August 19, 2012

Spice up your life

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If there's one major Chinese cuisine missing from my regular diet, it's Sichuanese.  I was brought up without spicy food, and over the years I've gradually gone from zero tolerance to being able to take in some heat.  However, I still do not actively look for spicy food, especially the likes of Sichuanese or Hunanese.  Occasionally I will tag along when someone really wants it.

Mrs. Tigger was hankering for some spicy food, so we met up at Golden Valley (駿景軒) in the Emperor (Happy Valley) Hotel.  Believe it or not, this dining outlet inside the hotel with a long and somewhat colorful reputation has got itself a little macaron from the tire man.  I've dined here a few times before the honor was bestowed, and I thought the food really wasn't bad at all.

I was pretty glad that the original plans of doing hotpot were nixed, so that we would be ordering à la carte.  This meant I would have the opportunity to see what the kitchen can deliver.

Sautéed green chili with vinegar (虎皮尖椒) - at first this was deceptively mild.  It's only after having had a couple of these that the real heat catches up with you.  I blame the black beans…

Marinated ox-tongue and ox-tripe in chili sauce (夫妻肺片) - not bad.  Despite all the red chili oil floating on top, this wasn't nearly as spicy as the green chilis.

Deep-fried Bombay duck fish with spicy salt (椒鹽九肚魚) - not bad and still kinda melted in the mouth, but nowhere as ethereal as what Victoria City Seafood (海都酒家) delivers

Sautéed fillet of beef in sweet and sour sauce (中式牛仔柳) - Tigger's our resident expert on this dish, since he orders it at just about every Chinese restaurant which has this on the its menu… The version here didn't make the grade.  They hadn't used enough baking soda or pound it well enough to tenderize the beef.

Wok-fried French beans and minced pork meat with chili (乾煸四季豆) - I measure every other version of this dish against mom's, and so less than a handful have come close.  What they do here is better than average, but still a long way off.  Simply not dry enough, as the chefs usually don't spend enough time on it.  The Sichuan peppercorns (花椒) definitely made my lips and tongue numb...

Braised bean curd in casserole (紅燒豆腐煲)

Fried rice with shrimp and BBQ pork in casserole (駿景砂鍋炒飯) - this came in such a big casserole… and Tigger really did his best to take down as much as possible.  I do have to say that this was pretty yummy, and I especially liked the slices of kale.

Slices of fish simmered with sun-dried chili (麻辣水煮鮮魚片) - this is always a scary sight when one first sees it… with all the chili floating on top.

After removing most of the chili, the dish looks a little less daunting…  The fish was actually OK despite being coated in a layer of starch, but the whole experience was marred by the noodles, which for some reason had bits of sand or some kind of dust.  We could feel (and hear) the presence of sand as we bit down with our teeth.  Not great.

Sweet potato in soup (蕃薯糖水)

I found the food tonight pretty enjoyable in general, although I wonder whether I would really consider this place star-worthy.  Certainly worthwhile to return, though!


Unknown said...

I have only been to here when they were still doing mainly Cantonese food back in the days ! Really want to give it a try but it's going to make me soaked in sweat. Weird!

BTW the typhoons are coming again hmm xP

KC said...

We really like the green chili there, and order extra Luncheon meat when we were having the chili hotpot...


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