouts, fermented beans and glass noodles. The fish was tender, and the noodles did a good job of soaking up the flavors of the broth, which was pretty salty.

Sautéed string beans with minced pork and chilli (干煸四季豆) - this was one of the best I've had in Hong Kong. Finally someone has decided to take the time to make this dish the way it's meant to be done, making sure it's dry and a little charred. Plenty of chilli peppers, Sichuan peppercorns and deep-fried minced pork. Still not quite mom's homemade version of the dish, but I'm pretty happy.

Twice-cooked pork with rice crispies (鍋巴回鍋肉) - this was also pretty good. Dried, crispy fatty pork with red and green chilli peppers, spring onions, and plenty of rice crispies that have absorbed the wonderful flavors. Unfortunately, as I got involved in a discussion with my friend, my fellow diners decided to gobble up most of those yummy rice crispies, leaving me with one or two measly small pieces...

Stir-fried pork with tomato (番茄炒肉片) - I thought it said beef on the menu, but maybe I was mistaken... Anyway, what we had were slices of tender, fatty pork - that bouncy consistency tells me it's pork neck. Pretty nice.

Finally, the restaurant gave us a complimentary plate of stir-fried greens, which I think was a type of lettuce the Taiwanese called 大陸妹.

The place was obviously doing very brisk business, and I can see why. Whether or not the dishes are really authentic Sichuan or as good as what one can find in China does not matter. What matters is that they tasted pretty good to me, and the price is reasonable. I'll be sure to return and order some of the signature dishes in advance the next time around.


Sher.eats said...

渝川...菜館? in Wan Chai?

Peech said...

Yup. Cheap and cheerful.

unicronic said...

Sounds fantastic. How does one get to experience this place?

Peech said...

The place is at 7-17 Amoy St in Wanchai. Reservations essential. 2838 5233

unicronic said...

I went to the restaurant and it was phenomenal. Everything you said it was and so much more. One of those well hidden secrets. I can't wait to go again.

I'll be following your recommedations from now on. Thanks Peech.


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