Monday, June 13, 2011

Addicted to Heat: Sichuan Cuisine

Look at that chili! The whole dish at the bottom is swimming in chili oil
Ever since watching Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Food episode on Chengdu, I've been mesmerized by the exhilarating ma la, numbing spiciness of Chengdu / Sichuan cuisine. My interest was only further piqued by the excellent dan dan noodles at Lukshon, which I enjoyed so much that I needed to seek out a more authentic versions of dan dan mian for a true understanding and experience. All the better Sichuan (and Chinese in general) food is in the San Gabriel Valley, so I've sent my parents on several missions to bring home all sorts of spicy noodles, spicy fish and spicy chicken from well-reviewed places like Lucky Noodle King and some places in Rowland Heights. So far nothing they have brought home has really wowed me, although I do think this type of food is best consumed at the restaurant. Last Saturday, I was in the East side for a board meeting, so I decided to stop by a place often mentioned as having the best dan dan mian, New Chong Qing, for a bowl of dan dan noodles. I thought they were quite good, immediately numbing with an interesting sour, spicy, tingly addicting taste. They were a lot more numbing than the noodles at Lukshon; however I think I still prefer the version at Lukshon, largely for the delicious creamy kurobuta minced pork sauce, which really soaked into the noodles. I think the New Chong Qing version was vegetarian. At $3.99 though, it was a steal compared to the Lukshon version. I'll definitely be back to New Chong Qing to try their Sichuan hot pots, which everyone else seemed be having.
New Chong Qing
120 N. San Gabriel Blvd (just North of Las Tunas)
San Gabriel, CA

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